On a Spiritual Plain by Lou Antonelli
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a simple tale that drove home one person's conclusion upon learning that the spirit of a dead man can linger and have interactions with anyone on this particular planet. The dead remain for all of the alien natives, too. Unfortunately, the conclusion we receive from the narrator was rather one sided. The problem faced by the dead was between lingering among aliens or complete annihilation. The ghost chose true death, and it seemed unforced and welcome. The short story ends immediately after the second death occurs among the human crew.
The fact that the chaplain politely rebuffed the help of the alien spiritual advisor, this time, leaves us all in a silent question as to what will become of the second dead. No answered questions, just an ongoing curiosity that had nothing to do with the chaplain's beliefs, but we only have the question as to what he will do with the new dead. Will he council him to haunt the crew? Stay among the natives? Find his oblivion?
"I know the way," can be interpreted in so many ways.
Unfortunately, while the story is crafted fairly well, it's fully "up to you, the reader," interpretation seems kind of weak, as if we're meant to copy and paste our own beliefs upon the chaplain and call it a day well served.
Meh. I don't mind strong opinions in the characters I eventually inhabit. Maybe the story could have benefitted from a little choice.
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