"The Sky that Wraps the World Round, Past the Blue and into the Black" is a 2008 science fiction short story by Jay Lake. It is about a former astronaut who has traded his freedom to work on dangerous jewelry for a Chinese crime boss.
It was a dark and gritty night…
In the past few years there have been several dark-and-gritty stories about the future. (Nearly all of Paolo Bacigalupi’s stories come to mind.) Here is another one. While this is not a very action packed story, it does have some cool, unique ideas that I have never seen before – and that made me really enjoy it!
This is the story of a man who used to be famous, but now ekes out a living doing menial work for somebody who is rich. You know the type, right? Someone who blew his or her big chance and now is humiliated and paying for it? I do. Anyway, the protagonist of this story used to work in the vacuum of space, but now lives in a crowded Chinese city painting ancient space trinkets. But he has a deal with a local crime lord: basically he’ll stay alive as long as he continues doing good work. While he and the cook eye each other with suspicion, he suddenly gets word that the boss is coming to see him, and that is not good news at all – especially since there are lots of people who are clamoring for a piece of him!
Some Interesting Tidbits
- Word count: 4,187 (7 pages)
- Did you know that Jay Lake is a cancer survivor who blogs about politics, technology and health? Yep. Learn more about this fascinating science fiction author at his web site.
- Special thanks to SF Signal for pointing out this cool little story.
Where To Find The Sky that Wraps the World Round, Past the Blue and into the Black
- This short story was first published online in the March 2008 edition of Clarkesworld Magazine – where you can still read it for free.
- You can also find "The Sky that Wraps the World Round, Past the Blue and into the Black" in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Sixth Annual Collection.
Craving More SF Stories Like This One?
If you liked "The Sky that Wraps the World Round, Past the Blue and into the Black" then you may also enjoy “The Shangri-La Affair” by Lavie Tidhar – about a special agent who travels to Southeast Asia to find a unique virus engineered to bring peace.