Misha Burnett on Small Worlds [Part 5]

What themes or messages do you hope to convey through these stories?

I tackle this subject in the introduction—which I’m told no one ever reads. (I always read short story collection introductions and afterwards, too, if there is one. But maybe I’m just weird.)

For those who may read this but won’t read that, let me summarize it with one line from the introduction:

“Small worlds need saving, too.”

I initially conceived the title, Small Worlds, as a reference to the fact that several of the stories take place on artificial worlds in space. As I was putting it together, though, I began to feel a more metaphorical meaning to the title.

We don’t really live in the world. It’s too big. In order to make sense of things we have to put up fences, to draw boarders around our little piece of the world and declare everything else off limits, out of bounds, beyond the pale.

That’s not a bad thing. It’s not a good thing, necessarily, it’s just how things are. No one—with the possible exception of some saints—can love the whole world. We can, however, love the ones who are close to us, the ones we see every day. It’s not always easy. In fact, some days it can be damned difficult. But it’s how we stay human.

This is why so many Science Fiction and Fantasy Epic Extravagances feel flat. Saving the world (or the universe) isn’t really something human minds can grasp. What we can focus on is saving ourselves and the ones we love.

Our own small world.

That’s what matters.

[Misha Burnett’s Small Worlds is live on Kickstarter through the end of the month. Also, if you missed it the other night, Misha was on Critical Blast with RJ Carter talking about the project.]


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