Thursday, January 30, 2020

Richard Paolinelli on writing Polar Shift for Luna

This part of the anthology, Polar Shift, was described as: One morning, Sam Peck’s biggest worry was serving as best man at his friend’s wedding once they returned to Earth from the base on the Moon. Before the day was over his biggest worry would be finding out whether or not he is the last living human being in the entire universe.

Some days are not worth getting up in the morning.

Richard Paolinelli on writing 

What would you do if, in one terrible instant, you went from being one of seven billion to possibly the only remaining living human being anywhere in the universe? Would you fight on to live one more day, hoping to find another survivor? Or would you go mad? Or maybe both?

So here I am, minding my own business, trying to get my next sci-fi novel started and completed before Christmas 2017 when somebody comes up with the brilliant idea to do an 11-volume planetary anthology.

As God is my witness, I tried to ignore the siren call. Really, I did. I stuck fingers in my ears and yelled “lalalalalalalalalalala!!!!!” at the top of my voice. 

For all of 10 seconds. 

Because it was at that point that one brain cell bumped into another (Yes, Virginia, I have more than one of them rattling around up there) and I recalled that I had notes for an anthology I wanted to write and most of the stories were perfectly aligned with many of the themes in this Planetary Anthology series.

“Darn you!!!!” I yelled, in the same tones us old guys use when we yell at those durn kids to get off of our lawns, and then quickly set down and got to work. 

And as if I wasn’t getting my schedule disrupted enough, Declan Finn e-mails me an invite to write something for Luna.

“Darn you, Declan!!!” I yelled, in the same tones an Exorcist uses when telling a demon “The power of Christ compels you!”, and with just about as much affect.

So I rummaged through the notes and came up with “Polar Shift”, a story about a man who suddenly finds himself the last known survivor of a cataclysm that has apparently eradicated the human race, with one exception. How he deals with his sudden isolation, with little hope of it ever ending, while trying to avoid slipping into madness, is the point of this story.

This story along with all of the others I submitted to this series – with one exception – is part of what would have been “The Last Humans Anthology I was planning to release in 2019. The overall theme is one human being, alone, trying to overcome an obstacle or impossible situation.

I hope you enjoy this story, along with the others that will appear in this series. Meanwhile, I’ll be getting back to work on that delayed novel from last year with hopes of getting it done.

Unless of course I get another e-mail…


Richard Paolinelli began his writing career as a freelance writer in 1984 and gained his first fiction credit serving as the lead writer for the first two issues of the Elite Comics sci-fi/fantasy series, Seadragon. His sports writing career spans stops in New Mexico, Arizona and California. In 2010, Richard retired as a sportswriter and returned to his fiction writing roots. Since then he has written several novels – including the Dragon Award Finalist (Best Sci-Fi Novel), Escaping Infinity – three Sherlock Holmes pastiches, two non-fiction sports books and three novelettes. He is serving as co-editor for one of the 11 volumes of Tuscany Bay's Planetary Anthologies (Pluto) and will have his own short stories in several of the other volumes. His third full-length science-fiction novel, When The Gods Fell, is scheduled to be released on September 1, 2018 by Tuscany Bay Books. He is also a partner in Tuscany Bay Books with Jim Christina and founded the Science Fiction & Fantasy Creators Guild ( a not-for-profit organization aimed at promoting science-fiction and fantasy and its creators in many media platforms.

Escaping Infinity has been nominated for 2017 Dragon Awards Best Sci-Fi Novel; 2017 Readers' Favorite Awards - Honorable Mention; 2017 New Apple Summer E-Book Awards - Official Selection; 2017 ETWG Blue Ribbon Book Cover Contest – 2nd Place. Also won the 2001 California Newspaper Publishers Association award for Best Sports Story.

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