I have been a fan of Eric James Stone’s short fiction for years, so when I heard he had a novel coming out, I pre-ordered it about 10 months before it came out. Unforgettable tells the story of Nat Morgan, a man no one can remember. Since he was a child, people would forget about him if they didn’t see or hear him for about a minute. Even his parents had trouble with it. This led to a less-than-stellar childhood.
When he was 18, Nat applied for a job with the CIA in order to do something that allowed him to use his talent for good. After several covert missions, he ran into a foreign agent who was able to remember him. This intrigues and fascinates him as no one has ever remembered him before. Thus begins our story.
The premise of Unforgettable is very interesting: what would life be like for a person if no one could remember him for more than a minute? How would they survive in the world? What kind of work would they do? How would it affect them on a psychological level? And how would they react to finding someone who could actually remember them? Stone does a great job working through all of those questions within the story.
The technology in the story is interesting, as well. Right now, quantum computing is still mostly theoretical, but Stone discusses one possibility and how it might affect everyone on the planet. Of course, with something that potentially powerful, nefarious people will stop at nothing to obtain it and use it for nefarious purposes. I thought Stone did a good job layering the bad guys and giving them realistic motivations and actions.
Yelena, the woman who remembers Nat, was an interesting character. I thought she brought an interesting mix of motivations and skills which enhanced the story. To see her progression—alongside that of Nat’s—really gave Unforgettable some depth.
The only drawback to the story is that it still had the feel of a short story. Given the length restriction of short stories, there is oftentimes too little development where more would have been a good thing. In this case, there were parts of the story that felt too shallow, or not fleshed-out enough. This is Stone’s first novel-length work, and that inexperience with writing a longer story does show through a little.
However, even with that, Unforgettable is still a very solid story, and I look forward to seeing more in this universe (the end of the story seemed to hint that there might be more). This is a good first novel. If you like near-future spy thrillers with believable characters, this is a good place to start. I recommend this book.
Release Date: January 5, 2016 (USA)
ISBNs: 1476781087 (9781476781082)
Publisher: Baen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (some social drinking)
Language: 1 (brief, minor)
Sexuality: 1 (very brief)
Violence: 1 (some fighting, not graphic, some death)