Asimov's: January 2009
Nominated for the Nebula Award: Short Story
A bridesicile. Frozen bride. That's the imagery the title suggests and Will McIntosh's story is exactly that, only one word doesn't provide the whole picture.
This is Mira's story. The short version is that Mira was killed in a car accident and, some decades later, is being re-awakened by various men as "dates" to see if she might be a good match for them if they were to pay a lot of money to revive her all the way back to life. When the men are done with their dates, Mira is returned to death.
"Bridesicle" is inherently creepy. The facility is, essentially, a meat-market for the men to find themselves a bride who really doesn't have any other options. If the alternative is to stay dead, the dead women have little incentive to not agree to any proposals that might come their way. There is an air of desperation here, for the men and the dead women.
Mira embodies that desperation, because though she isn't looking for a husband (and likely, few of the women are), she doesn't want to be turned off again and returned to dead. So, "Bridesicle" is creepy. Yet, there is a sweetness to the story and something of a friendship develops over the course of "Bridesicle" between Mira and one of the men.
Told from Mira's perspective, "Bridsicle" is in turns harrowing, disturbing, sad, and rather sweet. This is one of those stories that catches the reader off guard and slips its hooks in.
"Bridesicle" was a story I wanted more from, though it is easy to recognize that McIntosh told all the story that needed to be told and anything more would be too much.
Very impressed with this one.
I wonder, though, is there a similar facility for men who died and may yet be revived?