An Ocean Is a Snowflake, Four Billlion Miles Away by John Barnes (Short Story, EPUB format)

In a future where no one much pays attention to them, two documentary-makers team up to do one big project together -- but not necessarily for the same reasons. Suddenly there's something much bigger than the project.

This novelette was originally published in Jim Baen's Universe in 2007. I would guess it might take an hour and a half to read.

Every writer has scenes and characters they keep returning to, just because they like them or feel like they're good at them. In this case I saw a way to put a bunch of my favorites together in a somewhat different way that I liked. So among my old time favorites in here, you'll find:

A post-scarcity society
A self-sufficient loner who is famous for something he no longer cares about
A mildly histrionic person so obsessed with what things mean that she doesn't see what they are
Peculiar space-based athletic feats
Terraforming in process (I always think that's way more interesting than terraforming that has been completed)
The artist's drive to get the perfect x (or you could call it the craft side of being an x)
A complex survival challenge
Going camping in a really strange environment
Machines that people attribute personalities to
Really big honking storms, explosions, impacts, and stuff that goes BOOM.

All yours for 99 cents and about 90 minutes of your time!

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