“When The Fall Is All That’s Left” at Apex Magazine

“When The Fall Is All That’s Left”, my SF short about radiation sickness and girls on the run, is up at Apex Magazine in issue 77! I’m very pleased to share it with you, and even more pleased to have a story in Apex.

(Yes, the title is a The Lion In Winter reference.)

“WHEN THE FALL IS ALL THAT’S LEFT”

For Gabriele, gravity had ended. She spun unmoored, drifting in the outgassing light that spilled from the star she’d flown though. Her orbit deteriorated slowly. The skin of her hull was pockmarked and blistered, bubbled with plasma burns. What remained of her telemetric instruments was melted dross, cooling slowly from white to sullen red. Where she had known gravity, conjured through spin and mathematics, there was a hollowness inside her mind: a colorless blank, not formed enough to even register as dark.

“Like aphasia,” she explained to Iris in the pilot’s den. “A missing word with a shape I remember and can talk around.”


Story notes:

This is the story I wrote at Viable Paradise, almost two years ago to today, which is a lovely little coincidence that makes me happy: I like circularity and I like patterning, and how the world comes around again whether you’d like it to or not. Which is some of what this story is about, actually. When it’s not about making the very best of bad options, and acts of irrevocable bravery, and, well. Girls on the run. This is me doing Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or Thelma and Louise.

I wrote it to a prompt, and I wrote it very fast — eight hours from first line to last line, though it’s been through multiple rounds of revision since, of course. I learned two things from writing it: one, if you have to write an entire story in a day for some reason or another, write the last scene of a much longer story (and lean very hard on your character work in order to pull this off); and two, stories written to prompts can go in very strange directions. (The prompt I got was a horror prompt. I don’t think I ended up with horror, but admittedly my horror-o-meter is calibrated oddly.)

It’s also, amusingly enough, a hilarious story for me to publish right after you all came here to read my many opinions on queer tragedy in BARU CORMORANT.

Patterns and wheels! They get you every time. 🙂

I owe tumblr user isozyme a drink for last-minute beta services under fire; she saved my ass on continuity.


 Soundtrack: this 8tracks playlist should do you fine. DYING HORRIBLY IN SPACE.

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