RNKD – Short Story

“Passengers” (1968) by Robert Silverberg is disturbing. Not simply because of the content in the story but because of what is left out by the author. Presenting you with questions unanswered. Questions that persist, even bludgeon, until you accept the futility of solving. Who/What are these Passengers? From where do they come? Why are they doing this? Perhaps only the last question can be approached. If they have a mote of humanity, Passengers commit horrors because they can. However, you learn of the wreckage the Passengers make of people’s lives, not of the Passengers themselves. I tend to imagine they are rogue angels, demi gods or some other selfish entities from old literature rather than aliens or future humans with incredible technology. But this is just a feeling, unsupported. This story is tightly drawn, beautiful, even loving until suddenly you are left with merely manipulation and impotence. You feel deeply wronged and that’s what makes this story great. Score: 936