Strange Horizons, November 2, 2020
Reviewed by Seraph
If the end of the world were to come tomorrow, no doubt the significance of it would pass most by. There are a few ways for the world to end abruptly, but for the greater part it is likely to be a moment that begins when everyone is busy looking elsewhere, that grows until no one can look away. It leaves the world churning along in its wake, as if waiting for all of humanity to finally realize that the tipping point has come and gone, and all that is left is for everyone to catch up to the new paradigm. Mulvihill doesn’t specify when this gradual apocalypse occurs, but it isn’t unreasonable to believe that it is around our current time, and it could be set in any modern city. The two women that the story follows are among those hapless souls left on the Earth to end out their days in the wake of an alien invasion that exponentially harvests energy from the sun. The science fiction elements exist within the story, although altered somewhat, but this really isn’t a science fiction story as much as an exploration of life, love, and loss in the face of helplessness and a slow death. It essentially asks a single question in stuttered, abrupt jumps through time: Does life even retain meaning, (and what do you do with what is left) in the face of the inevitable and creeping end of human existence?