Short Stories 366:131 — “Living on Borrowed Time,” by Melissa H. Blaine

coverCracking a new anthology today, and if the first story sets the bar, I am so ready for this ride. Crime Travel (that title, amIright?) is an anthology of short crime fiction with the admixture of, well, time travel. I love spec-fic (this is no surprise to anyone who’s read this blog, I imagine), but I love seeing spec-fic mashed in with other genres. And if this first story, “Living on Borrowed Time,” is any indication, I am in for a brilliant ride.

We open with a woman, Jennifer, who spots two fellows who totally don’t belong, not the least of which is because they’re wearing jerseys for a hockey team that doesn’t exist. Her roommate being a conspiracy nut, she considers a possibility: time tourists. But the thing is, she’s in the middle of an unexceptional day in not-exactly-noteworthy Missouri, and the appearance of time-tourists can only mean one thing: something big is about to happen.

What follows is a fantastic twist on both time-travel and a murder-story. Finding out a horrific crime is about to happen is one thing, but finding out you’re the victim is another, and soon Jennifer is trying to figure out if there’s a way to change things or—and I love this so very much—at least have the bastard go down alongside her. Extra kudos for some casual queer inclusion, a wonderful moral dilemma Jennifer quickly realizes she cannot be on the wrong side of, and “Living on Borrowed Time” knocks the start of this anthology right out of the damn park.

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