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I read this story in a single-author collection of short stories circa 2002--2004. The book was a new edition trade paperback, taken from the new acquisitions shelf at a public library in southern Indiana. I assume it was categorized as SF/F, or else my teenage self likely wouldn't have picked it up. I have the impression that it was the author's debut collection, but I could be wrong about that.

The story is in a literary, magical-realist vein. It's about a husband and a wife in a world where there's some kind of epidemic that results in people's skin gradually becoming harder and harder. As the disease develops, the people begin to float off the ground. The woman gets the disease and as it progresses it becomes apparent that her skin is growing into a spacesuit (with a clear bubble face-mask and everything). Once the spacesuit nears completion she starts to float, at first just a foot off the ground, but rising day by day. Soon the pressure starts to crush her against the ceiling of their bedroom, so the man has to take her outside. He tries to rope her down to the ground, but she is pulled up with stronger and stronger force until he had to cut the rope so that her legs won't be ripped off and she shoots up into the sky. I remember the ending felt tragic and elegiac in that high-literary sort of way.

  • This question would be improved by going through the checklists here; How to ask a good story-ID question?. Can you recall any other stories from the same collection? – Valorum Oct 7 '18 at 23:01
  • Yes, thank you! I went through that checklist as I was writing the post. Unfortunately I haven't managed to remember any other stories from the collection. – user2975096 Oct 7 '18 at 23:02
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    Wow...I can't believe someone else has this question, and that I found it in a google search! I loved this book of short stories and have been unable to find it again. I remember that the author's last name started with a V (I think it was syllabically similar to Kurt Vonnegut, but obviously not him). I also remember that there was a short story about shooting a dead body out of a cannon...or something like that? If I find it I will post it here! – Jono Matusky Jan 24 at 0:23
6

"By the Time We Get to Uranus", from Meet Me in the Moon Room by Ray Vukcevich.

From RevolutionSF:

In this story, a man watches helplessly as his wife develops "suit," a silvery skin disease that, when complete, will rocket her into outer space.

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    This link publishersweekly.com/978-1-931520-01-0 and this link revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=1109 make me think that you might have correctly ID'd the book, and the story might be "By the Time We Get to Uranus"....but please flesh out this answer with some more detail so I can vote for it. – Organic Marble Jan 25 at 1:10
  • Yes, this is the story! I managed to get a copy from interlibrary loan and confirmed it. Thank you so much for tracking it down! I'm very impressed, I had searched quite a bit with no luck. – user2975096 Feb 12 at 22:42

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