An guest post from Darby Harn, author of speculative fiction In Between: Stories of the Eververse
Telepathic wolves. Zombie gangsters. Sentient houses. Just another day for Kit Baldwin.
Fifty years after an alien ship crashed in Break Pointe, the only protection in a strange new world is Great Power, a corporation of superhumans. If you can afford them. Most people can’t.
Enter Kit Baldwin, a young woman who helps people to help people. Except her power is the alien’s power, and she may be more of a danger to her city than she is a help.
This collection of stories and novellas follows Kit’s journey in a series that’s been called ‘the next logical step after Watchmen.’
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Excerpt from In Between
“Bring my girlfriend back to life,” the old man says.
Since I got my powers, I get all kinds of strange requests. A fair number of them are curiously sexual, but mostly people ask me to do some good in the world. Catch asteroids. Cure cancer, end hunger, please and thank you. You know.
This one might go up on the fridge. Bring his girlfriend back to life? He could do with some help himself. Seventy, maybe. Liver spots. A rattle in his chest like a bad engine. Still, he got up here on the roof. He knew it was me, warming my feet with the other birds.
Sometimes, I don’t know when I’m me.
A Guest Post from Darby Harn
Q. Where did you get the inspiration for the Sentient houses?
The ‘sentient house’ features in “Starter Home,” a short story In Between: Stories of the Eververse. A living, conscious house only really emerged after about a year of working on the story, and certain narrative aspects changed. I had this idea of a woman, sort of a Donna Reed housewife, who created this bubble where she maintained the reality of her life exactly as it was the day before an alien ship crashed in her city and destroyed everything. The ship gave her superpowers, as it did many others, but took everything else.
The original version featured my main character, Kit Baldwin, running into the housewife’s ever-encroaching bubble. I liked this story a lot and submitted it to a few places. And then WandaVision happened. Suddenly, the idea of a woman altering reality inside her own bubble no longer worked. I still loved the themes the story dealt with, especially loss and the need for some people to hold on to a personal or even cultural moment that is long gone.
For a long time I thought the story had no future. That left me low, because the story worked. In many ways, it’s the most experimental story in the collection and for me personally, the most rewarding. Finally I hit on this idea of it being the house. The collection includes a novella, “Bloodback,” which explores a pack of coywolves who gained powers from the ship. What if it’s not just people or animals? So it became the house holding on to the family it lost that day and that ended up opening the story up in new and unexpected ways.
The house’s reality alters and changes with its mood and the story shifts and shapes with it. I got to explore an aspect of Kit the previous version never considered. What is Kit’s idea of a home? A family? A perfect life? She goes into the house trying to preserve her reality from being impinged by the house but does she find something better? What does she leave behind there? She tries to get out of this house which grows and shrinks with every door she opens. She encounters a possible past; she lives an entire future.
I went from heartbreak and fear the story would never see the light of day to thinking this is possibly the best story I’ve written. It’s certainly my favorite. “Starter Home” is the kind of story I always wanted to write. It’s weird; it’s literary; it’s exploring character through the fantastic. The story for me is a perfect encapsulation of the entire series where Kit confronts strange problems that reflect the issues we all struggle with in our daily lives, in a way only she can.
About Darby Harn
Darby Harn studied at Trinity College, in Dublin, Ireland, as part of the Irish Writing Program. He is the author of the sci-fi superhero novel EVER THE HERO. His short fiction appears in Strange Horizons, Interzone, Shimmer, The Coffin Bell and other venues.
Darby Harn will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.