Strange Horizons, January 20, 2014

Note: This post was imported from an old content-management system, so please excuse any inconsistencies in formatting.

Strange Horizons, January 20, 2014

“Palimpsest” by Anders Åslund

Reviewed by Jamie Lackey

In “Palimpsest” by Anders Åslund, the wealthy live in a floating dome far above the crumbling city below. When their bodies wear out, they take people from the lands outside the city, wipe their minds, and move into their bodies. The main character helped with that process, but decides to leave to chase mysterious flashes of memory. The prose is lovely and evocative, but the setting and the character both felt distant and vague. The main character’s main motivation is curiosity – there’s no sense of guilt or implication that how the wealthy live is wrong, and though there was some worry that the people from the crumbling city would resent him (or her), that never felt like a real danger. The ending worked beautifully, but it felt hollow, and I was left wishing that I cared more.

Jamie Lackey lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and their cat. Her Kickstarter-funded short story collection, One Revolution, is available on Find her online at