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Toward the topics: "Rogue Planets & Unusual Friendships"

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Mouse of Small Things: Bio
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Author's Commentary: "Mouse of Small Things"

Very excited about this one! This is the first (of many, I hope) audience-selected topic, and I really like how the story came together. As usual, from the topic, it started with an idea about an unusual friendship on this rogue world no one knew about. And the friendship got deeper and deeper as the years went along. As I was writing, I liked the idea that Rabbit’s motivation for improving himself was in service of caring for Mouse. I think that makes the friendship that much more meaningful. The image I began with was the moment they were reunited, but I knew the story ultimately was not going to be “about” that, and it got bigger than I understood at the outset.

I could go through about ten different choices I made when I started writing “Mouse” that I made deliberately and I wasn’t completely sure why—like the narrative posture, for one; like focalizing the story through Paltivi and highlighting his frustrations so much to frame it. And then those choices made perfect sense the second I was at the keyboard and Rabbit said, “Would you like to hold him?” It seems like every week a moment like that is happening. And as I go back through during editing, reading, editing the audio, and publishing, I find things in the stories that I didn’t understand why I’d written at the time; but when the story is complete, there’s something bigger there than I’d anticipated. So I guess all that Muse I’ve been listening to recently is paying off!

I also realized as I was writing that the story of a genetically-enhanced mouse friendship will definitely have some familiarity for sci-fi fans. I have a copy of Algernon that I bought a few years ago and still haven’t read (shame, Rowe :-{ ), but I know enough about the story to think that we’re far enough off the map, that at worst, this is a hat tip rather than a cheap knock-off 😊 Ultimately, the story is really not about the mouse or the android but the human they encounter.

I found myself thinking about both friendship and brothers a lot this week. Ultimately, brotherhood took this one over. It is fitting that I was thinking about brotherhood all week, as the day of publication, March, 23, was my late brother’s wedding anniversary and the day before his birthday, so I’m always thinking about him this week. I didn’t really understand how important it was for Paltivi to have a brother until he had that moment, and of course it’s by chance that Mouse brings him back from the brink by calling Rabbit his brother. Then the story has to end with his brother.

I’ve been blessed with three of the best siblings this world could possibly offer, and those friendships, apart from the special bond of a spouse, might be the most meaningful kind of life-long friendship a person can have. So I hope this story reaches people in a meaningful way, and to the extent it does, it’s mostly because I have such a deep well on the sibling front!

Thanks for reading and listening, and we’ll see you next week!


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