“Yeah, it was okay,” he said in a vaguely encouraging voice. “Not bad for a first effort. Just so you know, there’s not really much of a market for this type of historical retrospective fiction stuff anymore, but let me see what I can do with it for you.”
Maybe Larissa was right; maybe this guy was a charlatan in an expensive suit—‘Didn’t they always come in nice clothing?’ I’d asked her—but he seemed basically sincere and anyway, no one else was beating my door down right about now.
What was I thinking, quitting my job and trying to make it as a writer? No one really reads much anymore, and besides, by now it’s all pretty much been said. It’s all right there, words and words and more words, everywhere and all the time. What made me think I was so special that anyone would care two cents worth about my pathetic musings? So my first little tract—non-fiction published by a vanity press, how cliché!—about global warming had sold a few thousand copies, enough to get me an agent, big deal. I should’ve kept my job working for the old man. Poverty is never as sexy in practice as it seems in theory. Continue Reading
“You’re an idiot,” she muttered. “Screw you too,” I brilliantly retorted. What made me think it would be different out here, in the vast blackness between the stars? As if our troubles were attached to terra firma and would somehow dissipate in the eerie silence of space. No chance.
‘Wherever you go, there you are’ went the archaic expression. I remember hearing this in one of the mind-numbing lectures on ‘ancient wall art’ back at the university. Hah! University! And to think, we’ve still charted only about 2 percent of the galaxy, let alone the whole damn universe. But maybe those ancients were on to something after all, with their—what’d they call it again?—‘graffiti’ or ‘self-help’ or whatever it was.
“I can’t believe I’m stuck out here with you for, crap, like a millennia it feels like,” she lamented. “I knew it would be like this—even after millions of years of evolution, you men are still all the same: controlling, judgmental, and full of spite.” My comeback was almost preordained in its scope, albeit a bit more biting than I intended: “Yeah, and you women are a hell of a lot better, huh? Manipulative, moody, and utterly mad. You’ve come a long way too, baby.” Continue Reading
Space is cold, but she was always warm. The casual brushes of her body as she passed in the sterile corridors, the faint residuals of her breath in the recycled air, the lilting afterglow of her voice over the com. The flame streaks in her hair matched the fire in her eyes, and all of it radiated an evanescent glow amidst the icy vacuum.
The mission had been a frosty one since the blaze of the afterburn was extinguished nearly a year ago. Once escape velocity had been reached, we switched over to low-energy mode, subsisting on the diminishing rays of the sun as we careened purposefully toward a self-imposed oblivion. The fact that it was all seen as heroic by everyone and everything left behind only accentuated the emptiness.
But I won’t complain, at least not out loud. I chose this life, mostly for the chance to do something memorable and important, and to be a maker of history rather than a consumer of it. The stars beckoned, persuasively, and even though I would never technically get there in this lifetime, I would be part of the first wave of humans to achieve a proximate vantage point and to pave the way beyond. Continue Reading