Prompted by John Michael Greer’s latest short story contest and invitation to “…Fling yourself into the far future, far enough that today’s crises are matters for the history books, or tales out of ancient myth, or forgotten as completely as the crises and achievements of the Neanderthal people are today, and tell a story about human beings (or, potentially, post-human beings) confronting the challenges of their own time in their own way.”…I offer the following short story based on a chapter from a fledgling ‘book’ I began writing years ago when I was in my third year of teaching (1993) and demonstrating for my grade eight students how one would write ‘science fiction’–NOTE: I still have a copy of that compendium of the students’ short stories that resulted sitting on the bookshelf behind me.
I hope my offering has met the criteria set by JMG:
- Stories should be between 2500 and 7500 words in length;
- They should be entirely the work of their author or authors, and should not borrow characters or setting from someone else’s work;
- They should be in English, with correct spelling, grammar and punctuation;
- They should be stories—narratives with a plot and characters—and not simply a guided tour of some corner of the future as the author imagines it;
- They should be set in our future, not in an alternate history or on some other planet;
- They should be works of realistic fiction or science fiction, not magical or supernatural fantasy—that is, the setting and story should follow the laws of nature as those are presently understood;
- They should take place in settings subject to thermodynamic, ecological, and economic limits to growth; and as before,
- They must not rely on “alien space bats”—that is, dei ex machina inserted to allow humanity to dodge the consequences of the limits to growth.
For those wishing to offer feedback, please feel free to submit a comment on this short story where a young girl searches for meaning in her life but encounters something completely unexpected, altering her view of the world and her possible future in it: