"It would be at home in Asimov's magazine..."
- Nathaniel Hardman, author
In the system of Garadia, undesired individuals are captured, convicted and sent to work on the asteroids to serve their sentence. There, they are given the promise of freedom: once their service is completed, they will be liberated and allowed to go back to their home and start life anew.
Nethu is the last of his family to be taken. Since none of his siblings ever returned, he fosters no false hope of ever escaping the asteroids. Instead, he settles in an endless routine of daily hell, knowing nothing will ever change.
Yet, one day, a new prisoner arrives. She is different and brings with her a refreshing wind of optimism. Against his better judgement, Nethu befriends her and eventually accepts a strange gift from her: a logbox.
About this Story
Logbox is a short story that provides a glimpse into the darker side of the System of Garadia. It appeared in Just a Minor Malfunction... Issue #5 (available on Amazon.com) in November 2019.
The Original Idea
This whole plan of writing science fiction came from a single sentence I scribbled down while reading Green Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson.
“Cheaper to just mine the asteroids…”
It is not necessarily a new concept, but while reading it I thought I might want to use this somewhere. That’s usually how it goes with ideas. They come and I have no idea at the time what I’ll do with them. I only know I should write it down, just in case.
Writing the Story
I forgot about this concept for a while and continued writing fantasy. Then came a moment between other works when I felt like trying something different. I went through my list of ideas, trying to find one that would get my imagination going. The idea of mines on asteroids did.
I quickly started to write what I thought at the time would be a short story. I called it Debris. It started very well, but as I was approaching the end, everything unraveled. It happens. The ending was terribly evasive and would simply not come. I should have admitted defeat but instead, I decided to put Debris aside and try another approach. That would show them (I imagine I’m not the only writer having these imaginary fights in my head).
So I started looking at other ways I could write about the asteroids. The idea of a journal came to me, probably from something I read at the time. I also wanted the character to already be on the asteroid, which was not the case with Debris. Finally, I needed to determine the shape that the journal would take. With these three elements, I sat down and started to write.
Logbox is the first story I have completed using Scrivener, a tool I highly recommend.
Creating the Cover
For now, I design all the covers for my short stories. I used two images provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The background is Cosmic Sparklers, while the main image is Asteroid Zips By Orion.
Logbox is my first science-fiction story. A short one, mind you, but I hope it is a good beginning. It certainly got me hooked. I now want to know more about this world and am already working on a few other stories.
Started: May 12, 2014
First Published: June 25, 2016
Setting: The System of Garadia
Type: Short Story
Alpha Reading: Gaetan Clement
Beta Reading: Sylvie-Danielle Paulin, Brooks Kohler (Laptiast), Philippe Chiasson
Editing: Kira Rubenthaler, Bookfly Design LLC (www.bookflydesign.com)
Cover: S.C. Eston, Cover images credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech