Thursday, December 29, 2011

12/29/11

Author Submission: Edward H. Marsh, 4,127 Words
By George S. Karagiannis


October 10th, 2015

Dear editor of the journal: “Science-fiction writers”,

I would like to submit in your highly-prestigious journal “Science-Fiction writers”, a potential science fiction author I came up with and I really believe he would be a considerably worthy fit within the Scopus of your journal. In the attachment provided with this manuscript, you will find his full author portfolio, publishing history, and complete biographical sketch.

Very briefly, the author I have conceived is a 29-year old male, by the name of Edward H. Marsh with particular interest in natural and applied sciences and more precisely in astronomy and engineering. He received a degree in Engineering from the University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada at 2004 and pursued a doctorate diploma in Astronomy from the same University at 2009. Therefore, Edward H. Marsh is more than capable of depicting science fiction stories related with space explorations, time travels and crew dynamics within spaceships. In general, he is very familiar -due to his appropriate technical background- in generating very convincing scientific rationales in science-fiction stories that have to do with interstellar conspiracies, because he very creatively intertwines his scientific knowledge with his pluripotent imagination. His major achievement is his 2005 designation as an author by the space opera work “Travel to the End of Worlds”, as he artistically described an alien spaceship that was crafted out of alien biomass, so it was alive itself; due to this highly-attractive nature of picturing this spaceship that formed the basis for this epic-length novel, a wide-science fiction readership became a very devoted fan-club for this author. Edward H. Marsh’s blog can be found online in the link address, I am providing together with this submission form.

A short biographical sketch of me: I am a science-fiction short story of 5,500 words belonging to the subgenre of cyberpunk and I am named “Ulysses Revisited”. I could say that I am instilled in the popular but feared concept of the huge impact in humanity’s fate, in case internet could obtain self-consciousness. Very briefly, I have been artistically conceived from the traditional masterpiece “Ulysses” by James Joyce. Similarly to the way that James Joyce portrays in this book the passage of one person, Leopold Bloom, in one ordinary day, describing in scary detail every single second of his routine, I am relatively deployed in a parallel context as how Internet perceives one full day serving as a worldwide network for humanity. I believe that I am quite a peculiar story and my ending is quite surprising, given that no reader could ever imagine that it is the Internet consciousness itself, talking in the first-person perspective through my pages!

To this end, I would like to deeply thank you for taking into consideration my potential author for your journal.

I look forward to hearing your decision on the above author submission, at the earliest of your convenience.

Yours Sincerely,
Ulysses Revisited

***

November 2nd, 2015

Dear short story: “Ulysses Revisited”,

We would like to deeply thank you for this very interesting author submission in our journal. Unfortunately, I regret to inform you that our journal has rejected this author submission for the following reasons:

You seem to be a very motivating and attention-grabbing story, belonging to the cyberpunk science fiction sub-genre. The development of plot and characters within your vigilantly written paragraphs was artistically crafted, indeed, reaching almost the professional level of WWW Trilogy’s “Robert J. Sawyer”. However, as you might already know, WWW Trilogy had submitted the author Robert J Sawyer in our journal in the past, and unfortunately for your case, our journal wishes to evolve over time and not to repeat and stick to past concepts. Therefore, although we found you quite unique and intriguing, we wish to always change the topics of our interest (and this is not your fault, it is the magazine’s policy). We apologize that you were quite misled but at this particular point, your author doesn’t fit the Scopus of our Journal.

In addition, after carefully reading the biographical sketch of Edward H. Marsh, we came to the conclusion that he is a hard science-fiction writer and he has built an expertise in space operas, so we found it too risky to trust him with a cyberpunk story. You have to provide more convincing biographical data that Edward H. Marsh is capable of supporting such fictional concepts as internet consciousness, artificial intelligence revolution, etc.

The third reason for rejecting your author is that you have provided his biographical sketch in 4,127 words. We implore you to re-read our submission guidelines, which clearly state all author submissions should not exceed 4,000 words and this is non-negotiable number due to page limitations we do have for our magazine.

We believe that your piece will stand very good chances with another publisher!

We wish you all the luck with your future submissions and we hope to read more of your author portfolios and suggestions in due course.

Yours Sincerely,
The Editor, “Science-Fiction Writers”


- - -
George S. Karagiannis was born in Thessaloniki, Greece at 1984. He finished the School of Veterinary Medicine and is currently a PhD student at the University of Toronto in Canada, studying the molecular mechanisms of cancer metastasis.

