How My 9 Clarkesworld Stories Are Like the Cast of Firefly (Maybe)

Apparently I’ve published nine stories with Clarkesworld now. If you’d told me this would happen three years ago, I would have scoffed. I’ve read Clarkesworld for a long time and dreamed of selling them a story — from my records it looks like I first submitted to them in 2009. Nine rejections followed over the next four years before my first sale. I’ve sent them 33 stories in all, so this is where the never give up, never surrender line goes.

The real important question is, how do these nine stories line up with the cast of Firefly, which perished (coughs) fifteen years ago holy shit. Let’s do this. In the order that I sold ’em:

#1: You Were She Who Abode is clearly Zoe Washburne. It focuses on a war vet coming home from the wars, her memory torn apart, with a good portion of it back on the battlefield.

#2: (To See Each Other Whole) Against the Sky is Book, because it is about faith in the blackness of space, that although we are alone, things we love still exist even when we cannot see them.

#3:  (R+D)/I=M is possibly River. This story is a little crazy, and since it’s an equation, you know that from initial craziness comes brilliance.

#4: Migratory Patterns of Underground Birds would have to be Wash, wouldn’t it, because he’s all about exploring strange new– Wait, wrong show. Still, Wash flies into the unknown, as does our heroine here.

#5: Pithing Needle is Jayne, because it’s a little fucking scary and like this needle that bores into your body and brain, Jayne is somewhat ceaseless, and sometimes needs to be in his bunk.

#6: Somewhere I Have Never Traveled (Third Sound Remix) is Mal– which surprises even me, Reader. But as our heroine in this story, Mal seems to hear something that no one else can, and follows it without reason, to the ends of the universe.

#7: The Abduction of Europa is probably Simon, given he’s spent so much of his life looking for River, taken and held where he does not know. The abduction and transformation of one ordered life into another.

#8: .identity must then be Kaylee, for it is a retelling of Snow White, in deepest darkest space. Yet, our heroine here is an embodied AI, capable of sussing out damage to the ship and its people, both of whom she cares for in extraordinary fashion.

#9: Baroness then becomes Inara, and I can see this — a regal lady who gets into places others don’t, a lady who will take no fuss or nonsense from anyone before putting them back in their place. Sometimes, she allows them into her own, too.

I wonder what #10 will be. (Maybe we could argue #10 is “The Cumulative Effects of Light Over Time,” which appeared in Neil’s Upgraded anthology — but that isn’t Clarkesworld now, is it? Still, I bet that story is Badger. For reasons.)

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