4 of 5 stars.
Included in Chronology published by Curiosity Quills Press, this very short story deftly alternates between two timelines, two locations and two narrators that are identical twins. Their stories converge until the point that they include each other and then conclude.
Jeff’s tale, which both opens and closes the story, has a nice warped perspective as he is viciously hungover throughout and seemingly getting worse. As an unreliable narrator, he’s funny in his lack of remembering the events of the previous evening and in not recognizing the many people strewn around his living space and bedroom and bed . . . Josh’s tale also veers towards celebrating as his research group out in the Nevada desert is about to throw the switch on their years of work, a mini-version of the Hadron Large Collider to test the commercial potential for energy production from induced micro-gravities, but something is going wrong with the machine . . .
Jeff’s sections are labeled “Post,” while Josh’s are labeled “Pre”. As Jeff continues to explore his environment, his lack of recognition of anybody around him, starts to get eerie. He goes outside and sees crashed vehicles, and bodies with blood around the faces. Josh’s co-workers start to babble in words he doesn’t recognize and they’re collapsing . . .
Whether one considers this speculative fiction or science fiction, the science end falls apart quickly as the Nevada crew speculates as to what is going wrong on their end. However, the treatment of the situation and the depiction of the symptoms is handled very well. The dovetailing of the disparate storylines is also surprising in a good way. This story is highly recommended. One can also follow the author’s blog, here.
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