Resurrection by Kerr, Katherine, 1992

Resurrection by Kerr, Katherine

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Resurrection by Katherine Kerr is an obscure novella that probably deserves more attention. Kerr is better known for her fantasy work, particularly the Deverry sequence of novels, of which I have not had the pleasure of reading. Resurrection is a rewriting of the Book of Job set in an alternate universe. Three out of five stars.

As the tale starts, Tiffany was recovering from serious injuries she received in a war. She was a ferry-pilot who was taking a combat aircraft from Spain to a war zone in Israel when she was shot down by the enemy. Her plane was unarmed, and she was obviously a non-combatant. Or so she was told. Tiffany suffered severe brain damage during her crash, but has recovered well enough to remember who she was. The problem is, the Tiffany that she remembers was different that the Tiffany the doctors have told her about. She recalled being a combat pilot, and an excellent one at that. She remembered defending an Israeli fusion plant from enemy attack, and remembered her opponents firing a nuclear warhead at the plant. The last thing she remembered was the warhead going off. Because of her injuries she questioned her own recollections and accepted what the doctors told her. But the truth is, Tiffany was ejected through some sort of gateway to an alternate reality when the fusion plant exploded. The Tiffany from this reality was probably vaporized in her attack, so nobody ever questioned that this Tiffany was who she appeared to be.

After her release from the hospital Tiffany went home to her husband and family, and although things were different than she remembered, she continued to think that this was where she belonged. Her injuries were too severe to allow her to return to flight, so she was discharged. Tiffany found that she was happier than she had ever been, even though she was poor and without work. Her relationship with her husband and her family had never been better, and they were just glad that she was alive. But one day she came across a young man and an old rabbi fighting in the street. The two men stopped fighting to talk to Tiffany, but she was frightened and ran away. Then the two men start turning up in the oddest places.

The title of this novella, Resurrection, is not so much an assertion of what has happened to Tiffany as a question about what she wants next. To be sure: Medical science has already resurrected Tiffany once. Actually, she died several times before they could stabilize her, so one could say that she has been resurrected multiple times. But the young man who Tiffany keeps meeting is probably Satan, He tempts her by telling her what has happened to her, and by offering her a chance to go back home to be with her real husband. The old man is the reincarnation of Rabbi Akiba. He urged her to stay, and tried to convince her that it is in her best interest to remian with this family. Tiffany has been in recovery for over a year though, and even if she were to go back to her original life, she would have to leave the life that she has here. She is in love with her husband here, and the one in the other reality has already mourned her loss, so she stays, foiling Satan's plot to ruin her.

The book is a bit Jobish, in that Satan and God's messenger have changed Tiffany's circumstances radically, then tempted her with something desirable. But the piece is really underwritten, and lacks any kind of profound punch that I like to see whenever the Bible is involved. I am personally not surprised that this one has stayed hidden as long as it has, although it is decent enough and has its qualities. One of them, however, is not scientific realism, though I have to say that Kerr did do a good enough job with her characters. Seek this one out if you can.

Copyright 2008, Gregory Tidwell

Reviewed by GTT · Rating Rating of 3 star(s)

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