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the genre's premiere review magazine for short SF & Fantasy since 1993

Strange Horizons -- January 7, 2019

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Strange Horizons, January 7, 2019

2086” by T.K. Lê

Reviewed by Seraph

2086” by T.K. Lê

The warnings at the beginning about death and racism lend an ominous tone to an unremarkable story. The plot revolves around the disappearance of a family member in the year 2086 due to a teleportation chamber malfunctioning. Little to no effort is given to explaining the chambers, developing the characters, or even the malfunction, instead focusing on the thoughts and feelings of the speaker, a New Vietnamese descendant of refugees relocated to America after the Second Vietnam war. The story does heavily imply that the woman is not dead, but trapped, perhaps in another dimension, but still present and able to sometimes speak or affect objects. She essentially is a ghost. Whether this constitutes death seems a stretch, since the story goes to a decent effort to argue otherwise. There are brief elements of science fiction, and something resembling horror/ fantasy, but they are given such cursory treatment that it is difficult to call this story any other way than it reads: a diary entry regarding the emotional aftermath of losing a beloved family member.