As far as anthologies go, Venus was easy. If I couldn’t write some sort of a love story, I obviously wasn’t doing my job.
Let’s face it, when the original calls for the Planetary series came out, I had only just finished a quartet of urban fantasy / romance novels. If I couldn’t handle a lousy short story, I should hang up my pen, pack up my word processor, and take up a job in plumbing. Though I should probably do that anyway. Let’s face it, it would probably be more profitable…
I had put together three short stories for the Venus anthology.
The first story was Cupid’s Sniper Rifle, a short set in the Codename: Winterborn universe, years before the bombs fell. It was a love story about the parents of Nevaeh Kraft, Lance and Jennifer. The Assassins Guild was based round Venus Victorious. Love of people mean that they kill the pathological before they can do more damage. Their motto is “No greater love than this, than a man would lay down cover fire for his friend.”
… That one didn’t make it.
A second one was called “Crazy Love,” a Galadren short story — a story around Middle Earth’s Most Wanted Elvin Assassin, set in the Pius universe. You’ll actually be seeing that one. Honest. One way or another.
The third one, and the one that was accepted, was another Sean Patrick Ryan, space ranger short. Unlike his first appearance in Astounding Frontiers #1, and even in Mercury, it’s later in his career, where he has a team, he’s married, and he’s doling out relationship advice.
Yes, relationship advice. On a solar system cruise doing the Mercury to Pluto run, hence the title: “Love Boat to Venus.”
Then someone tries to hijack the cruise, and we turn into Die Hard on the Love Boat. Which, if that doesn’t catch your interest, I have nothing for you.
This one was probably helped by the fact that it was the one of the three stories that actually had the planet involved… sorry, but if you look up Venus, you’ll note that not only is it the hottest planet in the solar system, but the atmosphere is dotted with clouds of sulfuric acid. Yikes. Even terraforming the dang thing seems like a wasted effort.
“Love Boat to Venus” is the only way I can see doing a story on Venus… short of having a battle in EVA suits where the solution is to crack open the antagonist’s suit and kick him into the sulfuric acid clouds to be eaten alive…
[Pauses to make a note to write that fight scene]
But yeah, but that isn’t exactly a story to run past an anthology studying themes of love and romance. And let’s face it, I put a lot of details into fights that probably last less than twenty seconds or so. They’re 3D chess games that go out of control. Therefore, if I made that EVA fight into a short, it would be the entire short.
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