Eulogy for an Immortal is a beautiful story of loss and love, of a young man trying to come to terms with the death of his father. This is one of my favorite stories of the year — it has so much heart and a brilliant concept of immortality. Prepare to be moved.
EULOGY FOR AN IMMORTAL
James Robert Herndon
Analog Science Fiction & Fact, July/August 2018
In terms of science fiction, we don’t go to space or meet aliens or see any battles raging on other planets. We see a man in modern times trying to cope with the death of his father. A father who hadn’t been able to cope with the death of his mother. Science plays a big part in the story, filling it with the details of creating plastic sculptures that will last long after humanity has gone extinct. It’s a beautiful and tragic way to deal with grief. The imagery of an enormous tulip standing in the front yard, providing a reminder of a loved one is so brilliantly realized. Honestly, I loved everything about this story.
As far as the science fiction aspects, it’s used as a coping mechanism for the main character. His love of science fiction movies and television impact his views on the situation, inspiring him to create an out-of-this-world scene for his father’s sculpture.
Eulogy for an Immortal focuses on two characters. We have the father whose life is consumed by the death of his wife. He spends each day creating memories of her from resin, placing them around his yard before starting again. He wants her to be remembered, to be a part of the world she left too soon. His story is heartbreaking in its loneliness, but the depth of his love is inspiring.
The main character has to deal with the loss of both parents at the beginning of the story. His calm comes and goes in waves as he creates a memorial for his father. He finds comfort knowing his parents are together again, even though it’s only in micro-cells buried with the plastics. There’s such beautiful imagery as he imagines the end of the world eons from then and his father’s final moments of immortality.
The story is set in modern times, as far as I can tell. Most of it is in a makeshift garage laboratory setup to make plastic sculptures. I imagined the cabin itself as a mishmash of components nailed together to make the structure. It’s very DIY meets science guy.
Chemistry, Plastics, Love, Loss, Space, Moon, End of the World, Death
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