Where or When by Steven Utley
Section: Reactionaries and Revolutionares
Genre: Science Fiction
Rating: 3/5 Rating
I must have missed something…
About the author:
STeven Utley was an American writer who helped found the famous Turkey City Writer’s Workshop in Texas that also included Bruce Sterling, Howard Waldrop, and many other prominent writers. Utley authored five short story collections, including Ghost Seas, The Beasts of Love, and Where or When. his series of Silurian Tales appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Analog Science Fiction, and Fact, SciFiction, and many other venues. He coedited the anthologies Lone Star Universe (with Goerge W. Proctor, 1976) and Passing for Human (with Michael Bishop, 2009) and also wrote poems, humorous essays, and other nonfiction over the course of his career. He died in early 2013 and is much missed. This story was first published in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 1991.
Fairly entertaining read; fast paced right from the get-go and there was some character dialog and bickering – but by the end of the end, all I could think was what was point? There must have been something I missed?
Elizabeth and Lewis were supposed to be a part of a time-traveling trip going to a ball at the Crystal Palace – so when they suddenly appear in the middle of a jungle, stuck up in a tree, with guns shooting off in the distance, they know something has gone wrong. They just have to wait for their guide, John, to find them – if they can live until whenever that is.
In this future, people are readily able to take these type of trips into the past, with a guide, to view certain events or take part in them. Lewis and Elizabeth were intending on going to dance in London, England in 1851… so, you could say, their attire was not best for having to run and hide in the jungle.
Aside from the situation they find themselves, the dynamic between the two of them is funny as well. Lewis and Elizabeth did not know each other before this; the first words the said to each other was when they both “woke up” in the jungle. Elizabeth is just no having any of this, and is constantly complaning, yelling at Lewis, and saying how bad she is going to kill John, their guide, when she sees him again. Then the story is told from Lewis’ first POV, who is the complete opposite, and is totally calm; he know’s John, and is completely confident that John will find and rescue them. Theses opposite attitude and personally make for an entering read.
The downfall of this novel was end – I just didn’t get it. Without spoiling anything, the end of the story makes reference to the “Yankess cooked right” that was mention towards the end of the story, and how ludicrous is sounds that these “laws” and “cops” will be in place one day. If you haven’t read the story, you probably wondering what the heck I am talking about – well, even if you had read the story, you would still be wondering what this is all about.
Spolierific Speculations: (Highlight to read)
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The story is literally about a guy and girl, who get “lost” time-traveleing and have to wait for their guide to come rescue them. While waiting to be rescued and trying to hide and survive, they meet this other person and have a conversation with them. It is in this conversation that I feel like I missed something? Or maybe it was also very end? Either way, I am most definitely missing something major, because they was the story ended, it felt like Steven Utley was trying to deliver a major message – but I simple have no idea what on Earth it is or should be?
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