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The Last Conversation

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What’s more frightening: Not knowing who you are? Or finding out? A Bram Stoker Award–winning author explores the answer in a chilling story about identity and human consciousness. Imagine you’ve woken up in an unfamiliar room with no memory of who you are, how you got there, or where you were before. All you have is the disconnected voice of an attentive caretaker. Dr. What’s more frightening: Not knowing who you are? Or finding out? A Bram Stoker Award–winning author explores the answer in a chilling story about identity and human consciousness. Imagine you’ve woken up in an unfamiliar room with no memory of who you are, how you got there, or where you were before. All you have is the disconnected voice of an attentive caretaker. Dr. Kuhn is there to help you—physically, emotionally, and psychologically. She’ll help you remember everything. She’ll make sure you reclaim your lost identity. Now answer one question: Are you sure you want to? Paul Tremblay’s The Last Conversation is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.


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What’s more frightening: Not knowing who you are? Or finding out? A Bram Stoker Award–winning author explores the answer in a chilling story about identity and human consciousness. Imagine you’ve woken up in an unfamiliar room with no memory of who you are, how you got there, or where you were before. All you have is the disconnected voice of an attentive caretaker. Dr. What’s more frightening: Not knowing who you are? Or finding out? A Bram Stoker Award–winning author explores the answer in a chilling story about identity and human consciousness. Imagine you’ve woken up in an unfamiliar room with no memory of who you are, how you got there, or where you were before. All you have is the disconnected voice of an attentive caretaker. Dr. Kuhn is there to help you—physically, emotionally, and psychologically. She’ll help you remember everything. She’ll make sure you reclaim your lost identity. Now answer one question: Are you sure you want to? Paul Tremblay’s The Last Conversation is part of Forward, a collection of six stories of the near and far future from out-of-this-world authors. Each piece can be read or listened to in a single thought-provoking sitting.

30 review for The Last Conversation

  1. 4 out of 5

    Emily May

    The Last Conversation was the most "horror" of the Forward collection stories, which I guess is not surprising when you look at who the author is. It's an eerie tale that keeps us in the dark for most of the book, wondering what is going on, but knowing that something is definitely not right. The second person narration somehow makes it even creepier and more unsettling. I want to liken this story to a well-known movie, but that would give away a major spoiler. So let me just say: what goes on in The Last Conversation was the most "horror" of the Forward collection stories, which I guess is not surprising when you look at who the author is. It's an eerie tale that keeps us in the dark for most of the book, wondering what is going on, but knowing that something is definitely not right. The second person narration somehow makes it even creepier and more unsettling. I want to liken this story to a well-known movie, but that would give away a major spoiler. So let me just say: what goes on in this book is a nightmare. Not just what the MC discovers about his immediate predicament but what the ending implies for the future. Randomize by Andy Weir - ⭑☆☆☆☆ Ark by Veronica Roth - ⭑⭑⭑☆☆ Emergency Skin by N.K. Jemisin - ⭑⭑⭑⭑⭑ You Have Arrived at Your Destination by Amor Towles - ⭑⭑⭑⭑☆ Summer Frost by Blake Crouch - ⭑⭑⭑⭑☆

