Are we there yet?

Electric Athenaeum, a New British SF webzine produced by staff at Anglia Ruskin University (UK), has just published my SF story, Good to Go, as part of Issue 01, which addresses the theme “For Future Generations”. To read this story, please follow this link:

The following notes summarise some of my thoughts about this story, which were originally posted as a thread on Twitter. Please be aware that they contain some mild spoilers.

Good to Go was a lot of fun to write, partly because of the narrator’s voice (it’s definitely a “voice” piece) but also because there were so many science, technology and socio-political angles to explore. I hope I’ve done them justice in the 3000 words I used.

The story’s concept came about from the argument I’ve had with myself (and others) over the decades about whether humanity should explore space or sort out our ailing planet first. Or can we do both? For context: I’m 58 and a child of the Apollo era.

Obviously, I wanted to be an astronaut or failing that then take a vacation on the Moon. Despite the best efforts of Space X and Bigelow Industries, that’s unlikely to happen soon enough to suit me. Ah well! Or, as a famous writer once wrote: “So it goes”.

But yes, we do need to sort out our planet. That cannot wait. I do think we can pursue some goals in space at the same time, but securing our home must have top priority. The characters in my story eventually understand that, but need a lot of prodding.

But having terraformed Earth back to a viable state doesn’t mean we should then terraform other planets to suit humanity’s needs. The story’s narrator learns that we may have to change what it means to be human if we want to live on other worlds.

As for the mechanism that boosts humanity into orbit… You can blame Jaine Fenn for that! My good friend and fellow member of the One Step Beyond writers’ group once wrote that every SF novel (or story) is improved by the presence of one. Discuss!

I wanted my narrator to be a project manager rather than a scientific genius or engineering wizard: someone who has to get other people to do her bidding, but who is (of course) stymied at every step along the way. Yes, I used to be a project manager….

Please visit the Electric Athenaeum website ( where you will find many other fictional, factual and philosophical pieces on the theme of “For Future Generations”.