This is the part of my 100 Short Stories in 2014 challenge.
I listened to this as the podcast and I think part of the impact of the story had to do with Kate’s introduction and comments at the end. So I can recommend this format. As always Kate does a great job reading these stories – which she apparently do cold.
Because this is a short story it is hard to talk about it without spoiling it. So be warned.
It is a story set in a near future world about a couple who have lost a child and whose friend is just about to lose his daughter. The couple is not dealing well with the loose. It is clear that they don’t really see eye to eye on what to think about the death. Our POW character would rather not talk about it while his wife needs to. In this near future setting the dead can be uploaded and live on as computer entities. The couple do not agree on what to think of this tech either. Their daughter died just short of the tech coming to marked. Though the course of the story it becomes clear that the tech works – the dead really do live on in cyberspace.
Imagine that, the dead is not really dead, they can talk to you. BUT you can never hold them, never really see them again. They have not magically forgiven you, they have all the same feelings as they had in life. I think that would make the loved ones really conflicted. They would probably still grieve for the child that they lost, but also feel guilty for grieving because their child was still alive. The child would still call them. You would never be able to move on. I should probably also say that I am not a mother. I have not lost anyone closer to me than my grandparents and their deaths didn’t hit me all that hard – they had been sick for a long time. So I can not imagine how it would be losing a child.
This was not really a story that was all that enjoyable to read – but it was a story that made me think – a lot.
Published: September 2014 by Clarkesworld Magazine
Read: September 1. 2014
Length: 4019 words, short story
Format: free online fiction
The author: female, white, USA
The protagonist: Male, straight, middle-aged.