A Kindle edition will be live by the end of the week. Circlet is having issues with their website’s shopping cart, but hopefully soon it’ll be there as well.
As to the story itself, it was a lot of fun to write, but it was also my first serious attempt at writing original post-apocalyptic fiction, which was an interesting experience. I drew some on The Road in terms of not making the cause or method of the cataclysm clear–it was the first time it occurred to me that it was actually okay to do that. The cataclysm itself isn’t the point. The point is the characters, what it means to find someone else at the end of the world you knew. It’s about connection–my main protagonist is a profoundly solitary man and has been for most of his life, and it’s only with the societal collapse and devastation that accompanies whatever It is that’s happened that he finally makes a real connection with someone else. Through that connection, he feels real in a way he hasn’t before. He is real because he matters to someone. The end of the world serves primarily to bring that into sharper relief.
The title comes from a poem by Sara Teasdale, which was used to great effect in the short story “There Will Come Soft Rains” by Ray Bradbury. That remains one of my favorite short stories ever, the first short story to affect me so profoundly, and I drew heavily on both it and the theme of the poem itself–that we are incidental, transient, that the world does not need us. If we vanished suddenly, it might never notice that we were gone at all, and might in fact be better for it.
What we find lasting meaning in is each other, in love and compassion for people outside ourselves.
Or it’s just some gay porn. Whatever.
And yes, the city in the story is Philadelphia. Chris lives–or lived–in South Philly.
Excerpt under the cut.