Archive

Posts Tagged ‘DayBreak Magazine’

Memory RNA after all?

Today I’m experiencing that common occupational hazard for the science fiction writer: Learning that a new scientific discovery has rendered something I wrote obsolete.

I’ll let Tamara Craig, the narrator of my 2010 story “No Dominion” from DayBreak Magazine, explain:

Nearly a century ago, an experiment with flatworms seemed to show that memory was stored in RNA and could be transferred from one organism to another. But the experiment had been an unrepeatable fluke — pardon the pun — and later research showed that memory worked in a completely different way, unfortunately for the science fiction writers who’d embraced memory RNA as a plot device.

(This passage is trimmed down a bit in the version soon to be reprinted in Among the Wild Cybers: Tales Beyond the Superhuman, since that collection’s editor thought the references to SF writers were a bit too meta and distracting.)

What I wrote there was based on memory and was roughly correct. In the late 1950s and early ’60s (“No Dominion” is set in 2059), a researcher named James V. McConnell spent years experimenting with memory in planaria (flatworms), doing things like cutting them up and testing if their regenerated tails retained the memories of their original heads, and — most famously — grinding them up and feeding them to other flatworms. McConnell’s research did seem to show that some learned behavior was passed on by what he proposed to be a form of RNA storing memories created in the flatworm’s brain. It’s true that there was never enough reliable confirmation of his result to establish it as true, and the scientific establishment dismissed McConnell’s findings, although they did inspire a lot of science fiction about RNA memory drips or memory pills as a technique for quick-learning overnight what would normally take months or years. However, it seems that there were some experiments that did appear to replicate the results. There just wasn’t enough consistency to make it definitive.

Apparently, there’s been some renewed experimentation with McConnell’s theory in the past few years, showing promising but uncertain results. What I read about today was a new result, involving snails rather than flatworms:

http://www.sfn.org/Press-Room/News-Release-Archives/2018/Memory-Transferred-Between-Snails

Memories can be transferred between organisms by extracting ribonucleic acid (RNA) from a trained animal and injecting it into an untrained animal, as demonstrated in a study of sea snails published in eNeuro. The research provides new clues in the search for the physical basis of memory.

Long-term memory is thought to be housed within modified connections between brain cells. Recent evidence, however, suggests an alternative explanation: Memory storage may involve changes in gene expression induced by non-coding RNAs.

A more thorough article about the result can be found at the BBC:

‘Memory transplant’ achieved in snails

Now, this doesn’t mean the original memory RNA idea was altogether right. This experiment involved injecting the RNA into the blood of the snails rather than feeding them ground-up snails. And the result probably needs to be repeated more times and studied more fully before it can be definitive. But it does suggest that I was wrong to insist that memory “worked in a completely different way.” It’s possible that memories are stored, not in patterns in the synapses of nerve cells, but in RNA in their nuclei, which has an epigenetic effect on the neurons’ gene expression and therefore their behavior and structure.

Of course, all these results show is that very simple reactions to stimuli can be transferred. There’s no evidence that it would work for something as elaborate as the kind of declarative memory and knowledge that the passage in the story was discussing, or the kind of procedural memory and skills often transferred by memory RNA in fiction (e.g. foreign languages or fighting techniques). Perhaps those kinds of memory are partly synaptic, partly epigenetic. Maybe there’s something else involved. So Tamara’s lines in the story may not be entirely obsolete, just a little inaccurate (forgivable, since she’s a cop, not a scientist).

So I guess it could be worse. It was a minor part of the story anyway. And the actual research itself suggests some interesting possibilities. The articles say that learning more about memory creation and storage — and perhaps memory modification and transfer — could help treat conditions like Alzheimer’s and PTSD. If so, then it’s unfortunate that McConnell’s results weren’t taken more seriously half a century ago.

Announcing AMONG THE WILD CYBERS — and the return of the Green Blaze!

At last, I’m able to make my first new project announcement in over a year. Among the Wild Cybers: Tales Beyond the Superhuman, a story collection reprinting nearly all of my previously uncollected short fiction, will soon be published by eSpec Books. And I have even better news: the collection will also feature a new, never-before-published novelette starring Emerald Blair, the Green Blaze, in her first print appearance since Only Superhuman!

