Memento Mori • 2015 • SF short story by Madeline Ashby


Synopsis: Anika works at an agency which conveys second hand bodies for people who want to switch to younger, healthier bodies. It is e.g. legally far more difficult to get a new one. Anika is different to other people by letting her mind completely wiped at each transition instead of retaining memories. She is a trophy wife living in a menage à trois with her rich husband and his friend. Things get different when a stranger starts stalking her.

Review: Memento mori is the Western reflection on mortality, translated from Latin as „remember the fact of dying“, turning the attention to the afterlife. The story takes a different turn, splitting society into the wealthy who can afford designer bodies and the poorer ones who only get retort bodies lacking features like scent or other distinguished senses. Although the story concentrates mostly on the wealthier side, Ashby also presents a short impression of those underpriviledged.

I’d have liked a somewhat deeper discussion and more impressions of that society. As it is, Ashby decided to give more room to the mystery story of the stalker which led to a rushed narration. The more she follows the stranger and discovers her past, the more her present situation falls apart, ending in a very good climax which answers all of those small riddles.

Meta: isfdb. This SF short story appeared 2015 in Meeting Infinity.


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