Before Gravity there was Gerald’s Star: a story about a long-dead astronaut circling the earth in a decaying orbit, his cosmonaut crew mate, and his son…all destined to be reunited in the weathered rocks of Moab, Utah.
The relationship between men and between fathers and sons is a study of understatement, often revealed more by selective silence than by words, and emotions are masked, controlled, and conveyed with a simple gesture: a shrug, a glance, a nod, a raised glass of alcohol.
Backstory: Inspiration for this story came to me in the fall of 2002. Before I could put it to paper, the space shuttle Columbia disintegrated over Texas and Louisiana during its reentry on February 1, 2003. Thus, real life circumstances prevented me from completing a fictional work with some similarities to a real tragedy.
Five years later, after Soldier Dead had been published, I decided that enough time had passed after the Columbia disaster and I completed the first version of Gerald’s Star in the fall of 2009. I chose to take the ebook route and learn about self-publishing and marketing.
At the time of completing this novella, I made a mental note that it was the best I could do at that time. I distinctly remember telling myself to come back to it when and if I ever felt I had made a leap forward in writing skill.
Now, after two years on a major fiction novel (blessings and good wishes accepted!), I revisited Gerald’s Star. A rewrite over the course of a few weeks resulted in cutting the word count from 25,000 to just over 19,000. Gone were wasted words, extended descriptions, and sidetracks. I kept only that which I felt moved the story along but still retained material that lent richness to the tale. I will be curious to see how it is received.
A long-dead astronaut circling the earth in a decaying orbit, his cosmonaut crewmate, and his son are all destined to be reunited in the weathered rocks of Moab, Utah. A Chekhovian novella in which the reader peels away the characters’ layers like an onion until only the tender core remains.