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I tell my friend I am writing a science fiction novel. Oh, like Star
Wars? I love that movie. No, I reply, I am writing a novel.
It has a double plot. A man’s world is ending, and so is his marriage.

I liked that in Interstellar, she says. Does your planet explode?
Are there blasters? You need guns for special effects.
My pages don’t boom, I admit. No flashing lights. Just words.

People like that? What about a soundtrack? That worked
for Guardians. Your book should have a soundtrack. Why not
put out a playlist, tell people which chapter gets which song?

I shake my head sorrowfully. No music either. Too much happens
in a vacuum. You need air for vibration. It’s not fair, she says.
No one has trouble breathing in the movies. What about

the science? Are drives warped? Can you beam anywhere?
I’m embarrassed. My science is fine. No one travels.
They can’t figure out why things don't work. Their best people

get blown up. That’s good, she says. Blown up is good.
The bigger the better, I agree. And the cat? How does it
get saved? Ahh. The cats. Yes, I have them. They eat people.

Her eyebrow lifts. I don’t think it works that way. What about
your hero? Who plays him on screen? You’ll need star power.
I think about that. The man is kind of average. Me, I guess.

You are not attractive, she says. That’s true, I say. That’s why
I’m writing a science fiction novel. A man’s world is ending.
It always is, she says. You need a better plot. I do, I say. I do.



Liam Corley has been writing a science fiction novel since 2012. He teaches American literature at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and his poems can be found in Badlands, Chautauqua, First Things, The Wrath-Bearing Tree, and War, Literature & the Arts. He can be found at www.liamcorley.com or http://www.cpp.edu/~wccorley/.
Current Issue
21 Sep 2022

There is little more inspirational than a writer who devotes her talents to the work of others.
I was twelve when my mother was born. Twelve or thereabouts. If I’d been older, I could have said things like I never wanted to be a daughter; I don’t have a filial bone in my body. Relatives could have tilted their heads at me, insisting I’d change my mind. But I was twelve so I said nothing. I had no relatives.
a few miles from the fallout zone. / You double-check the index card
Unripe morning / cut open too soon
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