SCI FICTION, May 11, 2005

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"The Girl in the Fabrilon" by Marly Youmans

ImageMarly Youmans’ “The Girl in the Fabrilon” is this week’s SCI FICTION original. It is the story of a professor who discovers what it means to see into the future.

Lyle came to Templeton because of his fascination with John Faber Smith’s strange glass viewers that were said to show the future. Indeed, he dedicated his career to these little machines, rising to become the director and curator of the museum that housed them. One day, in the course of teaching his apprentices, he peers through the working viewers, one by one, and sees a vision of white, punctuated by a girl. The coincidence of one of his students arriving allows him to dismiss the vision.

Rosamund came to Templeton because Lyle is her husband. And sometimes, she thinks that is too harsh a penalty to pay, living in Templeton with its sour society women and their leaden, stone-souled lives. But she loves her husband, and as his wife, she tries to fill the society role demanded of a fund-raising museum director’s wife.  Until the day it all comes crashing in on her.

Rosamund flees from a society luncheon to escape these women who make her feel as though she is turning to stone—fleeing to the foggy lake shore.

Lyle is called to find her, and in his search, he finds the girl of his vision. And his wife. Too late, he realizes the truth of his earlier vision.

Visions of love lost, of lovers dying, followed by the reality, are many in literature, and many in fantasy literature. This story avoids making the vision a simple warning instead of an actual prediction of the future. Ultimately, however, the ending lacks impact.  But “The Girl in the Fabrilon” is still a well-written story readers should enjoy.