I've posted a new story, The Boarder, which originally appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
It is neither. This is, in fact, a straight piece of conventional fiction, in the form of a memoir. But it is about science fiction, the experience of reading it, and the relation between it and the history of the actual space program, told through the manifestation of a Russian metallurgist as a boarder in a boy's house.
I suppose the story should have had a more interesting title. Vassily is one of my favorite characters. He is not a real person, but is based on my understanding of what such men were like.
In fact, I always wanted to be such a man, an eccentric and brilliant engineer with a sense of the way the world works. I may be eccentric, but the engineer part never worked out for me. Vassily is, in part, my attempt to regain some of the feeling of physical certainty that such people have.
It's actually a story quite close to my heart. Even if none of it ever happened.