Non-Corporeal Recursion

My story “The First Confirmed Case of Non-Corporeal Recursion: Patient Anita R.” is up today on Strange Horizons!

(These author notes contain no spoilers for anything beyond the story’s first page.)

This piece doesn’t have a lot of secrets, no extensive authors’ notes. I might clarify that none of Anita’s science references are things I personally do; other than the choice of institution, her science life is not a window into mine. Well, except for the windowless basement lab. TRUE SUFFERINGS of a scientist’s life.

This story means a lot to me, but I don’t want to feed you an interpretation. Hopefully it touches you in some way that resonates with your own life. So rather than telling you what the story means to me, I can give a bit of its history:

I wrote this piece in fall of 2015, for the Codex 12th Annual Halloween Contest, where it took second place. The contest had a time limit and two rules: include something halloween-related (however vaguely or thematically), and use seeds given by fellow writers. I received the seed “the Halloween candy that you liked the least,” thus the role of candy corn1. I was more inspired by the chance to write something halloween-ish. When I began, I didn’t yet have a conflict or a plot, but I did have a character concept, one that had percolated in the back of my mind for a while:

In so many classic ghost stories, the spirit repeats and reenacts the moment of their death, again and again. I wondered: what – if anything – would that be like from the ghost’s point of view? And is there any way the ghost could move beyond that haunting state?

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  1. I don’t actually hate candy corn, but it seemed like the ideal Hateable Candy

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