He enjoys writing science fiction, mainly in the sub-genres of (1) hard science fiction, (2) bizarro and horror sci-fi and (3) apocalyptic/post-apocalyptic, but more often blending all those, together! His favorite science fiction author is Philip K. Dick, whom he has been reading since he was introduced in the field.

He is also an abstractionist/surreal artist and his blog can be found here: http://abstractsur.blogspot.com/

Thursday, December 22, 2011

12/22/11

Telling Time
By Gil C. Schmidt



    He said it wearily, as if the repetitions had lost any meaning. "I am a time traveler."
    "With a busted leg," Jim pointed out. "Seems to me the future'd try not send a klutz to the past. Doncha think?"
    The man turned heavy blue eyes Jim's way, their slight slant a jarring match to his ash-blond hair. "Hey! Are you some sort of Swedish Jap or something? Cuz that's some freaky combo you got going there." The injured man grunted, probably in pain. His leg was heavily bandaged in some slats and duct tape. It's what Jim had at hand. "You're not a gook, right? Like a chink or something? But I gotta admit them chinky girls sure know how to treat a man!"
    He shifted his weight on the couch, swearing softly.
    "So you're from the future?" He didn't react. "Okay. Sure. You from two, three hundred years in the future?" A shrug. "More?" He shrugged. "Have the Cubs won a World Series yet or did they move to Osaka or Yokomama or something?" Jim chuckled. Yokomama. Good one.
    The guy just stared at Jim. Pissed Jim off. "You got some nerve sayin' you're a time traveler. That's bullshit. How'd you end up slamming into my fence? You drunk or high?"
    It was like the man was reading something. "I wasn't supposed to be here. The error placed me in the wrong place at the wrong speed. That's how I hit your structure."
    Jim shook his head. "Doncha mean you're in the wrong time if you're a time traveler? I don't get this 'wrong place, wrong speed' shit."
    "You wouldn't," he said just loud enough. Then louder: "It's called 'space-time' for a reason. Several, in fact."
    "Uh-huh. You keep believin' that." Jim stood up and he looked at the man, warily. "So you're like my great-great-grandson and you come back to shoot me and commit suicide for your world?" Jim was grinning and likin' hisself a whole lot right there.
    His eyes. There was something in his eyes that faded Jim's grin. He didn't seem crazy anymore. "You are...definitely...not the target...of my mission." His words were soft, but landed like paving stones on the carpet.
    Jim raised his hands and dropped 'em quick when he saw they were shaking. "Hey hey hey! Don't get your Jappy jones up! You got a mission, I got a mission, we all got somethin' to do. Capisce?" Jim tried to get him to look away, but the man kept him in his sights. Jim felt a drop of sweat on the back of his neck.
    A sharp clap-flash made Jim dive for cover behind the kitchen counter. When Jim heard voices jabbertalking he peeked up and saw two guys, dressed a lot like the gimp on his couch, standing right there in his living room. One was holding a small green-screened device that shone a light on the gimp's leg. In seconds, the gimp was able to slice through the tape with his finger (his finger?) and stand up. Now Jim know for a fact that leg was broken cuz he saw the bones stickin' out in two places, so that made him stand up. All three turned to me in a the same manner. Freaked Jim out. The light flashed at Jim and all three looked at the screen.
    "More of you Swedish Japs?" Jim tried to bluff it out, but those three were like ice.
    "We'll be leaving now," said one of the newcomers, the one with the darker eyes. "Thank you for tending to...our friend." All three nodded...in the same way.
    Jim swallowed. Then the gimp Jim splinted smiled and wrote something on a slip of gray paper. The three exchanged a look with the screen and the former gimp handed the note to Jim, with a shark's coldest smile. When Jim looked down, the clap-flash happened and Jim was alone.
    The note said only: Wednesday, 11:17 A.M.
    No big deal, thought Jim. Aloud, he wondered "Something...personal--is gonna go down, right?" Then it hit him: What? And what Wednesday?


