2021 has been a busy year for me, even if it feels I’ve never really left the same square mile in East London. For one thing, I took on some more work towards the end of last year, which has taken up more time than I anticipated. Another, and far happier reason, is that my son was born in May. The little man has been thriving over these last months, and I’m very grateful to have him in my life, even if I do feel a bit old to be doing all of this again. Since then, life has been a blur of night feeds, online chess games, and box sets. I finally found an excuse to watch Twin Peaks: The Return, which at least sets up little Albert with some necessary experience of weirdness during his early days. I’ve steered clear of social media, and if I’ve done anything creative at all, it’s been to paint on the balcony, or to work on a few poems.
Still, earlier in the year, I was approached by a publisher to write an SF novella. The editor had read one of my short stories in Interzone and asked if I had anything suitable for him. It says something about how much my job had been grinding me down that I almost let this opportunity pass. Fortunately, I scraped together a few six in the morning shifts to get into the writing, and it soon came quite naturally. It’s been a while since I’ve written anything in the long form, and I didn’t know if I had it in me to write science fiction of that length. At one hundred pages, it’s not exactly Dune, but I’m happy with that. I even wonder if the novella is the perfect form for me, as I’ve put together the plan for another. Maybe I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. Anyway, here’s the first one: Requiem For An Astronaut.