This is probably my favorite story of the collection, for a variety of reasons. It felt completely natural to write and just seemed to flow (somewhat ironically, it was one of the most heavily edited, but Corissa was spot on with the tweaks and made it come across much, much clearer).
One of the things I wanted for this story was what it was not– science fiction. The whole thing takes place at a dinner party for a bunch of politicians and other high-class types. There are no spaceships, no flying cars, no lasers (well, one)- aside from a few allusions to the date and other planets, it’s not really science fiction, except by virtue of being part of a bigger scifi story. I always wanted to avoid being known as just a science fiction author, self-published author, but rather known for writing good books. Reviews are good, so far, and I think this story went a long way to that.
(MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD)
Story-wise, it’s a turning point in the book- it’s the most concrete allusion to Digger’s past (as well as the first time he comes into contact with an individual from it), and for the rest of the book, it’s all Digger, all the time. Well, not really, but everything begins to tie in to his story more directly. The whole idea behind a short story collection- especially one that serves as the introduction to the 3024AD universe- was that characters would cross paths (often unwittingly), see places and events through different eyes, etc, and after this story, all the pieces start to come together, both for Digger as an individual, and for events that shape the universe outside this collection.
Sabrina was a later addition to the overall storyline, but one I am extremely pleased with. A big part of Digger’s character is that he is always in control- his action is swift and decisive, and his conflicts come from what he’s running from. Even the couple times he is caught off guard (Temperance, The Gathering Storm), he quickly takes control of the situation. Sabrina gets the better of him, makes him question his own motives and path (more on that in the Temperance story notes).
Sabrina herself is fun to write, especially in this story (seriously, spoilers, y’all), because at first she appears to be what you expect- a vapid wife who married for political reasons and hosts dinner parties. But there is so much more to her, and you find out that she is done and wants to do something other than sit around and just take it from her pompous ass of a husband. There is, obviously, more of her in this collection, and she features prominently in future stories.
Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it!
P.S. The title is Latin for “The Hideous Masquerade”