I’ve hinted before that I write fiction myself, and once actually posted an excerpt from a story I wrote, titled A Quadrillion Occupied Planets. I am a procrastinator by nature with a short attention span, so I find finishing long works annoyingly difficult. I have, however, finished several short stories, which I find fun. So I’ve decided to write a several at once and put them into a collection, which I’m titling A Quadrillion Occupied Planets, and Other Stories (because I think that’s the coolest title). The stories aren’t really connected under any sort of theme except perhaps a sort of general Christian morality. I’m trying to make them all somewhat fantasy/sci-fi related as well. So far that rule has been broken once, but I’m including that same character in a later sci-fi story, so hopefully it slides. When I get what I feel like is a substantial amount finished I’ll submit the collection to publishing houses.
Here are the current stories in the collection:
- The Vision of the Professor (a working title that might not fit by the time the final draft is finished): The story I’m currently in the middle of writing. A Priest named Fr. Nicholas (who appears in an earlier story I wrote) is visited by his old Theology Professor, Dr. Simon Calvin (also recurring). Dr. Calvin has received a message from another universe, and has created a machine with the ability to travel there. The idea is that Fr. Nicholas and Dr. Calvin expect to enter a Narnia-like world and be its saviors much like the Pevensies but instead find that the whole thing is nightmarish in quality. I have an idea of what the world is going to be like and what’s going to happen, and I have high hopes for this story.
- A Quadrillion Occupied Planets – A short story that’s more of a philosophical reflection. It is something of a criticism of the idea that a decrease in the percentage of violence worldwide necessarily means we’re reaching towards any sort of moral high ground. I like it.
- In the Land of the Blind…A Parable – I wrote this story years ago and have been revising it and retooling it for years, but the main core of the story has always remained. I consider it a fantasy set in a world where all of the inhabitants are blind, and it is about what happens when a man claims to be able to see out of one eye for the first time in generations. I personally am very attached to this story, which has gotten moderate praise from the readers I’ve shown it to.
- Coming out of the Confessional – A satire of traditional “coming out of the closet” stories. The main character is also the narrator of The Vision of the Professor.
- Take Up Your Cross – A progressive “historical Jesus” college Professor type goes back in time to rescue Jesus before Judas finds him at the Mount of Olives and instead ends up arriving on the day of the Crucifixion. The main character also appears in The Vision of the Professor. I’m going to be a little arrogant for a moment and say that I honestly believe this is the best of all of the stories I’ve written so far. The one person I showed it to agreed. The story is very “Lewis” in nature. One of the character names is lifted from That Hideous Strength and it contains a direct quote from Perelandra. And by the way, yes, Dr. Calvin was named in honor of robopsychologist Susan Calvin from Aasimov’s robot stories. It seemed to fit.
- Ideas for Future Stories – A modern follow-up to the classic Poe story The Masque of the Red Death (I wrote it years ago on Halloween and I remember being very happy with it, but sadly I’ve lost the manuscript since) as well as a semi-autobiographical account of what it was like to run a particularly brutal cross-country race. The last one really doesn’t fit with the collection at all, but I’ve chewed on it for a long time now. Perhaps it will go into a future collection of sports related stories.
If anybody is interested in contributing ideas I’d be happy to hear them.