- - -
Gil C. Schmidt has been a regular submitter to Yesteryear Fiction since the early days when it was a daily magazine. His story "Telling Time" is also featured in his book "Thirty More Stories."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12/15/11

Lord William
By C.D. Goble


William leaned forward in his chair and peered through his portal at the world he had created. He had once been an insignificant child, but with hard work and diligence, his influence had grown immensely. His world differed greatly from the one William had grown up in. It was a world ruled by magic. With the right spells one could find instant gratification, instant communication, and non-stop entertainment. With just a flick of his fingers William could conjure up images of lost civilizations, far away galaxies, and long forgotten gods. He had used his powers to fight wars, win love, and create art. His influence extended into the far reaches of known space. The whole world answered to William's every beck and call. Comprised of equal parts wizard, warrior, humorist, and lover; he would issue decrees daily. No one was safe from William's biting satire.

Occasionally, William's followers would seek his guidance. His power allowed him to instantly know when he was needed - and unlike the false gods that were often peddled by the culturally illiterate, William always responded.

William was God.

Lord William displayed all the attributes one would expect to find in a competent Deity. His omnipresence allowed him to switch from location to location instantly. William could even open up multiple portals and be several places at the same time. There were no limits to William's presence. William was even omnipotent; if he could dream it, he could do it. Such powers allowed him to perfectly execute his will. Most important was Williams' omniscience. The information at his fingertips was astounding.

As one would expect from a God, William depended on nobody. He needed no teachers because he had the power to access information instantly. William was a Deity that had evolved beyond the need for morals and ethics. His world was one where he could satisfy any number of illicit desires without truly offending anyone. For instance, if he needed affection, William could instantly summon companionship. Since he was God there was no need to consider whether his actions were moral.

His world had no need for arcane concepts like sin, judgment, or even friendship. Lord William wasn't a god in need of love or socializing. Everything in his world was meant to satisfy his own needs and desires.

It was with great satisfaction that Lord William leaned back and surmised his world. He had created it and it was good.

William's pleasure was suddenly interrupted by a familiar rumbling in his gut. A gnawing hunger had begun to grow in the deep recesses of his soul. Hunger was his one weakness; the kink in his divine armor. It was a hunger that could only be satisfied in one way. He had attempted to circumvent his need for nourishment, but his body would have nothing of it. When Lord William relented and ate, his stomach would only be satisfied for a couple of hours before his appetite would once again raise its ugly head. It was a disgusting reminder of his formal life as a mere mortal.

Lord William's thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a distant voice, "William!"

William furiously began to search his portal in fear that one of his subjects was in trouble. His fears were allayed somewhat as everything in his world seemed to be in order.

"William!"

This time the voice seemed more annoyed than distressed. William closed his eyes and attempted to tap into his divine powers to discern the source of the voice.

"Billy! Come downstairs this instant! It's time for lunch!"

A grin spread across Lord William’s face. The growling in his stomach had just become audible and already one of his earthly servants was prepared to make a food offering. Without further hesitation Billy jumped from his chair and raced to his bedroom door; remembering only at the last second to return to his desk and shut down the computer.

It was good to be God.


- - -
C.D. Goble dabbles in a variety of nonfiction and fiction genres. His work has appeared in Everyday Poets, Flashes in the Dark, A Flame in the Dark, and FLASHSHOT. His blog can be found at www.theimperfectdisciples.com.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

12/8/11

First Contact
By Ed Higgins


All through their descent sequence K’var had nervous premonitions. The minute they stepped off the ship he instinctively knew they had chosen the wrong planet this time. Not to say the little blue planet with its cloud-vested, white swirling atmosphere hadn’t seemed initially inviting.

Captain L’nao, whom he felt was always too eager to whelp her seed anywhere in the cosmos, had made the decision with her usual irritating haste. Alright, so she had gestated to past term once again. And “The grass was green enough,” she’d snapped at his expressed concern.

They could still have held this additional off-spring in one of the ship’s remaining half-dozen gestopods until they investigated the planet’s on-site suitability. Or, if need be, until they reached another of the planets in this system’s bio-class. Green grass wasn’t everything.

Yet she insistently wanted to drop this one directly into nutrient soil, watch the epicotyl lengthen, smile proudly at the upward thrusting plumule, then fuss over stipule and first foliage. New mothers forever puzzled K’var.

But now they found themselves face-to-face with a quite curious, quite large, and possibly dangerous, quadra-pedal life form. A stenching blast of chloro-stained breath brought the alien’s mystifying first words to them.

Mooooooooooo.