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nilufer Ozmekik

    This is the spookiest, eeriest, most haunted, horrifying, chilling story of the Forward series. I know my husband is gonna get crazy when he realizes the increasing zeros at our electric bill because I will turn on the lights again as soon as he sleeps tonight. (Actually I plan to turn on entire lights of the house just in case not screaming after seeing something shapeless, spooky –like my sister in law who visits only for one week, stays in the guest room, don’t tell I called her shapeless, This is the spookiest, eeriest, most haunted, horrifying, chilling story of the Forward series. I know my husband is gonna get crazy when he realizes the increasing zeros at our electric bill because I will turn on the lights again as soon as he sleeps tonight. (Actually I plan to turn on entire lights of the house just in case not screaming after seeing something shapeless, spooky –like my sister in law who visits only for one week, stays in the guest room, don’t tell I called her shapeless, she may glue my books’ pages to avenge me!) So what’s so terrifying about this book? Let’s summarize: Ominous second person narration made you feel like you’re the MC of this book. YES! Dark, suspicious, questioning, mysterious, nerve-bending atmosphere made you not to know more about the main predicament of the guy and conclusion of the story. YES! Does it remind you of some weirdest Twilight Zone and Creepshow episodes! Hell YES! Nanananana! Is ending remarkable? Not exactly, it’s shaking, shocking but there are still unanswered ethical questions fly in the air. If it isn’t a short story, you may be really pissed off because of too much repeats slow the pace at some parts. As a summary: I think “Emergency Skin” is still my favorite of the series. But this book is fast pacing, intriguing, innovative, interesting, entertainingly terrifying so I really liked it. (I know something is wrong with me! I enjoy dark and mind bending story. Like Leonard Cohen’s song lyrics: I want it darker and I kill the flame –but still sleeping with lights on)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kayla Dawn

    This might be my favorite work of Tremblay so far.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    3.5 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: A person — whose name and gender are never specified, because that person is “you” — wakes up, alone in a room. You’re blind and in intense pain, and at first you remember nothing at all of your past. You only hear one person, Dr. Anne Kuhn, who instructs you through a speaker: testing you mentally, badgering you to exercise, and, little by little, giving you bits of information about your past life and about why you are where you are now. 3.5 stars. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: A person — whose name and gender are never specified, because that person is “you” — wakes up, alone in a room. You’re blind and in intense pain, and at first you remember nothing at all of your past. You only hear one person, Dr. Anne Kuhn, who instructs you through a speaker: testing you mentally, badgering you to exercise, and, little by little, giving you bits of information about your past life and about why you are where you are now. Gradually it becomes clear that something disastrous has happened. The Last Conversation is an odd but compelling and ominous science fiction novella from Paul Tremblay. It’s reminiscent of a Twilight Zone episode: strange, somber and slightly horrific in a slow-burn way, with a surprising reveal at the end (or perhaps not so surprising to a perceptive reader; there are some clues as to where this story is heading, though I didn’t guess it myself). Telling a story in second person — presumably to increase readers’ perception that they’re in the place of the main character — is a tricky thing to pull off well. Combined with the fact that the main character’s name is never given and there’s just a blank line in the text every time Anne speaks their name, it added to the general sense of unease. Perhaps that was intentional on Tremblay’s part; in which case, mission accomplished. The Last Conversation is a slower-paced work that steadily and inexorably moves toward its disturbing conclusion. Given the main character’s lack of memory and needing to relearn many physical and manual skills from scratch, Tremblay’s approach does make some sense, and the pacing didn’t drag enough to bother me because this was such a quick read. Still, it’s a good thing this is a short novella; if it were longer I think it would have collapsed under its own weight. The ending was a decent payoff, although it raised several unanswered questions. Anne’s motivations for their final, key conversation are somewhat murky, and the underlying science that is critical to the plot is extremely hand-wavey. The Last Conversation is part of the FORWARD collection proposed and curated by Blake Crouch. It’s a set of six stand-alone novellas, each by a different author, that explore the “effects of a pivotal technological moment.” The authors are Crouch, N.K. Jemisin, Veronica Roth, Amor Towles, Tremblay and Andy Weir. The individual novellas are reasonably priced and available in ebook and audio form individually or as a set. Note: Some of the GR reviews give away the twist, so if you're planning to read this, you may want to avoid the reviews until you're done.

