You can read this for free over at Uncanny.
Once again, we return to the death of a mindship; this time the cause of death is a plague known as Blue Lily. I’ve often picked up a book and found, completely by chance, that it reflected what was going on in the real world in quite an uncanny way — this story being found in Uncanny magazine in this time of a plague known as Covid-19.
I think we could also do so much better if we could just give our diseases much nicer names — like Aliette has with Blue Lily — because Black Death, AIDS, SARS, MERS, EBOLA and now Covid-19 doesn’t really help with people’s mental health during these difficult, anxious and depressing times. The last thing people need is a disease that sounds like a violent street gang, MS-13, just got more nasty and is coming to get you, yes you, just you!!!
Anyway, this was another story, like Starsong, in that as soon as i got to the end i went all the way back to the beginning and read it all again. I really didn’t understand what had actually happened after the first time through. I’m not sure how much of this is Aliette portraying the effects of Blue Lily so well in her writing that i was as confused as someone coming into contact with a victim of this plague, or how much my mind kept on being taken away from this story and drawing certain parallels with Homo sapiens’ current plague of Covid-19. Suffice it to say that a second reading in which i paid a lot more attention to what i was reading was much better.
If you need your stories spoon fed to you then this most probably isn’t for you as there’s all kinds of temporal, spacial and virtual shifts going on and you really have to pay attention. However, pay attention and you’ll be rewarded with a rather good sci-fi, plague story.
And next up, we’re going to be Crossing the Midday Gate.