Amal El-Mohtar. Madeleine. (Lightspeed Magazine #61, June 2015)

First published in Lightspeed Magazine back in June 2015 and still online, but I got round to reading it as it’s the first story in the Nebula Awards Showcase 2017 volume, on account of it having been nominated in the Best Short Story category.

It’s a love story (a same-sex love story, not that I think that this needs mentioning, but the story did appear in a ‘Queers Destroy Science Fiction’-themed issue of Lighstpeed, so probably worth noting for the record). The sfnal element is time travel (the story introduction tells us this (I forgot to follow my rule of avoiding story introductions for spoilers (and apologies for nesting my parentheses)).

I’d recommend it as a well-written story in itself. If you, like me, never got round to reading Audrey Niffenegger’s ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ this is a neat, much shorter, alternative. The story, featuring Madeleine’s life and mental state around her sessions with a clinical psychologist, has themes of love and loss and memory and is altogether a satisfying story about those issues. Look elsewhere for stories about spaceships, and aliens and stuff like that.

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