Originally in : Voices From the Past.
From an anthology of which 100% of the proceeds go to the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, and which is priced at less than a pint of beer (so buy it!)
The anthology was pitched as ‘flash’ fiction but this is a few pages long, which is much more that flash. And Reynolds packs a huge amount into it. The crux of the story is the departure of a trading spaceship. On the planet’s surface, the ship has been on the planet for decades, with tens of thousands of people now living on scaffolding around the ship. Whilst the ship has been there for decades, this is but a small time for the pilot, who takes the departure in his stride. There’s a lot to enjoy in just a few pages – glad to see Reynolds’ big Gollancz deal, but short SF editors need to keep on his millionaire ass to produce stuff like this ;-)
In terms of the £2.99 for the e-book anthology, this story alone is worth the cover price.