I've always regarded the short story form as a kind of laboratory where one can experiment with different styles and techniques without great commitment or risk. This new story represents my first venture into the uncharted waters of science fiction.
Thanks to Patti Roberts of Paradox Book Cover Designs for the wonderfully evocative cover design, which calls to mind the best and the worst of the 1950s science fiction I devoured by the crateful in my teens.
I came late to science fiction, encountering it for the first time at fifteen. My mother had brought home, I suppose from a second-hand bookshop, several enormous cartons full of old issues of F&SF and IASFM. I'd never encountered science fiction before, and it was an utter revelation to me. Over the course of a long illness that kept me at home alone for many weeks, I read my way through the lot. I'll never forget my excitement when, hunting through the out-of-order piles, I finally found the last episode of Lord Valentine's Castle. Or the first time I read the creepily recursive All You Zombies. Or my bitter frustration when I realised that in all those volumes, I only had the first two instalments of The Dreaming Jewels. My whole world opened up that year.
In the ensuing years, as I left school and started on adult life, I read my way through the complete oevres of Heinlein, Asimov, Sturgeon and Bradbury. My love of extreme and fantastic tales has never abated. And yet, when I set out to write myself, my own work was solidly set in the real world, in the Melbourne where I've lived for so many years.
So Professor Tomlinson's Last Experiment is an experiment for me too, but most of all it's a tribute to the great writers of yesteryear, who cheered the days and nights of a lonely, sick child.
Professor Tomlinson's Last Experiment is available in all formats at Smashwords.