Little Blue Marble – an online journal publishing climate change fiction and factual articles – has recently reprinted my SF story Good to Go.
What follows summarise my thoughts about this story, which was originally published in Electric Athenaeum in 2018. Please be aware that it contains some mild spoilers.
Good to Go was a lot of fun to write, partly because of the narrator’s voice (it’s definitely a “voice” piece) but also because there were so many science, technology and socio-political angles to explore. I hope I’ve done them justice in the 3000 words I used.
The story’s concept came about from the argument I’ve had with myself (and others) over the decades about whether humanity should explore space or sort out our ailing planet first. Or can we do both? For context: I’m 58 and a child of the Apollo era.
Obviously, I wanted to be an astronaut or failing that then take a vacation on the Moon. Despite the best efforts of Space X and Bigelow Industries, that’s unlikely to happen soon enough to suit me. Ah well! Or, as a famous writer once wrote: “So it goes”.
But yes, we do need to sort out our planet. That cannot wait. I do think we can pursue some goals in space at the same time, but securing our home must have top priority. The characters in my story eventually understand that, but need a lot of prodding.
But having terraformed Earth back to a viable state doesn’t mean we should then terraform other planets to suit humanity’s needs. The story’s narrator learns that we may have to change what it means to be human if we want to live on other worlds.
As for the mechanism that boosts humanity into orbit… You can blame Jaine Fenn for that! My good friend and fellow member of the One Step Beyond writers’ group once wrote that every SF novel (or story) is improved by the presence of a space elevator. Discuss!
I wanted my narrator to be a project manager rather than a scientific genius or engineering wizard: someone who has to get other people to do her bidding, but who is (of course) stymied at every step along the way. Yes, I used to be a project manager….
Please visit the Little Blue Marble to read my story and reflect on these issues.
Vaughan Stanger. Formerly an astronomer and more recently a research project manager in a defence and aerospace company, Vaughan Stanger now writes science fiction and fantasy full-time, a career development that seems appropriate for someone who remembers watching the Apollo 11 moon-landing on television. He still craves that holiday on the Moon he claims he was promised as a child. His stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Abyss & Apex, Postscripts, Nature Futures and Interzone, amongst others. He has published two collections, Moondust Memories and Sons of the Earth & Other Stories, which are available as ebooks and print-on-demand paperbacks. Several of his stories have been translated into foreign languages. You can follow Vaughan’s writing adventures at http://www.vaughanstanger.com and @VaughanStanger.