“Luna v. 4.2” (The Origins of CINDER)
If you’ve heard me speak or read many of my interviews, you may be aware that the idea for CINDER began with a writing contest that was hosted in 2008 on Aria’s Ink, which is a popular site for Sailor Moon fanfiction (which I wrote a LOT of over many, many years).
If you haven’t heard the story already, well, here it is again!
For this contest, the owner of AI posted a list of ten or so items and writers had to include two of them in a story.
1. To include a fairy tale character.
2. To set it in the future.
The story I ended up writing was called “Luna v. 4.2.” It was an alternate reality Sailor Moon fanfiction (meaning it used the characters from SM, but had a different setting and plot), and it ended up being a science-fiction retelling of the fairy tale “Puss in Boots.” Because what do Sailor Moon and fairy tales have in common? Talking cats! It seemed like such a natural fit.
The punch line here is that there were only two stories submitted for that writing contest. And mine didn’t win! Hardy har har.
But it did give me the idea to take fairy tales and give them a science-fiction twist, and if you read the original story, you can see where lots of little tidbits of the world-building and some elements of the plot carried over into the Lunar Chronicles. It’s kind of like a Cinder time capsule.
I’m receiving more and more requests these days from people who want to read “Luna v. 4.2.” It is still available in its original state (i.e., unrevised and unedited), along with almost all of my old fanfiction, at http://www.fanfiction.net/~aliciablade.
Here’s a clip from Luna v. 4.2:
“This is a cat. They were the most popular house pet on Earth for many centuries and, oddly, one of the few animals that seemed to thrive in domesticity. Once pets were banned, the population of small felines depleted rapidly, until…” Haruna shrugged mindlessly. “Anyway… I don’t think you can get into too much trouble with it.” The last of Haruna’s words were muttered beneath her breath and ignored as Usagi nervously approached the small cage. Through the bars she was met with two vivid red eyes staring at her with an expression of uncanny wisdom.
“Hello, cat,” she whispered as she picked up the cage and returned to her desk. She couldn’t help feeling a tinge of disappointment as her peers continued to receive their assignments. The cat was cute, with a body covered in shiny black fur and a long, slender tail that curled around its feet. Even its perky ears, silky whiskers, and dainty little paws contributed to its general adorableness, and yet…Usagi had been hoping for something a little more exotic. Cats may have been extinct for hundreds of years, but there were still stories about them, and paintings, and, of course, robocats. Whereas the other animals being distributed to the class were so unusual, so unexpected. She was sure she’d never heard of a tarantula.
There was a gentle knock on the door and soon the vice-principal’s shiny bald head was poking into the classroom. He cleared his throat, which everyone knew was his nervous tick. “I beg your pardon, Professor Haruna, but I’m afraid I need to steal one of your students. Is a Miss Usagi Tsukino present?”
In a matter of moments Usagi could feel every eye in the classroom boring into her. Her stomach clenched. What had she done now?
You can read the full story at http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4145061/1/Luna_version_42.