The Journey of One Idea
How an SF Story Became a (non) Christmas Book
by Yvonne Walus
"The Hanukkah Time Capsule" is a short e-book published by Echelon Press Shorts on December 9, 2009, as part of its "12 Days of Christmas" initiative.
The book was originally a short story written for a competition. The rules dicated that the story had to begin with the sentence "She wondered whether she should open it." I knew straight away that the plot would involve a time capsule. At first, it was a contemporary setting, and a time capsule from the past. Later, I adapted it for a Science Fiction market and changed the setting to something 3 generations in the future. An editor liked it but wanted the setting to reflect a minority culture, so I made my protagonists celebrate Hanukkah... the publication folded before they could use my story though, and I forgot about it until my publisher asked for season-themed fiction. That's how "The Hanukkah Time Capsule" found its home at Echelon Press.
Of course, by now it's three times as long as the original text and bears little resemblence to it. If you've read "The Hanukkah Time Capsule" and are keen to see the original, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Blurb for "The Hanukkah Time Capsule":
In the late 2060s, decades before organic computers replaced the old-fashioned electronic ones, Esther's grandmother had left her a time capsule. The time capsule was meant to be used only when a genuine need arises. Today, Esther faces a failing marriage, two daughters who are outcasts because of their birthright, a Hanukkah without the wine and an Anti-Knowledge Warden, who definitely doesn't know what a browser is. Did Esther's grandmother guess correctly what her youngest granddaughter might need in the future? Will the time capsule save Esther's family from their enemies?
Excerpt of "The Hanukkah Time Capsule":
"Get on with it," snarled the Anti-Knowledge Warden. "Open the damned time capsule! Let's see what precious information your Grandmother has left for you to abuse."
Esther hesitated. The fear which she had learnt to accept in the last few years, burnt sour in her stomach. Escape, she needed to escape from it all. Briefly, she wondered which of her so-called friends had reported the legacy her Grandma had left.
The mind stunner glinted in the Warden's hand. "Do it now, or -"
"Yes, sir," muttered Esther. The words sounded dull in her suddenly constricted throat. She would do anything to avoid being zapped. Mind stunners left permanent marks: gaps in memory, holes in the logical processing. Some claimed they could even alter the victim's personality. Judging by Nathaniel's latest behaviour, she wouldn't be surprised… after his encounter with a mind stunner, he was simply not the same person she had married.