Gateway Gazette

From My Bookshelf: The Last Conversation

By Lynn Willoughby

The Last Conversation ~ Paul Tremblay

Science Fiction is not usually my genre of choice.  However, the story in this novella may not be as far fetched as it seems at first glance.  And it is downright terrifying!

How scary would it be to never know what you do not know?  We don’t ever learn the name of this protagonist.  Is it me?  He wakens in a dark room.  He aches all over and doesn’t know where he is.  He feels like he has been sleeping for a very long time.  Suddenly, a disembodied voice says, “You have been sleeping for a very long time.”

Time passes and he gets instructions to improve his physical and mental health, but he never sees himself, nor does he get answers to the questions he asks the voice.  He gets shown videos of his life – as a child with his parents, as he ages, at birthdays, graduations, sports etc, and he is asked about his memories.  “What does he remember about this birthday?  What are the smells he remembers at this picnic?  How does he feel about the events he is watching?”  He doesn’t remember anything!  Is this even him?

Eventually he wakens with a sore throat, cough, tight chest, chills and fevers and he knows he is very ill.  Is this the pandemic the voice referred to? Will he die alone in his cubicle, never knowing who he is?

This is a very interesting and disturbing read.

  • The Little Sleep
  • Swallowing a Donkey’s Eye
  • and others

Who Knew?

The treadmill was invented in 1817 by Sir William Cubitt, to try and reform, or in some cases, to punish and break prisoners.  It is said they often were forced to spend six or more hours a day, climbing the 24 spokes of the large paddle wheel – the equivalent of climbing anywhere from 5,000 to 14,000 feet.

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