  5. 4 out of 5

    ☘Misericordia☘ ~ The Serendipity Aegis ~ ⚡ϟ⚡ϟ⚡⛈ ✺❂❤❣

    BEWARE OF SPOILERS! And, obviously, the DNA sequences drawn on the cover are not a spoiler for most of readers, as I just found out. For me, it was and I sort of felt I was aware from the start what would happen later on. Well, anyway, if you are scared of spoilers just stay away from this review :) And from the book cover :) This wasn't too innovative or striking or anything. So, this gal's a scientist and the guy's a part of a long chain of something. Striking? No. They have this plague and she BEWARE OF SPOILERS! And, obviously, the DNA sequences drawn on the cover are not a spoiler for most of readers, as I just found out. For me, it was and I sort of felt I was aware from the start what would happen later on. Well, anyway, if you are scared of spoilers just stay away from this review :) And from the book cover :) This wasn't too innovative or striking or anything. So, this gal's a scientist and the guy's a part of a long chain of something. Striking? No. They have this plague and she needs the fence and it's all nearing to an end and, wow! it's not all ethical. The ground's still not shaking, though.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Henk

    Brilliant play on real versus replica and the authenticity of memory and identity To forget is to lose something that was once yours, that was once of yourself. An eerie and well build up story, centered around the the experience of someone waking up in a dark room, without memories, only being talked to by a mysterious doctor through an intercom. The start point is more often seen (it made me think of More Than This, Slated, The Raw Shark Texts and a Haruki Murakami novel I don't quite remember Brilliant play on real versus replica and the authenticity of memory and identity To forget is to lose something that was once yours, that was once of yourself. An eerie and well build up story, centered around the the experience of someone waking up in a dark room, without memories, only being talked to by a mysterious doctor through an intercom. The start point is more often seen (it made me think of More Than This, Slated, The Raw Shark Texts and a Haruki Murakami novel I don't quite remember the name of anymore) and it is quite hard to keep up momentum and not making the reveal feel disappointing versus what the reader imagined while "in the dark". A short story is thus great for applying this trope and Paul Tremblay plays it excellently. In the later parts of the story it felt a bit like Oryx and Crake of Margaret Atwood, and that is meant as a compliment since it is one of my favourite books. Overall The Last Conversation absolutely sucked me in and felt very cinematic. My most favourite one yet of the Forward Story Collection, 4 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Char

    THE LAST CONVERSATION is my second read in the Forward series from Amazon, curated by Blake Crouch. I'm familiar with the works of Paul Tremblay and just read his latest collection GROWING THINGS a few months back. I felt that this story was a bit of a departure from his horror works and it was a change that I enjoyed. Being more of a mystery/science fiction tale, I found the end to be an unexpected surprise- and I love to be surprised! Thanks to Amazon/Audible for the free reads and the original THE LAST CONVERSATION is my second read in the Forward series from Amazon, curated by Blake Crouch. I'm familiar with the works of Paul Tremblay and just read his latest collection GROWING THINGS a few months back. I felt that this story was a bit of a departure from his horror works and it was a change that I enjoyed. Being more of a mystery/science fiction tale, I found the end to be an unexpected surprise- and I love to be surprised! Thanks to Amazon/Audible for the free reads and the original premises upon which these stories are based!

  8. 5 out of 5

    preoccupiedbybooks

    Creepy, chilling, unsettling and bleak....

  9. 5 out of 5

    Carol (Bookaria)

    This story is part of the FORWARD collection and a great addition to the series. The first book I read from this author was THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD which was an intense horror novel. This short story is different but as deeply scary and creepy as the novel I mentioned. Imagine you wake up in a dark room, very dark. You can't see anything at all and you don't know if it's because the room is dark or if it's because you're blind. But worst of all is realizing you don't know who you are or This story is part of the FORWARD collection and a great addition to the series. The first book I read from this author was THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD which was an intense horror novel. This short story is different but as deeply scary and creepy as the novel I mentioned. Imagine you wake up in a dark room, very dark. You can't see anything at all and you don't know if it's because the room is dark or if it's because you're blind. But worst of all is realizing you don't know who you are or why you're there. Take it from there. The story was absolutely captivating and suspenseful. I loved it, and recommend it to readers of science fiction.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    "Dear" Paul Tremblay, I've just finished THE LAST CONVERSATION. I loathe second-person narration...so chest-pokey, so accusatory...but this story made me leak tears and gasp for breath and I do not ever want to be that lonely and how did you do that in spite of thumping my nose for 60 pages? Five stars. Bastard. Cheers RMD expendablemudge.blogspot.com

