“Freudian Slipstream” from Small Doses of the Future by Brad Aiken


[Edit: Originally published September 30, 2016]

“Freudian Slipstream” is the third story in the collection Small Doses of the Future and it’s definitely a fun one. 

It starts on a beach and immediately something feels off. As you keep reading, that offness becomes more and more apparent, until you get some key information about the scenario. Spoilers, it’s not real. It’s a mental construct designed to keep a person’s brain active while they’re in stasis. This particular man, a scientist, is working on a cure/antidote for a toxin that is produced by an alien life form on a planet that humans have a colony on. 

Many of the other short stories in the book have some sort of social commentary tied into them. Not to say that that’s a detriment to those stories, because it definitely isn’t, but this story in particular has less of that. It’s more the “shit, something is going down in space and we have to fix it” kind of story than the “should highly developed AIs be considered people” kind of story. Both kinds of stories are equally good, but they’re different kinds of stories. 

I really don’t want to spoil too much because part of the joy of the story is discovering what’s going on as the story moves forward. It has a very excellent surreal feeling to it that leaves you feeling, at times, like you’re grasping at straws just as much as the main character is. 

If you’re looking for a quick, entertaining science fiction read, “Freudian Slipstream” is definitely a good story to check out.

You can find the collection Small Doses of the Future here.

Related Reviews: Questioning the Tree, Murder on the Einstein Express