Monday 11 July 2022

Falling Up - Karina Fabian - A Rescue Sisters Story

Falling Up
A Rescue Sisters Story
Karina Fabian
Laser Cow Press

Of all the books, short stories and series that Fabian has written, the Rescue Sisters are among my favourites. Though to be honest I love almost everything from her masterful pen. I have not read anything that disappointed. And most were a solid 5/5 Stars. The stories usually enthral, surprise, make me laugh. But they also have an undercurrent that inspires and challenges. But this story hit me like a brick!  This is the 5th short stories published in this series that also contains the novel, Discovery. And yet this one is very different from all of the others. The description of the story is:

“All Prilly wants is to join her father on Mars, but in the meantime, she has to live with her Aunt Edith, a Rescue Sister who runs an orphanage and school for Spacer children. It's hard enough for a Earther girl to make friends, but when the kids tell her she can't go to Mars unless she passes gym class, she's desperate. Will anyone teach her the proper way to fall, when variable station gravity means she has to fall up?”

The cover of the story has a summary that states:

“Prilly is desperate to join her father on Mars. All she needs to do is learn to fall … up.”

Both somethings are easier said than done. She is currently at an orphanage where the head teacher Sister Edith, or as Prilly calls her Auntie Edith. The dedication states:

“Dedicated to anyone who is stumbling right now.

Reach out! There may be someone ready and willing to help you fall up.

‘If the one falls, the other will help the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person! If that one should fall, there is no other to help.’ -Ecclesiastes 4:9”

The story opens with these words:

“Prilly’s middle ear fought with her brain and the fall stretched out before her. Farther and farther…

She sat and with clenched fists and shut eyes, tried to scootch herself over the edge. The catcalls of her classmates turned to laughter. She wrapped her arms around her middle and rocked. Maybe she could overbalance and tumble?

Aunt Edith sighed. “Come on, Prilly. We’ll try again next week.”

Prilly climbed down the ladder—all five stupid rungs of it—letting anger overpower her shame. Back home, her home, she’d have had a nice warm pool to jump into, easy-peasy. Not here, oh, no.

She craned her head and glared up at the ten stories of space station towering above her.

Here, they expected her to fall up.”

About the history of the Rescue Sisters we are told:

“The order started on the L5 station, which is on the LaGrange trailing the moon. Gillian (Later St. Gillian of L5) was the wife of the inventor of artificial gravity. Ironically, he was so severely injured in an accident with his machine that he could no longer manage in Earth’s gravity, so she left Earth to join him on L5. After his death, she took holy vows and petitioned to start an order of religious sisters in outer space. 

While they do many things, Gillian chose search and rescue for the mission because it was a high-demand, high-risk operation that commanded high prices. By doing the work for “air, supplies and the love of God,” they paved the way for their religious order to grow. 

Skirts would be inconvenient and potentially embarrassing if the artificial gravity cut out, so Gillian chose wide-legged pants and a simple T-shirt under the skinsuit. The practical habit caused some scandal but was eventually accepted on stations and low-gravity environments, and grudgingly allowed “dirtside.”

Under Gillian’s leadership, the order grew to several locations, including L5 and Phobos, where there’s a training convent. When she died, spacers claimed to have seen her apparition and credited her with saving them from accidents or other perils. Many of these miracles were confirmed and she was sainted.

Now, her order carries on her legacy, serving humankind and furthering our mission of colonizing the planets and perhaps someday the stars.”

Fabin informs us that the genesis of this story was:

“I wrote this many years ago after reading that there are places on Mars? Phobos? Where the gravity changes such that you have to jump up to fall down. Plus, there’s a great scene on Star Trek: Enterprise, where the navigator finds the spot on the ship where the gravity flips. It just seemed like something that would happen on a spaceship and thus, something they’d teach in gym class.

It also made sense to me that as people in space started having families, there would be orphaned children. Some might not even be able to go to Earth because of the issues of being born in lower gravity. What could be a more natural mission for the Rescue Sisters than taking care of the orphans?”

The story has some bullying. And a school full of orphans. But help sometimes comes from unexpected corners. And to find out if Prilly can find help to get her eyes, mind, and inner ear to work together so she can learn to fall up you will need to read the story.

This is another wonderful piece in the Rescue Sisters universe. It is very different from many of the others. But it fits well. That Fabian has the insight to see situations like this and write them in a convincing and entertaining fashion is a skill and even a gift. And this story is another gift from her masterful pen to us the fans of the Rescue Sisters. A great read in a wonderful series! 

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan!

Books by Karina Fabian:

Dex Hollister Series:

The Old Man and the Void
Dex's Way

Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator Series :
Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator
I Left My Brains in San Francisco
Shambling in a Winter Wonderland

DragonEye PI Series:
DragonEye PI Novels:
?.0 Magic, Mensa and Mayhem (Revised edition)
?.0 Live and Let Fly (Revised edition)

DragonEye PI Short Stories:

DragonEye PI Original First Editions:
Live and Let Fly

Space Traipse Series:
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 1
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 2
Space Traipse: Hold My Beer, Season 3
Space Traipse Stories

Mind Over Series:
Mind Over Mind
Mind Over Psyche
Mind Over All
Hearts Over Mind

Edited by: Karina Fabian:
Infinite Space, Infinite God I
Leaps of Faith
Infinite Space, Infinite God II

Contributed to:
Firestorm of Dragons
The Zombie Cookbook
The Book of Tentacles
Twisted Fayrie Tales
FRIGHTLINER: And Other Tales of the Undead
Mother Goose is Dead
Word by Word: Slowing Down with the Hail Mary
Image and Likeness Literary Reflections on the Theology of the Body
Corrupts Absolutely? Dark Metahuman Fiction
Weird Noir
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels
Manifesto UF
Avenir Eclectia
Planetary Anthology: Jupiter
Planetary Anthology: Pluto
Planetary Anthology: Luna
Planetary Anthology: Uranus
FlagShip Science Fiction and Fantasy v2i5
My Little Book of Headdesks
To Be Men: Stories Celebrating Masculinity

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