A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Saturday Shorts Week 25
Welcome to our weekend series for 2014. Every Saturday this year one of our staff will suggest a favorite short story from the library’s collection, all of them a great choice for quick weekend reading.
Be of good cheer. This situation, which you are in, is not unique. It has never happened within my domain before, but I am programmed to deal with it. Relax and trust me. I will see that you are provided with a world.
There’s a problem with Victor Kemmings’ travel arrangements. He’s emigrating to a new planet, a decade spanning trip spent in stasis. Only something is wrong with the deep freeze. His body is under just fine, yet he seems to be fully, terrifyingly conscious. Don’t worry, though, the ship itself has a solution: tap into Kemmings memories to create a fully livable dream decade.
Victor is justifiably suspicious but tries to get into it. How about spending some time with his first wife Martine? Errr… Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea. He remembers liking his childhood, why not go there? Oh yeah, that’s why. Soon Victor’s memories are overlapping in strange ways: a small meanness committed in his youth rears it’s ugly head in his later love life, houses start crumbling, his possessions start aging faster than he does. His neuroses and guilt complexes are turning the ship’s good intentions into a world that’s more nightmare than dream.
And then, finally, the relief of arriving at his destination. But something doesn’t seem quite right, and why is Martine here?
It’s one of Dick’s best stories. My personal favorite. It sums up so many of his biggest themes in one small package. If you want to start somewhere among PKD’s huge, complex output this might be as a good a suggestion as any.
Review by Matthew