Review of Esther Scherpenisse, “Long For This World”, Space and Time #130 Winter 2017 pp. 3-10. Purchase here. Review by Ben Serna-Grey.
One thing I like about Space and Time magazine is that they always keep things interesting and this story is no exception. Esther Scherpenisse is a Dutch SFF writer, and in this story she tells of a young man who is about to die, but whose family is lucky enough for Death to answer their call.
The main character gets taken by Death to a realm where his life is extended, though things aren’t necessarily what they seem at first glance. Death in this story is fairly kind, though firm, much like Neil Gaiman’s Death in the Sandman series, though here they are at least presented as male. Some parts of the story may be hard to face, such as the main character getting swept up in his family’s inability to say goodbye to him, despite the fact that chemo has made him more than ready to accept his death when it comes. Or his faimily’s forced ignorance of the fact that their son is wasting away in front of them, their absolute need to act like nothing is wrong.
The story keeps things short and sweet and packs a great punch when it comes to the main character’s choices. Fans of Persona may also enjoy the description of Death’s tower. Highly recommended.