Among the Wild Cybers will be available in both print and e-book form, and will be crowdfunded by a Kickstarter campaign that eSpec will soon be launching, probably later this month. The collection, edited by Danielle Ackley-McPhail, will include all my short fiction from my default/Only Superhuman universe, plus the bonus story “No Dominion” (“bonus” meaning it was the only one left over and I didn’t want to leave it uncollected). The title comes from the first story appearing in the collection, “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele,” but as it happens, the majority of the stories do feature cybers (AIs) in some capacity, though only three focus on them heavily.

Emerald Blair, "Green Blaze"

Copyright Christopher L. Bennett

The new Green Blaze story, “Aspiring to Be Angels,” is an 8000-word novelette depicting a key moment in Emerald Blair’s Troubleshooter apprenticeship. I know, I know – prequels. Not as exciting as a sequel would be. But Emry’s superhero training was a part of her backstory that I didn’t manage to include in OS’s flashback chapters; I tried to include it, but I ended up skipping over it for the sake of the novel’s flow. “Aspiring” allows me to fill that gap, and to explore the process by which Emerald Blair became the Green Blaze. Doing a prequel also allows me to bring back Emerald’s mentor Arkady Nazarbayev and delve further into his hero-sidekick relationship with Emry.

In some ways, though, “Aspiring to Be Angels” is more a horror story than a superhero story. It’s not gory or anything, but it’s more dark, bizarre, and creepy than my usual work. It’s something of an homage to the anime Serial Experiments Lain. But don’t worry, it’s also an integral part of Emerald Blair’s journey, true to her character and her world. And I’m hoping it’s just the beginning of her continued adventures, in one form or another.

Another story in the collection, “The Weight of Silence,” might as well be new for most readers, since the online magazine where it appeared, Alternative Coordinates, ceased to exist less than a year after the story’s publication. AC did have a printable PDF edition, as I recall, so there may be a few print copies of “The Weight of Silence” out there somewhere, but I doubt there are very many. So it’s been effectively a “lost” story for nearly seven years, and I’m glad it will finally be available again.

This will also be the print debut for two of my stories that have previously appeared only online, “No Dominion” and “The Caress of a Butterfly’s Wing.” Both stories are still available online as of this writing (see links on my Homepage and Original Fiction pages), but between them, “Aspiring to Be Angels,” and “The Weight of Silence,” half of the stories in Among the Wild Cybers are appearing in print for the first or nearly the first time. Which means, hopefully, that “Dominion,” “Caress,” and “Weight” will finally get added to my Internet Speculative Fiction Database author page. Apparently their editors don’t pay much attention to online publications, although they do list my Star Trek e-novellas.

I’d originally expected that the stories in Among the Wild Cybers would appear in chronological order, but Danielle and I decided instead to arrange them for the best reading experience, so no two adjacent stories would be too much alike. Here’s the tentative order, with original publication dates:

  • “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele” (Analog Science Fiction and Fact, Dec 2000)
  • “Aspiring to Be Angels”                     (new)
  • “Twilight’s Captives”                         (Analog, Jan/Feb 2017)
  • “No Dominion”                                   (DayBreak Magazine, June 2010)
  • “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide”     (Analog, Nov 1998)
  • “The Weight of Silence”                     (Alternative Coordinates, Spring 2010)
  • “Murder on the Cislunar Railroad”    (Analog, June 2016)
  • “The Caress of a Butterfly’s Wing”   (Buzzy Mag, Nov 2014)

There will, however, be an appendix providing a chronological ordering of the stories and an overview of the future history they occupy – including a few new bits of history and worldbuilding that haven’t appeared in print before. In writing that material, I even thought of a way to tweak a part of that history so that a couple of stories have a stronger connection than they did originally.

Between them, Only Superhuman and Among the Wild Cybers will contain the entire published OS continuity to date. If you also buy Hub Space, you’ll have all my published original fiction so far except for “Abductive Reasoning,” which came out too recently to be included in ATWC (which didn’t have room for it anyway). But that’s all right – having a story still uncollected gives me an incentive to keep writing more so I can build a second collection. Hopefully this time it won’t take 20 years to do it.

I’ll provide the link to the Kickstarter page once it’s available. Keep an eye out for updates on publication date, cover art, etc. I’m so glad I can finally post news about this book!

