Jason Sanford. Paprika. (Interzone #249 Nov-Dec 2013)

interzone249An elegant story by Sanford, inspired, it says by one Satoshi Kon, noted Japanese anime animator. My own anime knowledge goes no further than Hayao Miyazaki, but that’s enough to appreciate the visual feel that Sanford succeeds in creating.

Sanford has created a far-future Earth, with only a small number of people alive – all old, all long-lived, but not immortal. Satoshi is one such, a toy-maker, who specialises in making toys based on memories drawn from his fellow humans through Paprika, his powerful ‘time-angel’. When humans die, it these time-angels whom they upload themselves for that true immortality.

The story follows the final centuries of Satoshi’s life, and Paprika’s attempts to protect him, as the number of humans left alive dwindles. Ages pass, humanity does indeed pass into history, but Paprika is able herself to last long enough to see the future of Earth. It’s well down, and I’m sure in years to come I’ll probably mis-remember this as a film I’ve seen, rather than a story I’ve read!

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