Completed New Short Story: “Aquarius”

Hey, remember when I wrote a queer story for a submissions call? And I expressed doubt about the story being good enough to get into the magazine?

I was right. It wasn’t chosen. Surprise!

But. I figured it’s not very often that a person has a chance to submit to a special issue that’s looking for submissions from a small sliver of the population that you happen to fit into, and I wanted to take my chances one more time before the deadline and submit again.

So I thought . . . what appeals to me in science fiction? What cool questions do I like seeing explored? What concepts blow my mind? What do I love about this genre?

I thought about one of my favorite short stories of all time, Joan D. Vinge’s “View from a Height,” and remembered how compelling the protagonist’s situation was to me. It’s about a woman with an immune deficiency blasting off on a one-way trip into deep space, and how she reacted when she was far enough from home that she could no longer receive signals from other people. I decided to take a similar concept but do it with a different dynamic–with two people in a spaceship going to the stars for a different reason. The dynamic changes a lot with two.

So I wrote a short story that was primarily about the protagonist and her partner trying to get chosen for the space mission and dealing with prejudice that comes with being in a queer relationship. My protagonist, Becks, is my first ever aromantic asexual protagonist. Her partner, Austin, is gender fluid, and is also on the asexual spectrum (being graysexual and demiromantic). And they’re in a queerplatonic partnership. It was interesting to write partly because there were “rules” attached to Austin’s gender and what pronoun I used had to match. I enjoyed being subtle about that in the narration, even though there’s some very explicit stuff about the gender fluidity in the story.

I hope I’m not too much of a failure when it comes to the actual science, though. I’ve read a lot of stuff that happens on spaceships but I don’t know a lot of theoretical science that would make what I wrote realistic, and it’s not super advanced because it’s only set like a little more than 100 years in the future.

Anyway. “Aquarius” is 7500 words and is going to be submitted to the same submissions call. I like this story better than the previous one and if Lightspeed doesn’t want it then I actually think I’ll have a good chance of selling it somewhere else.

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