Sarah Gailey invited me to participate in their newsletter as part of their Building Beyond series, which consists of a collection of worldbuilding prompts answered by various writers and fans. I had a ton of fun writing about the prompt, and I wanted to share it with you all here too in case you missed it on Twitter or at File770!
Martin Cahill of Erewhon Books was the other feature this month – I loved his story so much! Where I leaned in to the mystery of an unknown and intentionally obfuscated space object, Martin chose a different tact: perhaps, he said, the Mouth is kind.
Here’s a short taste of my piece. I hope you enjoy, and consider subscribing to Sarah’s newsletter! It is always delightful and well worth a read.
NASA has discovered a massive open mouth floating just beyond the edge of our solar system. It’s just a mouth. And it’s open.
Gailey: How is the mouth identifiable as a mouth if it’s not connected to anything else?
Christine: When I first visited the Mouth as part of the Ivory 1 team, it was clear why it wasn’t immediately identified as an actual mouth back in the day. It is not particularly reflective, and the lips and jaw are not shaped in quite the way one might expect. Although it is not made of stone, it nevertheless gives off a cave-like ambiance.
Back in 2034, before we’d sent crewed expeditions to the Mouth, we noticed that our probes were experiencing an inexplicable acceleration and deceleration cycle each time they neared the as-yet-unidentified Mouth. As you know, space is a vacuum – there wasn’t anything there to explain it. Nothing to create drag, nothing to create acceleration. That just wasn’t something that was supposed to happen. We noted that the intensity of the effect seemed to increase the closer the probes were to the Mouth and when they were in a direct line with it. It seemed to be, well, breathing. It was then that the Mouth hypothesis began to gain traction….