Sunday, December 29, 2019
Hard Return, by Art Taylor
This is the second appearance by my fellow SleuthSayer Art Taylor on this page.
All the stories in this book involve crime and time travel, as you can probably guess from the title. If you are going to write about time travel the first thing you may need to decide is the method involved: science or some form of magic? Of course, you don't need to go into detail; when he was trying to sell Star Trek Gene Roddenberry pointed out that a starship captain doesn't need to explain his vehicle's propulsion system anymore than the star of a Western needs to describe the anatomy of a horse. But it's nice if you indicate whether your hero has built a machine, or has supernatural powers, or is simply in the right (?) place at the right (ahem) time.
In Taylor's story the transportation system is a deep psychological truth. In fact, I think the whole story is a metaphor for certain human interactions. But hey, no spoilers.
The man and the woman had reached that stage where their relationship would either turn more serious or slowly begin to dissolve. The seriousness wasn't about sex, a threshold they'd already crossed, but a step into some deeper, more emotional intimacy.
That's how our story begins. Nice style, isn't it? We never find out the names of the characters, because those don't matter.
What does matter is that the man asks his lover to tell him something special about herself. And she does, about something that hurt her badly, a long time ago...
This fine story gives you a lot to think about.