Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Impossible Dreams by Tim Pratt

Source: Escape Pod, episode 105
Length: 47 min
Reader: Matthew Wayne Selznick

The story: For Valentine's Day, we have a love story."Impossible Dreams" by Tim Pratt tells about a film connoisseur who finds a video store that carries movies that never were. The film buff and the girl who works at the store start talking over movies such as the director's cut of Orson Wells' The Magnificent Ambersons. Eventually, he wants to go to the store to see her just as much as the films.

What I enjoy most about this story is that its fantastical elements are intriguing in themselves, yet they can as be interpreted as a metaphor for how we fall in love. The excitement of the discovery of new movies is akin to that first phase of falling in love when you are discovering all the new things about a person and her life. As the story progresses, it touches on the transition of living in the world of the single life into the world of being a couple.

This is one of the things that a good science fiction or fantasy story can do -- take a much-examined experience such as falling in love and change the environment in which it takes place. The science fiction/fantasy genre is not about breaking the rules of reality - that's surrealism - it's about changing the rules and making old things new.

Rating: 9/10

The recording: Escape Pod is one of my favorite podcasts. Not only are the stories great, but the production values are usually high and Steve Eley is an excellent host. Before and after the story, Eley discusses a previous week's episode, runs promos for other podcasts, or just talks about life, literature, and science fiction. These intros are often as entertaining as the story itself, but if you're unfamiliar with Escape Pod, you may wish to skip ahead to 4:30 when the story actually starts. Selznick, the reader for this episode, does an excellent job. He does have the tendency to whistle his "S"s, but it's an easily ignored fault. I haven't yet checked out his book Brave Men Run over at but it is on my "To Listen" list.

No comments: