Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Insurance Agent

Short Story by Lavie Tidhar
Read for Escape Pod by Christian Brady (Text & Audio)

"It was a bit of an unfair fight as Reagan was young, pre-presidency, circa-World War Two, while Nixon was heavy-set, older: people were exchanging odds and betting with the bar’s internal gaming system and the general opinion seemed to be that though Reagan was in better shape Nixon was meaner."
The story opens with this fun description of a boxing match. I just wish it had run with that concept, rather than immediately veering off into the pointless and surreal for surreality sake.

A bodyguard is hired as "insurance" for a god/alien/"Supernatural Entity". These aliens seem to be most of the figures who have gained any kind of following in our history, from Elvis to Jesus to Uri Gellar. The setting is neat, and we get two particularly vivid scenes described in a rather surreal world, but in the long run there is no plot that makes any sense, the main character is poorly developed and doesn't seem to have any reason to go along with these plans he doesn't understand, and as far as anyone besides "Kim" is concerned, there aren't really any stakes to this story, and the reader doesn't even know what they are for Kim.

Tidhar seems to be going for a theme of people fighting for their ideals and perhaps something about the level of stupidity of what kinds of ideals people will fight over, but not much comes through beyond a sense of vaguely mythological-style symbolism.

A pointless tour through rather neatly described scenery. 2 out of 5 gamblers bet on Reagan in that boxing match.

Originally Published in Interzone, 2010

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