23 January 2013
Review: Terms and Conditions Apply by Pippa Jay Green
It was meant to be a romantic getaway for Marie and the love of her life Jaisen; a chance for him to get to know her better after months of her denying him more than a few stolen kisses. Instead, Marie finds herself dumped and alone on Venus Ascendant with no credit for a transmat and the next starship home not due for another hour.
But the all-seeing AI isn’t going to leave anyone aboard the space station with their dreams unfulfilled. Marie's boyfriend might not have made it to the station, but there are others willing and able to take on the role - even if they aren’t entirely human.
I normally don't review short stories, but I think I'm gonna start. Somehow, within a few thousand words, Green manages to construct a world and a beautiful relationship that will leave readers breathless.
All the action takes place on the Venus Ascendant, which is practically a pleasure palace filled with anything you'd need to make yourself happy and Ganesa, the AI, to ensure all your needs are met. This is how virgin Marie meets Soren, an extension of Ganesa's AI in a gorgeous blond haired, blue eyed package. Soren acts as Marie's "companion" for the evening, and their one-night fling quickly develops into more.
There's a problem, though. While Soren is very real, he's not exactly human. Nor could he ever leave the Venus Ascendant, no matter if he wanted to or not. He's bound to Ganesa.
Thus begins one of the more excruciating doomed-ish relationships I've read in a long time. Marie's just experienced this immense heartbreak from Jaisen leaving her, and Soren comes out of practically nowhere to ease her hurt. However, Soren isn't just a part of Ganesa--he was once human and chose this life to keep from dying. Like a woman building beautiful statues out of spare nuts and bolts, Green takes all these working parts--the tragedy of Soren's past, Marie's broken heart, the promises of the space station, and creates something infinitely more beautiful than the sum of their parts.
Short though it may be, Terms and Conditions Apply is an experience you'd be stupid to miss out on. So go. Read it. I'll be waiting here to discuss when you're done. If you need more convincing, check out the excerpt I posted last week.
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