REVIEW: “The Music of Ghosts” by Paul Jessup

Review of Paul Jessup, “The Music of Ghosts”, Interzone #272: Purchase here. Reviewed by Mark Hepworth

For a short story to take on the story of a generation ship is ambitious, to say the least. This is a tale of several of those generations that interact cleverly with the key being the relationship between the ephemeral biological humans and the permanent uploaded personalities in the ship.

The scope of the story makes for a necessarily spare narrative for each generation presented, creating a rather elegiac effect at times. No character really made a play for my interest though, the closest being the personality Penny, but she is something of a lost soul wandering through the generations.

The ending is bittersweet, as the colonists abandon the tools – the ship, the personalities – that brought them to their new home. You could say that they were callous, but of course they simply didn’t view the personalities as real people. A harsh ending, but I can’t argue with Jessup’s conclusion that humans often act this way.