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Short story – “Doris Bangs” by Bruce Sterling

“Doris Bangs” by Bruce Sterling was first published in the September 1989 issue of Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine. I read it in the collection The Legend Book of Science Fiction, edited by Gardner Dozois and published in 1991.

If you blinked, you might miss the science fiction in this story. It starts with “true facts” about two characters, Doris, or Dori, a comic book artist, and Lester Bangs, a music reviewer, who die young and lonely. Then, there is a what-if story about the two of them meeting and how their lives developed from there. We follow their lives together into the twenty-first century (the story was written, or at least published, in 1989) until we are reminded at the end that this didn’t really happen, but is what might have been if they had ever met.

A truly interesting story. I struggled with it at first because it was not what I was expecting, but liked it a lot by the end.

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