Yes, I’m still on a short story streak but an anthology call is a wonderful time to experiment, the themes spark ideas that would never otherwise bubble up. This one was a particularly personal story, as well as one set in the Ashteraiverse (fans of The Parting of the Waters will recognise Kalafia, the sentient computer who also appears in The Fractured Era, my stand-alone sci fi novel featuring Juran Elaspe, her creator).
I’m definitely getting better at stand-alone and loved writing this story, even as it was a particularly emotional to do so. It was definitely one of my most cathartic stories, the best ones always have some strand of auto-biography in it.
This story had a particular slant because of the call: survival. “Constructed Mind, Reforged Soul” is well named, I think, and I’m pretty sure it’s my story of the year (“One Quiet Night” not withstanding).
The subject matter, specifically, is about a girl called Teiru who was born with a physical disability. Oh and she has a terrible family life. As a child, she falls in love with an ancient, sentient computer who helps her adult self find the strength to try and escape the cycle of abuse. I wrote this story as a result of the specific anthology call, though I have ideas about other places to submit it if Survivor don’t take it. I remain hopeful, however, even as I’m reworking another story I’m planning on submitting to the same call.
I will talk about the story’s creation but I’m going to wait until I place the story first. In the meantime, this song makes me think of Teiru and Kalafia (plus I love Babymetal):