Well, the time has come to drop The Dead Astronauts. Never have I been quite as nervous as I am with this release, because this story is technically science fiction.
As I have stated previously, I am no Carl Sagan. I've had to suppress the natural tendency to describe in detail all of the futuristic technology in favor of the focusing on what I know how to do, which is to say, tell a story about two guys who don't know where to go from where they are.
I've very much accepted that I am known as a “gay author,” and with that in mind, I feel that it's my duty to experiment with style, etc. I no longer have any duty to prove how ordinary gay literature is. I've decided that rather than try to prove it, I can do it just by writing what I want to write.
The Dead Astronauts is the story of Henry, a lonely cafeteria worker who wants to know what exists beyond the glass walls of the space station where he has lived all of his life. George, his boyfriend, is perfectly content to live the rest of their lives aboard the craft, and wishes that Henry would stop looking out the windows at the stars and wondering if there's a god.
This is an intensely personal piece for me, as it always is. This story's element of wondering if there's a god was particularly challenging, because as an atheist, I wanted him to come to a solid conclusion that there wasn't one, but it simply did not suit the situation, so I left the whole thing ambiguous, and I'm very proud of that. It's not my duty as an atheist to shove my lack of religion on my readers, and for this particular story, a question of the existence of god was best left unanswered and unbiased in its curiosity, not leaning toward or away from my own convictions.
I think that that's one of the hardest things I've had to overcome as an author: the urge to make my characters all atheist or gay. Granted, most of my main characters are gay, but that's what I know. Religion is not always something that has to be dealt with every time one sits down to write something, though, and for the most part, I prefer to avoid the subject unless it moves the story forward.
I hope that this story means something to someone. As always, thank you to everyone for your continued readership, and for your support.