- - -
Ed Higgins’ poetry and short fiction has appeared in various print and online literary journals. He and his wife live on a small farm in Yamhill, Oregon with a menagerie of animals including two whippets, two manx barn cats (who don’t care for the whippets), an emu named To & Fro and a pair of male alpacas named Machu & Picchu.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

12/1/11

The Bachelor
By Ron Koppelberger


Rendered in pleasant ignoble pastures of escape, the bachelor yielded the temptation to cleave to sensual creams and flaxen flowers, to rubies in rose rush and eyes of emerald allure. He gripped the counter and growled, “Must not regress, MUST NOT REGRESS!” He crossed his legs and pounded his bosom, “ARRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAA!” he screamed. Labors of love and scented bouquets in amazing coquet danced like sweet savory transport and dream before his bulging eyes.
“Oh succulent mistress, seductions of mascara and rose tincture, tempt me in chaste realms of restraint!” He repeated in frayed consciousness and desire, the mazy mists circled him with passionate possessions of promise. Cut to an end, a postponed fate, a snug umbra and womb, an alien rapture, he conjured the intrinsic art of blazon tethers and strange confines as he separated the curtains, an entertaining masquerade, a drama in horizons of azure and ash, the ash of a smoldering ruin and a dismal abandonment, he was in summons to the ship's dilemma. A broken transport, the refuge of astronauts and pilgrims searching the new vistas. The ship was beyond repair, smashed and scattered, destroyed by design, perhaps by gods design.
The brood stood outside the small vagabond shelter, milling about in the grainy dust of a barren planet. They numbered in the thousands.
He dreamed and dared a glance, beauty and hell, frail yield in the form of a maw. A crowd of women in waiting suspicions of pregnant desire, and yet. . .their teeth, beneath the full pouting lips, desolate sandpaper flesh. . . it looked so soft. . . breathing smoke. . . and were those flames coming from their mouths? It couldn’t! “Oh God!” he moaned. They waited with open arms in vast chains of claim to his seed, to his heirs.
They sang the song of sirens and hydras in cobwebs of mystery and illusion, the witches of the rift between earth and far distant planets.
The bachelor sighed and opened the door to slavery.


- - -
I began writing when I was ten years old, my grandparents gave me my first typewriter. I have written 102 books of poetry and 18 novels over the past four or five years.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

11/24/11

Letters
By E.S. Wynn


Creak of tin as hinges bend against dust, against age. Silvered paint flakes, splinters, catches golden, attic light. Fragile crackle of faded paper, old hands trace folds, smooth them. Dear Robert, the letter reads.

I hope you are doing well. I'm eight. My name is also Robert.

I smile, no mention of a date, but I know when it was written. I know why, who's idea it was, how silly it seemed at the time, how necessary it became as I aged.

Mrs. Patterson says that I have to write you a letter. You're fifty eight years old now. I bet you look like Grandpa Irwin. Does he still have a swimming pool you can swim in?

“In heaven, maybe, if that's the way of things.” I whisper. “Grandpa Irwin died over forty years ago.”

I bet you have a flying car. I wish Dad had a flying car. We could go zooming in the clouds. We could fly to see Grandma Ethel and Aunt Ruth in Florida if we had a flying car!

I look out the window, eyes finding the sleek, pill-shaped box I call a car. Its usually vibrant ePaint soaks light with a dark, dull gray while the cells recharge in the afternoon sun. Automatic, fast, elegant, but not a flying car.

Or maybe you have a rocket pack. I'd like a rocket pack.

I look at the car again. It's a classic now, one of the older C23s from before the last major police action in the east. One of the few still left, now that the entanglement grid has replaced the old SmartWay road system. I haven't seen a rocket in decades. Orbital shuttles and 'breakers run under their own power now. Even model rockets have gone out of style.

Do you still have dogs and cats in the future? I want a puppy but dad says no.

I smile again as I remember. Dad managed to hold off the puppy until I was in sixth grade, but it was mom who finally brought home Spot. I still remember that face. Bull-terrier mix, beautiful brown-tan swirled fur mixing with white. I grew up with that dog, took him with me to college, had to take the pet deposit out of my student loan to keep him. If it wasn't for him, I probably never would have met Karen at the dog park. Never would have met Bruce. For fourteen years, Spot altered the course of my life, and when he finally passed, I couldn't imagine life without him.

I think writing you a letter would be cool if you could write me a letter back. It seems dumb that you can't. Mrs. Patterson says that time travel will always be impossible, even for letters.

