Short Story Review: TRAVELERS, by Rich Larson


This is a mix between a thriller and a science fiction story and one that reminded me strongly of the recent movie Passengers, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt, to the point that I wondered if this short work had been used as a template for the movie script. The premise is quite similar, a sleeper ship and a woman waking up from suspended animation (here called ‘torpor’) to discover that the automated systems brought her out of sleep because of health concerns. When she checks the ship’s status she finds out that their destination is still 32 years away, and that she can’t access the medbay, either to check on her status or to attempt a return to hibernation, but also that she’s not alone: a man has built a nest of blankets in an airlock and he’s playing guitar.

The differences with the movie I mentioned start from here (including the fact that the ship is not on a pleasure cruise, but is rather carrying survivor from an unspecified event), and it’s worth exploring them, particularly where morals are concerned: in the movie, the decision of waking up another passenger, though it was a step not taken lightly, was ultimately condoned. The young woman’s rage about seeing her life and plans shattered because of a selfish act – and not matter the mitigating reasons, it was a selfish act – all but disappear when shared danger and mutual attraction manage to change her mind. This was of course a predictable outcome, because Hollywood rules would not have allowed anything else, but in this short story things are quite different: more realistic, for starters, far darker and much more terrifying.

Don’t expect friendly robot bartenders dispensing alcoholic beverages and easy wisdom, nor good-looking characters destined to a happy-ever-after: this is far closer to the truth of the given premise, and far more gruesome…

But worth a look…

You can read the story online here



My Rating:

15 thoughts on “Short Story Review: TRAVELERS, by Rich Larson

  1. Thanks for the review and the tip – I quite enjoyed the story :). It actually seems to me more like a response to the movie than its inspiration as it’s been published in July ’17, but in any case it’s, as you said, definitely more realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not seen Passengers but wow, the two do sound very similar! I love the idea of a mystery in space, so I may have to read this short story. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t seen Passengers, but the premise intrigues me. I always prefer a more realistic portrayal over the romanticized and neatly packaged versions of events that Hollywood churns out though, so this story sounds a lot more interesting to me. Worth a look indeed!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmmm. I was *not* a fan of Passengers, which initially made me think I may not like this story. But I’m happy to hear that this story takes a decidedly different turn, and I feel like I’ll enjoy it much more than Passengers because of it!

    Liked by 1 person

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