What I write

At the beginning of this year I set myself a New Years' resolution: to aim to get something published in a paying fiction publication by the end of 2017. In a tranquil moment on a ferry from Stockholm back home to Helsinki, I opened up my laptop and I started to write short science fiction stories.

My background is in the hard sciences: I have a PhD in theoretical astrophysics, specializing in gravitational waves & cosmology. Of course that informs what I do pretty strongly. I have outline ideas for a novel but so far what I've written has been in the range of 2,000 to 5,000 words. I've always felt short stories were underappreciated as a form. I grew up reading my father's old Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein paperbacks but my favorites from his stash were the Groff Conklin-edited collections from the 1950s and 1960s, showcasing dozens of authors.

Here some synopses and opening lines from what I've written so far. If you're interested in hearing more or publishing me, please get in touch via this blog or via e-mail at edmund at space-curves dot org:

"The Last Joke": Epic, mythic, cosmology-driven story about humanity spanning the universe in pursuit of a vast common purpose, with shades of Olaf Stapledon. 

"In the days when the sky was bright with lights and the Universe was warm, humans were born as they are now, and raised by other humans, and the natural state of every human was not to be alone. They shared their myths: the world was made by the will of the sky-god, who put humans in a place of abundance until they were cast out for their vainglory. The world was built from the bones of a frost-giant. The world was hatched from an egg."

"A Funeral for Massachusetts": In this Cthulhu Mythos-inspired piece, a photographer tries to find meaning in the supernatural phenomenon slowly killing her home state.

"Nobody looks west from Beacon Hill or Boylston Street, not if they can avoid it. Ask anyone in downtown Boston for directions these days, and they’ll stop--it's a friendlier city than it used to be, at least--and if where you’re going is the East End or Cambridge or Roxbury, they’ll turn to face your destination and they’ll point while they tell you how to get there. If you’re going toward the sunset, they’ll wave their arms vaguely toward where you want to go and they’ll face you as they explain."

"Choice is an Axiom": Two living, conscious beings existing beyond time & space, made up of mathematical postulates, cope with infinity.

"In the mathematical space of possibility into which all universes were born, and there were two beings of theorem and logic. Mathematics is without end, flourishing in forever-branching vines of certainty along every path of the undecideable. In a particularly fertile and diverse thicket which sprouted mighty from a trunk of just eight fundamental axioms, Babas’s & Stipnir’s consciousnesses had emerged."

"Filigree and Ice, Ash and Atoms": In a riff on steampunk conventions, Michael Faraday becomes aware of the disturbing implications of the world he has grown up in.

"The smell of machine oil and the sparkless clink of brass on brass brought a satisfaction beyond the physical work of creation. Michael Faraday dropped his file and mopped his brow, wiping his hand on the leather of his laboratory waistcoat. Was it too hot in here? He checked the multi-scaled thermometer on the wall: eighty degrees Fahrenheit, twenty-seven degrees centigrade, a bit more than a million on Lord Kelvin’s proposed absolute scale."

"Bound in a Nutshell": Scientists working at a prototype black hole-driven power plant in the remotest part of northern Russia discover puzzling anomalies and become aware humanity is dabbling in technologies it does not yet understand.

"The first sign we had that something was wrong with the Penrose-Bhat reactor was when Ksenia Orlova, a technician performing routine maintenance on the photomultipliers in the containment building’s superstructure, cut her forehead on the tip of Aleksei Hordiyenko’s nose."

"Dip": A put-upon technician is the only thing standing in the way of the end of the world at the hands of a large bowl of guacamole. Yes, really.

"'Angela!' Fred Tarkies called to his wife in the kitchen. 'I think it’s time for the guacamole!' To the woman across the coffee table from him he noted slyly, 'Angela makes the best guac. My mother’s recipe. I’ve taught her well!'"

Edmund Schluessel

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