Monday, October 21, 2013

Review: Bridesicle by Will McIntosh

I recently took my new bride on a romantic evening/overnight in Atlantic City. The morning after, as we lounged in the Borgata's spa, I finally got to cross off some titles from my reading list. I brought out the 2010 Nebula Award Showcase, and read some of the nominated shorts. Bridesicle was one of my reads, and it was a powerful experience, and perhaps strangely apropos being a newlywed.

The story's name derives from its main premise, which becomes pretty clear in the first few words (so no spoilers here): women who are killed at an untimely young age are cryogenically frozen, and technology exists to revive them. But there is a catch: the technology is expensive, and so to get brought back to life, the women must convince rich male benefactors to marry them. Our protagonist faces an uphill battle in that regard, because she is (unbeknownst to her potential suitors) a lesbian.

This rather twisted environment really makes for an emotional ride. You can feel the revulsion as the sleazy men coerce the women into marriage; you can feel the desperation as the main character clings to life. Eventually she even compromises her ideals, and even her identity, to try to convince a man that she is something that she isn't, only to survive. This do-what-it-takes survival instinct trope is not new, but the implementation of it in this situation certainly was.

It begs the question of the reader, would you pretend to love someone if it was your only means of survival? I think most of us would be much happier never knowing exactly what we would do to survive.

My humble review will seem small potatoes compared to the awards and critical acclaim this work has already won, but I highly recommend it.

If you are further interested, apparently the premise was expanded into a novel "Love Minus Eighty" by the same author.

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