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Mission Critical

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I wrote this during an immensely awful time for myself and the world, spanning from the start of the COVID pandemic to a bit over a year into it. Despite exhaustion, depression, self-doubt, understimulated malaise, overstimulated malaise, and everything else that congeals into writer's block, here we are.

I am immensely grateful to the Discord community for Jo Walton's Scintillation convention, offering both writing advice and many rounds of moral support. I look forward to physically attending once that becomes possible.

I also thank my own Discord server for joining chapter read-alouds, supportively shitposting about all my endeavors, and gamely suggesting names for weird in-universe ephemera.

Thank you to college friends - Erika, Ilori, Sara, and Sushant - whose names have been half-adapted for the human crewmates.

Thank you to everyone who read and commented and expressed interest in what would come next. Your support truly means the world.

Thank you to the authors of key inspirations, including but not limited to: Ada Palmer (Terra Ignota), Michel Faber (The Book Of Strange New Things), Ursula K. Le Guin (The Dispossessed), Nostalgebraist (Floornight, Almost Nowhere), Tanadrin and Irradiate-Space (various short stories), Simon Stålenhag (The Electric State, plenty of magnificent art), Liu Cixin (The Three-Body Problem), Valerie Halla (Goodbye To Halos/Aster Asks), Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), Charles Huettner et al (Scavengers), Michael Schur et al (The Good Place), Wayne Barlowe (Expedition), Francis Spufford (Red Plenty), Bong Joon Ho et al (Parasite), Daniel Kahn et al (The Good Old Bad Old Days), Blue Delliquanti (O Human Star), Kim Stanley Robinson (2312), and so many more. Sometime soon, I will write a detailed breakdown of what inspired what aspects of the story.

I have purchased a thematically-appropriate Lego set for myself upon finishing the story, which I hope will become a personal tradition. I will rest and work on personal matters and other story threads in my brain, then return energized to write Stellar Elegy. I will see you all again soon, with more alien culture, more in-universe documents, and more deeply-significant tacky erotica.