QSFer Amara Lynn has a new queer sci-fi book out (bi, non-binary, queer): Futures, Friends, and Other Firsts.
Sallon Lee is quiet, shy, and has no friends. They have no idea what they want for their future on the space station in which they live.
But they do know one thing: they have a huge crush on Ignis. The problem is, Ignis is so cool and popular, and has no idea who Sal is.
Sal has no chance with him.
Then a chance encounter throws the two of them together, and Sal finds themself forming a fast friendship with Ignis, thinking about their future, and other firsts.
Futures, Friends, and Other Firsts is a 6100 word sci-fi, solarpunk, hopepunk novelette that takes place in the same universe as Amara Lynn’s Tundras, Travelers, and Other Travesties, but can be read and enjoyed on its own.
The thing about Ignis is, it’s hard to get him alone.
He’s popular and charismatic, tall and lean, with golden brown skin, golden blond hair and pale blue eyes. He’s like the sun. Warm and bright, breathing life into everything his light touches.
Right now, he’s across the cafeteria, the other kids around him laughing at some joke he just told, and heaven what I wouldn’t give to be even the air particles in his vicinity.
Suns and stars, I’ve got it bad and I know it.
Get it together, Sallon Lee, I tell myself, clapping my hands on my cheeks and tearing my gaze away from my golden boy.
The thing about me is, I’m easily found alone.
I have no friends.
I’m quiet and timid, easily embarrassed, short and curvy, with plain wavy brown hair that I fluctuate between wanting to grow out and shaving. Currently it’s almost to my shoulders, and I like the way it hides my blush.
The mess hall is emptying. I’ve spaced out—I don’t know how long—and now I’ll probably be late to class. I hurry and throw my tray in the receptacle, breakfast half-eaten, but whatever, it’ll be used for compost.
Nothing gets wasted in space.
I make my way through the corridor, where normally I’d take a moment to enjoy the view of space through the windowed walkway ahead. Looking out at that empty space calms me somehow. It’s like it empties my mind and turns it into the same void I’m looking upon.
There’s no time for sappiness and poeticness today, though.
I jog through the walkway whenever no one’s looking—some of the sciencey adults will give you the stink eye for that—and make it through into the education corridor with mere seconds to spare. I can see our teacher coming down the other side, and I hurry again, but don’t run, since she’s seen me. I get through the door to class about five seconds before she does, and slip into my seat in the second row.
Last term, I was just a couple seats behind Ignis, so I was able to watch him sometimes. It was both a blessing and a curse. Often, I spaced out, watching the back of his golden head, holding my breath whenever his fingers passed through it. Was it as soft as it looked?
This term, he’s in the back row.
I wonder if he ever looks my way?
I doubt he does. He doesn’t know who I even am.
I mostly zone out during the lesson, staring down at the presentation that comes on over the display on my desk and taking in colors and shapes but not much else.
“Now, for the work study this afternoon,” the teacher says. “We’ll be touring the boiler room and doing an exercise on the pipeline infrastructure.”
There are a couple of groans, but I perk up.
The work study program is meant to provide onsite training to various areas of the station in an effort to educate and entice students on all the career paths available to them. Or something like that. There’s an informational thing about it that explains it all. We had to read it all in class when we were of age to begin the program, and it bored most of the class to sleep.
While the onsite part is usually more interesting, the pipelines are by far one of the least interesting things. I remember struggling not to doze off during the lecture on pipelines.
This would be interesting, since that means I have no idea what I’m doing. I imagine most of the class doesn’t have a clue, either.
The lecture concludes and our teacher tells us to regroup at the entrance to the boiler room in the maintenance sector after lunch.
For me, lunch is just time for me to helplessly stare from afar at Ignis. Even though I enjoy that, the more I do it, the more I just wish I weren’t such a shy coward. I try to keep my head down while I wait in line in the mess hall.
My tendency to be wrapped up in my own little world chooses then to bite me, of course. I bump right into someone’s back and immediately start stuttering an apology to the person I’d bumped into.
“Hey, it’s no big deal,” the person replies, and upon hearing that voice, I want to shrink away into tiny little microscopic bits of stardust.
Ignis, Ignis, Ignis.
Turn me to stardust. Let me fade away.
Instead, I’m going supernova, face burning up.
Don’t you know, it is a big deal? I want to say. I can’t ever say.
Amara Lynn has always been a quiet daydreamer. Coming up with characters and worlds since childhood, Amara eventually found an outlet in writing. Amara loves anything to do with pirates, villains and superheroes, angels and demons.
Amara is addicted to music and gets the most inspiration from moving songs and lyrics. When not writing, Amara usually reads, listens to podcasts, watches anime, plays a video game here and there (but mostly collects them), and takes way too many cat pictures.
Amara is non-binary/enby and queer and uses they/them pronouns.