Tales from a Dying Planet, or, 11 Stories, or, Mythology of Future Earth

These are stories about addiction, and cults, and ignorance, and immortality; about syncretism and agnotology; about children, shadows, and doors.

… at best. I guess we'll find out.

#0 - Sinking - An engineer repeatedly wakes from cryosleep to repair a ship on a 1,000-year-long journey. He pieces together the changing culture of the ship through these brief glimpses, and in-between, he dreams of strange worlds.

This is a story about religion and collapse.

#1 - The Ships Came - Alien immigrants navigate a hostile Earth. They offer a promise of salvation - wealth that humanity seems unwilling to accept.

This is a story about xenophobia.

#2 - The Witchy Woman - A tree-sitter befriends a Park Ranger and shares her memories of the last Wilderness of Earth.

This is a story about burning books.

#3 - The Ark - A false prophet struggles to control an Arc full of White Nationalists floating in the tepid Atlantic Ocean of a post-apocalyptic Earth.

This is a story about tyrants, marijuana, vomit, and racism.

#4 - Ivory Tower - Twin sisters balance their mania and depression to work a high power job in the global climate change initiative. The rich live in luxury in a declining America, where denial, blame, hate, and prayer color attempts to halt climate change.

This is a story about coping.

#5 - The Lost Boys - This one is still congealing, but it’s something about young men living in tech serfdom, law enforcement officers, systems of oppression, and gender.

#6 - How to Live with Dignity on a Dying Planet - A generation plagued by societally-induced anxiety and depression seeks meaning and purpose on a dying planet.

This is a story about millennials.

#7 - Take Me to Your Dealer - An injured alien visitor makes first contact with a homeless man, and navigates downtown San Francisco with the help of a reputable drug dealer.

This is a story about drugs.

#8 - The Walk - Long-distance hikers explore the Wilderness of an unfamiliar planet, where advanced technology is being used to monitor their health and cognitive function.

This is a story about the Pacific Crest Trail.

#9 - A Bit of Sacrifice - In an unrecognizable future, immortality comes with some unnerving sacrifices.

This is a nightmare.

#10 - The Girl Before Time - An alien girl explores the history of the human race.

This is a story about permanence, the World Destroyers, and redemption.


I have some stories to tell. It has been 4 months since I broke my leg and I have written almost every day during that time. I wrote the skeleton of a whole damn book before realizing how big a project I was taking on, and returning to the wisdom of Ray Bradbury, who said “you can spend a whole year writing a novel and it might not turn out well, because you haven’t learned to write yet. The best hygiene for beginning writers is to write a hell of a lot of short stories.” So I wrote a lot of short stories - bad ones, good ones, and ones I liked well enough to flesh out into something maybe worth sharing. Right now there are 11 of them under the working title “Tales from a Dying Planet,” and in the spirit of Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man,” the first story encompasses the rest. They are stories about addiction, cults, cognitive abnormalities, agnotology, syncretism, hate, and immortality. They take place in the future, some on Earth, others in unfamiliar worlds.

I’m not finished yet, I’m not even completely finished with a single story, but the collection is about half written and each story now lives and breathes in my subconscious with the intensity of memory. They are wonderful things to write, and writing them has entailed research into science and technology and human psychology and a myriad of other topics that have woven themselves into the telling of these stories. If this project produces nothing more, it has fueled my desire to learn and understand the world, and given me fictional worlds to explore with enthusiasm.

I have no idea what I’m doing and will be searching for readers and editors and cheerleaders and providers of constructive criticism and advice in the coming months. I have no allusions of my work being very good or very well-received, but I hope it’s good enough to be published somewhere in print, and if not, I’ll try again.

I owe my mom and enormous debt of gratitude. She provided me a free place to live while I healed, and in doing so gave me the opportunity to work in earnest on my writing. This experience has been life changing, and I am so grateful to have had a place to learn and grow, practice my craft, and outline several writing projects I hope to finish in the years to come. By the end of this month I will have written for almost 1,000 hours, 9,000 more and I might even get good at this shit.

Kelly Kate Warren