The stories behind the stories

Overdraft: “Burnout”

Overdraft: “Burnout”
From Apollo’s Daughters

An early adventure in the life of Bridget Yang from the Overdraft universe!
Published by Silence in the Library • February 19, 2015
Written by John Jackson Miller,

First published in Apollo’s Daughters, along with stories by Aaron Allston, David Mack, Jason Young, Aaron Rosenberg, Jim Bernheimer, Justin Aclin, Alex Segura, Alan Smale, Donald J. Bingle, Christopher Ruz, Joshua Palmentier, David George III, John Skovron, Bryan Young, Michael Stackpole

Apollo’s Daughters covers by Kelli Neier and Mark dos Santos

Edited by Bryan Young

The Overdraft: The Orion Offensive serial wrapped in the summer of 2013, and it was my intention to continue with regular short stories thereafter in case I was unable to write a follow-on edition. The opportunity to write one came when I was invited by the staff of Silence in the Library Publishing to contribute a story to Apollo’s Daughters, an anthology they had planned.

The firm was amid a highly successful Kickstarter for Athena’s Daughters, dedicated to female novelists writing about female characters. The Apollo’s Daughters book was announced as a companion volume as a bonus for supporters; the conceit there was that it would all be stories by male authors about female lead characters.

I chose it to be the place where I would write something I’d been considering doing for a while, the origin story for Bridget Yang from Overdraft. The story is set in the early days of her work for Quaestor, before she’s running Surge Team Sigma; Jamie Sturm is a nightmare still several years off in the future. As of 2133, the time of the story, Bridget is disillusioned with her role, her opportunities and reputation still damaged because of the Overland disaster described in Overdraft: The Orion Offensive. “Burnout” is doubly aptly named, however, because of the blazing heat in which the story takes place.

“Burnout” got to deal with the challenges of navigating in a place too bright for filters to work; radar-mapping drones gave her crew the ability to move around. An attack on them would handicap her team, and we see here how she responds to the crisis.

We also got to see a new villain for the series in Blossom Raintree, part of a peculiar anti-environmental movement. And we see Bridget’s initial meeting with Leo Falcone, who will recur as a character throughout the series.

The book came out in hardcover and softcover in January 2015 and included stories by David Mack, Justin Aclin and Alex Segura, David R. George III, Mike Stackpole, and many other colleagues of mine. It also, sadly, included the last work by Aaron Allston, who had passed away in 2014.

The Apollo’s Daughters publishers were kind enough to put my story in the lead position; the cover and frontispiece art for the hardcover were also inspired by “Burnout.”

As Apollo’s Daughters was all about female characters in science fiction, it felt natural to lead with cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova.

We learn one of the new United States is “Pacifica,” and that it joined the Union in 2083.