I guess it is time for another short fiction review and I turned to a favorite for this review. Michael McBride writes some very good and very scary stuff and I knew that “Jenna Sighed” was no exception since I had read it once before several years ago. I did not really remember the story that well so I was sure that I was in for some thrills as I rediscovered the story once more.
What would be an acceptable price for curing the world of a terrible disease? What lengths should be we go to cure something like cancer? Jenna Wallace thinks about these questions all the time. As a research assistant on a secret team for Pembroke-Smith, the world’s leading pharmaceutical company, she is on the front lines as Pembroke-Smith develops a cure for one of the worst diseases to ever plague mankind. As the cure is rushed out to stop the disease and maximize profits, Jenna wonders if the world is ready for the cost of the cure. Soon enough, the rest of the world will be searching for the answer to this question as well.
“Jenna Sighed” is a short yet powerful look at how our society reacts to the challenges it faces. Too often, the focus is on what is wrong in the moment and this leads to a tunnel vision. Our society is too often focused on the moment and fails to see the larger picture. There is no question that a disease such as cancer is something terrible but that does not mean that it is the worst possible thing. Long-term concerns and questions tend to be pushed to the background in the rush to solve the problem of the moment and the final cost is not considered. “Jenna Sighed” is a disturbing look at what could be if the cost of the cure proves to be too high.
“Jenna Sighed” was a digital exclusive short story released by Darkside Digital. Darkside Digital has since gone by the wayside (it was a venture into ebooks by Shane Ryan Staley and, along with Delirium Books, a predecessor to DarkFuse) and I was unable to find a current edition of this story. In the event I am wrong about the story not being available anymore, someone please post a comment with a link. If it currently is unavailable, then keep your fingers crossed that this great story will be re-released soon.