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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
16 May 2022

we are whispered into this new land, this old land, whispered anew
i tuck myselves under coffin nails. and then i am the sun like a nairobi fly, burning spine and skin.
The last deer in heaven flees, and Sestu pursues.
Wednesday: The Anthropocene Unconscious: Climate Catastrophe in Contemporary Culture by Mark Bould 
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Strange Horizons
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We would like stories that are joyous, horrific, hopeful, despondent, powerful and subtle. Write something that will take our breath away, make us yell and cry. Write unapologetically in your local patois and basilects in space; make references to local events and memes to your heart’s content. Write something that makes you laugh and cry. Indulge in all the hallmarks of your heritage that you find yourself yearning for in speculative literature, but know that we will not judge you based on your authenticity as a Southeast Asian. 
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