A young child presses her face against the window and sees it’s snowing outside. Snow at Christmas! Excited, she jumps up and down and screams with excitement.
Her mother joins her and looks out at the snow. A small tree stands in the corner of the room.
“Mommy! Can I go out and play in the snow?”
“Yes, dear, you can go outside. But first let’s put on your special clothes.”
The girl looks out a triple-paned window. Their apartment is hermetically sealed. The Christmas tree is made of carbon composite, as trees have become rare.
The people who have not departed Earth for a terraformed Mars rarely leave their homes because outside is now a hostile place, though stories are told of times when the Earth was “lush with verdant forests and domed with azure skies.”
This tale is more of a sermon than a story, however, with an ending visible from the first paragraph. I hasten to add it is not bad. There is depth to it in the portrayal of the mother. She allows her daughter to enjoy the day, shielding her from the tragedy she feels.
I cannot say this is among my favorite stories. At the same time, I will not dismiss it.
According to his blurb, author Richard Bertram Peterson lives in California. He has several published works of fiction and creative nonfiction. This is his first published work of speculative fiction.
The story can be read here.
Author: Richard Bertram Peterson
First published: Daily Science Fiction, March 9, 2020