  11. 4 out of 5

    Constantine

    Rating: 3.5/5.0 Genre: Science Fiction If you love Paul Tremblay's writing style you will like this book. He has his writing style all over it. It is creepy, mysterious and has a strange feeling to it! Even the narration itself where the main character is being addressed as "You" to the reader makes everything spooky. So when you wake up, you are blind and isolated alone in a room, completely unaware of everything else! Usually, this kind of narration style can be a hit or a miss. In this case, I Rating: 3.5/5.0 Genre: Science Fiction If you love Paul Tremblay's writing style you will like this book. He has his writing style all over it. It is creepy, mysterious and has a strange feeling to it! Even the narration itself where the main character is being addressed as "You" to the reader makes everything spooky. So when you wake up, you are blind and isolated alone in a room, completely unaware of everything else! Usually, this kind of narration style can be a hit or a miss. In this case, I would say it worked quite very well. It puts the pressure on you as a reader. The author has made you in the spotlight. You are the hero of this mysterious story. You are a character in the author's story and your destiny is written! You just need to read it! This is the 5th book in this highly entertaining series (The Forward Collection). All the stories have this strange feeling to them but each one has its own identity given to it by its author.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Bradley

    No spoilers, but this one is easily the creepiest of the Forward collection. It's definitely a White Room mystery. :) Well worth the read and very possibly the best Paul Tremblay I've read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Hamad

    This Review Blog Twitter Instagram Actual Rating: 2.5 stars I am on the fence about this one! I did not know the author prior to reading this one, I am not a fan of horror so I probably would have never have been exposed to his works. That of course, does not mean that I wanted to dislike this or skip it, I wanted to like it but the author kept it very vague and the scientist kept saying maybe and you will understand later and I can't tell much. And since this is written in 2nd person POV, it This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷 Actual Rating: 2.5 stars ★ I am on the fence about this one! I did not know the author prior to reading this one, I am not a fan of horror so I probably would have never have been exposed to his works. ★ That of course, does not mean that I wanted to dislike this or skip it, I wanted to like it but the author kept it very vague and the scientist kept saying maybe and you will understand later and I can't tell much. And since this is written in 2nd person POV, it felt like she was talking to us as readers! ★ For a story of 50 pages, it should not have been so confusing! I understood what was he trying to do at the end. I understood the story too but I think the way it was written did more damage than good. Still delivered a chilling ending but I would have done things differently. You can get more books from Book Depository

  14. 5 out of 5

    Manisha

    “To forget is to lose something that was once yours, that was once of yourself.” The Last Conversation is the fifth book in the Forward Collection series I have read, and I completely loved it. THE TESTS CONTINUE… As someone who absolutely loves the exploration of a twisted mind, I have to say that this story was exactly the type of tale that I seek out. It had a slow build, revealing parts of the story little by little, but leaving the reader in utter confusion until the last moments. It also “To forget is to lose something that was once yours, that was once of yourself.” The Last Conversation is the fifth book in the Forward Collection series I have read, and I completely loved it. ♥ THE TESTS CONTINUE… As someone who absolutely loves the exploration of a twisted mind, I have to say that this story was exactly the type of tale that I seek out. It had a slow build, revealing parts of the story little by little, but leaving the reader in utter confusion until the last moments. It also works as a discussion regarding different moralities and the means someone might go to in order to justify their actions. If you are not a fan of mystery or even if you are not a fan of a creepy setting, this story is not for you. However, as the story goes full circle, it’s definitely a memorable one for me.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Gabi

    This was one delightfully creepy story. I'm still feeling the chill of this slow buildup and utterly fitting use of second person POV.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gerhard

