L. Chan’s story “Whalesong” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 15 April 2016.
“Whalesong” started out with a single prompt-like line: the 50 hertz whale is the hero. The 50 hertz whale, also known as the loneliest whale in the world, is a solitary whale who sings at a frequency that other whales can’t hear. The jury is still out on whether there’s truth to that particular factoid, but it formed the kernel of this story. The next bit of inspiration was a bit of news about the cleanups of the great garbage patches floating in the middle of the ocean. A 19 year old had designed a mobile array that would filter the plastic out of the ocean, it’s quite inspiring. You can hear him on TED.
The story started out as flash fiction, which Morris worked with me to expand to a slightly longer piece about loneliness, regret and garbage eating semi-robotic whales. At the end, there was something tragic about being created to eat poison that dragged you down to the bottom of the ocean, some invisible cost that nobody would ever know – hence the ending.
Honestly, it makes a tonne more sense with this progression rather than wondering how the semi-robotic whales came about.
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