Author Spotlight: Monique Cuillerier
The opening story in Bikes Not Rockets is Monique Cuillerier's "Leaving." Her sad, dreamlike tale of a woman caught between the past and future on a dying Earth perfectly captures the crossroads theme of the book. If you stick around for Bikes in Space volume 6, you'll get to read another of Monique's stories. It's very different, but continues to explore themes about the hard choices we make and how we connect big picture, galactic politics with our most intimate relationships. I'm so pleased to have found Monique's writing and can't wait to read her novel when it comes out!
Here's a smiling portrait and her interview answers:
Tell me about your story—what inspired it?
This story came out of considering the effects of climate change and its likely effects and what that will mean in practical, day to day terms for individuals. The question of what will happen to the coasts is one that has really stuck with me, that they would be there but submerged, gone but not entirely. And I started considering the impact on Canada in particular (the town in my story is based on Lunenburg, Nova Scotia).
In your story, the main character needs to make a difficult choice between staying in the place she loves (though clearly she's a bit stuck), or moving on to a new life in a literal new world. What does this represent to you, in terms of the choices we're faced with in the current era?
I am really intrigued by the opinions people have about staying on Earth and putting the time/money/effort in trying to mitigate, to the extent we can, the effects of climate change (and other human-caused damaged) versus putting that time/money/effort into the exploration of and eventual immigration to the Moon, Mars, or elsewhere. I find myself stuck in between, wanting both (or some unknown third option). But this choice between staying and trying to fix something we've all but broken and leaving to build something new can apply as easily to personal relationships of all sorts as to issues around our planet and where humans end up. How do we assess what is fixable? When do we cut our losses? Is leaving necessarily an admission of failure or can it be a necessity?
What does bicycling mean to you?
It's complicated! I live in an urban area and I don't drive, so I walk or bike (and occasionally take public transit). I am very pro-bike, but at the same time I am a hesitant cyclist and I don't like hills (my partner finds this inexplicable).
If there anything you're working on or involved in right now that you'd like to share?
I'm almost finished a novel about a cargo pilot who finds herself leading an exploration mission to Saturn's moon, Enceladus. I'm always working on short stories, too (I have a piece of flash fiction in Queer Sci Fi's upcoming anthology). And I am starting to outline my next novel, an SF adventure story about an asteroid miner.
Anything else you'd like to say?
I am so happy there is a place for my work in Bikes Not Rockets. I grew up loving SF, but feeling left out of it. That there is somewhere that will publish my version of the SF I always wanted to read is a wonderful thing.
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