Forest of Memory
Katya deals in Authenticities and Captures, trading on nostalgia for a past long gone. Her clients are rich and they demand items and experiences with only the finest verifiable provenance. Other people’s lives have value, after all.
But when her A.I. suddenly stops whispering in her ear she finds herself cut off from the grid and loses communication with the rest of the world.
The man who stepped out of the trees while hunting deer cut her off from the cloud, took her A.I. and made her his unwilling guest.
There are no Authenticities or Captures to prove Katya’s story of what happened in the forest. You’ll just have to believe her.
In this brief but captivating epistolary story set in a future Pacific Northwest where technology records all events and has rendered both natural memory and storytelling superfluous Kowal (Word Puppets) evokes a world of interconnectedness. In a letter written on an ancient instrument known as a typewriter Katya Gould recounts being kidnapped and forced to live without access to LiveConnect the ubiquitous communication and memory recording network. She attempts to describe her experience alone and threatened by events she can neither understand nor examine in the way she is accustomed to. The letter is a unique document in the story’s world. In contrast to the perfection of recorded memories Katya’s typing errors have been preserved standing as testament to the very human source of the recollection. The fallibility of the narrator leaves the reader wondering what to believe about her remarkable story. Kowal has created a mystery that is satisfying and consistent and this delightful and thought provoking novella is exactly as long as it needs to be. (Mar.)
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