Short story: “I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno”

by look i have opinions

“I’m Alive, I Love You, I’ll See You in Reno,” by Vylar Kaftan

Appeared in Issue 1 (June 2010) of Lightspeed here (full issue here, subscribe here); featured in episode 243 of Escape Pod (subscribe), also in June 2010; a 2011 Nebula Award finalist

2,573 words

I decided a pro/con table would be more efficient than several paragraphs of waffling and equivocation. Having opinions is hard, huh?

Pro Con

A fun light read.

The narrator’s memoir-ish rambling sentimentalizes a low-stakes, on-and-off relationship

between two likably clueless characters

who spend most of the story ditching each other.

The ending is sweet. The lovers are reunited in a new transhuman world,

mostly by dumb luck.

I do love the title. The narrator says at the end, “I wrote you a long message to explain all this, but I think I’ll erase it and just leave ten words.”

Good call.

Also: cheesy physics metaphors. I’ve noticed most memoirists try to fit their narratives into some sort of extended metaphor, which is a hit or miss approach. When it misses, it comes off as a substitute for insight.

It doesn’t help that I have even less tolerance for physics metaphors than for social media jokes. Love is not like magnets. The perspective of age doesn’t have anything to do with the speed of light, and neither does bad communication between lovers. A flaky boyfriend is not an illustration of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

The narrator’s story doesn’t have the cosmic significance that these metaphors seem to tack onto it.

I kind of liked the story anyway.

I just don’t get why it’s so widely admired.