Shorts: True Jing

True Jing is a super trippy story featuring space whales, crazy tech, body modification and a ship that I imagine resembles the submarines from the Disney movie ‘Atlantis,’ but more bubbly. It’s really wild and is definitely worth a read if you want to step into a strange dimension that defies logic and physics and everything else.

TRUE JING

Zack Be
Asimov’s Science Fiction
July/August 2018

STORY

True Jing is essentially Moby Dick in an ocean-like space dimension known as the ‘Gods Pond’ where translucent whales swim about. There are hundreds of small Jings that aren’t perceptible to the human eye, but the True Jings are enormous and are just barely visible. Humans hunt them for their blood, which is essentially an enhancement drug. Needless to say, this is a wild world.

There are storms of crystal shards. There’s an online world where people transport their consciousness into an online space. By the end, the main characters finds herself inside of the space whale, and its thoughts have been transferred to her. Seriously, read this story. It’s hard to accurately explain the levels of trippiness.


CHARACTERS

We follow Ko, a woman assigned to the crew of a spaceship sent to hunt the space whales. She feels like she’s a failure no matter what she does and doesn’t really have any drive in life. She’s afraid of the things she’s supposed to do and it’s through sheer luck that she succeeds in taking down the whale. She has a modified claw arm in the hopes of fitting in with the other crew members around her, and is afraid of the web world. The things that happen to her at the end are more reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland than reality.


SETTING

True Jing is set in an alternate dimension that resembles an ocean complete with storms of crystal shards and space whales. I realize I’ve used the phrase space whales a lot in this article but hey, it’s all about space whales. This world is a wild one, complete with an alternate reality where people willingly go into a coma in order to be a part of it. It’s popular to replace parts of your body with tech, including your eyes, organs, and limbs. People drink blood in order to get smarter for a few hours. It’s definitely a future that’s gone off the rails.


CONCEPTS

Space Travel, Alternate Reality, Alternate Dimension, Space Whale (one final time)

Interested in more short fiction reviews? Find them here.

Photo by Mendar Bouchali on Unsplash