Steven Barnes writes a sarcastic, charming story that comes as an infomercial, designed to attract rich white folks who want to end their lives in paradise on a Caribbean island. However, the story reveals the illusion underneath. Travel to exotic lands always appears as the ultimate escape, but Come Home To Atropos pierces that fantasy quite well.
“A variety of ministers, priests, and even a rabbi are on call for your prayer needs. We accept all major credit cards, but require cosigners for other deferred payment plans, of course. Watching one final sunrise, you’ll be able to close your eyes, knowing that you ended your pain and suffering in the hands of those who have much reason to wish to assist you. Isn’t it time?”
That is from the last paragraph of the short story and Barnes provides an example of how pleasant they can sell death to our consumerist nature. Come Home To Atropos made me chuckle several times, and it’s a reminder that paradise always comes at a cost. This story appears in the New Suns Anthology edited by Nisi Shawl and it is one of the best stories in a groundbreaking and thought-provoking short story collection.