Quite pleased to see that my short story “Companion,” is out and available in this month’s issue of Analog.
I hope you’ll find it creepy in a sense. It is Halloween time, after all. All I’ll say, though, is that it’s not your classic trick or treating kind of thing, though trick or treating does show up in there. So, there: enjoy!
“Companion” has a bit of an interesting backstory, though, which I’ll share here. It’s the kind of thing that happens when I try to do something sneaky and on the edge of various guidelines. In this case, it’s a story I first wrote in an effort to slip a hard science fiction story into a Halloween-themed thing that Mark Leslie edited.
I like to do that, you know? Take a guideline and try to do something that fits, but fits in non-traditional ways. It’s a risky approach because when you play inside, but outside guidelines and you miss, then the story gets passed up. And sometimes passed up quite spectacularly! (As I recall, Mark said this one had a nice aura of Black Mirror to it, but that wasn’t so much what he was looking for). So, yeah.
Sometimes it works, though. When you take that kind of chance you might wind up writing the piece that the editor didn’t know they wanted until they saw it.
Just not this time.
That said, “Companion” is now one of … I dunno … three or four hard science fiction stories that I originally targeted for theme Anthologies, but found their way into Analog. wrote outside the lines. This usually happens because I’ll sit down to write and think hmmm…they’re looking for ghosts (or fae, or … um … Halloween horror, or…) I wonder if I can make them take an Analog story?
That’s another thing about taking chances with anthology guidelines, you see? Take a chance and write a strong story out on the edge, and the piece will find its market. And, in this case, it didn’t surprise me that Analog was the right place for it.