Facing the Firestorm
“Science fiction” and/or “speculative fiction” are genres of hope. And despite the many stories that describe darkness or downright destruction, this hope can help lead the world toward a progressively better future for an increasing number of people. Such fiction is the stuff of dreams—and dreams are conspicuously human.
Claudine Griggs writes about many topics in this collection—time travel, science gone right and wrong, bad guys and good guys, gender identity, social ostracism, death, who we are, and where we might be headed. But almost every tale examines some aspect of the human condition. We are traveling day by day into the future. Technology will expand. People will live and die, but I trust that humans will be recognizably human regardless of the scientific and industrial marvels that they find in ten years or a million. The author basically likes our species and believes in them. And in the long run, she doesn’t think social dystopias have a chance among humans, but rather that we’re headed for a bountiful civilization where good people do good things in quantities that far exceed the abilities of “bad guys” to hold us down.
Each tale in this collection examines some aspect of the human condition, sometimes dark and dystopian, sometimes optimistic, but always thought-provoking.
If you enjoy time travel, try “Neverland through the Looking Glass,” “The Self-Murder Solution,” or “One Million Years in a Day.”
“The Self-Murder Solution” describes a suicide crisis a few hundred years in the future from the point of view of a contemporary woman who tries to kill herself.
In “One Million Years in a Day,” an up-close survey of the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy goes awry when a pilot erroneously crosses the event horizon.
In “Neverland through the Looking Glass,” just about everything that can go wrong does, and the culpable scientific and military people try to undo the damage within a narrow window of opportunity.
The stories featuring trans characters are: “Informed Consent,” “Yes, Dear, Breast Cancer can Kill a Trans Woman,” and “The Gender Blender.” The author is a male-to-female transsexual, and these stories are drawn from her experience as an early transitioned (1974) trans woman.
Dystopian stories include “Ride the Snake,” “Maiden Voyage of the Fearless,” and “The Black Hole: A Tale for Men and Women Who Aren’t Trying to Kill Feminism.” “Ride the Snake” describes a “golden” future that is a little bit more than tarnished. “The Maiden Voyage” focuses on a miracle cure for anxieties of all kinds. “Black Hole,” is about the status of women in this world and our future world.
“The Cold Waters of Europa” (a recreational diving expedition goes wrong with the help of eco-terrorists), “Helping Hand” (a stranded astronaut proves that she is seriously tough), or “Raptures of the Deep” (what could possibly turn sideways when exploring the Mariana Trench?) are hard sci fi.
If you want a little humor, there are “Growing Up Human” (cybernetic creatures try to be like people), “The Mimic” (one character accuses the other of being an alien and vice versa), or “Aliens Anonymous” (a quasi-twelve-step program for alien abductees). “Electro Genesis” is about a woman who survives an electric jolt to the brain. And in “Center of the Universe,” astronomers begin to worry when all the stars except Sol appear to be growing dimmer.
In “The Predator Trap,” a quirky entomology student solves a missing-person mystery and discovers a new species. “Crime Warp” mixes science fiction and fantasy when a junior professor discovers that worldwide crime rates are falling. “Death After Dying” takes a look at the possibility of post-mortem brain waves and quasi-life-after-death experiences. And “The Final Launch” centers on an Air Force Colonel who will stop at nothing to launch her missile. “The Conservationist Hunter,” is an adult fairy tale about big-game hunting on a lush alien planet.
FIRESTORM by Claudine T. Griggs is available on Amazon.Buy the ebook at your favorite digital bookstore!
Meet the Author
Claudine Griggs earned her BA and MA in English from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and taught college level writing for roughly 25 years at Rhode Island College, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Soka University, University of Rhode Island, and the Daniel Morgan Graduate School of National Security. She is currently semi-retired but works as a part-time writing specialist at the Bush School of Government and Public Service.
Claudine has published three books about transsexuals and transgender issues. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in many journals and magazines, and her short story “Helping Hand” was the basis for an episode in Netflix’s “Love, Death & Robots.” Claudine’s novel Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was released on June 1, 2020.
She lives in Virginia with her wife, Karen, and their cat, Tru Blu.