The Cosmic Codex
The Cosmic Codex
"Little girls, like butterflies..."

"Little girls, like butterflies..."

Kyle Robert Annasenz closes out Daily Science Fiction with "There Are No Butterflies on Proxima B"
“Far Passage” by Brian S. Pauls, Copyright 2023; Digital illustration using Midjourney

by Brian Scott Pauls

On January 9, Daily Science Fiction brought us its last story, at least for now. There Are No Butterflies on Proxima B“ is a simple, yet brilliant piece of flash fiction by Kyle Robert Annasenz.

The story takes the form of a heartfelt letter from Tina to her friend and classmate Jon. Tina and her family are colonists arriving at Proxima Centauri. She left Jon and the rest of her elementary school class back home on Earth. In her letter, she asks about a group of caterpillars the class was raising when she departed. She longs to know how they are doing, because she’s learned there are no butterflies on their new world.

One of Heinlein's characters writes “Little girls, like butterflies, need no excuse.” Moving away at a young age is hard for many children. Annasenz tugs at our heartstrings because we know what Tina doesn't. I won’t tell you what that is, because it would spoil the story. Tina’s family may have good reasons for colonizing, but our sympathies are all with Tina. Annasenz teaches us every grand enterprise entails a human cost.

Michele Brasso and Jonathan Laden launched Daily Science Fiction in 2010. Last year, they announced it would “…go on hiatus, either temporary or somewhat longer.” For a dozen years, they’ve provided “…very short science fiction as broadly defined: sf, fantasy, slipstream, etc.” The sf community will miss their efforts.

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