About Diamond Tear

Diamond Tear, a story about ice skimmer racing on Pluto, random tragedy, art, and recovery is now available on James Gunn’s Ad Astra website.

Source: NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft

The genesis of this story came about a little differently from how I typically come up with one, and due to that approach even has two siblings. It went something like this:

I tried to write a story that took place in the outer solar system a few years ago. It dealt (or tried to) with joy, loss, and recovery set against a backdrop of interplanetary travel. The writing did not go well. I couldn’t rein it in, couldn’t come up with a good direction for it, so I finally just put it on the shelf. Thought that maybe I could revisit it after a while and something then might click–after all, doing just that did work for The Gardener of Ceres.

But nope, in this case it just wasn’t happening. However, there were some sections in it that I thought had some potential–not really vignettes that could be extracted and molded into a story, but seeds I could transplant that might sprout up into their own story.

The first story that grew from this scrapped story was a drabble, “Mercury’s Ice,” that was published in Martian Magazine. It captured the experience of just the loss that was present in the original.

The joy, then, appeared in another drabble, “Falling In Love At Verona Rupes,” also published in Martian Magazine.

Pluto had worked its way into the original story at the end, and from that grew a whole new story, Diamond Tear, that was simply set on Pluto, and that incorporated one of my science fictional hoped-for-someday activities: racing ice boats–skimmers–across that world’s frozen nitrogen ice sheet, Sputnik Planitia.

Diamond Tear ended up with all the joy, loss, and hope of the initial aborted attempt at a story. And after several productive back-and-forths with the Ad Astra editorial team, captured what I was going for in that original story way back when.

Along the way it ended up merging in the secret language that a heart-bonded couple can’t help but create, pineapple pizza, and a stunningly beautiful (and real!) piece of art glass.

Cherry LP Cyclone, by Stephen Rolf Powell

While the original story never itself saw the light of day–nor beta readers–it’s heritage lives on here in Diamond Tear and the two sibling drabbles.

PS: There’s more about Diamond Tear I’d like to talk about, but I’ll save that for another post.