Wednesday, September 6, 2023

The White Cliff, by Lu Ban

Science Fiction World, May 2022

A man named Yanli awakes from a rather dull dream in which nothing happens. Who has a dream in which nothing happens? It makes no sense to him.

He's living in a small cottage on a seashore, with a view of a white cliff. He lives alone, but he does have visitors, or at least a visitor, who appears along the path from elsewhere. We soon understand that she's a former student, a doctor, and they're discussing a research project, and a patient they both know well.

It takes a bit longer to realize that Yanli knows the patient very well indeed. The project is aimed at improving the experience for terminal patients, the patients for whom "we're going to cure you, everything will be fine," is a lie.

It's thoughtful and interesting, and well worth your time.

I received this story as part of the 2023 Hugo Voters Packet.

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