New ANALOG story coming: “Murder on the Cislunar Railroad”

I’m pleased to announce that I recently sold another novelette to Analog Science Fiction and Fact. It’s called “Murder on the Cislunar Railroad,” and though the Agatha Christie nod is intentional, the primary reference is to a different kind of railroad… well, you’ll see. But yes, this is a murder mystery, my second after “No Dominion” — although that was more a police procedural, while this is a proper whodunit with clues hidden in plain sight. But not everything is as it seems, and there are a couple of pretty major surprises.

“Murder on the Cislunar Railroad” is also my first Analog story in 15 years that isn’t set in the Hub universe. In fact, it’s going back to my main original universe, the one my first two Analog stories occupied. It takes place in the same colonized Solar System setting as Only Superhuman but about 15 years earlier, and it connects indirectly to the backstory of one of that novel’s major characters. (That’s because I wrote an earlier version of this story years ago and cannibalized it for ideas when fleshing out that character’s past.) A hint: The story involves the nature of artificial intelligence and the ethics of AI rights.

No word yet on the publication date, but I’ll let you all know once I find out.

Earth: A nice place to visit…?

In my last post, I talked about the interactive Google Maps thingy at the end of “No Dominion” on its DayBreak Magazine page.  It occurred to me that “No Dominion” is the only one of my published original works that could have a Google Maps page, since it’s the only one that’s set even partly on Earth.  And the first draft of it was set on a habitat in Earth orbit!  In fact, of my five published original stories, only the latest two, “The Weight of Silence” and “No Dominion,” are even set in the Sol System.  “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide” and “Among the Wild Cybers of Cybele” are set within ten parsecs of Earth, respectively en route to and at Gamma Leporis.  “The Hub of the Matter” and its upcoming sequel “Home is Where the Hub Is” are set near the center of the galaxy, 40,000 light years from Earth, and at various other locations within a volume 300,000 light-years in radius around that point.

What can I say?  I like space.  It was Star Trek that introduced me to science fiction, and the original show never went to Earth except in the occasional time-travel story.  And space is just so much roomier than Earth.  The tastes of the prose SF community turned away from “space opera” for a while, though that’s somewhat reversed itself by now, but I never lost my preference for it.

Ironically, my first published Star Trek tale, SCE: “Aftermath,” was set primarily in San Francisco and, I believe, pretty much entirely within the Solar System (other dimensions notwithstanding).  However, I think the only things I’ve written since then that are actually set on Earth (at least from the perspective of the viewpoint characters) are a few pages toward the end of The Buried Age and the briefing in the first chapter of Greater Than the Sum (although the prologue of Over a Torrent Sea opens in orbit of Mars).  My upcoming Star Trek DTI novel will probably spend more time on Earth than any of my other Trek fiction, although it features quite a lot of other locations as well.

I was going to say “than anything I’ve had published to date,” but then I remembered my X-Men and Spider-Man novels, both of which are set entirely on Earth (alternate timelines notwithstanding).  However, my original idea for the Spidey novel had Spidey travelling to another planet; I liked the idea of getting him out of his comfort zone (and, admittedly, more into mine).  It was decided it was too much of a departure for the character, but I’m still hoping I’ll get a chance to tell that tale someday.

Interesting discussion of “No Dominion”

Over on the TrekBBS Trek Literature forum, where we occasionally also discuss non-Trek literature by Trek authors, I’ve been having an interesting discussion with a poster called David cgc about “No Dominion.”  He saw the story very differently than I intended, but those can be the most interesting replies.  The discussion begins with this post and continues from there.

It can really surprise you the way people interpret what you write sometimes.  After my very first published story, “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide,” I got a few letters from people assuming that what I’d presented as a just and necessary outcome was in fact a gross miscarriage of justice and should serve as the trigger for an interstellar war.

Meanwhile… I think I made things tough for editor Jetse de Vries with “No Dominion.”  The stories on the DayBreak Magazine site all feature an interactive Google Maps window at the end of the story, showing the key locations… but I didn’t really specify where Onogoroshima, the artificial-island arcology setting of the story, was located, beyond “in the Philippine Sea.”  He ended up placing Onogoroshima in the Bonin (aka Ogasawara) Islands, about 200 km north-northeast of Iwo Jima, placing it right on the edge of the Philippine Sea.  I guess that counts.  And it’s reasonable to put it close to Japan, seeing as how it’s named for the first island in Japanese mythology.