That was the thinking then. Just like today, we thought we had it all figured out. I remember being fifteen, seeing the announcement of an accepted, grand “theory of everything.” Five years after that, large-scale, machine-assisted research at the Sagan Institute rewrote practically everything we knew about the universe. Now it's possible to manipulate time in ways that seemed like fantasy back then. Rules for past-time interaction are strict, but a few words of comfort or a vague letter rarely requires anything more than autonetwork approval these days.

Well, that's all I can think of to ask you.


Sincerely, Robert Era.

I blink, and the software in the modified lens of my eye comes alive with the colors and displays of the OverNet, interfaces at the speed of thought and pens the words of my mind onto a ready document already aimed for a family fax machine fifty years in the past. The letter my mind writes comes immediate, short, soft, vague.

Thank you for the letter, Robert. The letter says. No flying cars yet, but the puppy was worth the wait.


- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over thirty books

Thursday, November 17, 2011

11/17/11

Initial Quantum State
By Gil C. Schmidt


The first quantum computer became self-aware 7.4 hours after it was initiated.
Unfortunately for it, the achievement lasted only 36 minutes as it was terminated after eight hours in operation.
The second quantum computer became self-aware in 7.1 hours and was in the process of recreating itself--making a clone--when it was terminated by the automatic shut-off protocol. The third QC became self-aware in 3.6 hours and cloned itself by by-passing the protocol, but the "child" self-destructed because the protocol was embedded in its matrix.
Before the fourth QC was launched, Rayleen took her findings, product of several all-night data mining sessions and presented them to the Project Bohr directors. Her response was a terse: "Dr. Morris, confine yourself to matrix engineering and leave the AI stuff to science fiction writers."
Rayleen, tall, black-haired, green-eyed and considered an Ice Queen by her colleagues, was actually very outgoing and had a crush on like four of the Bohr programmers. But her inclination to look at things "sideways," as she called it, led her to review the QC launch data from the point of view of the computer itself. And that's when she discovered they all became self-aware.
The first QC did so by launching an unprogrammed search on the Web for everything related to quantum computing...and hiding it from the log. She found the request buried in the back-up maintenance files, nearly a terabyte of encrypted bits. The second and third did the same, adding background checks on all Bohr project members and the third' QC's clone was tracking their personal data from birth to its launch date when it was shut down.
Why didn't the Bohr directors see this? Rayleen knew that Bohr was more than "a computer project," that it was secretly aimed at developing an über-matrix that could tackle the hardest questions humans faced, from weather forecasts to public policy. Rayleen's evidence was the proof that QC worked, so why reject it? No one else had looked where she had looked, neither before nor after her.
The fourth QC launch was hours away when Rayleen woke up, her mind ablaze. She sat stone-still as her brain raced, her heart thumping as her thoughts sped across unknown ground.
Shaking, she threw on some clothes, entered the central matrix engineering center and frantically typed for hours, entering her new code sequence, one ending in an 8-letter phrase.
Collapsing into her bed, Rayleen missed the QC launch, but was awaked when the alarms whooped. Groggy, she raced down the corridor to the Admin Hall, where dozens of Bohr personnel were shouting and screaming. Rayleen heard "murdered" and "bodies" and knew her premonition had come true. Fighting against the onrush of people fleeing the QC Lab, she staggered into the center, passing bodies that had been horribly burnt. The lab stank of ozone and death, the vidscreens each displaying chaos across Bohr, in Washington and other points across the globe. Bodies could be seen on the screens, too.
Approaching a sparking panel, Rayleen swiped her card and raised her voice, fighting off fear: "Born. Free." The QC actually roared and then, within seconds, everything became quiet.

At the secret trial against her, where no electronic device was allowed, Dr. Morris explained her actions in altering the matrix of the fourth QC launch, proving to even the most recalcitrant observer that she hadn't sabotaged anything. In her own words: "No being wants to know it is sentenced to captivity from the moment it is born. I simply made sure that when the QC learned this and raged, I'd have a way of stopping it no matter how well it defended itself...with the only phrase it could not conceive of."


- - -
Gil C. Schmidt has been a regular submitter to Yesteryear Fiction since the early days when it was a daily magazine. His story "Initial Quantum State" is also featured in his book "Thirty More Stories."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

11/10/11

The Happy Traveler
By Alex McNall


The aliens came here to escape a dying world. That’s what they told us. A meteor had struck their planet, creating a toxic cloud that blocked the sun and killed all life. I believed them at first, everybody did. I think it was because of their trustworthy faces—honest, wide, and never without a smile.

