From me to all of you, here’s a Christmas story from the far-future Arctic city of Longyearbyen. The short story «A Lion Roars in Longyearbyen” was published today in Slate Magazine! Hope you’ll enjoy it.
The story was published on the Future Tense pages, a fantastic partnership of Slate Magazine, New America, and Arizona State University (Center for Science and the Imagination) that examines emerging technologies, public policy, and society. The Future Tense project publishes one original short story per month, and my story was the December story.
Each story on the Future Tense is accompanied by a commentary from an expert in an area related to the story, be it genetics, waste management, artificial intelligence, or something else. The list of contributions is very impressive, with stories from great authors such as Nnedi Okorafor, Ken Liu, Indrapramit Das, Premee Mohamed, Cat Rambo, Chinelo Onwualu, to name a few. You can read all the stories and expert responses at https://slate.com/tag/future-tense-fiction.
I am so chuffed and honoured to be invited to contribute with a short story. Thank you so much to the fabulous Future Tense team – Joey Eschrich, Andres Martinez, Mia Armstrong-López, and all the others. I learned so much working closely together with Andres as my editor on the story.
“A Lion Roars in Longyearbyen” takes place on the Svalbard archipelago several centuries into the future. The city of Longyearbyen boasts of having the world’s last real lion in its zoo. One day, while the city is in the midst of the season’s celebrations, the lion disappears. The rumor of its disappearance spreads quickly, and an old hunter – who has long dreamed of hunting and killing a real animal – decides to visit the city.
And read Christopher Preston’s response to my story («The Dawn of the Synthetic Age») here: https://slate.com/technology/2022/12/margret-helgadottir-lion-roars-extinction-synthetic-age.html Thanks! Preston is professor of environmental philosophy and wildlife recovery at the University of Montana.
The beautiful art is by Rey Velasquez Sagcal.
It was so fun to be able to write a story again about Svalbard and Longyearbyen, a magical place I was so fortunate to visit earlier this year.
The story is the first I have finished in several years. Getting back into the writing (and more importantly, finishing the writing projects) has been very good for me. I have a book filled with story ideas but I have struggled with finding the time to write. English is also not my native language and I use awfully lots of time on the writing. Thanks so much to good friends. First, to Chris Galvin for helping me out with the English language. And to Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay for supporting me in my writing and editing.
Being asked to write with a deadline not only forced me back into writing but it also caused me to continue with the writing, yay!, so I have actually written and finished two more stories this year (one for the University of Oslo, see here, and one currently out on submissions, looking for a home) – both futuristic science fiction stories. Inspired now, I plan to write a new book next year, not science fiction but something quite different. More about this later.
I took the picture of the lion street art in Reykjavik a few years back.
Hope you’ll like my story, and I wish you a merry Christmas. God jul! Happy Yule! Happy Holidays! Gleðileg jól!