“Distant Replay” is a 2007 science fiction short story by Mike Resnick. It is about an elderly man who meets a woman that looks and acts exactly like his deceased wife.
Non-Spoiler Summary In A Nutshell:
“Distant Replay” follows Walter Silverman, a man who has just seen a young woman that was in the “spitting image” of Deirdre – his wife who died seven years ago. As he continues to see her around he finally gets the nerve to talk to her and discovers that not only does she look like his deceased wife, but she acts like her as well – including wearing the same type of clothes and perfume and working in the same job! These are just too many coincidences for Walter, and although he can’t pursue her he does come up with a plan that will benefit everyone involved.
The first time I saw her she was jogging in the park. I was sitting on a bench, reading the paper like I do every morning. I didn’t pay much attention to her, except to note the resemblance.
The next time was in the supermarket. I’d stopped by to replenish my supply of instants—coffee, creamer, sweetener—and this time I got a better look at her. At first I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. At seventy-six, it wouldn’t be the first time that had happened.
Two nights later I was in Vincenzo’s Ristorante, which has been my favorite Italian joint for maybe forty years—and there she was again. Not only that, but this time she was wearing my favorite blue dress. Oh, the skirt was a little shorter, and there was something different about the sleeves, but it was the dress, all right.
My Two Cents:
• The good:
- Some of the themes this story explores are pretty cool. Like the idea of helping other people re-live your past – kind of nifty, don’t you think?
- Mike Resnick is a great author, and his experience shows when he writes awesome short stories like this one. If you like his other works then you’ll most likely enjoy “Distant Replay” too.
• The bad:
- The science fiction element in this story is very slight. If you’re not one for very soft sci-fi then this may not be your cup of tea.
- Also, this is more of a “cool idea” story – it’s definitely not action packed.
• Page Count: 12
• Word Count: 4,176
• “Distant Replay” garnered the following awards:
- This story has been nominated for the 2008 Hugo Award for Best Short Story.
Where you can find “Distant Replay”:
- This short story first appeared in the April/May 2007 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction.
- You can read “Distant Replay” for free at Asimov’s web site.
- Or, if you enjoy listening to stories more than reading them, you can get an MP3 version of this story at Escape Pod.
Some Interesting Links:
- Mike Resnick is a prolific author – take a look at his web page to see just how many articles, short stories and novels he has written.
Craving More Stories?
If you enjoyed this story then you might also like Travels With My Cats, about a middle aged man who is given the amazing opportunity to converse with the long dead author of his favorite book, by Mike Resnick.