The other “No Dominion”-related location tags on the interactive map thingy are the University of the Philippines (in connection with the Filipina character Rosa Manzano, who could’ve been an alumna of that institution, though I didn’t specify), Brisbane Airport (for the origin point of DCI Craig’s flight to Onogoroshima), and Pittsburgh, for Charles Trendler’s hometown.  That’s thorough.

I don’t know if there’s a way to link directly to the map; just click on the link above to “No Dominion” and scroll to the bottom.

Seeing the locations from all the different DayBreak stories together on the same interactive map makes me wonder how many of these stories could actually fit together in a common reality.  Generally that’s not a likely proposition unless the writers or their editor consciously arrange it, since there are so many different ways of imagining the details of future technology, chronology, society, politics, etc.  Still, it’s an interesting thought.  Surely, in an anthology dedicated to optimistic futures, there would be some common threads.

“No Dominion” now online!

Well, that didn’t take long.  “No Dominion” is now up at DayBreak Magazine.  Here’s the direct link:

http://daybreakmagazine.wordpress.com/2010/06/13/daybreak-fiction-no-dominion-by-christopher-l-bennett/

No “Dominion” yet?

I’m sure my legion of loyal fans (all 5 or 6 of you) are wondering why “No Dominion” didn’t show up on DayBreak Magazine on its scheduled debut date of June 11th.  Apparently there’s been a bit of a delay, but I can tell you that the process is underway; I’ve been working with the editor on the final copyedits.  So I expect it should go live soon.  Once it becomes available, I’ll post the permalink to the story’s page.  And of course there will be the usual website update with “behind-the-scenes” discussion and annotations.

“The Weight of Silence” is out! (UPDATED)

The spring 2010 issue of Alternative Coordinates magazine, containing my short story “The Weight of Silence,” has just gone online:

http://www.ac-mag.com/

There’s a brief excerpt from the story here.  The full magazine is available for $2.00, either online or in a print edition.

I’ve put up story discussion and notes on my site’s Original Fiction page:

http://home.fuse.net/ChristopherLBennett/Originalfiction.html#TWoS

Last time, I held back a bit before posting the story notes, but this time there aren’t any major spoilers in them.

“The Weight of Silence” is a first for me — my first story to be published in online form.  The second (though the first one I sold), “No Dominion,” comes out next month in DayBreak Magazine.

——

UPDATE:  I’ve been sent the installment of the Alternative Coordinates newsletter (which can be subscribed to here) which announces the spring ’10 issue, and here’s what it says about TWoS:

Our latest issue features an original story from Christopher L. Bennett. Christopher is well known for his Star Trek media tie-in novels. The Weight of Silence is a beautifully written human survival in deep space story with just a little bit of romance. We know you’re going to love it.

I’m very flattered.

Two weeks

Just two weeks after my last story sale, I got a letter of acceptance for another of the batch of stories I recently put on the market.  Details to come later.

Two weeks between original fiction sales is a record for me.  I submitted stories for five years before I made my first sale, and it took nearly two more years to make the second.  After that, it was nine years before my third.  What happened?  Well, most of what I wrote back then wasn’t that great.  Or at least it wasn’t suited to the short form, cramming in too many concepts and too much worldbuilding.  Eventually I became convinced that I wasn’t cut out for short fiction, and then my Star Trek writing took over my attention and kept me busy.  So I let my efforts at original short fiction fall by the wayside, concentrating instead on original spec novel manuscripts alongside my tie-in work.

But all that tie-in writing, including novelettes in five anthologies, helped me realize that I did have the ability to come up with viable story ideas of any length and write them reasonably quickly.  This led me to buckle down and do serious work on developing my concept for the Hub universe and actually write the debut story, “The Hub of the Matter.”  Selling that on my first try gave me new confidence.  And that led me to buckle down again and come up with a story for the Shine anthology of optimistic SF, the result being my upcoming story “No Dominion,” which I once again sold on the first attempt.

So those two sales gave me the confidence to keep trying.  Plus my tie-in work was slowing down due to the editorial upheavals at Pocket, so I had nothing but time to focus on original writing.  I also came to realize that if I wanted to make enough of a name for myself to catch the attention of agents, it would help considerably if I could sell more short fiction to establish my name.

So now, with THotM, “No Dominion,”  and my two sales this month, I’ve gone from zero original fiction sales in nine years to four in just under one year, three of which sold on the first attempt.  And I’ve got three more stories currently on the market, and nascent ideas for a couple more.

