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Strata

Available via:
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Publication date:
Dec. 2011

Nightscape

Back in 2008 one of my old Clarion classmates, Bradley P. Beaulieu, pinged me with the seed idea for a story. The idea? Solar surfing over the roiling face of the sun. He told me when he had the idea he immediately thought it was in my speculative neck-of-the-woods, and wondered if I’d be up for a collaboration. Brad’s a great writer and I was interested in co-writing something so I jumped at the chance.

In one of the early emails we fleshed out some of the rough boundaries that would delimit this project. A first draft in a couple of months. 7000 words max. A story centred around this solar surfing sport. Best laid plans . . . Three years and thirty thousand words later those boundaries were well and truly broken. Solar surfing–or skimmer racing as it eventually became known–did still form the fiery heart of the story, but was at the foreground of a vastly different world to the one we’d originally imagined.

We hadn’t built a story. We’d built a world. A teeming, energy-stretched Earth. Humankind bleeding out onto the harsh, rocky places of our solar system. And giant orbital mining platforms circling inside the sun’s chromosphere, tight-beaming energy back to anyone who could pay. And the man on the street? Well the man on the street wasn’t the man on the street, but two men in the sun. Two men who lived their days in the constant glare, the incessant heat, the endless maintenance of a structure that was located in the most hostile known environment for one hundred and fifty light years. Did management care? Did they hell. And their get out? Their get out was the racing.

Rider and handler. New blood and old. Dreamer and realist. These were the guys who were going to carry this world for us.

We think they did us proud. I hope you’ll agree.

Sun

 

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