“The Transmigration of Aishwarya Desai” by Eric Gregory

IZ223 coverSkipping over the Dominic Green stories for now: I haven’t read the 1982 Philip K Dick novel on whose title this story riffs, so I don’t know if the similarities go deeper than a first-person narrator whose sense of consensus reality is out of kilter with those around her. Gregory’s narrator is an academic, travelling to an alien world to debate the nature of the first alien life humanity has encountered (and how best to talk about that life, what it means to impose human descriptions and interpretations onto it). But in travelling, she has (I think) crossed not just space but worlds. Ships seem to jump into parallel realities, leading one character to obsess about meeting versions of herself, which she believes will allow a “perfect love”, and another to insist that “we can only jump into an improbable universe”. This may be enough for one story, but Gregory adds in a psychic bond between Desai and one of the aliens, which causes trouble and may or may not indicate that she’s met a deeply improbable version of herself. It’s a curious piece, perhaps slightly too compacted, but certainly flavoursome.

2 thoughts on ““The Transmigration of Aishwarya Desai” by Eric Gregory

  1. I liked the writing and it put Gregory on my radar but the actual story I think flounders on the transmigration. We know it will happen, it happens, everything else is left behind. As you say though, flavoursome and not unwelcome.

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