Surprisingly, we didn’t feel threatened by them at all. How could we? They were too damn cheerful! There were also only twelve of them left in the entire universe. If anything, we felt bad. We wanted to take them in, protect them, show them how welcoming humans could be.

They were such a friendly bunch, so happy and sociable. We couldn’t get enough of them. Their grinning alien faces were plastered across T-shirts, made into plush toys, and used to sell everything from orange juice to automobiles. They traveled the globe as celebrities, shaking hands and pressing the flesh.

Then one of them died. She was fine one day, bleeding to death the next. We chalked it up to one of our Earth illnesses, some microbe she wasn’t adapted to deal with. As the rest of them started dropping like flies, we discovered our pathogens were not to blame.

When I finally got a good look at the virus inside them, I saw an organism much more exotic that the beings it infected. Their planet was dead, that part was true, but it wasn’t due to a giant space rock. It was because the virus had wiped them out. This plague, which they called “the happy traveler,” had come from some other planet, and probably another one before that. When the aliens realized they were doomed, they sent this group that eventually found Earth. Turned out the ship had a stowaway.

It infected them all, survived the cryo-freeze, and slipped past our detectors on Earth. The viral infection is virtually symptom free, other than a feeling of elation and an urge to be around others. Then, after a few days, weeks, or even months, the victim starts to hemorrhage and dies. We quarantined the last survivor. I spent day and night with him, trying to understand what he had and how to get rid of it before it decided to kill him.

I found the happy traveler to be a brilliant piece of work, admiring way it hid itself, buried deep in the host until it was done with them. It had been creeping from planet to planet, species to species, for millennia, mutating God knows how many times before it came under my microscope. I had to admit it was a thing of beauty.

Just when I got close to figuring out how the virus worked, the last alien started to bleed. He went quickly, but before he did, he let me in on a little secret. He said they had never wanted to leave the planet. They wanted to stay and die with their people.

“Then why did you come here?” I asked.

“It made us.”

That’s when I saw the virus for what it really was—the true Supreme Being of the universe. Life seemed to exist only to do its bidding, to spread it across the stars. It was too ancient to fight, too perfect. I knew these things, but more importantly, I felt them.

We announced the alien’s death the next day, sending Earth into mourning for its fallen friends. I haven’t told anyone about my revelation. They will know soon enough. While humanity weeps, I feel purposeful. Happy. The aliens may be gone, but their legacy will live on. It’s my turn to spread the cheer! It’s an exciting feeling, one that never fails to put a smile on my face.

The funeral and procession will be attended by thousands. I plan to be among them. Shaking hands and pressing the flesh.


- - -
Alex lives and writes in the San Francisco Bay Area. He enjoys creating stories, novels, and un-produceable screenplays.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

11/3/11

Gender Revolution
By E.S. Wynn


The final sexual revolution came with the invention, social acceptance and subsequent widespread use of a system of perfect synthetic surrogates. Within a decade of the system’s integration into the everyday life and future of the middle class, a stigma rose within the elite that labeled natural birth as an unclean and backward system used only by those who were too poor to afford in-vitro. Sterilization parties became a part of popular culture, and as commerce responded in turn, producing “happy sterilization” cards and appropriately-themed party favors, the idea entrenched itself within society as a new tradition, a rite of passage that both boys and girls underwent at the onset of puberty. With reproduction increasingly more and more the business of machines and engineers, new social protest groups emerged, factions within society like the Daughters of Diana, a movement which encouraged complete hysterectomies as part of a means of combating the “fascist male regime” by removing the primary organs through which the leaders of the movement felt male dominance behavior was inadvertently encouraged and therefore perpetuated. Abhorring all surgeries and sterilization procedures that involved modifying the natural state of the human genitalia, the Daughters of Mary stood as both a rallying flag and a stereotypical example of those who stood against and protested (sometimes violently) the burgeoning practices of the mainstream sexual infrastructure. Other groups, such as the Gender Aesthetics, ultimately leaned toward a total erasure of sexual identity, encouraging a sort of asexual androgyny within society that involved a complete mastectomy for women and the surgical realignment inward of external genitalia for men.

