Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Avenir Eclectia - The Beginning

Last week, the first print collection of stories from the Splashdown project Avenir Eclectia was published. I'm so excited! We've been working slowly at this for almost two years now and it's wonderful to see this culmination. Of course, it's just a start - there's much more to come.

There are a bunch of other blogs posting about it this week:

Heather Titus, another contributor, interviewed me about it here.
Travis Perry, my intrepid co-editor, considers the scientific basis for the existence of such a planet.
Contributor Jeff Chapman interviewed Greg Mitchell about his stories.

And much more... a search would serve you well :)

So for my part I'm going to go all the way back to the very first story that I wrote, at a time when nearly no one knew about the project and no one else was writing for it. Thankfully, that all changed! But this first tale was my attempt at setting the bar - I wanted my contributions to be short, punchy, evocative and deep.

I did as every Avenir writer after me would do: I created a character, gave her a name (a somewhat unusual one in this case, because of the cultural shift), a location and a position in life. Then picked a turning point for her to experience in the moment that my window looks in on her.

The part with the song was inspired by a track that had already been written for the project:


I felt the potential in the spawning world, but wanted to begin gently with just a tiny peek. And this is what came out of it...

COOL, SMOOTH METAL by Grace Bridges
First published online on March 12, 2011
Story no. 1 in Avenir Eclectia Vol. 1 (click for buying options: $5.98 paperback, $2.99 Kindle)

Cool, smooth metal met Ave’s fingers as she slid down the wall to sit in the corner. No one would bother her here in this obscure corridor—not for a while, at least. She concentrated, and felt the distant, almost intangible vibrating of the station. Its comfort calmed her, and she hummed to herself, head down, hair shutting out the world and thoughts of Smith. A good kid, but they were both too young—only fourteen Foundings.* And the children—the beggars, the poorest of all beings, who didn’t even have a claim to parents—they looked up to her. She must do right, and not be distracted by an obsession for love, as heady as it was. The time was not yet come.

Ave recognised the tune she hummed, and smiled a little: her name-song, and that of the colony. “Arise, Avenir Eclectia; be strong, Avenir Eclectia. Stand firm, Avenir Eclectia; live on, Avenir Eclectia.” A rousing anthem that gave her the tingles. Her first carer had given her the name of the entire colony: Avenir, though she went by Ave. She placed her hands on the floor, felt her connection to the huge space habitat and the presence of the planet below, and hoped she hadn’t hurt Smith beyond repair. He’d understand, someday. Wouldn’t he?

The beings on the planet called to her and she rested in their mental embrace, sensing only the living station through the cool, smooth metal.
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