I’ve got more update for this week. While I was at GDC, the rad new zine Conjectural Figments published its second issue, which includes my story “The Link In The Chain.” You can read, print, or download the issue here.
When I was a kid, I used to wonder if I was the only real person on earth – that maybe all the other people around me were really robots, quietly spying on me. I think a lot of people get that feeling: it’s a sign of how difficult it is to empathize with other people, and to imagine the full, real lives they lead even when they’re not hanging around with you. Vonnegut fans will also recognize that scenario from the Kilgore Trout novel that sets off the events in Breakfast of Champions.
Thinking about the concept, I had the idea to write a story about that kind of a world – except I wanted to tell it from the perspective of one of the robots who has to deal with this one, solitary individual. I finished the story and started shopping it around last summer.
In the end I made up a few human beings, but the focus stayed on Katherine, who feels underappreciated and isolated in her role – feelings that strike most people who are old enough to be responsible for something.
This is the second story I’ve published. rereading it, I don’t think it’s as effective as the first one, We Are Ted Tuscadero for President. They both came from a pretty personal space, but I had a better handle on Ted’s character (and in fact, I sort of slipped him into this story, maybe as a crutch). But I’m still pretty fond of it.
I’ve got a third story that I’m still shopping around. And after a year and a half, that’s not a lot of volume. Charlie Jane Anders recently wrote at io9 about how she got her start by writing a story every single week. I think she’s onto something: I would get much better at writing this kind of stuff if I do it constantly. Maybe I’ll go that route. But the main reason I wrote this particular story was that I liked the idea, I liked the character, and it tapped into a lot of stuff that I was going through last year. Writing it made me feel good, basically. I don’t really have a better explanation than that.