Monday, March 21, 2011

Lost in the Memory Palace, I Found You

Short Story by Nick Wolven

Ray has strange little episodes that wipe his memory almost completely. Unable to remember his name, job, or where he lives, he figures these things out anew every week or two. In the fast-paced commodity-futures-as-only-currency world, similar to Paul Di Filippo's iCity, everyone seems to accommodate the rapid changes by not bothering to remember how things used to be. I suspect something has been done to Ray's brain, but this is never spelled out.

Anyway, Ray seems to have taken it further than other people, and further than is reasonable. His lack of memory is affecting his life, but he has a hazy memory of a girl who once gave him hope, so he tries to find her.

A story about the transience of memory, how things aren't always how we remember them, and maybe it's better if we don't. Also a strong impression of that frustration you feel when you can't remember things but they stay just on the edge of your conscious thoughts. The voice and storytelling are innovative and interesting, but a tad annoying at times. I like the point that is being made, and the increasing feeling that Ray is going crazy. The odd jumps in memory and narration make a frightening, exciting impression, and convey Ray's distress very well.

I like what the author was trying to do with the ending, but I honestly thought it was a bit poorly executed. Things just change and it's shocking, and I like that it was unexplained, but I wish it wasn't quite so vague. I understand the impulse to keep things from being too well defined here, but I think the author took it too far, not knowing anything robs us of some of the emotional impact of the final lines.

3 lost memories out of 5.

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