Bewildering Stories welcomes...
Brooke is originally from New Jersey but is currently studying for a degree in English at the University of Colorado. She says she is happiest when outdoors; she enjoys snowboarding and hiking in the Rockies.
“Emmaline and Alander” is based on a well-known but relatively little-used plot device, “eternal return” or “time loop.” The character or characters return to a point in the past where they live part of their lives over again.
Traditionally, the device is used in a subgenre of time travel and illustrates one of two opposing views of free will. For example:
A young boy runs away from home and comes to a crossroads. He ponders which of four routes to take. In the story, he takes them all, one at a time. At the end of each road, he is shot by another character or by that character’s pistol. Such is his inescapable fate.
A young man finds himself reliving parts of his life. Since he remembers what happens in each iteration, he resolves to use his knowledge to change history. In the process, he discovers a young lady who is doing the same thing. Together, they use their knowledge to make the world a better place and escape the repeating time loops. Fate is irrelevant; they form their own future.
Emmaline and Alander do neither; they simply relive their ill-fated lives over and over again. Readers will wonder about causes: why is Alander attracted to Emmaline? What does Emmaline see in him? What happens to their four children? In the end, readers may wonder if the story isn’t an allegory about a real couple perhaps named Emma and Alan.
Brooke Bartleson’s bio sketch can be found here.
Welcome to Bewildering Stories, Brooke. We hope to hear from you again soon and often!
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