    You’re awash in the sun’s fusion-powered glare and you close your eyes, cover your face with shaking hands. You listen to the wind echoing in the bowls of your ears. The smell of the air and how it feels on your skin, on your lips, and inside your lungs are beyond your abilities of description.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    Do not read any reviews beforehand. You will get spoiled. A little creepy and a lot ominous. Psychological horror. Our protagonist wakes up blind, without memories, restrained to one room, with the embodied voice of a doctor telling him what to do. Slowly memories return. Desperation comes to mind, especially when the story and its secret begin to unravel. The audiobook narration was ok. So was the story overall. Do not read any reviews beforehand. You will get spoiled. A little creepy and a lot ominous. Psychological horror. Our protagonist wakes up blind, without memories, restrained to one room, with the embodied voice of a doctor telling him what to do. Slowly memories return. Desperation comes to mind, especially when the story and its secret begin to unravel. The audiobook narration was ok. So was the story overall. ★★★½☆

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tan Markovic

    3rd book I've read in the Forward series and definitely my favourite story so far.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Dawn C

    Funny how the short story I liked the best of this collection was by the author whose book The Cabin and the End of the World I absolutely hated. Guess I may have to give him a second chance.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Claire Y

    You can sense sinister as soon as you start reading. A page turner for me, and what an ending.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rue

    It was creepy-ish i would say cause you can almost predict the outcome but the story is definately unsettling. I was feeling emotional at one point (don't know if it's supposed to be that way ). It doesn't answer as many questions as i would have liked, overall i still found it interesting and engaging. It was creepy-ish i would say cause you can almost predict the outcome but the story is definately unsettling. I was feeling emotional at one point (don't know if it's supposed to be that way 😂). It doesn't answer as many questions as i would have liked, overall i still found it interesting and engaging.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    Wow. This was a bang up short story in the collection. I loved it. It had a lot of horror elements I thought working for it too. The ending gave my goosebumps. "The Last Conversation" follows an unnamed person (we never find out if they are male or female which I liked) who wakes up slowly and cannot see. We don't know what has happened, except a person named Doctor Kuhn is the only person that the unnamed person can talk to via an intercom. The unnamed person is run through daily tests and told Wow. This was a bang up short story in the collection. I loved it. It had a lot of horror elements I thought working for it too. The ending gave my goosebumps. "The Last Conversation" follows an unnamed person (we never find out if they are male or female which I liked) who wakes up slowly and cannot see. We don't know what has happened, except a person named Doctor Kuhn is the only person that the unnamed person can talk to via an intercom. The unnamed person is run through daily tests and told hints and pieces about their lives, but finds their memory slowly coming back. They want to know though why they can't see Doctor Kuhn or be let out of their room. And when they eventually are, they may wish they never left. I have to say the unnamed person hit me in the feels. I felt claustrophobic at times in parts of this story. Not being able to see and just having a voice to guide you freaks me out. They are forced to walk on a treadmill, do memory association games, and the only person they can "talk" to is someone named Doctor Kuhn they cannot physically see cause "reasons." Doctor Kuhn is the only other person you get to interact with in this story which increases the feeling of claustrophobia. I thought the writing was very good. I liked how Tremblay takes away any sense of who the unnamed character is and even when Doctor Kuhn is supposedly saying their name you can't read it, it's changed to just this "____". It makes you feel as if you are reading a lab report. Which I assume was done for reasons the ending will make clear later. The flow was really good too. I wanted to find out more about this world and what went on, but once again you only have Doctor Kuhn's say so on things and if you are like me my "this woman is a liar who should not be trusted" feelers crept up. The setting to me is definitely dystopian based on what the ending reveals and I liked the horror elements as well. All of this book takes place in a room in a supposed infirmary type place. And then when the setting moves (no spoilers) I felt nothing but apprehension. The ending was definitely a gut punch and made me want to read more. That to me is the mark of a great short story when you don't want it to end.

  23. 5 out of 5

    TS Chan

    Disturbing and unsettling, this is another entry in the Forward collection that is written in 2nd person. It worked really well to convey a story about memories and identity. "To forget is to lose something that was once yours,that was once of yourself. But how could one lose something as expansive as an ocean in a dusty corner of one's mind? What if, instead, to forget is to open a door to a void; the memory is not retrievable because it is not there, was never there."

