SFF, Short stories

Inside the Body of Relatives

I have a new story out! “Inside the Body of Relatives” is in the November/December 2019 issue of Asimov’s Magazine. It’s the fourth story I’ve had in Asimov’s, and the first which is actually a short story. Everything else I’ve had published there has been a novelette, so it’s good to have sold them something different. It’s a short story because it’s only a little idea, and sometimes you just don’t need to pad out a good idea with extra words. That idea – and I don’t want to spoil it, exactly – is something that came to me one night when I was lying in bed, tucked up under the duvet and listening to rain on the roof. And it was such a simple idea, and it seemed so obvious…

It’s also a story that features that staple of the science fiction narrative: artificial intelligence. Specifically, an AI dwelling. There’s a reason this is a trope (often a horrifying trope) but I wanted something not-horrifying for this. It’s a quiet little story about aging and loneliness and evolutionary biology, so there seemed no reason to go all overwrought with it. Anyway, here’s a teaser of it:

There’s a reason I don’t have a lot of guests – or worse, a tenant, for all the rent would round out my super. I like my house quiet.

“Quiet as the toooomb,” says the house, in response. It gets sarcastic when it’s worried. “I don’t like to think about you getting depressed,” it says.

“I’m not depressed.”

“Loneliness can be a trigger for depression,” says the house. “You are lonely, and I am not a substitute…”


2 thoughts on “Inside the Body of Relatives”

  1. Thank you for this story. (Inside the body of relatives) I am 61, live in an old house (built 1900) that requires a lot of DIY maintenance. Over my 35+ years living here I have grown to know every floorboard and corner of this creaky old place. I have 2 jokes with my family about living here :1) ” I know every floorboard personally, first and last name.” and 2) “You don’t buy and old Victorian, you marry one; you give it all your time and money and energy and it keeps you warm at night.”
    Your story is closest I have ever come to hearing my sentiments echoed back to me in another’s words.
    Thank you for that. It helps me to feel that I am a little less weird in this world.
    Debbie Esters
    debbieesters@yahoo.com ( no reply needed )

    1. I know you said a reply wasn’t needed, but I’d just like to thank you for commenting anyway! Old houses are almost alive, it seems sometimes, at least I like to think they are anyway, so I’m glad that came across to you.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s