|Will you tell us a little about the origins of this story? |
I have always aspired to sell to Analog so I decided to take another shot at writing a hard science story. Also, I needed a story to bring to the Sycamore Hill Writers Workshop. Maybe these two things were working against each other because the science in this story is hard enough that Greg Benford bought it as a reprint for his anthology Skylife. But messing around with the narration to impress my mates at SycHill might have been a deal breaker for the Analog audience. In any event, Stan Schmidt passed and Gardner Dozois didn’t.
Despite Cleo’s seeming confidence, there’s a vulnerable uneasiness to her banter, as if she’s one of those people who talk more (instead of less) when they’re nervous. Is she trying to convince herself, as well as Jane, that she made the right decision?
No question that she is uneasy about her decision, although I think she knows all too well that Elena was right. Of course, Cleo has also altered her personality and isn’t really herself again until well into the story.
Cleo mentions that she “moved to the night” when she was young. Now she owns a day-night timeshare. The fact that both space travel and regular life are so greatly changed from anything we’re familiar with adds a great deal of believability to the story. Were there any other reasons you chose to advance life on earth in addition to space travel?
I decided to make it clear that one of the reasons why anyone would go to space, given that living there would lop years off one’s life span, is that life on Earth is much less attractive in the world of the story than it is in our world. Extrapolating a more crowded and less fulfilling mundane existence makes the glamour of breaking away into space seem more inviting.