By Niki Aguirre
Published by Flipped Eye
Terminal Romance by Niki Aguirre is a carefully constructed short story collection with interlinking characters. In these 16 stories, Aguirre sees if her characters can survive virtual love in the real world or if real love exists on the internet.
Each character turns to online dating out of frustration but then they soon realise that people can be who ever you want them to be and it is not until you meet them in reality that you find out who they really are. Some characters find connections but once reality kicks in so does the frustrations and disillusionment.
"The version he's telling me is the one I want most to believe."- Jillian, Keeper of Memory.
Aguirre explores the idea that even though the internet is a controlled environment but love can not be controlled in the same manner.
In the second story, Moving In, Jillian compares her relationship with a team building exercise. Jillian finds she can not fall into her teammate's arms even when they all cheer. In her relationship, she finds she can not lose control and fully trust the man she has met via the internet. This is a good metaphor for all of the characters throughout Terminal Romance as they try to work out if they can trust virtual love.
The dialogue is razor sharp and brings a realistic quality to the characters. I felt like I was eavesdropping on the conversations between the characters.
Nina Parks, Journalist and dating expert, is a one of the recurring characters. Throughout Terminal Romance, she struggles to keep up with her 365 day challenge by meeting up with strangers from the internet. She features in many of the stories, either as a secondary character or as the protagonist. She becomes entangled with a college geek who sends his friend to the date, a man with a foot fetish and tries to seduce her old college professor. I could have happily read a longer piece about her adventures and I especially enjoyed the interludes between stories from Nina Park's book, 'The ultimate guide to finding love online.'
Every story has a boy meet girl or girl meets boy but these stories are not about love or even happy-ever-after endings. These stories are not sentimental but tell the truth about finding love. This is way Terminal Romance is a successfully constructed short story collection. Aguirre cleverly delves into the uncertainties of dating and taps into the universal anxieties felt by anybody who has dated either online or offline.
You can buy the Kindle version via Amazon.