I couldn’t be happier to see The Becalmed included in the wonderful Visions of the Future StoryBundle! From this story’s origins on the beautiful Oregon Coast, to many touches of my home in the Appalachian Mountains, to seeing it with such brilliant company in this bundle, this truly has been an amazing journey.
For more about this StoryBundle and all ten great books included starting at only $20, head over to https://storybundle.com/future. You can also read more about each one from our curator Dean Wesley Smith. Here’s what he had to say about The Becalmed.
“Kari Kilgore gives us a really cool idea for the future. A certain element allows communication across the galaxy, but it can only be found in one place. And what happens because of that. Sort of a great metaphor for so many futures.”
Here’s the back cover from The Becalmed:
Bitan, the most valuable substance in the human universe, makes communication across vast distances possible.
Bitan only comes from one planet.
And that planet has a problem.
The TransGalactic Corporation sends Luis Ahmad on a desperate mission to help the human colony on Bitanthra.
Can Luis save the colony and stop the collapse of communications throughout the galaxy?
This bundle is only available for a limited time, so pick yours up before it’s too late.
And read on for the ever-expanding worlds inside my head and Appalachia in Space!
And sure, somewhere in the back of my mind I had That Daydream of meeting said author. I know exactly how I would play it cool, too. Rather than fangirling or asking some mortifying and obscure trivia question, I would simply say hello.
Say I enjoyed their work.
And ask what they were working on now.
See? How calm and cool is that?
I might have even managed to pull it off, but I never had the chance.
What happened instead made a tremendous difference in my own writing, including in my short novel The Becalmed, part of the Visions of the Future StoryBundle.
I was the only person booked that day, which can feel like an introvert’s worst nightmare. But in my case, that kind of one-on-one time and solo travel itself often gets me talking a lot more than I would otherwise.
The lovely guide drove me all around Bangor and the outskirts, talking not only about the wonderful writing, but the history of the town. The original settlers. Disastrous flooding. How the area grew and changed over time.
But most importantly, we talked about inspiration.
The beautiful garden cemetery that became far more secretive and sinister. Also where the cover image for my novella Songs in the Mountain came from.
An ordinary street grate that held a monster in its depths, and a standpipe where the final battle commenced. Despite reading and experiencing that battle decades ago, I had no idea how huge that standpipe was until I stood right there in front of it.
A scrubby lowland creek, and a bridge over a flood-prone river, and an odd-goods shop on the outskirts of town. A strangely shaped intersection, and an old brick high school, and an incredibly creepy statue of Paul Bunyan.
The kinds of things you see around you every day, right? Same here.
Well, maybe not that dang statue.
Still, a big part of what I learned on that tour was how to see the ordinary with extraordinary new eyes.
The eyes inside my mind that help tell the stories.
Getting a look at the everyday settings that transformed into such incredible stories helped me see the world around me in a brand new way.
From that day on, I started finding inspiration literally everywhere I looked.
I discovered several towns in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia that you can’t find by following one of our curving mountain roads, programming your GPS, or scrutinizing a map from any era.
I found neighborhoods in Atlanta, New York, the Midwest, and even Transylvania, Romania, that exist in an exclusive level of enhanced reality—inside my mind.
But you can discover all of them in the pages of my stories, and discover how several of them are related, too.
And of course, I realized many of the people, places, and things I’m familiar with from my own life have found lives of their own.
Lives on spaceships, on other planets, in other solar systems, and other galaxies.
I’ve even paid a few visits to the Terminalia multiverse, and intend to return.
My novella Restricted Species could easily be described as the Midwest in Space because it draws so heavily from my memories of growing up in Southern Illinois.
And my short novel The Becalmed has more than a touch of my native Appalachian Mountains in Space.
On a planet called Bitanthra, the only place in the galaxy where an incredibly valuable rock called bitan is found.
If you’re familiar with coal mining and the role it’s played in Appalachia and in the ongoing industrial age, you might catch a hint of where that name comes from.
Curious? Take a quick look at the different types of coal.
The colonists on Bitanthra just might share a few traits I’m familiar with from local folks, and the landscape certainly reminds me of home.
I will admit I wove in a few features of the gorgeous Oregon coast, where I started and finished both The Becalmed and Restricted Species. Which I can do in a world of my own making.
That’s the beauty of fiction, for me as a reader and writer.
I adore visiting the familiar—whether that’s location, culture, or struggles—with a different perspective.
If you love discovering that different perspective as much as I do, be sure to grab the Visions of the Future StoryBundle for ten fantastic science fiction books with their own unique and fascinating takes on the future. That includes an amazing anthology from Writers of the Future, with work from twenty-six writers and artists that you don’t want to miss!
These make easy gifts for the readers in your life, too.
So check out these Visions of the Future before time runs out!