I know, intellectually, that some people find horror to be cathartic and therapeutic. I may think those people are crazy, but you know I understand that they exist. I am not one of those people, I am the person who spent the whole night in terror because I finished Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None at midnight and was so haunted by the imagery and the deaths that I couldn’t get to sleep (I was 20). And yet, the power of my love for Seanan McGuire is such that every so often I’ll meander over to her Mira Grant options and see what she’s got. And that’s how I picked up Final Girls. I will say, I didn’t find it particularly scary so that’s nice. It was fine, I don’t think it was her best work, I enjoyed it but a week and a half later I’m struggling to remember much about it except that I was vaguely dissatisfied by the ending.
The plot is a mash up of Christopher Nolan’s Inception and teen horror flicks. Dr. Jennifer Webb created a new virtual reality technology that she uses as a form of horror therapy, and reporter Esther Hoffman is the skeptic sent to investigate and report on this technology. They both go under so that Esther can get real taste of what exactly the technology does, but a sinister corporate spy, who is there to steal the technology and wreck what havoc she can, puts the trial at risk.
The story if fine and it does look at this kind of virtual reality/memory implantation technology in interesting ways. The novella explores the ethical issues that Inception just brushed against, and I do appreciate that. However, I was left unsatisfied by the ending, as it felt almost too abrupt. I’m not exactly sure why I wasn’t satisfied at the ending, it almost felt like the story needed more resolution, except I’m not sure what it was that I needed resolving. I’m finding that this is a common complaint I have with McGuire’s shorter works, I think she’s excellent at the long story form but her shorter works aren’t quite as satisfying.