Thea Boodhoo’s story “A Layer Thin As Breath” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 12 July 2019.
About seven years ago, I decided it was time to read Asimov. Somewhere deep into the Foundation series, I felt inspired to create a short story in his style, which seemed to rely on all the action happening in meetings where people sitting around conference tables had heated conversations about what other people were doing in space. That story turned into the better part of a novel, and that novel sat around in a drawer for a few years while I focused on non-fictional science communication. When I finally had the courage to start writing science fiction again, I took my favorite part of the novel, which wasn’t Asimovian at all, and turned it into a short story.
“A Layer Thin As Breath” is heavily informed by my interest in different intelligences and what it might take to communicate with them. I gave a talk, and later wrote an essay, on this topic called “UX for Aliens”, which you can still read on my website, theaboodhoo.com. I largely blame Irene Pepperberg for this interest, whose work with parrots I read about at the impressionable age of 15, as well as a woman I once knew who claimed to have known a space alien rather well, and my dad, whose college girlfriend was a dolphin.
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