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Story and Study: Freefall by Eric James Stone

Daily Science Fiction gives us a bounty of free specfic.  Subscribers (again, free!) get daily stories sent to their email box: four flash fiction pieces Monday-Thursday, and on Friday a longer piece to see us through the weekend.  Other readers can find the pieces a week later on the website.  Michele-Lee Barasso and Johnathon Laden started Daily Science Fiction up for about two years now–and hats off to them for continuing to offer a cornucopia of free fiction for readers while providing a professional venue for writers.

Eric James Stone has several pieces with DSF for good reason. In the short span of a few hundred words, he leaves a lasting impression, as he does in today’s Story & Study: “Freefall“.

Flash fiction makes for a great, yet tricky teaching tool.  Because it is so short (under 1000 words), it can be read and delved into in one sitting–much like poetry. Yet, also like poetry, the medium is dense, often relying on a good deal of context, and an economy of words, which might make certain works hard for readers to “get”.  Therefore, beyond story elements, this study guide focuses on comprehension.

“Freefall” by Eric James Stone–study guide

1. What is the setting of the story (time and place)?

2. Who are the characters in the story?

Names Occupations Adjectives (2+) describing each

3. What are the relationships between the three characters?

4. What is the POV?


5. In the opening, what is Gina doing? Why is she doing it?

6.  What is the first indication that something is wrong?  What’s wrong?

7.  What is a counterweight?  Why is a counterweight vital, here? What does the space station use as a counterweight?

8. What would happen if they did nothing?

9. How many people are on the terminal? What do they need to do to save the terminal?

10.  What is the first plan? Who comes up with it? Why can’t Gina do it?

11.  What is the second plan?

12.  Gina isn’t completely honest with her brother; what key point does she neglect to tell him? Why?


1.  There are several technologies that are used in this piece.  What are five of them?

Term What is it?

Space elevator


cargo crawler



2.  Do you think any of the technologies are possible in the next hundred years?

3.  In the author notes, Stone mentions that he originally had the brother saving the sister but then decided to change it.  How does having the genders switched affect the story?

4.  The author begins and ends the story with the same line.  What is the effect of doing so?


One comment on “Story and Study: Freefall by Eric James Stone

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