Terraform, August 3, 2015
Reviewed by Nicky Magas
Casey’s life isn’t so bad: he’s paid decently well, he gets to have interesting (if sometimes bizarre) experiences, and best of all, he doesn’t have to go out and find a real job. Of course, he has to be cool with someone using a call service to remotely take over his body, and he has to pay for and install the hardware that allows them to do it on his own, but that’s still better than the alternative. What should have been just another date with any other john turns into something much stranger, in Max Wynne’s “The Prostitute.” To start with, this john doesn’t seem to know what to do with Casey’s body once it has it. When it finally figures out how to move, all it does is stand at the beach, examining sand and tasting salt water. The more Casey tries to brush off the weird experience after the john leaves, the more it sticks out in his mind. And now the same john wants to use him again, and to meet in person.
I was a bit let down by this story. Casey is a great character who Wynne treats well by not making the point of view first person. The prose is strong and the premise compelling. Unfortunately, “The Prostitute” ends right where it feels like it begins: with a turning-point reveal and a call for help. The final line replaces any previous semblance of conflict in the plot and makes the reader want to know where the rest of the story is. It felt like “The Prostitute” was truncated in order to fit word count limitations. If so, the story has lost a leg in order to fit into a pair of jeans two sizes too small.