This week Clarkesworld Magazine published Tom Crosshill‘s “Fragmentation, or Ten Thousand Goodbyes“, a beautiful meditation on impermanence. The recent death of my mother and years of studying Buddhist interpretations of impermanence have made the story’s exploration of memory, change and grieving tremendously meaningful for me. It’s a great example of how science fiction, at its best, can encourage us to look at the most important considerations we have in life.
Every time Mom says goodbye to someone, it’s for the last time. She thinks — no, she knows — that she’ll never see them again. Not the mailman. Not her best friend Abby. Not me.
It’s no tumor, no disease — we’ve run all the tests. Her reasoning is strong as ever. She can tell you how the milkshakes tasted in Miramar, before Fidel came down from the mountains and she left on the Peter Pan airlift. But deep within her mind, something has begun to fail.