Mira awakens in a cryonic drawer to a hideous situation: Men can pay to have the woman of their choice fully revived, if the woman will agree to marry them. This idea just sickens me. And yet the vivid opening of “Bridesicle,” by Will McIntosh sucked me right in.
Mira isn’t too crazy about it, either. For starters, she is awakened by a creepy old guy, “Red” (like that’s his real name), who tries to draw her into a phone sex conversation. Yick.
Fortunately, the story is really about what happens between Mira and her next suitor, Lycan. Things take some twists that leave you wondering how anything good can come of this for her. Some of the dialogue is stiff and expository, but you could read it as the over-sharing of men in total denial about what they want. Again. Yick.
And yet, I cared too much about Mira to stop reading. How is it that I liked a story set in a world that I find horrible? Mira is adept with what little resources she has. She doesn’t dwell long in her moments of despair. She finds a way to carve out a little happiness amid this horror and you have reason to believe it will last.
I really didn’t want to like this story, but in the end it gave me that moment of wow, which is hard to beat. I can see why this is both a Nebula and Hugo nominee.