It’s been quite a week, and dare I say a productive one. While most of my work may have been variations on a theme, I feel very good about what I’ve written, some of which may well make an appearance here on the webpage.
As intended, I’ve spent the entire week exploring the universe I’ve created for Pathfinder. It’s ironic: I’ve long intended to produce short fiction to go along with the novel, yet for the past few years I’ve struggled to write any. Now, after just one week, I’ve generated several stories set within my speculative 2094, all of which could develop into compelling works.
The first (and thus far, the farthest along) of these is SILOS. Set within the time frame of Pathfinder, SILOS follows Lieutenant Trey Doyle, a Middle Eastern-descended American in the ESA (Earth Space Administration) astronaut corps. By 2094, Doyle is completing his final year of a two-year tour of duty as a supply pilot. His spacecraft is a SILOS: a small, modular cargo craft equipped with a VASIMR engine, designed to ferry equipment and supplies to Earth’s space station.
While en route to the Stanford 1 station at the L5 Lagrangian point, Doyle is diverted to intercept an errant spacecraft. The vessel in question is a MERIT: a massive interplanetary spacecraft equipped with a fusion reactor and twin gravity wheels, designed to ferry supplies and personnel between Earth’s space stations and the fledgling colonies on Mars.
Bonfire, my second story, is significantly darker. The story takes place in the early 2040s, as a hemorrhagic fever pandemic is sweeping the planet. The eponymous “bonfire” refers to the beginning of the story, in which the staff of a makeshift clinic in the central United States are burning the bodies of victims of the so-called Bern Virus.
The third story this week, Dez, was the result of my exploration of a character developed for Pathfinder. Deziray Reynolds, the central character of the story, is an ESA communications specialist living on Luna (Earth’s moon). While Dez would prefer to serve in the astronaut corps, her nature prevents this. Dez is a transhuman: a member of a counterculture of the late 21st century dedicated to effecting human evolution through the integration of technology. While Deziray’s implants were installed during her childhood as a result of birth defects (the result of radiation exposure), she is nonetheless disqualified from service on spacecraft, as implant failure could create problems for the crew of a deep space mission.
Lastly, this evening I produced a fourth story: Ganymede. I’ll admit this one may have been influenced by the weather in my hometown. The story revolves around Paulo Denilson, a Brazilian ESA researcher assigned to a research expedition on Ganymede. The hapless Paulo finds himself stranded on the Memphis Facula, a “ghost crater” filled with icy slush, following the crash of his aerial vehicle.
I’m having a lot of fun with this new approach: as I’m learning more about this universe I’ve created, I also feel I’m finally making the transition to being a true hard sci-fi writer. I’m eager to see what the week ahead holds.