Neuroscientist Margaret Hauri and her lab partner Randy are drawing near to a scientific breakthrough on a bionet that interfaces electronics with neural pathways, when she’s killed in a car accident. Fortuitously, the Allied Neuro Associates receive an immediate notification of her total so that her tissues can be stabilized for transfer in a near-perfect preservation chamber for up to six months. When Maggie’s brain wakes up in her own lab, she attempts to communicate with Randy.

This is a short self-contained story that’s well constructed. Upon entering this world Kary English has created, I’m immediately interested in the technology of the bionet, and the social implications of totaling. Due to the high costs of insurance and health care and a new political party that says taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for medical care for someone else, the uneducated, the elderly, and the poor can be totaled at less than a year’s wages.

English uses a great sci-fi premise to tell an emotional story about Maggie coming to terms with her own death, closing a chapter in her research progress, letting go of her lab partner, and saying goodbye her two children. I really admire Maggie for her last contribution to science, but I find it more difficult to connect with her sentimental reactions, which are the guts of the story.

Recommended for scifi fans who also enjoy literary fiction that explores the human condition by focusing on the individual.

“If I died or got totaled, the rider said ANA could have any tissues they wanted, and the annuity would go to Dale and Zachary.

Tissues, of course, meant brains.