H O N O R V I N C E N T
p r o c e s s n o t e s
I wrote this story many times before getting to this version. The first version was from the perspective of the person in control of the robot-drone posted outside a Siberian village. She’s tasked with culling a population of bears, but finds that what her overlay screen is showing is not reality: she’s been using the drone to terrorize people. Then I tried a version that removed the overlay entirely, where the person knew what they were doing. This is the third version. I didn’t love the other two, and I realized that it was not the perspective of the drone-driver I was after, but of the villagers besieged.
I took inspiration from a few different kinds of stories. In many ways this is a horror story, mostly Gothic, in that a newcomer enters a situation and a place that are haunted, and everything goes very differently than she expects. I think the heart of horror is deprivation: of information, of family, of the ability to flee or defend yourself, and that’s here, too. I think it could also be called a first-contact story – an alien presence arrives and upends people’s lives. But most importantly, I think this has always been a modern war story, about the beginning of a war started by people who want to remake a place without its citizens’ consent.