This collection of sci fi stories from NY Times Bestselling author Beth Revis features worlds and technology from the future. Featuring three brand new, original tales and three reprints, each story explores a different set of characters in a different world and facing different problems in the future world.
“Doctor-Patient Confidentiality”: A girl wakes up in a cryomed unit and must recall why she’s there and what’s she’s lost.
“The Most Precious Memory”: In a world where memories are sold and consumed like drugs, one deal has a weird twist.
“The Girl & the Machine”: A time traveller meets someone who claims she’s met his future self and that they’ll change the world together.
“Lag”: A reporter has found the story of a lifetime–but a malfunctioning teleportation has made her forget it…
“The Turing Test”: A college student must determine which test subject is human and which is an android with A.I.
“As They Slip Away”: A novella set in the world of Across the Universe, exploring the fate of a side character.
So I really love the science fiction genre, and Beth Revis really showed me just why I love it so.
Not only are these short stories a unique spin into the world of sci-fi, but they’re also just imaginative, heartfelt, creepy, and held the hint of possibility in them. Though, as you’ll see, I have a hard time talking about these stories without giving too much away, so I’m sorry for being kind of vague.
The first short story, Doctor-Patient Confidentiality, told the story from the perspective of a young woman who had just woken from hyper sleep to discover that she had died – or come close to it. She has an internal struggle as to losing her friends, losing time, unsure of whether or not it was her husband’s fault, etc. This story had me questioning just why she continually blamed the husband when, really, it was her fault that she had gotten sick.
And then you find out who the doctor is and it hits you in the feels. Oy.
The second short story, The Most Precious Memory, tells the story from a perspective of a young man who doesn’t remember anything – he’s sold his memories, or drank them, to the point in which he doesn’t know his name. One day when someone offers to sell him the most precious memory, he can’t pass up the opportunity.
And when he does he really starts to try to want to hold onto those memories.
This one hit me right in the feels. It had so much heart because of just who the memory that he was buying belonged to and it really just made me want to cry.
The third short story, The Girl & the Machine, is about a teen who can time travel, but he can only time travel within his own direct timeline. He can’t go into the future, and he can’t go too far into the past. But he does change some things and does things to become the young man he is today, and that’s when he meets the girl.
The girl knows him from his future self and how she was told that together, they could change the world. So the boy, being naturally curious, follows her to a lab where they learn a little more about each other.
And that’s when my emotional attachment and curiosity for the boy halt and I want to slap him. The subject of rape does come up, so tread lightly if this is a trigger warning for you, but it’s not so detailed that it’ll make you cringe. It did make me angry, though.
And then the girl told him who she was and just what she was planning to do, and though I was horrified just from everything that was going on, I was kind of impressed with how she handled it.
The fourth story, Lag, is about teleportation and how one woman is teleported and forgets everything over the last two weeks. She has no recollection whatsoever, and the last time she updated her memories at the Memory Bank, it was two weeks ago. So what had happened?
Being a reporter, she has a natural knack for getting information, and she quickly discovers just what that information will cost her – and has cost her. This story was engaging and very descriptive of some gruesome details, but the reasons why she couldn’t remember anything for two weeks will shock you. I was shocked, anyway, though I kind of got it a little bit before reading about why.
The fifth story, The Turing Test, is probably my second favorite. This one is about a girl who is majoring in artificial intelligence and she is asked to be put to the test to determine if two computers she’s talking to are AI’s or humans – or neither or one or the other. As she asks them questions, she quickly picks who is who because of the discussions being held, but then things turn on their head and new mysteries and revelations are discovered.
This one has a lot of possibility of happening in the future, so it’s creepy in that aspect, but it was extremely fascinating to read about. I’d definitely want a continuation on this short story.
The sixth and final story, As They Slip Away, was the longest story, but it was also told in about four parts, all from the same perspective of a girl who lives at the Hospital aboard the ship, Godspeed. She, along with others, are called “loons” and they are all the crazy people on board, but one of the other girls has a theory that the pills they take aren’t because they’re crazy, but it keeps them continuing to see realty.
As the story progresses, it focuses on six individuals who are adept at the arts, and who each have talents and assignments to complete in a month. But there is one guy who is just kind of too creepy, though he finds the main protagonist beautiful.
Then things just spiral downward after a shared moment with a friend.
I’m not really sure how I feel about this story. It was creepy, but entertaining, but mostly creepy and kind of sad. She gave up her humanity because of a guy. It’s tragic, really.
Overall, I loved each of these stories. I think each had their own special quirks to make them unique and that ultimately interested me and had me wanting more. But there were also a lot of typos that I spotted, so that was really the only downfall. And I wished there had been more.
I rate this collection 4/5 stars and highly recommend it if you’re looking for a quick sci-fi fix.