Nature Future Conditional

The story behind the story: How it feels to be swallowed by a black hole

This week, Futures is delighted to welcome back Gretchen Tessmer, who reveals the truth about How it feels to be swallowed by a black hole. Gretchen, an attorney/writer based in the US–Canadian borderlands of northern New York, last year introduced us to the Hive. You can find out more about her work by following her on Twitter. Here, she reveals what inspired her latest tale — as ever, it pays to read the story first.

Writing How it feels to be swallowed by a black hole

I’ve always been fascinated by black holes. I mean, who isn’t? There really could be anything in there. Or nothing, I suppose. Or everything! Your guess is as good as mine.

Well, honestly, yours is probably better…considering I’m going to die on the gravitationally time-diluted hill that says we’ll be able to crest the event horizon without spaghettification (what a word, right?) and see what’s happening in there.

Because otherwise, what a disappointment. Not to future scientists, who will probably have a much better grasp on what to expect once they get to the point where it all becomes knowable. But rather, for present me, who has a brain that loves unknowns and possibilities and kind of wants the other side to be a punchline or a black screen of infinitely rolling credits – With Special Thanks To Our Special Effects Department and Apologies, As Always, To The Dinosaurs…

This story originated as part of a writing contest. The prompt I was given led me to a sentient radio (à la the one in The Brave Little Toaster – anyone remember that cinematic semi-nightmare?)…but in the middle of writing that story, I suddenly became fixated on the idea that even radio waves can’t escape a black hole and had to write this one down instead.

So I typed “How It Feels To Be Swallowed By A Black Hole” at the top of a blank page and just went from there.


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