Have a little melancholy sci-fi romance

My story “Fire Rode the Cold Wind” is up at The Sockdolager this week! The summer issue has fully eleven lovely stories in it, and I’m so pleased to have this little piece in such fine company.

The origin of this story was actually the Random Title Generator, which is one of my favorite ways to start a story without a lot of a baggage going into it about how I think it should turn out. The original title the generator spewed out was “Fire Rode the Cold Worlds” and the contrast between fire and cold immediately suggested to me the mismatch of culture and expectation that the story winds up being about, and from there it latched on to a pre-existing thought I’d scrawled down in my notes about a person having a secret name only ever shared between them and the most important people in their lives. What if the person you want to share your most intimate secret with doesn’t understand what you’re trying to give them?

 

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Back pain, cold feet, a couple thousand words

My grandpa was a paratrooper during World War II. He never saw combat; the war ended when he was in a boat headed across the Pacific. But the parachuting practice did a number on his back, and he complained a lot of the loss of sensation in his feet. “How can they hurt and be numb at the same time?” he said sometimes. He didn’t talk about being overseas much. That was pretty much the most I remember hearing from him about it.

On most things, my grandpa–my whole family–and I don’t see eye to eye. We’re polar opposites on politics, religion, all the fun stuff that blows up at the Thanksgiving table, or would blow up, if we still lived in the same state. But I have always thought about that quiet complaint of his a lot: “how can they hurt and be numb at the same time?” And I wrote a story called “Seb Dreams of Reincarnation” about that.

The story is live at Escape Pod now, where you can give it a listen or a read–the narration by Matthew Hamblin is wonderful and made me a little weepy over my own words, especially at the very last line. I hope you enjoy it; this story means a lot to me.

New stories in August!

If you’re feeling crushed by August heat and humidity*, might I suggest a refreshing sip of fiction? Lean in close to the face of a frozen pond and see what it has to say, in my story titled (aptly enough) “The Pond” out in the current issue of GlitterShip! And take a plunge in a chilly snowmelt stream in “What He Offered the River” in August’s Deep Magic.

Content notes for the above: “The Pond” revolves around a child’s fairly recent death, and there’s an oblique reference to suicide in “What He Offered the River”.

*Apologies if you live in the Southern Hemisphere – would recommend a hot cup of cocoa or tea while you settle in with either of these.