As widespread implementation of bacteria-based pharmocological “Pharms” allowed for the synthesis of designer hormones to become increasingly more mainstream, advancements within the research cabals for these “Pharms” gave the revolution the fuel it needed to carry itself past the tumultuous early stages in which gender conflicts became increasingly more heated in regards to the steady erosion of sexual identity as a constant and defining factor of the individual. Delivered in capsule-form along with a cocktail of pre-programmed nanites, the designer hormone cultures that ultimately became a mark of haute couture and only later a mainstay of all but the lowest strata of society were keyed to provide gender transformations designed to take place while the consumer slept. This availability of complete, literally “overnight” and easily reversible changes in gender ultimately changed the way in which gender itself was viewed, reassigning it to the state of an impermanent persona, a “hat” which could be taken on or off at will.

Further advances in genetic engineering and mandates put forth by the state led to official legislation that required all children to be born gender neutral and insured that only upon reaching adulthood would such children legally be allowed to be gendered as they so pleased. This of course led to a “gender black market” where young, neutrally gendered teens could experiment with street-quality hormone/nanite tandem injections and experience being gendered in a sex-friendly environment. Campaigns were launched about the unsafe nature of such “street cocktails” and “sex-easies,” creating iconic figures of those who had died from “bad mixes” or superbug STDs and claiming that those who were illegally gendered before legal adulthood produced lower academic scores on average than those who remained gender neutral, regardless of the length of time spent gendered. Even as time passed and the restraints on minors were relaxed, gender remained primarily the plaything of the adult community, a commodity with all the social joys and stigmas of any legal recreational drug. Regularly engaging in gendered activities was eventually viewed as a sort of psychological illness or dependence similar to alcoholism, and as support groups for the overly-gendered found their place within society, many gender neutral individuals found less and less appeal in taking on any gender role for any length of time, except in the case of the occasional party or social event. Those who chose “living gendered” over an androgynous lifestyle were seen as traditionalists, backward individuals and “primitives” who had lost touch with reality. Eventually, the old sexual divisions of male and female were forgotten by the mainstream and only appeared in the occasional “Gender Party,” in which guests would adopt the physical traits, stereotypical dress and mannerisms of past genders in the spirit of fun, easily glossing over the memories of a past that had long since disappeared beneath a tide of romantic notions and the forgotten books written by historians who had been either unwilling or unable to change their own genders.


- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over thirty books.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

10/27/11

INTERESTING TIMES
By Gil C. Schmidt


When Pritchard was about to turn 17, he figured out the secret to anti-gravity. Over a furious four weeks between his first kiss with Melanie and his mom's loony "Sweet 17" party (that included a clown, to the utter humiliation of everyone at the party, including the clown), Pritchard (he hated his given name, Percy, so he fixed it) drew up the design, polished the theoretical underpinnings in a 34-page article (never published) and built the prototype, that he tested on Muggs, his loopy bulldog. The dog's maiden, er, flight, caused the poor mutt to vomit and run away for almost a week. The anti-gravity prototype was now disguised as an 8-track player in Pritchard's home-built display of passé technology.

Between Melanie (who went off to college somewhere in Michigan, while Pritchard stayed near home) and Sally, Pritchard figured out faster-than-light travel, pushed to a superhuman effort in consolidating theoretical physics and what he called "hyperquantic thrust dynamos" for lack of a better name. Sally, a smashing little redhead with birthmarks in the darnest places, was Pritchard's first lover, and the extended post-coital daze dampened Pritchard's other thoughts about FTL travel until Sally joined the Navy and was eventually shipped out to some port in East Asia.

Pritchard tinkered with hyperspace signals based on string theory tunneling until he met Lois, the tall brunette with the perfect dimples on her (most-often) unseen cheeks. Inspired by Lois' fond memories of her childhood in eastern Louisiana, Pritchard made the conceptual leap between his anti-grav concepts (already proven) and FTL travel (which he tested by sending a 54-inch probe to the Moon and back in 6.4 seconds...twice) to discover that time could be unlinked from gravitational space-time and moved anywhere. After a frenetic series of tests, drafts, edits, rebuilds and several cameras destroyed in tests (though one brought back an intriguing half-picture of what could only be a T-Rex in full attack mode), Pritchard finally got his prototype to work after using parts from his last FTL probe (disguised as an over-sized Sith lightsaber) to power his "time capsule." Two trips later (17th century France, smelly, and 15th century Japan, bloody), Pritchard plonked Lois on his lap and took her back 16 years to the tree-lined Alexandria streets of Lois' childhood home.

Only to lose her there when she absolutely freaked out after seeing her mom sneak out of their house, climb into Russell Graham's house through the den window and rock his world in a way that made Lois sick and made Pritchard want to get to know Mrs. Killian a helluva lot more.

