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Something Made of Vacuum

by Charles Ott on 2017-12-05

Something Made of Vacuum is a science fiction romantic comedy, and here’s the complete plot spoiler: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. That’s complicated enough anywhere, but when Helene arrives on the Moon on a business trip, she has the bad luck to get involved with one of the natives. The Moon is dotted with spaceports handling traffic between eight planets, and the “natives” are the port workers, who call themselves Moon Men. They find it inconvenient to cycle in and out of airlocks all the time, so they live, work, sleep, raise families and play sports 24/7 in space suits. Now Helene’s got a boyfriend whose shell she literally can’t get inside.

When Helene is forced to don a Moon suit herself, she learns that it’s loaded with body sensors whose data is available to any other Moon Man, including Tom. Every one in the village knows Tom is in love with her, because his heart beats faster when he’s near her … and it shows up on their in-helmet displays. Helene thinks she’s not in love, but the data shows her pupils expand when she looks at him, and the Moon Men find that interesting, too.

Helene is simultaneously blocked off and isolated from all human contact by her suit, and connected so intimately to others that they can tell what her blood-sugar level is (and have opinions about that, which they will tell her.)

It’s a romance like no other.