Issue 035 Author Interview: K. Bannerman and “The Mothership”

What? Another Issue 035 interview? YES! Today we had the pleasure of chatting with K. Bannerman about her story “The Mothership.”

LSQ: There are quite a few tales of humans being sent into space to recolonize, but yours is unique in that only women are sent into space. What made you to decide to leave the men on Earth?
K.B. It came down to a matter of resources. An all-female crew who were committed to being the mothers of the next generation would give a new population the greatest chance at genetic diversity. Why invest vital resources in space travel on a man when you could just as easily reduce his genetic contribution to a vial? In this case, every member of the crew has the ability to create children for the colony from a number of different donors and this ensures the best opportunity for a healthy population in the long term.
LSQ: Our ladies are left with quite an open ended fate. Do you plan on continuing their story? What kind of future do you envision for them?
K.B. It’s an open ended fate, but it’s a hopeful one, too. The birth of a single son provides a chance for the human species to continue; I don’t foresee an easy future for them, of course, but humans are very good at struggling on in bad situations.
LSQ: What was the most difficult part about writing this story?
K.B.: The story came together quite quickly and I suppose the most difficult part was digging back into my own experiences of labor and childbirth, postpartum depression, and new motherhood to describe Kyana’s labor. It’s difficult enough to go through childbirth on Earth — the whole process would take on a new set of challenges if it’s happening while entering the upper atmosphere of a distant moon.
LSQ: Can you name a few authors who inspire you? Are there any who particularly inspired you for this story?
K.B.: Inspiration for this story came from a number of different places. Before writing it, I’d been reading Mary Roach’s book Packing for Mars, in which she discusses NASA’s early space program and their reasons against sending up women as astronauts in the 1960s. Plus, I’d been following Peggy Whitson’s mission aboard the ISS, so it was interesting to explore how social attitudes have changed in regard to women in STEM. For another project, I’d been researching population migration and what would be required for a healthy gene pool, especially for isolated island communities. All of those elements came together in “Mothership.”