Perihelion Science Fiction

Sam Bellotto Jr.

Eric M. Jones
Associate Editor


This is the Hardest Thing I Do All Day
by Alexandra Grunberg

by Fábio Fernandes

Sixteen Tonnes
by Robert Dawson

It’s Not What You Think
by Davyne DeSye

Dreams of Clay
by J. Rohr

Mundane Applications
by Philip Margolies

by Eric Del Carlo

My Parking Space is Near the Door
by Gustavo Bondoni

Shorter Stories

Clothes Make the Man
by Peter Wood

For All Time
by Simon Kewin

You Belong to Me
by Tom Borthwick


More Than “Zarathustra”
by Dennis W. Green

When Words Divine
by John McCormick



Comic Strips





For All Time

By Simon Kewin

SAM WAS AWAY IN THE highG probe when Corva emerged from her torpor. It took a few moments for his absence to register. Had he said something about leaving the station? Perhaps. Azurite torpor wasn’t like human sleep. Although she’d only been unconscious for an hour it went much deeper, approaching total biological shutdown. Always took time for her brain to sort itself out.

It was an old joke between them. Sam could wake and be up and about in minutes. For her it was another hour, or more, before she could string words together. One of many differences between their species. Another thing they’d adjusted to, laughed about, in sixty years of being together. She wasn’t, strictly speaking, even a she. Such things were more fluid for an Azurite. This was simply how they’d arranged things, made it work.

When the hab finally decided to stop spinning, Corva rose and padded across to their little kitchen, pressing the buttons for hot kva. Another difference. Keen to try what he liked, she’d sampled tea and coffee over the years. She’d enjoyed neither. Many human foods were completely tasteless to her. Pointless, too, the caffeine being inert to Azurite biology. Kva, on the other hand, was like standing under a shower of cool water. Just a shame the drink was toxic to Sam. Puny human that he was.

Sipping the kva, she switched the screen to show her the black hole. Charon station orbited much farther away than the pictures suggested, an array of highG beacons relaying the imagery. The glow of the photon sphere was something she could never grow tired of. Sam had to be down there somewhere, skimming as close to the event horizon as he dared, sampling the trapped radiation. They’d learned a lot over the years. It was just the two of them and the black hole. They both thought of it as theirs. Humans and Azurites had much in common.

He’d been troubled of late, though. She was an expert at reading human expression now. Something was on his mind. More than once she’d found him in one of Charon’s more distant observation pods, literally staring into space. Only when he became aware of her presence did expression return to his features.

Life-expectancy was another difference between them. They’d always known it. It was one of those topics so big it barely got mentioned. Azurites lived three or four times longer than humans. She teased him about it. Humans were so weak they fell apart after only a hundred, a hundred and fifty years. He, likewise, would joke about how long it took her to perform some analysis, come to some decision. It was, they both knew, a way of laughing at the inevitable. She was twenty years older but would probably outlive him by two or three hundred years.

But she loved this gentle, quick-witted, quick-moving human with all her hearts. More and more, she’d found herself thinking she’d be glad they’d had these years together. One way her mind steeled itself for the day he was no longer there. Like lovers the galaxy over, same-species and hetero, they’d vowed to stay together for all time, knowing in the back of their minds what all time really meant.

Needing to hear his voice, an unfocused dread taking hold inside her, she called the highG probe. He was still near enough for his responses to reach her. When he replied she could tell, despite the electronic noise, something was wrong. He sounded defensive, like he’d been caught in the middle of something shameful.

“I thought you’d be in torpor for another hour.”

“Something brought me out of it. What are you up to?”

There was a fuzz of static before he replied. “Corva, I’m sorry. I didn’t want it to be like this. I couldn’t bring myself to tell you.”

Ice trickled through her. “Tell me what?”

Another burst of white noise, then his calm voice emerging from the fuzz. “About the medscans. They were very clear, I’m afraid. Ninety-nine percent certainty. The tumours have metastasised. Our puny human biology, right?” She could hear the note of humour in his voice despite the distance. Despite everything.

“What are you doing, Sam? Come back and we’ll talk about it.”

He ignored her, almost like he’d prepared a speech. “I’m old, Corva. Old for a human. We both know it. I wish I could stay with you but I can’t. Except if I do this.”

“Do what? What are you doing?”

“I wanted you to simply wake up and see. I didn’t want to say good-bye. Because in a way I’m not.”

Humans. They were so impetuous with their stupid, short lives. They got an idea and within minutes they were acting on it. “Sam, this is madness. Come home.”

He ignored her. “And this isn’t to be a duty, understand Corva? When the time comes, find a new life. New love. I want you to do that. OK?”


“Now I’ll be a part of your beloved photon sphere. Stretched out, slowly getting dimmer, but always there if you look closely enough.”


He didn’t reply again. Zooming to maximum magnification Corva saw him exiting the probe, saw the flare of his thrusters as he decelerated hard. It would be over quickly. The black hole would pull him in and in an instant he’d be gone.

Except for her, watching from outside, it would be different. Gravity would slow the escaping light, make his fall into the black hole last an eternity. She’d always be able to see him, hanging there in space. A last gift, the only way he could live on with her.

For all time. END

Simon Kewin is a member of the British Science Fiction Association and the Codex Writers’ Group. His stories have appeared in “Nature,” “Daily Science Fiction,” “Abyss & Apex,” and elsewhere. He is signed to December House as a novelist.



also by Simon Kewin


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