by Jake Kerr
read by Heather Bowman-Tomlinson, Andrea Richardson, Bill Hollweg & Mat Weller
Links for this episode:
- Discuss on our forums.
- This story was first published in Lightspeed earlier this year.
- Sound effects for this story supplied by the following Freesound.org contributors: driet, lonemonk, Littleboot, klankbeeld, stevelalonde, blouhond, alexmol, bulbastre, Corsica_S, and gmarchisio
- Mentioned in the episode: narrators Bill Hollweg & Mat Weller are also appearing together in Brokensea Audio’s adaptation of the Planet of the Apes UK Stage Show and would love if you would give it a listen here: http://brokensea.com/potauk/
- For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page
from the author’s website…
I began writing short fiction in 2010 after a long career as a music and radio industry columnist and journalist. The second story I wrote and the first one I published, “The Old Equations,” appeared in Lightspeed magazine and went on to be named a finalist for the Nebula Award and to be shortlisted for the StorySouth Million Writers and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial awards. I’ve subsequently been published in Fireside Magazine, Escape Pod, and the Unidentified Funny Objects anthology of humorous SF.
I graduated from Kenyon College with degrees in English and Psychology. Kenyon not only taught me a love of reading and literature that will always be a part of my soul, it also gave me unique opportunities to be a better writer. While at Kenyon, I studied under writer-in-residence Ursula K. Le Guin and Peruvian playwright Alonso Alegria. Both have been big influences on how I approach writing.
While I continue to write short fiction, I am currently working on my first novel.
Biographical Fragments of the Life of Julian Prince
by Jake Kerr
In the early twenty-first century, author Lesley Hauge wrote an essay entitled “we are what we leave behind” to little fanfare. In the wake of the Meyer Impact in 2023, amidst the coming to terms with the shock and loss, the essay was rediscovered and rose to prominence with a new understanding that all we may know about half the planet is what they left behind.
Literary giant Julian Prince examined what–and more importantly–who we left behind. So it is entirely appropriate to examine his own life the way he examined those of the millions that died on that fateful day in 2023, by what he left behind–the interviews, the articles, his own words, and the words of others.
These are the fragments that make up the whole. For most of us that is all we have, and Prince knew that more than anyone.
So… Julian Prince… Julian Samuel Prince.
He was born on March 18, 1989, and died on August 20, 2057.
Prince was an American novelist, essayist, journalist, and political activist. His best works are widely considered to be the post-Impact novels The Grey Sunset (published in 2027) and Rhythms of Decline (published in 2029), both of which won the Pulitzer Prize. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2031.
Prince was a pioneer of Impact Nihilism, a genre that embraced themes of helplessness and inevitable death in the aftermath of the Meyer Impact. His travelogue, Journey Into Hopelessness (published in 2026) outlined Prince’s return to North America, ostensibly to survey the damage to his home state of Texas. The book’s bleak and powerful language of loss and devastation influenced musicians, artists, and writers worldwide, giving voice to the genre as a counter to the rising wave of New Optimism, which sprang out of Europe as a response to the Meyer Impact and the enormous loss of life.
Not much is known of Prince’s early life. He spoke rarely of his childhood, and with the loss of life and destruction of records during the Meyer Impact, little source material remains. What is known is that Prince was an only child, the son of Margaret Prince (maiden name unknown) and Samuel Prince. He was born in Lawton, Oklahoma, but moved to Dallas, Texas, when he was eight years old. In an interview before his death, Prince noted:
“I was a good kid, a boring kid. I didn’t cause trouble, and trouble didn’t find me. I studied hard and planned on being a journalist, figuring that I was better at observing the world than shaping it. I graduated high school, and continued with my journalism classes via the net. Up until the Impact, I was thoroughly and utterly average.”