$LoveStory is a story written by Himawari and illustrated by Aspectabund. It originally ran in Issue 48 at http://s2b2.livejournal.com/272387.html, and is mirrored at http://www.shousetsubangbang.com/mirror/lovestory/.
Holy smokes, really long author's note, sorry/not sorry....
Dynin Nkosi moves to Sun-Mars L5 station to take up work as the Chief Financial Officer of Futura Propulsion.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single human in possession of the best interplanetary business degree ze could get in this solar system must be in want of a startup venture."
See author's notes if you want to know more about possible future connections.
First of all, not only was this the first time I have written creative fiction of any length, original or not, since I was 17, which was an insane experience, this was the first time someone has illustrated my work, and wow, did Aspectabund knock it out of the park, both on her illustrations for my piece and on the cover art. THANK YOU Aspectabund!
And for all that made it into the final edition, man, the _sketches_ and experimenting and shooting ideas back and forth were a big part of what made me fall in love with my own characters. She had suggestions that I will be utilizing in my quest for a sequel. At one point, we had this conversation about how I wanted a character to have David Gandy's eyes, and she was getting a bit of an Antonio Banderas vibe (even before the character in question became part Brazilian in heritage, honestly, that probably nudged me in that direction), and then we both agreed that Acton had to have a soul patch because the Van Dyke beard has been UTTERLY RUINED for the moment by… well, you know who he is.
And speaking of that, it was a delight to bounce around between all of the things I was scrubbing the serial numbers off of. Some of them will be pretty apparent, but let me put in a plug for Matt Fraction's run of Invincible Iron Man, because I love the idea of the guy who has come from money and a huge business losing it all and starting over with a startup and the long hours and the shilling for VC. I also wish I was as good at finding near-future tech and adapting it to the story as Fraction is, so that's what I was going for, here, while also riffing on my favorite Arthur C Clarke elements and my favorite parts of Vonda McIntyre's Barbary, which I adored as a kid. I'm really trying to write the sci-fi I wished there was more of when I was 12 and was kind of grossed by the depictions of women and of sex in Asimov.
Seriously, I had withdrawal after I finished this story.
Some of you may remember the post where this came about [during a discussion of great writing about A.I.s and A.I.s in love], but I wasn't expecting it to develop in such a deliciously semi-hard sci-fi way (it's at least soft crack stage if not hard crack stage and if you didn't know sci-fi could be compared to stages of boiling sugar down to make candy, well, I didn't either until I started working on this), or in a way that pulled in so much stuff I love.
While I fudged what I had to fudge, the technology is as real as I could make it: vacuum deposition fabrication is really one of the sorts of things that could easily be done in factory units attached to Stanford torus colonies where solar energy is abundant and so are raw materials purified from moon and mars rocks, silane is really something used in certain kinds of electronic component fabrication, MOAs are real if very very experimental right now, and Raytheon really does run their Antarctic installations on the same time zone as their office in Wellington. ETA: And huge thanks to a_dodecahedron for his editing, critique and general geeking about the technology, and to r_ness for encouraging me to take real technology and bend it as much as needed to make the plot work. It's possible that some of this story came about because he had just visited Clarke's long-time residence in Colombo. I do love me some Clarke.
And Russian engineers in space will, I have no doubt, still observe the traditions that started with Yuri Gagarin watching "White Sun of the Desert" the night before launch. (Cosmonauts all still watch that the night before launch, to this day, and they also stop the bus on the way to the launch site and relieve themselves on the back tire, because he did it. Women cosmonauts bring a little bottle of urine to splash on the tire to complete the ritual. I am not even kidding.)
I wish I'd been able to more fully explore the backstory between Acton and My and Kenni, because there's a lot more there. I do intend to write what I originally intended to fit in here: Gino and Jensen's exploration of what they could be together. As it was, I loved fitting in all that I did about colony life, and the fact that it is a very large small town with great amenities but so, so removed from the rest of humanities. I have no doubt that the foodies will quickly make this into awesome local food snobbishness, because when you read the 1970s and 1980s books about how space station agricultural systems would work, you realize that people at that time were dreading the loss of all of their packaged convenience foods, but station diets will have a lot in common with the local foodie hippie chow available in my own community. And writing karaoke that relied on my own range of music knowledge but sounded suitably varied for karaoke in the future? That was fun. The gay man who kicks off the karaoke session is straight up cribbed from my local dive bar karaoke scene.
I also have an idea for a story about Cameron, because solar yacht racing is dangerous sport of the rich, full of sexy, thrill-seeking people.
And if you catch the Suicidal Tendencies reference, well, good on you. I wouldn't have caught it if I hadn't written it, to be honest.
- fairyninjas.wordpress.com: "This was maybe the best tale. It’s the second 2-parter, and that gives it enough length for some delightful world-building, some lovely character-building, and even some fantastic relationship-building."