So what’s it about? I’ll start with the little blurb I wrote for it:
In the solar system of the near future two young woman, beset by acne and fat they can’t get rid of, resolve to do whatever it takes to become the women of their dreams, leading them to a cryogenic medical spa floating in the atmosphere on Saturn. While there they’ll sweat the fat off in temperatures cold enough to nitrogen to bubble, meet the daredevil-astronaut-turned-doctor who owns the place, and turn their lives around in time to enjoy their trip back to Earth on a nuclear-powered spaceliner, all because they had the courage to enter the maw of the coldest inferno.
I touched upon some of the themes included in this story in a previous blog post “Living Dangerously on the High Frontier”, if you’d like to check that out.
This story about a singer and a chess player who turn into tiger-walking sluts of space, and smoking hot ones at that, while previously being prevented by dual maladies (obesity and acne) from realizing their beauty, is superficially similar to “Dear Future Me”, but there’s no real romance involved there, no assuming of a new identity, just an extreme makeover. And the experience of a very unusual suite of therapeutic techniques, the exotic atmosphere of Saturn, and the girls’ encounter with the rather fascinating character of Doctor Tziporah, the proprietor of the cryogenic medical spa.
So fascinating I’ve toyed with the idea of including her in some different stories; she’s got a lot of potential, that woman.
I quite enjoyed making this story, since I wanted to maximize joy in the writing process, rather than dragging things out and elaborating upon them to hit some minimum novel length of 40,000 words; this story weighed in at around 15,000 words, not too different from the equally enjoyable “Night of the Calendars”, which weighed in at 17,000 words. Less than 10,000 is a short story, which usually strikes me as too short, whereas more than 40,000 words is a novel, which is usually (though not always) ponderous for me to write; I usually get kinda sick of writing the story by the time I can reach novel length.
Between them, 10,000 to 40,000 words, is the novella, and the shorter end of the novella range seems to be a sweet spot for me. Long enough to have a real story and simultaneously impress an atmosphere upon the reader, and also get in some characterization, but while still being fast-paced and not too complicated a plot.
Anyway, if any of the material in this short sweet little tale interests you, I encourage you to crack open “The Coldest Inferno”!