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Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea by Sarah Pinsker

Welcome to Short Fiction Friday! Every Friday, Black Forest Basilisks will be shining a spotlight on a new short story, novelette, or novella in addition to our regular posts. These stories will usually be available for free online, but occasionally stories from published anthologies will also be featured. 

This story is available online for free at: Lightspeed Magazine. Click through to read! It is also featured in Sarah’s short story anthology of the same title. 

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‘The rock star washed ashore at high tide. Earlier in the day, Bay had seen something bobbing far out in the water. Remnant of a rowboat, perhaps, or something better. She waited until the tide ebbed, checked her traps and tidal pools among the rocks before walking toward the inlet where debris usually beached.’

Sarah Pinsker eases you in to an unexpected future in her short story, Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea. It begins with a woman living alone along the beach; Bay scavenges that which washes ashore for a living. She uses the flotsam and jetsam that falls overboard from the large cruise ships which now dominate the seas to sustain her meager lifestyle. One day, it’s not a few odds and ends of supplies which wash ashore… but rather a young rock star. A bassist. 

Gabby is near death when Bay snatches her from the sea. She’s sunburnt, starving, and has nowhere to go. This story hints at her circumstances, capturing a small slice of what our future might hold. It is often hopeful and optimistic, despite the dire circumstances. Although there is much to mourn and many communities which have become toxic and insular, others have simply moved forward to develop a new life. 

Pinsker’s voice shines through in every line. Much of her work is influenced by her love of music; she is a singer and songwriter with three albums across several small independent labels. This short story is no exception. Bay and Gabby come together in large part due to sharing a history of music. I had the good fortune to hear her perform a reading of her first full novel, A Song for a New Day, at Capclave 2019 in Rockville Maryland – I couldn’t help but hear the inflections and tone she used while reading within this story. Even if I had not had that touchstone, her style is both heartfelt and distinct. 

Although the denouement is left open ended, I can’t help but feel an underlying hope that everything comes out okay. And if it doesn’t, well, in the grand scheme of things… sooner or later, everything does fall into the sea, whether we like it or not.

This story is available online for free at: Lightspeed Magazine. Click through to read!

Past Short Fiction Friday featured stories can be viewed on my archives page.

Have you read this story? What did you think? Do you have any questions about it?

Let me know in the comments below!