Ted S. Bushman’s story “Endless” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 19 February 2021.
My story “Endless” definitely emerged from a seedbed of some of my most fundamental influences, the first being that the setting evokes the far-flung-future science fantasy settings pioneered by Jack Vance’s Dying Earth and Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun. The world of “Endless” feels like a fantasy, with a blacksmith and a sword and a wondrous city, but repeatedly the glimpses we get of the world show us that technology far beyond our modern capabilities is involved: transdimensional travel, a space elevator, rogue AI gods, etc.
Another important influence there is Ursula Le Guin and her focus on interpersonal moral tales rather than grand conflicts between good and evil. “Endless” doesn’t follow the same storyline as “Bones of the Earth” but I was very moved by that story about an apprentice and a teacher when I first discovered it and I think some of its DNA has been grafted into this piece.
I somewhat feel like I’ve written the story three times — I first drafted it almost two years ago, did some major rewrites some months after, and then have changed it significantly with Morris before publishing in Metaphorosis. And while there have been a lot of elements that have come and gone, I feel like the core has remained the same and only become brighter and hotter. My favorite elements of the piece are probably Xai as a character — her mischief and awe and the strength that lies underneath her — and the moments when I get to pull out the stops and just write weird and evocative ideas. Particularly I love all of the strange methods of research Brevin undertakes in the Archives. There used to be more of those. Maybe they’ll show up in another story.
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