Mysterion, January 2022
“The Gift of Tongues” by Annaliese Lemmon (reprint, not reviewed)
Reviewed by Victoria Silverwolf
“The Remnant” by Cathy Smith takes place at a time in the future when people can download copies of their minds into robot bodies. Most use this technology as a form of immortality, discarding their fleshly forms at the time of copying. Because of her religious faith, a woman chooses to copy her mind into a new body, but only in order to have someone to care for her son, born with Down Syndrome, after her death. (The decision to die a natural death parallels her decision not to abort her son.)
The story is narrated by the copy. It is made clear from the start that she does not remain identical to the original, developing her own opinions that do not always agree with the woman she thinks of as her mother. The copied mind of a man in his own new body serves as a sort of tempter, rejecting all religious faith and proving to be a false friend.
The most interesting aspect of this work may be the narrator’s ambiguous attitude toward religion. Her philosophical arguments with the treacherous friend might have been more effective if he had not proved to be an out-and-out villain at the end.
Victoria Silverwolf has to buy some cat food soon.