A spot of foreshadowing

30 12 2017

Light levels are low. It’s killingly cold. These conditions are, it transpires, connected.

The icy landscape around you—hillocks, boulders, ravines, foregrounding a hazy, rumpled horizon beneath an opaque, lowering sky—wears a patina that shades from sepia to umber, puddled with drifts of dark sand. The atmosphere, though thick, would permit only a parody of respiration: there is no succour in it. Were it not for the insulating, carefully-regulated containment of your suit, you would be dead within minutes, frozen solid within an hour.

Welcome to Titan.

huygens_titan_TOP

(Image credit: ESA / NASA / JPL / University of Arizona)

I started my first Titan story, ‘Storm in a T-Suit’, almost exactly nine years ago today. It took a few months to finish, as I recall, which is one of the drawbacks of not knowing the ending when you begin the thing. (There are a lot of false starts in my writing.) I had, at the time, no broader ambitions for Titan: it was just an intriguing extraterrestrial environment to explore and populate, and that sort of thing always piques my interest. But as time went on, along with its share of fresh false starts, I wrote another Titan story, and then another. Eight of them—seven short stories, and my novella Matters Arising from the Identification of the Body—have already seen release into the wild, in various places. Soon, there’ll be more.

Early next year, Peggy Bright Books is to publish my collection Wide Brown Land: stories of Titan, which is essentially what it says on the tin. Wide Brown Land will collect those first seven published short stories as well as four new ones. In case you’re interested, here’s the TOC (with asterisks denoting previously unpublished stuff):

Storm in a T-Suit
Hatchway
Broadwing
Emptying Roesler
CREVjack
Lakeside
Erebor*
Goldilock*
Fixing a Hole
Phlashback*
Placenta*

A sample story, ‘CREVjack’, has been available for free online reading here for quite some time: it’s not entirely representative (what single story ever is?), but it gives a taste. The aim in these stories has been to focus on what I call the four C’s: scenario, character, science, and setting.

I’ll update with more details—cover image, release date, etc.—as they come to hand.

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5 responses

22 02 2018
Wide Brown Land cover reveal | Simon Petrie

[…] has been movement at the Titan short story collection station, with stunning cover art provided by the ridiculously-talented Shauna O’Meara. The […]

7 03 2018
Tethering Titan | Simon Petrie

[…] in actuality nor in my fiction. It’s nonetheless a bit of a background presence in a few of the stories in Wide Brown Land: with only one location possible for such an elevator, at the ‘sub-Saturnian point’ […]

9 03 2018
Keeping the lie plausible | Simon Petrie

[…] focus quite a lot, in my fiction, on Titan. I’ve set eleven completed short stories and one novella there, and I have more than that again in false starts and work awaiting […]

18 03 2018
‘Wide Brown Land’ print proof sighted … | Simon Petrie

[…] look! The printed proofs of my Titan-themed short story collection Wide Brown Land have now turned […]

11 04 2018
Unpublication | Simon Petrie

[…] been slow to provide purchase links for my new hard-SF short story collection, Wide Brown Land: stories of Titan. There’s a reason for that: two days ago, I was dropped by the book’s publisher, Peggy […]

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