After writing a story for Brick Moon that didn’t really work out so well, and my editor tells me that most writers had trouble with the same prompt, I needed a “hangover story” to get me back on track. This is that story. The concept of this was based on one simple image: a woman singing on the shore while a mermaid secretly listened in. From there things got interesting, and a lot more dark than I expected.
I submitted this on the spur of the moment to a literary SF quarterly I’d recently been made aware of, but sadly it didn’t fit their needs. So here it is for you fine people.
Where my last story, A Plague Of Lucy, was inspired by the new generation of SFF writing, this story derives from something quite a bit older. For quite a while now I’ve been wanting to do something that draws, just a little, from classic SF writer Cordwainer Bird, and this seemed like an excellent chance. Bird came to SFF with a poetic sensibility which really stood out from his peers, which made his work feel like myth and folklore to me. It’s a shame he’s not a more well known name today, compared to some of his contemporaries, and while this yarn ended up going in its own direction, I’m happy I was able to carry at least a tiny bit of that forward.
“Complicated” was the theme this time, and honestly it gave me a lot of trouble. I’m such a straightforward person, and I’m certain that shows in my writing. So it was a puzzle how to add complexity in the first place, much less make that the thrust of the story. In the end, this is more a story about complex motivations than complexity in and of itself, but I’m pretty happy with how my little folk tale came out.