Aatif Rashid’s story “The World’s Secret Heartbeat” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 2 December 2016.
The story actually began as a simple 2-page writing exercise for a creative writing class. The assignment was to write a scene with a few characters, a car with no air conditioning, and a hill. I hadn’t written that much science fiction, but I found myself creating a vaguely post-climate-change world where the central character reminisces for the disappeared past. At the time, I’d been reading Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer, and so I was also interested in writing something using the framework of a quest into the periphery, into ruins on the outskirts of civilization. I’d also always been interested in the idea people of living in a time of decline and decay. One of my history professors from college always talked about the Middle Ages this way, asking us to imagine living in a world where all around us were ruins of a civilization greater than our own. How would living like that affect people, I wondered? What would it do to their ambitions, to their faith in humanity, to their sense of history? Eventually, with those thoughts on my mind, I turned the exercise into a full length story.
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