I’ve been trying to do a “Thoughts on” for every story that gets published. I am behind because by doing “Brightest Star,” I’ve skipped over “Woman on the Rock,” and my “Thoughts on” for “Marley and Marley” will be published on the F&SF blog. But here is “I Set my Ship to the Brightest Star,” now available on NonBinary Review. I will warn you, these thoughts do give spoilers, so maybe listen or read the story first and then come back here.
This one was a painful and terrifying story to write. I started writing it years and years ago. First, it was a flash fantasy. Then it was a war story. When I heard the call for Hans Christian Andersen stories at NBR, I thought maybe that’s the home needed for this story: HCA’s world of the Snow Queen.
The thing that always stuck out to me about this story was the friendship and love between Kai and Gerda, and how for an emo-tastic sassafrass like HCA, this was a very hopeful story of good conquering the darkest and coldest of evils. The Snow Queen isn’t necessarily a bad person, she’s just the epitome of depression and loss.
And my story, about two lovers who had once been each other’s everything and now were strangers ... it seemed to fit perfectly. Not in a good way for the characters, but in a good way for the story.
The question I posed was: What if this heroic adventure had been for someone who Gerda perceived as her soul mate, but dangerously was nothing of the kind.
But I don’t think it’s the antithesis to HCA’s story of hope. I think our protagonist could have lived a fine life if she defined her goals in a different way. Giving our lives to those who don’t want them is maybe not the greatest of plans. Gerda could have lived out a fine life with a nice girl and made something of herself, maybe open up a candy shop somewhere on a rebel moon, who knows?
We don’t have to be alone. We don’t have to have closure for everyone who says goodbye. We don’t have to live in the past, but we can instead look to the future. Isn’t that what science fiction is all about?
TO READ OR LISTEN TO THIS STORY, CLICK HERE.
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Dawson is a writer. This is her blog. In it, you shall read about reading. And writing. And cheeseburgers. Sometimes there are tangents. Huzzah.