Where read: Free e-book from Tor and it's online here.
Length: 8,000+ words
Summary: A retired astronaut has another chance to go into space.
Memorable: Kowal's descriptions of inner conflict ring true. And the very touching scene that leads to the observation that astronauts also wear adult diapers. The end left me in tears.
Notable: I read this just before it won the 2014 Hugo Award Winning for Best Novelette — always so delightful when a story I love is loved by others and earns recognition.
"Because I wanted to be in the sky, weightless, and watching the impossibly bright stars. Because I didn’t want to watch Nathaniel die."Particularly lovely: How our bonds of love for each other transcend family ties or genetic links. How we are not alone.
Personal connection: As a hospice volunteer and part of a childless couple, I found this story particularly moving. It's a wonderful layer-cake of a love story. It reminds me of one of my favorite Alice Walker poems read in college on the back page of an issue of Ms. Magazine, "My Friend, Yeshi." This part:
Where the newness to old life
Babies are caught by hands they assumed were always waiting.
This is the true wine of astonishment:
We are notPairs well with: Islands by Marta Randall; Oz Reimagined: New Tales from the Emerald City and Beyond, an anthology edited by John Joseph Adams and Douglas Cohen.
When we think
About the author: Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of Shades of Milk and Honey (Tor 2010). Other stories to check out include: 2009 Hugo nominee “Evil Robot Monkey” and the 2011 Hugo Award-winning “For Want of a Nail”.