On the eve of the release of "Hot Summer Reads", the new anthology of erotic stories I am a part of, I feel the urge to talk a little bit about the inspiration for my story, "Keys to the Sun."
Ray Bradbury is an icon, an author of science fiction, fantasy, horror and mystery. From Farenheit 451 to The Martian Chronicles, his stories are both amazingly fantastical and achingly human.
None, for me, was more so than his short story, "All Summer in a Day," about how the cruelty of children is literally universal. It tells of what happens to Margot on the one day in seven years that the sun will come out on the relentlessy rainy planet of Venus.
I read this story as a middle-schooler, and it has always stuck with me. It's quite a short story, but Ray Bradbury was not an author who wasted words. Every syllable in that little tale counts, and it isn't just the theme of the story that stayed with me all of these years, it is the efficency in which it is told. These are the kinds of stories I want to tell, I knew that even then. It is so powerful, when I relate it to others who have never read it, I find my voice quavers and my eyes fill with tears. Decades later, it still affects me that much.
When my erotica author friends decided to publish a book of summer-themed stories, "All Summer in a Day" immediately came to mind (because what says "Summer" more than life on an endlesly gray and rainy planet?) What would that story look like, if the characters were adults? We don't ever grow up, really, and adults can be just as cruel to each other as children can. Even more so, because almost always, adutls understand the consequences of their actions, and act anyway.
What would the characters be like, these people who never see the sun? My protagonist, like Margot, is an outsider, disliked for her awkwardness, but mostly because she has come to Venus recently from Earth, and she remembers the sun. I named her Summer, this washed out, lonely girl who misses the Earth with a physical ache and is desperate to feel the heat of the sun once more.
There is also Bill, Summer's tormentor, who despises her for reasons he probably doesn't really understand, just like Margot's William in the Bradbury story.
In my story, however, there is a hero of sorts, Jesse, who sees in Summer what she doesn't see in herself and strives to convince her that Venus can be her home if she will let it.
I won't give away what happens at the end: will Bill succeed in keeping Summer from the sun? Or with Jesse's help, will she feel that heat on her skin like she longs to? You'll have to read to find out. You can find a link to the story on the home page of this website.
I have to admit, I felt a little pang of guilt, basing an erotic story on one of my favorite Ray Bradbury masterpieces. I don't know whether or not he would approve. But, I wrote this story from my heart, it is precioius to me, and that, at least, I think he would understand.