Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ian R MacLeod's "Recrossing the Styx" (short story, immortality, free): A machine that forces your partner to love you!

Mostly an average read, but gets more interesting & Kuttnerish near end.

Story summary.

Frank Onions is a tour operator aboard Glorious Nomad, a tourist ship currently sailing the Mediterranean. Guests are mostly zombies, rich old men resurrected from dead but still frail, along with their "minders".

Warren & Dottie Hastings are among the guests. Warren is the zombie who was seriously rich when living, & Dottie is his young, beautiful & still loving wife he married just a short while before his death.

As Frank gets attracted to Dottie, he will learn that she cannot love anyone while Warren is around - her mind was "imprinted" by a machine in the marriage deal she cut with Warren before he agreed to marry her.

So we get a murder motive. Together, Frank & Dottie will kill Warren & will happily ever after. Murder goes well, & they live happily ever after too - both of them, but ... here comes a Kuttnerish twist...

Fact sheet.

First published: F&SF, May/June 2010.
Download full text from Suvudu Free Library.
Caution:  Recent F&SF fiction tends to be online only for a couple of months. Save it to local disk if you want to read it later.
Rating: A.
Related: Stories of Ian R MacLeod.