This story from a veteran writer of the magazine combines an interesting concept of time travel with a very contemporary story about a womans escape from an abusive relationship.

The story is told by some loosely defined entity from the far future residing passively in the mind of a young woman named Jame living somewhere in the US. The entity is not allowed to influence Jane or make its presence known, but it has a mission to observe and record her life. The reasons for this is unclear, even to the entity, who is silently complaining about not getting a more interesting subject to monitor.

Jane is living a rather poor life with an abusive husband, but after yet another violent outburst from him, she decides to try and flee with little plan or preparation. The entity gets excited and feel sympathy for her situation, so unsurprisingly it makes its presence known to her.

It is a rather simple story with a main character that is easy to feel sympathy for and we really want her to succeed within this little drama that takes place in the span of half a day. While the science fiction element never becomes much more than literally voices in Jane’s head, I find the general concept intriguing and actually wanted the story to go on for longer, but it is also just fine the way as it is.

Read in Asimov’s November/December 2023
Rating: 4