The Afterlife of Alice Watkins by Matilda Scotney is a time travel novel with an alien twist. You don’t always go to heaven when you die. Alice didn’t, she found herself on a space station orbiting Saturn five hundred years into the future!
Alice walked alongside Kelly. Although she had only been walking since this morning, it seemed a good deal longer. She said as much.
“That’s because you’ve been walking for the last year, but always in the full calliper. We aren’t going to take any chances for no other reason than you believe you can do it.”
“Walking for a year? Why can’t I remember?”
“It takes years for hearts to grow and attaching them once again takes many surgeries. After you woke from stasis, you were placed on the life prosthesis and even after Dr Clere grew your organs and they became fully functional, you stayed in a semi-catatonic state, despite having normal neurological responses and bodily functions; well, normal apart from the fact you weren’t ageing. You continued to challenge medical reasoning, but Dr Grossmith decided to proceed as if you were awake. And that meant getting you moving.”
“If I’m dreaming, I can understand that my daughter’s not here. I don’t always dream of my family.”
“You aren’t dreaming.”
“Then I’m dead.”
“You aren’t dead either, or dying, not anymore.”
“I was once dying and now I’m alive?” Alice didn’t expect answers to these questions, she was only making statements to help her sift through the vast amount of information she received that morning.
“Yes, in a manner of speaking.”
“How old was I when I died?”
“29, but you weren’t dead.”
“I’m almost 65.”
“You were 29 and close to death when your uncle placed you in stasis.”
“No, I’m almost 65.”
“No, you were born in 2098.”
“I was born in 1951.”
“Definitely 2098, we retrieved the information from your chip.”
“I microchipped my cat.”
“Yes, I know.”
“I mean only dogs and cats were microchipped.”
“Principal Hardy summarised his conversation with you.”
Alice stopped walking, stepping to the side to let other people pass. Kelly stood beside her and waited. Any information could mean a breakthrough. “I worked in a bakery as a casual before I got married, then I never worked again.”
“You were a scientist. Several university records from your time have survived which referenced you. If we are to go by the information found, you were a biochemist and part of a research team studying cellular and molecular biology. There was no personal data about where you lived and so forth.”
“The records must be wrong Kelly. I don’t even know what a biochemist is, and those other things, I have no idea what they are.”
“They’re not wrong, Alice, and in the mess, you asked if Dr Clere was a molecular physiologist.”
“I don’t remember,” Alice had a vague recollection of a conversation she’d overheard in the mess, but it was indistinct. “Tell me about Alexis again.”
“After you’re settled in, I’ll tell you the story again.”
A Bite of… Matilda Scotney
1. Tell us about how you write: Where do you write and what is your favourite time to do so?
I usually sit on the sofa with my laptop. It is easier for the dog to sit close to me that way! I have an array of tables and a bookcase to keep my notebooks close by. I’ll write all day from dawn onwards, but I find early morning the best for inspiration. Like most writers, characters keep me awake at night!
2. If you knew you were going to have to go and live in a universe you’ve created for this story, what one item would you want to take with you and why?
My specs. That way I can see what I created.
3. What is your favourite fast food and why?
Fish and chips, because it’s the only fast food I like, and I wouldn’t cook it at home because I don’t like the smell of fish!
Matilda Scotney is a former professional singer and actor. She realised age was catching up when offered the part of the ancient, grey-haired Granny in a stage production of The Addams Family. She decided then she had matured enough (physically and mentally) to give away theatre and turn to her other passion: writing, specifically, science fiction and even more specifically, time travel and space opera. She is a complete Star Wars nerd! Star Wars (and Star Trek) sparked a fascination in her for building worlds and civilisations, creating characters and watching their story unfold…