Fact: Science News by J J Campanella
Main Fiction: “Persephone Descending” by Derek Kunsken
Originally published in Analog Magazine
Derek Künsken is a writer of science fiction and fantasy living in Gatineau, Québec. His fiction has appeared in Analog, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Black Gate, On Spec, the three Escape Artists podcasts, several anthologies, and multiple times in Asimov’s. In 2012, he was short-listed for the Aurora Award and in 2013 his novelette “Way of the Needle” won the Asimov’s Award. He has a masters degree in molecular biology and a bloodline that traces its way through seven generations of Québécois.
Narrated by Mark Kilfoil
Mark “the Encaffeinated ONE” Kilfoil loves fiction, so much so that he’s written some (such as the Parsec-nominated Tainted Roses), read quite a lot (a library of over a thousand half-read books and growing) and now narrates them (sometimes actually recorded for others). He’s found that volunteering for a dozen years in radio was a decent way to get a full-time job as a Program Director at a community radio station in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, but not such a great way to finish his thesis, so he stopped at a Masters in Computer Science. He can be heard frequently on CHSRfm.ca, and two of his shows irregularly appear as podcasts, and can be found at encaffeinated.ca (CAFFEEN!) and theweirdshow.com (The WEIRD Show, winner of a Parsec Award for “Best Infotainment”). He likes cats enough to pet them but not enough to own one, and computers enough to own several but pet none of them. He will someday write a million words, but at this rate, that will require life extension, so he eagerly awaits the ability to upload into a computer, if that hasn’t already happened and this is all only a simulation.
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A strange coincidence. I was notified by e-mail from a certain ginormous corporate entity named after a river, forest or mythical tribe that an author I had purchased recently has a new book out. Following the link I find it is an anthology of short stories by various authors. I “looked inside” as invited by the website just trying to find my author (I am pretty sure I clicked correctly) but instead came to a page from a different story about acid, Venus, drones and scary stuff. I didn’t think much of the page I read. Half an hour later I cued up Starshipsofa to fill the void in my day and after a minute I realize the very same story is here. I find my initial opinion was very wrong. It was excellent.
Huh. Not the most conventional of methods for finding the Sofa, but definitely a unique one! And I’m super glad you enjoyed the story! Derek is easily one of my favourite Hard SF short story writers around, so this story was a must for me!
I studied the atmosphere of Venus for my Ph.D. thesis and never imagined that Earth’s sister planet would make such a good setting and character for a story. There are so many factual details about Venus the planet in this story and all of them are correct as best I can tell. Beautiful, captivating storytelling and Venus as a fascinating backdrop.