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CW 2010 reading begins!

August 4, 2009

I just finished reading Maureen McHugh’s story “Presence” in a Year’s Best anthology from 2001.  While her style was remeniscent of much SF I’ve read — the POV character was an engineer, etc. — I found the story didn’t really feel like science fiction.  This is assuredly a good thing.

The story hinges around a fictional treatment for Alzheimer’s, so it is definitely SF, but the story was about the protagonist’s struggle with her husband as the disease pulls him under and about how the treatment affects her relationship with him.  It’s a story about a person, about people, about relationships.  The science takes a backseat, but without the science there is no story.  At least not this one.

Can Ms. McHugh teach that?  Probably not, but she can encourage it, adjust students’ focus.  Either the research involved was immense or she had already lived through supporting an Alheimer’s patient.  Either way, the story was credible and realistic and emotional.  And a bit of a downer all the way through. If my next read is like that, I’ll have to switch to humor for a little while.

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