I don’t normally post about my published stories if they’re in print-only or paywalled venues, since what’s the point of talking about something that most people can’t read. But I just went back and reread my most recent publication, “Empty Planets” was in the January/February issue of Interzone, and…it’s really good. I’m actually quite happy with it.
The story is about a far-future post-scarcity world, ruled by a sort of benevolent Machine, where this guy becomes obsessed with the notion that he has something special to say. He’s not quite sure what it is, but he knows he has some grand thought bubbling up inside of him. So he goes to college. He falls in love with an extremely intense woman who’s the last remnant of a dead colony. And they jet off to another planet to investigate possible intelligent life. And meanwhile he’s still trying to figure it out: what is this thing that he has to say?
The reason the story got rejected by so many places was because of the ending. When you have an entire story about a guy who struggles to articulate the inarticulable, you really want an ending that says something. And yet what is there to say that can’t be banal? I got a few rejections from editors where they said everything was working except for the ending.
However, I loved the ending. I’ve rarely been more sure that I’ve found the right ending for a story. And after reading through it just now, I was struck by how well the story articulated the problems I’m still facing, two years after writing it.
Oh well! Hopefully someday I’ll get it reprinted someplace where y’all can read it.