Friday, September 12, 2008

"Message to Mars" in Ray Gun Revival, issue 46

My science fiction short story, "Message to Mars," is in the current issue of Ray Gun Revival. It's approximately 4500 words in length.

It's in Ray Gun Revival Issue 46. For anyone interested, here is the direct link to the PDF file of the magazine:

Tease: "With Earth and Mars on the brink of war, one man gets a message through. "

This is space opera, centering around the Mars Revolution-era. Bill Salle, the hero, is a messenger hired to bring a message to Mars. The journey and the message affect him strongly, bringing his past roiling to the surface.

I enjoyed writing my 'bio' at the end of the story, where I claim to have been 'a war correspondent during the Lunar War for Independence.' My brother would call that Breaking The Third Wall. I call it sheer fun. :)

Overall, however, this was actually a very difficult story for me to write. The only times I worked on it with much success were when my life was harder to live than this story was to write or edit. Mostly after my cats had died. I lost two cats within about a year. It also took me about a year since starting this story to seeing it accepted. I couldn't cry. I just worked on this story, sobbing the words out.

To me, this story is about grief and guilt.

Why do guilt and grief so often seem to mix? I felt guilty about my animals dying, even though I don't think I had reason to feel that way. My main character, Bill Salle, he feels guilt and grief, too. I think perhaps he had better reason than I, but only the reader can determine that for himself or herself.

And the theme songs for this story, while I was writing it, at least, were two. "You'll Never Walk Alone," as sung by Elvis, especially the refrain "Walk on..." I picture Bill walking across the Mars soil when I hear that song. Closer to the beginning of the story, "The Sound of Silence" was the theme. It involves grief, too, and I pictured Bill in the rain when I heard it.

I don't know if I'll write more about Mr. Salle or not. I packed a lot into this story. In a way, his whole life.

Well, I wanted to share my thoughts about this story, even though very likely they only will interest me.

Turn my collar to the cold and damp...

~Alice M. Roelke~

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