Sale! “First Flight” to Tor

I call this my time-traveling Grandma story, which isn’t a spoiler, since the story opens with her standing in a time machine. I based the main character on my own grandmother.

When Patrick Nielsen Hayden bought it for Tor.com, he asked me to change the character’s name. Why? Because her name was Elois, just like my grandma.  The problem, though, is that at the end of H.G. Wells’s The Time Machine, he visits the Eloi.  Elois looked like a deliberate play on that, but didn’t go anywhere.  Once he pointed that out, I was only too happy to change the name.

Here’s a teaser of “First Flight.

Eleanor Louise Jackson stood inside the plain steel box of the time machine. It was about the size of an outhouse, but without a bench or windows. She clutched her cane with one hand and her handbag with the other. It felt like the scan was taking far too long, but she was fairly certain that was her nerves talking.

Her corset made her ribs creak with every breath. She’d expected to hate wearing the thing but there was a certain comfort from having something to support her back and give her a shape more like a woman than a sack of potatoes.

A gust of air puffed around her and the steel box was gone. She stood in a patch of tall grass under an October morning sky. The caravan of scientists, technicians and reporters had vanished from the field where they’d set up camp. Louise inhaled with wonder that the time machine had worked. Assuming that this was 1905, of course – the year of her birth and the bottom limit to her time traveling range. Even with all the preparation for this trip, it baffled her sense of the order of things to be standing there.


Edited to add August 25th: Whoops! If you are looking for Grandmas’s recipes, I linked to the wrong page.

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17 Responses

  1. -e-

    Oh Mary, this is splendid! Your grandmother, having kept her wits and spirit about her for so long, truly IS a time traveler… how wonderful that you created this story. Personally, I hope for a series of them- I want Rebecca to have a “time traveling Mary’s grandma” action figure!

    Truly can’t wait to read this one… must I travel to the future for it?

  2. momk

    We eagerly look forward to reading
    the rest of this story. What a talented
    grandaughter is Mary Robinette, gifted author
    able to celebrate her esteemed grandmother’s
    life in beautiful prose.

  3. Kelvin Kao

    Congrats! Ah, I remember back then when you were still deciding what to call the piece. And I like how you didn’t completely take out the name Elois; you just stretched it into Eleanor Louise.

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