Dixon Reuel’s name has been on my radar for a few months but I never found the time to read her stories. So when I got the opportunity to review this short story in audio, I jumped on it.
Strangely enough, this was the first time I listened to a male narrator, and maybe because English isn’t my first language, I needed a little time to get used to it, much like when I listen to a narrator with an accent unusual to me. After a couple of minutes, however, I didn’t pay attention to the narrator’s gender any longer, except to wonder why a story where a woman is the main character would be narrated by a man. I don’t have the answer, but the narration was really good so who cares.
As is often the case with short stories, the reader (or in this case the listener) is dropped right in the middle of the action, with not much understanding of what is going on. If the writing is good and the pace appropriate, it can make for a very exciting read, and I’m happy to say this is the case here.
A military dictatorship has taken over and one of the rules is scientists shouldn’t fraternize with colleagues. Professor Meliss and her assistant Professor Lauren have plans to escape but a raid to their VR lab takes them by surprise. Meliss hides Lauren in VR, hoping to get rid of the soldiers ASAP.
A lot happens in a very short time, Meliss needs to think fast to keep her lover safe while hoping Lauren will act in the same direction despite the fact they have no way to communicate. The last three words of the story are brilliant. I think I own the short story that is set after this one, but it seems to involve a different set of characters.