DarkFuse Magazine published my newest short story, “Comfort Woman,” last week. I wanted to post a little about the inspiration behind it…
Stylistically, the story is a homage to a darker form of Twilight Zone, as well as to vintage scifi, in that, while it incorporates cutting edge technology, the story isn’t about the tech. It’s about what we as humans do with it, how we live with it, react to it.
Charlie, an elderly widower, lives alone, then suffers some health setbacks that affect his ability to live independently. In the future portrayed in the story, the government has mandated robotic in-home companions for people in Charlie’s situation. The idea is to provide cheaper–and more effective–home care instead of putting people in nursing homes.
These robots are very advanced, very lifelike. So much so, they are manufactured to resemble the lost spouse/companion physically–and they’re implanted with the deceased’s memories, so they come as close as possible to the real thing.
Charlie’s an independent sort, and he’s not buying it. But he’s given no choice. He either accepts Gracie, or he will be confined in a nursing home to the end of his days.
“Comfort Woman” is the story of Charlie’s journey with the new Gracie, where life takes them both, as individuals and in their relationship together.