I’d say I’ve come a long way in the past year or so.

What I’ve been writing: followup

I fixed that awkward scene in my fantasy story — found a way not only to make it less awkward but to add a whole new level of creepiness (which in context is a good thing).  I’m not quite ready to submit it yet, since the scene before that bit is maybe a little too talky and I’m going to see if I can improve its flow.

I got to wondering something about the universe of “The Hub of the Matter,” my recent Analog story.  Namely, why do they risk sending live Hub scouts to test new vectors, a job that’s tedious and potentially lethal, rather than using robot probes?  I’ve thought of a couple of amusing answers, and I’ll try to work at least one of them into the next Hub story I write.

I reread “No Dominion” and concluded that it wouldn’t be too hard to rework the Default-verse history to incorporate it — but I just decided this morning that I don’t want to.  As I said, it has ramifications that would have rather sweeping impact on the Default-verse and limit my storytelling in some ways.  Also, on reflection, I think it maybe exaggerates the degree to which certain new technologies would spread through society, which works in the context of a single story exploring the possible ramifications of those technologies, but isn’t necessarily likely or inevitable in a larger future-historical context.  Part of my reason for wondering if I should incorporate “No Dominion” into the Default-verse was that I asked myself, “Why wouldn’t these technologies be adopted there too?”  And I realize now that, while they probably would be to some degree, I doubt they’d be as ubiquitous.  I may incorporate the ideas into the Default-verse to a degree that’s appropriate, but the story itself would still stand apart.  I’m a little concerned that if the same ideas show up in the Default-verse, readers might get confused about whether or not “No Dominion” is part of it.  But then, that’s what my website annotations are for.

What got me started thinking about this was reading the TV Tropes page about “The Moorcock Effect,” defined as “the tendency of long-lived genre authors to, at what is usually a later point in their career, combine two or more distinct series they’ve created into a single continuity.”  Like what Asimov did later in life by combining his Foundation, Empire, and Robot universes into one (and even hinting at connections to The End of Eternity and possibly Nemesis).  Or what Larry Niven did much earlier in his career to create the Known Space universe.  Or the way Poul Anderson combined his Flandry and van Rijn tales into a single future history.  What I always wanted was to have a big, unified continuity from the get-go, to plan it out in advance and keep it all cohesive, rather than start out with separate pieces and later mash them up, possibly creating continuity problems in doing so.

But what I’ve lately ended up doing instead is creating a bunch of different universes that can’t possibly fit together because their histories and physical laws are too contradictory.  It was easy enough for Niven, Asimov, Anderson, etc. to combine their various series that took place at different points in the future and reused similar physics and technologies.  I don’t have that option with most of my universes.  And that’s cool.  I enjoy the prospect of exploring several wholly different approaches to FTL travel, to the prospects of posthuman evolution, and so on.  It’s more creatively liberating than sticking with a single set of assumptions.

Still, the temptation to construct a grand unified theory tying it all together is there, even though it’s pretty much impossible.  That’s why I was tempted to fold “No Dominion” into the Default-verse — because it’s the one other “written world” I currently have that’s similar enough in its physics and broad history that it could potentially be folded in if certain storytelling adjustments were made.  But there’s no point restricting the storytelling of the whole universe for the sake of consistency with a single story.

What I’ve been writing

What I’ve been writing… is checks.  Lots of checks for lots of bills.  And now my bank account is looking especially scrawny.  Please, somebody, buy my books!

But before that, yesterday, I managed to get some work done on three different projects.

