Friday, March 31, 2017

"Phase Day" ~ The Intent

My friend Craig has no idea how much he inspired "Phase Day," my upcoming story appearing in this summer's Devilfish Review. He's been posting old diary entries on his Facebook from 30 years ago, which places him in high school. Initially I thought he was just a really pretentious little twit in high school, but he's apparently been "brushing them up" to reflect more what he thought he was like back then.

"Phase Day" was another written for a specific call that didn't end up where it was meant for, but found a home elsewhere. (I seem to get a lot of those.) A request for science fiction, for deep history and characterization. And it was another case of impersonal "Thanks but no thanks." This story got shopping around once or twice more before finding its home, and I'm glad it did.

At its heart, "Phase Day" is a story of perspective -- it's an alien invasion story told from the point of view of the alien. It touches on the subjectivity of history, the shifting waves of what is considered "offensive," and what insight into intent can do to a situation.

In short, it's a collection of the writings of Amaltua Obon, an alien journalist who was seven years old when her people phased their planet and population in underneath the population of Earth. From her optimistic Phase Day essay as a child to an anniversary address given to a room full of slur-slinging attendees, it documents how the pendulum swings -- and what nudges the pendulum farther, faster.

I wish I could say it has a happy ending, but such things rarely do. It's less a character's journey and more an insight. She changes, she learns, but in the end it's not her journey we follow: it's her society's.

This all sounds extremely pretentious, and I'm sure that in the end it's more a nice diversion than anything else. Hell, if that's what it does for you, that alone makes me happy.

"Phase Day" can be read starting this weekend in Devilfish Review.