One of the stories we are excited to feature is "A Thousand Ways" by Beth McCabe. Here's what the author has to tell us about the story:
I'd like to give a nod to the late, great Robert Heinlein for the inspiration for my portrayal of Riley, the protagonist of my story "A Thousand Ways."
When I was a kid in the middle of the last century, my mom often dropped me off at the town library after school. At the time I assumed she just wanted me out from underfoot, worried as she always was about performing her household duties up to that era’s oppressive standards.
Later I understood that she was also sharing a gift with me: her love of reading. (She hid her own library books under the toaster cover, as Dad considered her reading for pleasure "wasting time").
During those long afternoons I roamed the dusty stacks, pulling out any volume that looked interesting. With no adult guidance (thank goodness), I didn't know there were rigid sets of girls' books and boys' books. And so I fell across Heinlein's Juvenile Novels--what we would now label as YA.
That was it for me: I knew I was meant to read, and write, speculative literature.
It's true that Robert H. could only envision boys as main characters in his adventures. And at least one of his books was serialized in Boys' Life, a Boy Scout publication, effectively bypassing young female readers. (I like to picture some of those boys' sisters innocently saying, "What magazine?", then following a Heinlein adventure under the covers with a flashlight.) But his books still spoke to my inner girl nerd, an entity that had scant reinforcement in that time and that place.
One of my favorites was Farmer in the Sky. In this book, a family emigrates from a dying earth to the Jovian moon Ganymede, which they have been told is a fertile farm colony. I vividly remember the immediacy and verisimilitude of teen-aged Bill's new environment. In spite of the fact that little was known about this moon--which just gave Heinlein's prodigious imagination more leeway--I was right there on Ganymede with Bill.
When I set out to write "A Thousand Ways," Riley was very clear with me about how to tell her story. I had to make people not just see, but feel what a first-generation Martian kid would feel. How the challenges of adolescence--sibling rivalry, an unrequited crush, an existential threat to her community--would play out just as it would for an Earth kid. But, although one-third g, dust storms, and a cramped underground habitat would be an alien environment for us, to Riley, it's simply home.
No matter what planetary body it's on, there's no place like it.
My thanks to the Electric Spec editorial team for giving Riley her voice. It's great to join this talented group of authors and editors.
Thank you, Beth!
Check out "A Thousand Ways" and the rest of the brand new stories!