“Stars are an invitation to imagine – we weave them into our understanding of the world that we live in as well as the possibilities that exist beyond it.”
It was that thought that inspired Tiffany Morris, a Mi’kmaw writer of speculative poetry from K’jipuktuk (Halifax) to pen ‘To The World Beyond The Sky,’ her 200-word entry in Stargazers.
As earth struggles through its last breaths, what remains of humanity plan their escape to an exoplanet in the sky. Among them is Sisip, who in her final moments on the land her ancestors called home, chooses to scrawl down their stories on a scrap of birchbark, so that she may continue to be passed down for generations. Lessons of the night sky, from an earth once below it, are saved to be told to her descendants destined to live among it.
“I find Indigenous cosmologies endlessly fascinating and wanted to incorporate some of my own cultural understanding and language-learning into a sci-fi story,” Morris tells AE. “ I’m also interested in how people conceptualize the apocalypse and space colonization, and wanted to explore how it might all come together when Earth is no longer habitable. What would space colonization mean for people whose culture and spirituality are tied to specific Earth geographies? How would those connections and concepts carry over to an entirely alien landscape?”
While “mostly!” and “usually!” a poet, ‘To The World Beyond The Sky’ is not Morris’ first look at microfiction, having previously contributed 55 55-word stories to one of the 555 anthology from Carion Blue 555. The form’s similarities and parallels to poetic writing are a major draw for Morris:
“You’re communicating ideas and themes in a more constrained space than in longer fiction or a novel. I found it interesting to take up that challenge and work through terrain that feels both familiar and unfamiliar.”