SOLARIS RISING 2 Countdown To Launch (T minus 0 Days): Martin Sketchley's favourite short SF story

The moment is upon us, folks - tonight, editor Ian Whates will be joined by authors Paul Cornell, James Lovegrove, David Mercurio Rivera, and Martin Sketchley will gather at Waterstones Gower Street in London to officially launch Solaris Rising 2!

Available for preorder online, including and indiebound, this cosmic collection is jam-packed with SF short stories that explore man's efforts to leave this humble dot of blue in a sea of black, and all this week on the Solaris blog, the collection's authors are talking about the short story form and their favourite examples of it from SF.

Martin Sketchley's choice is Grownups, by Ian R MacLeod...

"Sometimes a short story has such impact that the moment of first reading sticks with you forever. And if you happen to be a writer, such a story can influence the course of your own work. In my case one such story was Ian R MacLeod’s Grownups.

"Grownups is set in a familiar world. We recognise, empathise, are made comfortable. It soon becomes clear, however, that this familiarity is deceptive, and that we are reading about something distinctly other. Grownups are adults, right? Well, kind of. And you know what an uncle is? Think again. This otherness is for me one of SF’s most interesting facets.

"Not only is Grownups intriguing, it is also written in MacLeod’s beautiful, gentle style: simple, relaxed, but with glorious flourishes, it sucks in the reader with its beguiling nature.

"Reading Grownups again now, I find it as engaging and, indeed, inspirational, as when I first read it twenty years ago. The copy I have is in the 1993 edition of Best New SF 7, edited by Gardner Dozois. It’s a big, heavy volume. The paper is creamy and crispy and has that old book aroma. It’s the perfect container for this classic SF story."

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