Short Story Review: “Flash Bang Remember” by Tina Connolly and Caroline M Yoachim

Lightspeed Science Fiction and Fantasy, Issue 27, August 2012

Could you imagine having no memories of your own? I can’t but Girl 23 of “Flash Bang Remember” doesn’t have to imagine that is her destiny. Girl 23 is one of many young girls that grow up with the sole purpose of creating memories that will eventually be shared among the group of people who live on her spaceship. Unlike the other girls, Girl 23 doesn’t want to have her memories shared with the group instead she wants to keep them for herself. “Flash Bang Remember” doesn’t is an enjoyable science fiction story with romance, action, suspense, a strong female lead and likeable characters.

There is more to science than just the mechanics, there is the question of how will it affect humans and is it ethical. “Flash Bang Remember” asks the moral questions about cloning and memory transfer. Connolly and Yoachim don’t spend a lot of time talking about how to make a clone or even what the cloning room looks like, but they do spend a lot of time showing us how it affects our main character, Girl 23 and The Child. The most moving scene is at the end of the story when Girl 23 has to go back into the pod to have her memory rebooted. They don’t just say tell us it happens, they drag us through it every painful and terrifying step that Girl 23 feels. I appreciated that part the most because I don’t know if I couldn’t have imagined what they wrote.

Girl 23 is one of my favorite characters. It would have been very easy for her to become of my least favorite characters but instead she proves to be a cleaver, strong and determined young woman who is only searching for the same thing we all are – our identity. I think she is a role model for young women because she doesn’t seek out external acceptance and she is able to stay mentally strong and focused when others dismiss her. Also, her character doesn’t whine about her situation instead she sets out to do something about it even though she is aware of the Catch-22.

Overall, I highly recommend this story. Connolly and Yoachim propose an interesting question in this era of individualism glorification about what defines identity. Some say it is our memories that make us individual each person experiences things differently, but if we all have the same memory of how something feels and smells is there still individualism? The story also allows for the reader to pose other questions about how important is childhood, how much of actually doing something is important to learning and should those who seek to be different be made to be mold to the collective. Even though this is a short story there is a lot for the reader to consider.

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