My own contribution, Charon, is a poignant tale of loss and reconciliation. It follows Simon Aeneas Kost on his solitary voyage to Pluto and its moon, Charon. He confronts his deepest fears as he encounters our first interstellar visitor while far from human company, wandering the desolate banks of the river Styx.

My wife and I made our annual New Year’s Day trip to Japan. This year, that day was interrupted by the massive Noto earthquake. Fortunately, we were far enough away that we only felt a rolling sensation, like the deck of a ship cresting a wave. We were in a store at the time; the overhead signs swayed a few inches, but the main effect was everyone’s cell phones simultaneously sounding an emergency alert. For those who were closer, the quake shifted the entire coastline of the Noto peninsula by up to 800 feet. The destruction was immense. The TV networks showed nothing else for the next week.