REVIEW: “Skipped” by Emily Taylor

Review of Emily Taylor, “Skipped”, Asimov’s Science Fiction November/December (2017): 100-105 — Purchase Here. Reviewed by Kiera Lesley. 

“This is awkward,” I said. “But one of us has skipped.” 

Sometimes the transport architects get it wrong and you bounce through a space-time pocket in transit and swap places with another you in the multiverse. You have to sign a waiver to travel accepting the risk. It’s not common, but it’s the situation Taylor’s protagonist finds herself in and one she must live with until she reaches the transport station and is swapped back in to her own life and universe again. 

I really enjoyed this one – it’s a great example of a simple, punchy idea thought all the way through. The real story here is less about how the protagonist gets back and more about her considering the contrasts between her own universe and the life she has left behind, and the one she has found herself in. Children she did and didn’t have, partners and life trajectories, and how the moon she lives on differs to the one she finds herself in. The way the memories of the past and the experience of the present, which isn’t really ‘real’ alternate give the piece a dreamy feel, too. The reveal of the protagonist’s change in perspective and what she’s bringing back to her own universe is developed really well despite the short length of the piece and lands on a satisfying end point.