Today a new SF e-zine, Schrodinger’s Mouse, launches their inaugural issue. It features several short stories and poems, including “In Service of a Greater Cause” by yours truly.
I submitted this story to SM because, first of all, who wouldn’t want to have their fiction appear in a mag with such an awesome name, but mostly because they were specifically looking for ethical or philosophically themed science fiction and this piece seemed like a perfect fit.
Before I talk more about this story, you should probably go read it and also check out a very cool illustration for it, created by Teresa Tunaley.
In writing this story I was trying to explore a concept of having a main character that could be a protagonist or an antagonist based on the perceptions of the reader. A Christian fundamentalist might sympathize entirely with Susan Pannell. At the same time, a technology-loving atheist could classify her actions as preparing to commit an act of terrorism. Likewise, Campbell (who is drawn in the image of turtleneck-sweater wearing Steve Jobs) can be seen as a hero or a villain – it all depends on whose rhetoric matches closest with your own belief system.
In terms of writing style, there is a definite nod to Simon R. Green, one of my favorite SF/F authors. I started writing this story and almost immediately realized that I am imitating his tone somewhat, so I went with it, even setting the story in England. As a new writer I am still working on finding my own voice, so I try to craft each piece in a different way/style/mood. Eventually I may figure out which works best, but learning to write in a wide range of styles can’t be a bad thing either.
I am quite pleased with how “In Service” turned out. It’s my wife’s favorite story among what I’ve written so far, and it is among my own favorites as well. Hope you like it too.