Talk about a departure from my usual work! This was a brutal story to write, and as terrible as it sounds, I hope it’s just as brutal to read.
Stylistically, the biggest inspiration for this piece is the fact that I’ve been reading a lot more contemporary SF lately, mostly from Apex and Uncanny magazines. It’s great stuff, but a dramatic shift from the SF I grew up with. So this is my effort to follow the overall style I’m seeing in modern work, which I think is pretty appealing. I’m not sure I succeed on that score, but the effort has value.
Content Note: Violence
I’ve never done satire before, so this story is a bit of a wide departure for me. Humour is a tough thing to nail down, and I have every admiration for people who are good at it. In this case, it helped that I was pretty familiar with the subject matter due to my association with places like RationalWiki and having athe-ish tendencies myself (although I retain a bit of animism for flavour). When all is said and done, I had fun writing it, and that counts for a lot.
Before any of you ask, Tanith is not a tribute to legendary SFF and horror writer Tanith Lee. Not that I don’t think she’s deserving of every accolade and tribute she gets, but in this case it was the meaning of the name that was critical.
A bit of background for this. Ages ago, when I was shooting for art instead of writing, I encountered a drawing challenge which presented 100 themes for which to do art for. While I never actually had the confidence to do it myself, the concept rolled around in my head ever since. So more recently, when telling stories became my focus, I looked up those themes to see if I couldn’t put them to use. This is the first of those stories, starting from one simple word, “Introduction”.