This Is the Moment, Or One of Them

My latest short story, “This Is the Moment, Or One of Them,” is now up at Apex.

Writing this story was….quite something. I began writing it in April 2020, which was for a number of reasons – not just Covid – not the best time to start writing anything. Midway through, I realized the story was going to feature Covid –

And that was a problem.

Because midway through was also about when a number of short fiction editors started issuing warnings that they were getting flooded with Covid stories and would be rejecting most of them. And here I was, writing two – a fantasy story and an SF story. Worse, the fantasy story (eventually picked up by Departure Mirror) was written in an academic style, making it a hard sale even without the mention of Covid, and the SF one was non linear – again, making it a hard sale without the mention of Covid.

What am I doing to myself, I asked myself and a few other writing friends. Why am I not focusing on stories that, you know, could actually sell? Especially since Covid was only one element of an SF story that was really about something else.

And yet, those were the two stories I could focus on – with the fantasy story focusing on the disability aspects of Covid, and the SF one focusing on, well, other things. So I did, adding various local elements to make the SF story – I hoped – feel more real, and then grimly watching the rejections pile up – until late October, when Apex let me know that I hadn’t wasted my time after all. (Departure Mirror told me the same in November.).

The story has been out in ebook format for a week now, and online for a day or so. It is, as warned, a Covid story. It is, also, for all its speculative elements, very much a story drawn from real life – almost everything in the flashback portions (the pottery classes, the cafes) exists in real life – and survived the pandemic.

You can read it here.