To back up — I’m writing the last 13 stories of 74 story feminist military science fiction series. Following Ray Bradbury’s advice I am writing, revising, and sending out one story a week. The thing about planning a big project like this is that there is no guarantee what order the stories will be published in (or if they will be published at all). The stories are linked rather than direct sequels of one another and I wrote them to be read out of order.
So far two have been published: “No Woman, No Plaything” and “Planet 38”. However, all of the stories I write are meant to be read within a network of other works – the main character in one story may be a secondary character in another. Today I can point to my first example: my short story “Searching” in Black Denim Lit. The two previous stories’ narrator is the missing soldier, “Planet 38”s ‘my husband’ is the man sitting across the table …. and none of the stories where “Searching”s narrator appears as a secondary character have yet seen print. (I meant for readers to recognize one or another of story’s main characters but as I said: there are no guarantees. Instead of a pleasant surprise, a side-story, “Searching” is a 4th introduction to this universe.)
I re-wrote the story to stand on its own: there’s enough in print now to see the missing solder is found (by someone, eventually) and that she doesn’t resign the moment she reaches base. That’s part of the story … part of the story that unfolds over 74 pieces.
Fortunately the 50th story will also appear in Black Denim Lit early next year and that may start to give a sense of what the 74 story project looks like.
Any one of these stories can be read on its own but here are the pieces in chronological order:
- “The World in His Throat” in Things We Are Not: An M-Brane SF Magazine Queer Science Fiction Anthology (2009) (Same universe, none of the same characters. An example of how things are supposed to work – more or less — on colony worlds.)
- “Searching” in Black Denim Lit (December 2014) (A prequel to the 74 stories: three cops look for an abducted soldier in a vast galaxy.)
- “No Woman, No Plaything” in Kaleidotrope (October 2012) (The missing soldier, now a cop herself, discovers colonial inspection tours are not all warm handshakes and a pleasant lunch.)
- “Planet 38” in Four Star Stories (Summer 2013) (The missing soldier never thought her ordeal meant she would have to become a mother – and the challenges of parenting while still visiting her perpetrators’ worlds differ from everything she had anticipated.)
- “Planet 50″ (forthcoming Black Denim Lit Follow @BlackDenimLit on Twitter for when) (Escort the found abductee to her perpetrators’ worlds. Ensure she doesn’t slug or shoot anyone else. Face the truth that years on a common post mean you can’t keep acting like a grunt escorting a prisoner.)