The subject line says it all: my sf short “The Thick Night” is now available to peruse for free on Strange Horizons.
This was actually a story that I wrote for an auction to support aid efforts in flood-stricken (at that time) Pakistan. A friend won me, and said she wanted to see something about gender and women and robots, which was something that we had been talking about anyway. Where Uganda came from, I’m not entirely sure, except that perhaps I just was having a hard time thinking of any other stories that had featured robots and androids in a non-Western setting–I know there are some, I just couldn’t think of any at the time–and it seemed like something that might make for an interesting time.
In the end, it was also a love story, a story about free will, a meditation on the failures of development and humanitarian aid, and an attempt to write explicitly about postcolonialism in a fictional setting… something that has been done many other times and done better than this, but I hope I did at least a passable job.
I’ve never been to Uganda (or anywhere in Africa), I’m extremely privileged, and I’m white as the driven snow. I made a sincere effort to get past these things and deal respectfully and intelligently with my subject matter. That said, I may have gotten some things wrong. I’m almost sure that I have. If so, cry pardon–I am always trying to do better than I did before.
Special thanks to Jed Hartman for being great to work with and really proving instrumental in pulling this thing into the best shape reasonably possible.
I hope people enjoy the story.