How Windows Encumber a Woman: A scene from The Legend of Hero Constance

Slide1My brother emailed a Kickstarter link for Colorado developer Judy Tyrer’s project Ever, Jane: a role-playing game set in Jane Austen’s Regency world. After becoming a backer, my thoughts turned to an old work in progress: The Legend of Hero Constance, an SF novel and “Here Come the Brides goes to the moon and finds Jane Austen’s world” story.  The book spans Seattle from a few years after war has decimated Earth leaving few men and many women to a thriving lunar colony with many men and few women.  Former resistance fighter Sienna Kingston and a contingent of women travel to New Tacoma hoping to marry regolith miners.  Between fittings for ball gowns and men who come courting with Regency manners, an old enemy threatens their new home.

Last February I revised two pages near the end of the novel for a Gotham Writer’s Workshop assignment–a prompt to write about windows.

Warning: possible spoilers…


My sister sent me to collect cranberries for dinner that evening, but even before I crossed the valley to where Farmer Carlson’s bogs lay, I stopped, arrested by the afternoon earthlight illuminating the eastern farmlands of New Tacoma and coloring the amaranth fields burgundy. Miles away, the curve of the dome reflected light in hues of burnished gold.

Finding a flat spot on the weedy hillside, I sprawled, not caring if the fine lunar silt stained the coveralls. The blasted turbine had already done that.

Since the trouncing of Onstiamne and his troops, I’d been awarded no less than seventeen honors including six New Tacoma militia medals and unlimited oranges from Bob’s general store. Last week they announced number eighteen, which I felt moved to decline. It came with an item too burdensome to contemplate.

Seems like my whole life, since Seattle’s 600 Day Battle to living in the city ruins to traveling to the moon to fighting the Miter again, had been confounded by windows of one kind or another. Through the 600 Day Battle, I’d looked through bore sites, fighter canopies or goggles. In the aftermath, I’d assembled and tested visors of lunar mining suits or peered through windows with blackout drapes. On the shuttle, I’d watched the moon approach through monitors and portholes. On the moon and in the battle for it, I’d looked through domes, screens, and blast shields.

Glass had far too long separated me from normal.

They’d planned awarding me the window at the Port Auditorium, its first event since the rebuilding. Georgiana, who’d married her sweetheart from the foundry, told me this window would be even finer than the one made for the dormitory.

“The panes are real glass and etched with a special design, but don’t ask me of what as that’s a surprise. The frames are round, of regolith that’s been stripped of the 3H, ground, and mixed with resin. You’d swear it was real amber.”

Beside attending another discomforting endless dragged out ceremony and having one more window piled up in my life, someone would surely want to know where I intended to put the thing.

I hadn’t a clue.

I was about the last unmarried woman in New Tacoma, and they’d be closing the dormitory soon. I wasn’t about to join the few setting out for Mars and more husband prospects next week. After too many tea parties and one dreadful ball, I’d decided to extricate myself from the mail order bride hopefuls. Although I knew nothing about crops, I’d signed papers for leasing a cottage (more of a hut) and a small field. I’d obtained seeds for three different varieties of red cabbage, a manual and the use of Farmer Carlson’s tool shed. He’d been more than accommodating, but I didn’t think he’d take kindly to me adding a window to the hut. No matter how pretty it was.

Only one place I could see that window was in the stairwell of a certain house that didn’t belong to me and never would.

Windows sorely encumbered a woman.

The End

About mlknowlden

In 2011, I left engineering to write full-time. Between the years 1992 and 2011, I’ve published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that have featured the hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. The 1998 story “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. With Neal Shusterman, I’ve also published a science fiction story for the More Amazing Stories anthology (Tor) published in 1998 and co-authored with Neal Shusterman an X-Files Young Adult novel (DARK MATTER) for HarperCollins in 1999 under the name Easton Royce. For Simon & Schuster in July 2012, we published an e-novella UNSTRUNG in Neal's UNWIND world. I have graduate degrees in English and Electrical Engineering.
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3 Responses to How Windows Encumber a Woman: A scene from The Legend of Hero Constance

  1. Kaye Klem says:

    Michelle– I was delighted to see you getting back to this sci-fi novel! I’ve always loved the earlier chapters I’ve heard of The Legend of Hero Constance. Hoping you do more on it!!! Kaye

  2. Rebecca Lang says:

    Nice piece. I really liked the concept of Scifi blended with Regency manners–I have a fondness for Jane Austen. I think the line about forever looking out screens and goggles and some sort of window ressonated with me, as I feel most of my life is spent looking at a screen. But what made me smile was your heroine getting endless oranges as an award. Now there’s an honor worth having. Yum.

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