March 24th 2023
LAST-MINUTE SHOPPING LIST FOR YOUR FIRST SPACE ROAD TRIP
1. Snacks. Obviously. Try to stick to stuff with a long shelf life; it can be a real long haul between fuel stations and the refrigerator gets a little wonky when you get close to light speed. Popcorn’s good, especially for late night movies. Also be sure to pick up some freeze dried ice cream. The Q’otchoriarchs love that shit; it’s the perfect bribe if we get pulled over for speeding or whatever.
2. Map. A PHYSICAL one. Look, I know we all have galactic positioning systems on our phones now, but DON’T TRUST IT. The wormholes make everything go screwy and when you get on the quantum highways the GPS thinks it’s in infinite places and times all at once, and you WILL get lost.
3. Tunes. Good vibes ONLY. If you try to sneak in some of that triple-new wave mooncore shit you were listening to the other day, I WILL toss you out the airlock and you WILL deserve it.
4. Fuzzy blankets. For snuggling, in the dark between the stars.
5. Heavy Mounted Thermonuclear Plasma Cannon. At some point, we’re GOING to end up on the back roads, and trust me, we’ll need it.
6. Ghost repellent. I don’t care if you don’t believe in them here, but you’ll thank me once we pass our first wormhole. It’s okay if you can’t find any at the store, every station past the Horse Head keeps it hoarded like toilet paper. Speaking of which:
7. Toilet paper. We can’t carry enough excess water to afford running the bidet. Sorry, I know how much you hate it. I’ll make it up to you, I promise. I’ll watch those terrible romances you like?
8. !!! COFFEE !!! This should have been number one. Get as much as you can carry. Seriously. My only regret in leaving is there is nowhere else in the galaxy that roasts coffee beans like this planet roasts their coffee beans.
9. Emergency Repair Kit. The van’s fixed up as best I can, but her starboard stabilizer’s still jiggly and there’s only so much I could do with her thrusters. If something happens, we’ve got to be ready to deal with it ourselves because out there, roadside assistance can take anywhere from a week to twelve galactic standard years.
10. First Aid Kit. I guess being able to fix ourselves is important too. Be sure there’s a lot of anti-nausea meds in there for the on- and off-ramps because they can be ROUGH on your understanding of the concept of space and time and gravity, and also your stomach.
11. SUNglasses. No, NOT sunglasses; SUNglasses. Yes, the branded ones, yes for real, no the knockoffs are not the same. There’s this whole stretch on the road where it feels like you’re circling Sol X19 for WEEKS, and I’m still paying off the loans for my current eyes. Seriously can’t afford to go blind again if we can help it. Even if you WOULD look hella cute in some green or purple retrofitted eyeballs.
12. Emergency poncho. Acid-proof, waterproof, AND radiation proof, if possible. At least rad-resistant. We’ll probably have to do some camping along the way, and weather can get pretty wild in the Between Spaces. Actually, while I’m thinking about the Between Spaces, maybe pick up some salt, too.
13. Salt. A few buckets at least. The void worms hate it, and I hate them, so let’s make sure we don’t run out.
14. Camera. And scrapbook. There are so many beautiful places out there. Nebulae, moons, stardust, roaming pods of space whales, aliens, starports, the galaxy’s second largest ball of string (it’s even bigger than its home planet!), that part in the wormhole where all of Time itself is condensed into a single spiral and you can see the map of all existence laid out around you and for one impossible moment it all makes sense, everything makes sense, and you actually UNDERSTAND and–oh my god, also the cats on Ravion IV are SO CUTE. I mean, they’re not CATS, obviously, but… yeah, you’ll see. Just don’t forget the camera, I want to be able to look back and remember every single minute of this.
Got all that? Great. I love you. See you soon. I can’t wait to show you the stars.
André Geleynse (he/him) is a writer, game master, and architectural technologist from unceded Algonquin Anishinaabeg territory near Ottawa, Ontario. He lives with his wife, two dogs, two cats, two horses, six chickens, and one snake. André is the Publication Manager for Tales & Feathers Magazine, and can occasionally be found on Twitter at @alisterscriven.
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