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Dear Robot Blog Hop – #iamhuman

This blog post is part of a blog hop for the Dear Robot Anthology. Please click here for details on the editor, Kelly Ann Jacobson, inspiration for the anthology and to links to other contributor’s stories. There is also a Goodreads sponsored giveaway until December 10th.

You know you want to get this book! Who doesn’t want a free book?

Here’s the story behind the story –

The ticket that started it all.

One year ago, on a cold December night, a handful of fantasy authors and their supporters gathered together in a local writing center. The night was the book release for the anthology Magical. I came to support my fellow contributors with a couple of friends and my mom in tow. The reading was fun and after, when we all were chatting and swapping autographs, the editor, Kelly, let it slip she had thought about another anthology.

“I’m thinking some science fiction,” she said.
“Ooo,” I said. “That sounds interesting.”
“Yeah, but I’m not sure yet. Anthologies are so much work. I’ll have to see.”

After that night, I didn’t think much about the antho. My final class for my MA was coming up and I had to shift my attention to my other stories. In no time spring came, my class was done, and I graduated. Kelly’s e-mail about her new anthology submission call came about a month later in June.

My first thought was, Epistolary Science Fiction????

Now that was new.

To be honest, my brain was fried in June. I was out of ideas and more focused on my brother’s up coming wedding rather than coming up with a brand new story. So I pushed it to the back of my mind. I had time. I would think of something.

In July, I felt more refreshed and ready to write. Sometime in the first week or so, a couple of odd things happened. First I went through some of my old papers, and by old I mean OVER 5 years. I found a few abandoned stories I never finished, but there was a story I wrote in 2005 or 2006 that I couldn’t find. I had thought maybe I would finish it.

Sadly, I think somewhere in the three household moves I’ve made in the last ten years the story got lost. Maybe tossed away in a stack of papers I thought were worthless. I was bummed because I loved the idea of that story, but I had never had a clear vision of how to finish it. I imaged an earth far in the future, where people had flexible genders, flexible sexuality, and flexible ethnicities. It was a daunting task to describe a world like this (mostly because I had to think about how this world would come into being in a realistic way) and keep it in the realm of short story. It was the kind of story I couldn’t write in my twenties, but could now in my thirties (or at least wanted to try).

So I stripped away the previous story (had to there were no reference points for me to refresh my memory) and instead focused on exploring the world’s origins. The pre-story, if you will. What would the early days of this new reality look like? Why would humans change themselves?

The second event was a late night idea I had of a teenage girl, who was getting surgery to get into college. I saw her clearly, red-hair, freckles, and reading a thick paperback waiting nervously for her doctor. Why was she there? I wanted to know more.

Combine those two ideas and my love of long form essays, and you have my story “#iamhuman.” I wrote it in a blistering three day focus, set it aside for a week, read it over, and sent it to Kelly.

A few weeks later, she accepted it.