Nick Wolven. In the Midst of Life. (Clarkesworld Magazine #113, February 2016)

clarkesworld113Online here.

A lengthy transcript (15k words) of a field report from a corporate fixer who is flown in to sort out the clearance of slum-dwellers holded up in a half-finished office block. It’s a near future where government has ceded a lot to businesses, but that background is only just sketched in.

From the outset of the story/transcript we are told that there is something amazing about to be revealed, and we are taken through the field operative’s visit to that office block, where he finds out that there’s a leader/guru/prophet with many followers. We find out the nature of this leader, his background, and how he has used his experiences following a near-fatal IED blast whilst on active service. There’s a tiny bit of tech, but otherwise it’s around the nature of his vision of what lay beyond, and his ability to use that tech to enable his followers to open up to that which lies beyond.

The sfnal element ramps up in only the closing paragraphs, where is gets X-Filesy (not a programme I took a fancy to), and for me, ever the rationalist, without hard evidence being presented, it’s a case of whether you believe what is happening is really a true portent of things to come (in the far future) or just a hallucination. But if you gobbled up X-Files and are excited about the new series, this could be the story for you!

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