UPDATE: Read the Wonkette interview! http://happynicetimepeople.com/interview-jacob-clifton/
"While You Are Over There" is found-footage science fiction. Widescreen in scope and intimate in execution, it's the story of two scientists -- imagine Reed Richards and Sue Storm, on the brink of a public divorce -- riding the wave of journalism and popular sentiment to the top of the ratings charts... And contemplating an abrupt drop into the abyss.
Kirby Brendan and Jonah Hope, a futurist and an engineer, have spent the last fifteen years spinning a few defense contracts and media contacts into a whirlwind media flurry: Scientists of a new age, the spacefaring dreams of an entire globe hanging on their every adventure and discovery. Their snappy combination of Bravo-style reality TV and the scientific excitement of Neil Tyson or Bill Nye has brought a small Nat Geo channel down from the nosebleeds to become a water-cooler classic for families and intellectuals alike.
But years into their partnership, the cold has set in. An artificial intelligence, known to billions of viewers as their digital daughter, summons them to the orbital station they've paid for with fast talk, arms trading and photo opportunities. As the world looks on, Kirby and Jonah -- the faces of a new scientific optimism, the embodiment of a dream fulfilled -- are forced to reevaluate not only their personal values, but the reality of their marriage as a polemical act.
Through on-site media appearances and satellite-relayed reports, re-aired interviews and scenes never dreamt fit for public consumption, we track Kirby and Jonah's last journey into space, to a reconciliation that could spell the end of the world, as family myths and history -- and computational analysis -- recombine into a desperate gambit for survival... Not only for one married couple and their half-human, invented child, but possibly the Earth's fate itself.
JACOB CLIFTON is a writer and critic based in Austin, TX. Please visit jacobclifton.com for more info, and join the mailing list. This download includes most e-reader formats and the Serial Sampler #1, featuring Wasted Beauty and Outriding, and can also email the .mobi files directly, for easy forward to your Kindle.
"While You Are Over There" is a 25,000 word novella. It was written for Brendan Shucart, Caleb Kimpel, and Matthew Stockard White.