Check out Manawaker Studio’s Flash Fiction Podcast 0614 to listen to “Kill Switch.” I always think it’s interesting to hear a reader’s choices: pauses, emphasis, etc. In this case I particularly wanted to hear the results because CB Droege is a man, and I had originally pictured my narrator as a woman. (I didn’t specify gender in the story; that was a detail I consciously jettisoned when I cut the piece down to flash length, after deciding a longer version wasn’t working.) I like the version he produced and generally get a kick out of hearing my stories read.
“Kill Switch” originally appeared in Daily Science Fiction, if you’d like to read along while you listen.
In 2017, I started writing-and-finishing things after a pretty long break (and, a couple years later, started submitting some of them). 2017 was a bad time for politics in the United States, and it just kept getting worse. (No, I did not think it would end with hundreds of thousands of excess pandemic deaths and an armed insurrection. In retrospect, I marvel at my optimism.) With all the talk of inhabiting the darkest timeline, my mind turned to time travel—and futility.
The story accidentally came out in play form (well, “play” or “90s Terry Bisson,” depending on your perspective). I decided I liked it, especially since that made it easy to obscure gender and skip physical descriptions. Depending on the combination of gender identity, presentation, race, accent, etc. of the characters, it reads differently. I felt like I’d accidentally performed a Stupid Author Trick. And now the story has a home, nestled among other time travel tales.