Six Months Three Days

June 9, 2011

The science fiction and fantasy website has just published our friend Charlie Jane Anders’s precog novelette, Six Months Three Days. Read it!

Charlie Jane tells us: “I’m trying to get at something kind of complicated about memory and the ways in which we don’t really ‘know’ what happened in the past, much less the future.” She also notes that she has long been preoccupied with the question, “How do you live your life knowing that everything will eventually fall apart no matter what you do?”


A few days later, Judy and Doug are playing foozball at a swanky bar in what used to be the Combat Zone. Judy makes a mean remark about something sexually humiliating that will happen to Doug five years from now, which he told her about in a moment of weakness. A couple days later, she needles him about an incident at work that almost got him fired a while back. She’s never been a sadist before now — although it’s also masochism, because when she torments him, she already knows how terrible she’ll feel in a few minutes.

Another time, Doug and Judy are drunk on the second floor of a Thayer Street frat bar, and Doug keeps getting Judy one more weird cocktail, even though she’s had more than enough. The retro pinball machine gossips at them. Judy staggers to the bathroom, leaving her purse with Doug — and when she gets back, the purse is gone. They both knew Doug was going to lose Judy’s purse, which only makes her madder. She bitches him out in front of a table of beer-pong champions. And then it’s too late to get back to Judy’s place, so they have to share Doug’s cramped, sagging hospital cot. Judy throws up on Doug’s favorite outfit: anise and stomach acid, it’ll never come out.

Judy loses track of which unbearable things have already happened, and which lay ahead. Has Doug insulted her parents yet, on their second meeting? Yes, that was yesterday. Has he made Marva cry? No, that’s tomorrow. Has she screamed at him that he’s a weak mean bastard yet? It’s all one moment to her. Judy has finally achieved timelessness.


Kudos, Sci-Fi