I turned twenty-seven in March. I’d written two novels, a novella, a half-dozen short stories, and had nothing to show for it but a pile of rejection letters from MFA programs, agents, and magazines.
I’d been following Hugh Howey with some interest since late 2012, when WOOL was in the process of being acquired and published by Simon and Schuster. When he published his Author’s Earnings report, in February, 2014, I decided I would give self-publishing the old college try. One story a month, for twelve months, until I turn twenty-eight. Then I’ll do it again.
Last month I published A Key West Horror Story, a cosmic, Lovecraftian tale about an ancient, alien vampire and the strained relationship between a father and son on their final family vacation before he’s off to college.
This month I’ve published The Furies of Mars, a story about an astronaut stranded on Mars. Too late I realized I’d published it within a month of The Martian, by Andy Weir, which has a similar premise. I haven’t read it (I’m sure it’s wonderful), but from reading descriptions and reviews his sounds like nitty gritty, nuts and bolts hard sci-fi.
There is no faster than light travel in The Furies of Mars, and I’ve done my best to be scrupulous to the science, but at its heart it is a psychological story about someone absolutely isolated from humanity, who knows they will never see another human being, and how their mind copes with that knowledge. I would call it a Gothic space story, like Solaris, or maybe 2001: A Space Odyssey. Though not of their singular quality, of course.