Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Periscope

My short story, "Periscope", has recently been published online at Perihelion SF (you can read the whole story from that link), and as usual I'm blogging a few words about the creation of the piece for those who might be interested. Please note, there will be spoilers so it's probably best to read the story before reading this blog.

This particular story was written a couple of years ago and has taken a while to find the right home. Because of this, I find my memory to be a little sketchy as to its birth. I certainly remember having the title - a simple word with much potential - for some time. And once I had the name of the main character (Dr Swe Swe Win) I also had the setting for the story (Myanmar) which added colour to the piece.

The periscope in the title is a device through which the future can be glimpsed, like a machine for scrying. The 'twist' in my story is that the Dr is the only one who can see the future through the device and the information received is completely random - snapshot glimpses of a future without any indication of a date. The 'previews' he receives are therefore more or less useless, yet prevailing governments seize on his visions, desperate to have the upperhand in a world that's gone to pot. This macro world view is counteracted by the micro, the Dr's thoughts on his current relationship and his questioning of what in fact is reality.

I personally think it's a story which improves with each reading. So don't just read it once, read it twice!

Here's an extract: The periscope Dr Swe Swe Win had designed was mammoth and steel, circular in nature, with mirrors at every conceivable angle. He wasn't sure of the science in it because he hadn't expected it to work, but similar to scrying the periscope delivered images directly to the eye of the beholder. Nostradamus used a bowl of water to see the future whilst he was under trance. Dr Swe Swe Win had the periscope.

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