  1. A tentative outline for a new short story, probably a novelette.  It features the same main character and setting as Spec Novel #1 and the prequel story I wrote a month or two ago.  It’s also a new stab at a concept I tried out long ago.  Once I wrote a story called “Footprints on the Sands of Time,” in which an astronaut discovered an ancient alien footprint on the Moon — but no other evidence of the aliens was ever found, since all but that footprint had been obliterated.  The story was about the characters’ frustration at the lack of answers.  At the end, I jumped back to the aliens and explained the origins of the footprint and such, then finished with the line, “Well, maybe that’s what happened.”  Cute idea, but too insubtantial.  I eventually cribbed and tweaked a few of its alien names for The Buried Age (Manrathoth -> Manraloth, Giriaen -> Giriaenn, Ngarol -> Ngalior), but that was it.  Anyway, now I’m trying a different tack.  It’s an artifact instead of a footprint, and I’m using it more as a vehicle for character exploration rather than having the whole story just be “Well, we don’t know the answers and that’s annoying.”
  2. A rewrite pass of my second fantasy story, the one I wrote a couple of weeks ago.  I find I’m pretty satisfied with it, and was rather moved by the ending.  There’s still one key event whose execution I find rather awkward, though, so I’m going to try to think of a better way of handling that.
  3. Rereading what I’ve done so far of Spec Novel #2, refreshing my memory before I pick up writing again, and doing some tweaks.  This is the book that’s an expansion of “Aggravated Vehicular Genocide.”  The main tweak I made yesterday: In the original story, I went with the standard gimmick of translator gizmos that render the aliens’ speech into English in a synthesized voice.  It recently occurred to me that with augmented reality starting to catch on, the characters would probably have optical implants that could project info into their field of view, so I’m reworking it so they get the translation as subtitles.  I think that’s a better approach since you don’t have the difficulty of hearing the translation over the original speech, and since you can pay attention to the alien speech and maybe pick up the vocabulary faster than if there were a synthesized voice drowning it out.

Meanwhile, I’ve been thinking about my upcoming story “No Dominion.”  I remarked before that I didn’t think it could work as part of my default universe (the universe of both spec novels and the related stories), but now I’m starting to wonder if maybe I can tweak the Default-verse’s history to allow it.  It probably won’t be feasible, but it’s worth a rethink.  At some point I’ll have to reread “No Dominion” (which I’ll have to do anyway in the editing phase before publication) and think about whether it’s doable.  Or desirable.  There are ideas in the story that might be worth including in the Default-verse, but on the other hand it has ramifications I might not want to have to deal with.

New story upcoming! “No Dominion”

December 15, 2009 2 comments

I’ve gotten the go-ahead to announce the original story sale I’ve hinted at before.  The story is called “No Dominion,” and it’s scheduled to go live Friday, June 11 on the online DayBreak Magazine.  DayBreak is a spinoff of the Shine anthology, a 2010 print anthology of optimistic near-future SF stories.  It’s the brainchild of editor Jetse de Vries, who felt that too much print SF these days is dystopian, and that it wasn’t enough to show us futures we should avoid; it’s just as important to tell stories that point the way to the kind of future we should seek to build.  As a lifelong Star Trek fan, and someone who’s always felt the same way about SF, I figured this was right up my alley.

But as it turned out, I had trouble thinking of an idea. The anthology’s guidelines specified near-future SF, set within the next 50 years.  I tend to assume that things are likely to get worse before they get better, that climate change, overpopulation, and the impending technological revolution will create a lot of turmoil that we’ll have to work hard to overcome before things can really start improving.  Also I’m just not a near-future kind of writer, preferring to set my fiction farther afield in space and time.

So I kept setting this aside for later consideration, and almost missed the deadline as a result.  When I realized I only had three weeks left, I knew that was it — either I came up with something in the next 24 hours or I gave up completely.  I expected the latter — but by the next morning, I had the idea for “No Dominion.”  I wrote it within days, but then had to rework it when I took a closer look at de Vries’ posts about the kinds of stories he was looking for.  Luckily, the deadline was pushed back a month, giving me the time I needed to refine the story.  And apparently it worked.  There wasn’t room for my story in the anthology proper, but de Vries decided to publish the overflow in an online form, creating DayBreak Magazine for that purpose, and I was delighted when he offered to buy my story for the webzine.  It was my second original sale in just over six months, and will be my first story to debut in online form.

So what’s it about?  I don’t want to say much.  On the one hand, the title is from Dylan Thomas’s poem “And Death Shall Have No Dominion.”  On the other hand, it’s a police procedural.  Make of that what you will.  It’s my first published original story to be set on Earth.  It’s pushing the envelope of the Shine/DayBreak chronological parameters, about 48 years in the future, I think.  Certain technologies in the story are too advanced at that point for it to fit in my default original fiction universe, which is why it (anonymously) got its own entry in my list of all my fictional universes.

And I’m just sorry it doesn’t come out until June.  I was hoping it’d be closer to the release of “The Hub of the Matter” in the March Analog , which should be out within the next couple of months.  Still, two stories coming out within four months or so is pretty good.  I just hope it’s a harbinger of further original sales to come.