  24. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    4.5 stars . Chilling story that thoroughly engaged me despite the awful scenario.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This was an odd book but I liked it. A person wakes up in pain and doesn’t remember anything. With the help of one other person they are rehabilitated and begin to remember, or think they do. This is very slow paced but really nicely done, we are left throughout most of this book wondering what happened and what is happening now. The way it is written it is as though we are the person who has woken up wondering what is going on. It’s a gradual build up to the ending. I liked this story, it wasn’ This was an odd book but I liked it. A person wakes up in pain and doesn’t remember anything. With the help of one other person they are rehabilitated and begin to remember, or think they do. This is very slow paced but really nicely done, we are left throughout most of this book wondering what happened and what is happening now. The way it is written it is as though we are the person who has woken up wondering what is going on. It’s a gradual build up to the ending. I liked this story, it wasn’t madly exciting or full of any action but a compelling read nonetheless. A decent 3.5*/5 rounded up to 4.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    "You’ve been awake and not-awake for days, maybe weeks, perhaps longer. You do not know where you were then, or before then. You are here now. A significant amount of time has passed, but from what beginning you do not know. You consider the origin of this time during which you’ve been awake and not-awake and conclude it is, for the moment, unknowable." So begins The Last Conversation. Immediately immersive, it pulls you directly into a mystery using 2nd person narration. Starting with a blank "You’ve been awake and not-awake for days, maybe weeks, perhaps longer. You do not know where you were then, or before then. You are here now. A significant amount of time has passed, but from what beginning you do not know. You consider the origin of this time during which you’ve been awake and not-awake and conclude it is, for the moment, unknowable." So begins The Last Conversation. Immediately immersive, it pulls you directly into a mystery using 2nd person narration. Starting with a blank slate, you don't know much, but you know at least that something's not right. The fog slowly lifts, but there are more questions than answers.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    This Amazon Forward Collection was definitely great!! I liked/loved all of the stories. This one was a sort of end of mankind story. Poignant, sad, excellent. 4 Stars Listened to the audiobook. Excellent performance.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Veronique

    More psychological than true horror. This is a good novella but I didn’t really connect with it, probably due to its sad theme. In all, I’m very impressed with the quality of all six stories, and yes, my firm favourite is Jemisin’s Emergency Skin!

  29. 5 out of 5

    nova ryder ☼

    this felt like an episode of the twilight zone. very strange. very weird. just enough of a story to make you feel unsettled.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Trish

    In this volume of the Forward Collection we wake up alongside the mysterious X. We don’t really know anything about X, not even their gender (though the narrator suggests that X is male). X does not know who he is, where he is, how he got there. All he knows are the sessions with Dr. Kuhn, a female therapist. Or is she? X and the reader go through various tests and thus also learn a thing or two about Dr. Kuhn herself as well as whatever complex we’re finding ourselves in. Until we’re allowed to In this volume of the Forward Collection we wake up alongside the mysterious X. We don’t really know anything about X, not even their gender (though the narrator suggests that X is male). X does not know who he is, where he is, how he got there. All he knows are the sessions with Dr. Kuhn, a female therapist. Or is she? X and the reader go through various tests and thus also learn a thing or two about Dr. Kuhn herself as well as whatever complex we’re finding ourselves in. Until we’re allowed to step outside. No, there aren’t any other people and for the explanation, we once again have to rely on Dr. Kuhn to tell us what’s happened. Just like the other stories, this is about a pivotal technological advancement we’ve seen in our days. I won’t say which so as not so spoiler the surprise for others. Suffice it to say that while I did see it coming, it was still very nicely done and the slow reveal for X himself was eerie if not even creepy. Narrator of the audio version was Steven Strait, by the way, of The Expanse fame. He wasn’t bad but he was by no means the best of the narrators assembled here. Solid entry in the series though not my favorite story.

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