This is my first ever publication on a non-SFF venue. It’s still science fiction, but it’s very nearly devoid of science fictional or fantastical elements. Quite pleasing, altogether. One day I’ll write real literature yet.
‘Dream Command’ was written before ‘That Which Stands Tends Toward Free Fall’, and shares common ground with the latter (soldiers, sex), though it takes place in a different future. For what it’s worth, ‘That Which Stands’ – well – stands alone entirely, while ‘Dream Command’ shares a continuity with ‘Vector’, ‘Five Hundred and Ninety-Nine’ and ‘Ningyo’. Yes, I know: they all take place in relatively near-future Thailand (‘Ningyo’ in near-future Hong Kong). The main difference is in the shape of geopolitics. The world of ‘That Which Stands’ has none of the magic-realist engines present in ‘Dream Command’; instead, it has nation-warden AIs.
As with most of my stories featuring lesbians taking place in the immediate contemporary reality or near future, I’m acutely aware of the femme-butch identity map (or scale, or whatever). Depending on where you are from, I suppose, that may or may not be an inescapable part of subcultural queerness. The default assumption is usually that a butch woman will pair up with a femme one. Whenever possible, then, I write stories where multiple couples are femme/femme or butch/butch or neither, or poly. The same holds true here.
It’s a military SF thriller, but it’s also – as per tagging on Harlot – a queer, kinky story (whether it has sufficient sex to qualify as a erotica is your call). I had never written anything quite like it. Editorial guidance made me go outside my comfort zone, in a good way. A writer’s toolbox that doesn’t have a lot in it isn’t worth very much.
Altogether, I’m super delighted to have had a chance to work with Harlot, which is a most fine intersectional rag with best-in-class comment/community policy and timely commentary on transphobic bathroom bills, sex work, and decolonizing education. You can support them here.