Reviews: The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Shorts: Morbier

Brimming with hilarious imagery and obscured omens, Morbier is a time travel tale featuring regular people in a regular setting. I love the author’s writing style – it’s fun and sarcastic, laughing at the world in the midst of dark deeds.

MORBIER

R.S. Benedict
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, July/August 2018

Spoiler

STORY

We follow the daily lives of the waiters and chefs of a country club. A woman is hired who claims to be a time traveler, though she can’t remember much about her past. The guests are horrible, some of the staff are even worse, yet she adapts to the role well. It’s smooth sailing until a final event leaves the club in disarray with a pending murder investigation. Benedict tells the story through staff behavior reminiscent of the movie Waiting, as we see the antics of the staff against their terrible wealthy customers. You almost forget this is a science fiction story, skating past the time travel reveal as a funny comment from a confused person. Only at the end do we see the scope of her actions and their possible impact on the future.


CHARACTERS

The narrator is a chef at the country club, surrounded by an eclectic staff who hold a lot of disdain for the customers and management. I love the realistic and witty dialogue they all throw back and forth. They’re just trying to get through their terrible jobs one day at a time. Also hilarious are the ridiculous guests who make their lives hell. We have bratty children who steal food, people who throw food at waiters, and an awful old man who mutters under his breath and asks for a waiter to be fired every shift. It’s a wild set of characters on both sides, and makes for an interesting story.


SETTING

The story takes place in a country club, primarily within the restaurant and the kitchens. There’s nothing sci-fi about it, which just adds to the surprising implications of the story. After all, time travel to our current time takes place within our current time. Even though we can’t see it, there could be a time traveler among us on some hidden mission. Using this everyday setting adds this sense of mystery to this well written, infinitely readable story.


CONCEPTS

Time Travel, Murder, Everyday Life, Rich vs Poor

Interested in more stories like Morbier? Check out more reviews in our The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction section.

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