I originally published Sagan’s Nightmare along with another story titled EM0T10NS for Kindle in the spring of 2011. It immediately became clear that, having not acquired a readership yet, it was very unlikely anyone was going to stumble upon my work and feel a need to invest the 0.99$ to find out what it was all about. This is why I have now resolved to publish my first collection only once I have written five good short stories and become more visible (hopefully this blog will help). In the interested of fulfilling my second goal, I now present to you, future fans, an extract from Sagan’s Nightmare:
Sagan’s Nightmare (an extract)
Year 2134, exactly two centuries after the birth of the famous Carl Sagan, the man who so passionately dreamed of traveling in between the stars. I am told this is why my ship is called the SAGAN-II. Back in his day, there was only one home to the human species, Earth. He would have been thrilled to see how we have now colonized both the Moon, Mars and Saturn’s largest moon Titan. Although, he might also have been disenchanted by the motives for such an expansion into space. It was not our sense of wonder, our quest for adventure or our thirst for knowledge that thrust us into space, but overpopulation. Earth, the cradle of mankind, had reached its carrying capacity. Sure, we didn’t have as many children as our ancestors did back in the beginning of the 21st century, but then again, back then people died on a regular basis. In this day and age, medicine always finds a way to extend life a little further, it catches up with us, we don’t seem to age fast enough. This is why so many of us had to leave. We could no longer rely on the planets in our solar system to support our ever growing populations, we had to find a new home far far away. Light years away.
When I say we, I mean the unlucky billion of us who accepted to embark on the first extrasolar journey to the planet Queloz, partly by choice, mostly through necessity. You see, going to a planet that is light-years away from Earth is quite a big deal, precisely because we’ll have to travel near to the speed of light. The faster the better right? Only a six year journey for us. Well here’s the catch: Near light-speed, time slows down. Einstein’s special relativity, time dilation and all that jazz. Our journey will seem to last six years for us, but for those we leave behind on Earth, a few centuries will come to pass. How many centuries exactly? I don’t even want to think about it. The idea, quite frankly, makes me sick to my stomach. But my dreams are too big for this little planet. I dream of endless spaces, I dream of freedom, but most of all I dream of a family. When it comes to family, I got the worst of both worlds. While I sit comfortably on my 108 years of age, paradoxically feeling more youthful then I did in my fifties, my parents didn’t exactly make the cut. Both of them died around the age of 80 which was still commonplace back then. It is disheartening to think that, had they lived to see another decade, they could have lived 30 more healthy years. I seem to be part of the first generation to slowly be escaping the aging process. Maybe even death. A poisoned chalice. But there’s worse. My only daughter, Ekaline also fell victim to the fatality of being born too early. At the young age of 12, she died of a disease that has had a known cure for over 40 years now. After this traumatizing event, my wife Juliet and I decided not to try to have anymore children. It took us a few decades to get over this. When we finally decided to have another child, we were told that it was against the governments’ one child per couple policy. They didn’t care that our daughter had been dead for years. For them, we had had our try and we had failed. There was only one way around the government’s transparent attempts to suppress population growth: exile to the stars. This is the solution that was offered to Juliet and I, and half-heartedly we took it.
(end of extract)
When my first collection is finished, I will put a link here to the Kindle book. Comments are welcome!