Astrea had not realized that death would be this painful, with sharp pricks against her consciousness. She remained still, hoping the process of returning to the stars would pass quickly. She felt full, like her corporeal form would burst into particles.
Astrea opened her mouth to demand what for, when a fierce glow lit the sky with an intensity she could feel against her skin. "I don't think fighters are going to be enough," she murmured as her stomach rolled with dread.
My beautiful, lovely, and ever-supportive saltmate, and co-conspirator on Bi Bi Bi, Imogen Cassidy, has written a story that I love called Beta Child.
When it peeked over Novi’s horizon, Xandar looked small. Peaceful. Blue swirled with grey, far away, moon number three peeking around behind it. Astrea knew looks could be deceiving, and that Xandar was neither peaceful or small, even from her limited window view. She hated seeing it in her sky. The same sky where her parents hung now, shining and returned to their star form. She wondered if they watched her. She’d pray to them, but she was in enough trouble already. The view served as a reminder that Novi’ites were shackled to the Imperium just as their little moon was shackled in its orbit of the central planet.
Xandarian colonization happened while Astrea was still in nappies. The hilltop shrines to Forge Mother were torn down and their religion made illegal before she could walk. Even so, she’d been raised in the old ways by her parents, her father the Ogimaa-inni at the time. At least until they died in the early wars. The war was less a true fight and more a slaughter, Novi’ite soul swords no match against the heavy artillery of the Imperium Navy. Since then, the people of the swampy forest moon of Novi did their best to go through the motions of integration. They hid their language, their beliefs, and even allowed themselves to be conscripted into Imperium Navy’s Marine forces.
This story I wrote after reading a run of Thor: God of Thunder. During the course of this fun adventure of time travel, multiple versions of one self, and a lot of silliness to offset the grim events, Thor encounters sharks. In space. Just sharks in space, as one sees. I was so amused with the concept of a sea creature living in space as it would in the sea that my brain ran with the idea of old, long out of use naval vessels in a space setting. And thus was born "Space Sharks". I think it's by and far my favorite of my early stories. Maybe I'll get back to this world one day soon.
The Man Who Lost the Sea was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1959 and on Escape Pod episode 500.
There was a legend — of a ship — somewhere out in the belt. It was garbled. Maybe it wasn’t even a ship. Maybe it was a station, leftover from some alien civilisation that grew out of Earth’s primordial ooze and evolved before dinosaurs ruled, or maybe they were dinosaurs, space dinosaurs who saw that a planet... Continue Reading →