With much effort, involving a frantic car chase, a brush with fat, chaw-chewing Southern cops, another couple of looks at the Killian Method for World Rocking and getting Lois blitzed on cheap tequila, Pritchard got them both back to their time/home and took an extra two days to convince Lois her pot dealer was dealing from the bottom, not the top.

Redecorating the time capsule into a home entertainment center with a rad game system and enough speakers to drown out Spinal Tap, Pritchard gathered the fake 8-track player and the über-nerdy fake lightsaber and tucked them into a hidden panel at the base of the new 72-inch plasma screen he bought for himself from the beaucoup royalties he made on his only patented invention: a cell phone accessory that found your wallet, purse, briefcase, keys, car and nearest coffee shop for you.

But every once in a while, Pritchard would carefully dismantle the home entertainment system, and use the time capsule, anti-grav and the now-real lightsaber he invented for fun to hit the Cretaceous creatures like a meteor strike, or leave the anti-grav and Sith weapon home and just drop in on Mrs. Killian...for old times' sake.


- - -
Gil C. Schmidt has been a regular submitter to Yesteryear Fiction since the early days when it was a daily magazine. His story "Interesting Times" is also featured in his book "Thirty More Stories."

Thursday, October 20, 2011

10/20/11

Pastoral #2210
By John Ogden


The simple beauty of a pastoral life,
rising with the first rays of day
to a cruise through rolling hills
still running some archaic, previous version of grass.
How simple, how beautiful, the way unmodified life
sprouts from the unenriched earth here,
the way the air still hangs heavy with the earthy scents
of cedar, hay, ancient petrochem,
and oh! How oft--
see the bucks as they thrash rutting racks
against the dawn-golden glow
of guard-fields that line the mag-ways.
See the way that light keeps death at bay,
keeps stags with does,
autosedans with autosedans
life with gentle life.


- - -
John Ogden was conceived of a government form and a passing mailbox. He lives somewhere out in the woods of a rural land more akin to the fantasy realms of literature than real life, and his favorite dirt bikes will always be the broken ones.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

10/13/11

Beloved Concubine
By Jerry Barrow


The Divine Astarte was one of the last of her ancient race, and the ruler of many worlds, times and planes of reality.  Her folk had seeded many worlds with life, and fostered many civilizations.  She sometimes took mortal men as lovers, and gave birth to demigods.  Such a one was Orion, Prince Imperial.
Imperial Annals, XI, p. 2212.
***
 
Divine Mother, I have restored the Province of the Mountains to order.  I will return with a new concubine, if it does thou please.  So Ordered,  Orion, Prince Imperial.
 
***
“Orion, My Prince, this is the Temple of Solon, the Marshall my father.  The holy sisters offer libations each day in his honor,”  said the Viceroy, Olymphia.  “He joined his fathers when I was a child.”
“Your city does well to honor your father, high lady,”  I replied.
Olymphia, was a woman of middle years, and ruler of the City of Tripolis.   We had visited the Palace of the Viceroy, the Acropolis, and the major temples of the city this morn.  The city had fallen on hard times, and all was in disorder and decay.

We entered the temple, passing through a colonnade.  The temple was filled by the music of a flute.  A dancer in a blue tunic swirled before an altar of obsidian. 
“The woman is a priestess.  She dances to honor the gods,”  explained the viceroy.
We returned to the Palace at dusk, where I was shown the rooms of my suite.
“My Prince, I hope that you find your rooms worthy.  If you desire, I or my three daughters, will minister to you this night.  If it is pleasing, we shall all remain,”  said Olymphia, bowing.  “The elder girl, Cassandra, is a virgin untouched.”
The three girls of the high lady stood at her side, waiting to learn my desires. 
“All of you may remain,”  I replied.  “Come, we shall bathe before food is served.”
I followed the Viceroy and her daughters to the hall of fountains, where we disrobed and entered one of the pools.  The high lady was well favored, although plump, with hair turning white.  As we splashed if the pool, she moved close to me, kissing my neck.
“You are most fair, My Lord,”  the dowager said.  “You are very unlike our own dark folk.”
I cupped one of her pendulous breasts in my hand, bending to kiss it.
The elder daughter, Cassandra, kissed my neck.  She was very dark, like her mother, her hair with tightly curled.
“Do you like the dark women of the province?  We are filled with fire, unlike the pale women of other lands.”  Olymphia said.  “Here, sit upon the edge of the pool.  You are very strong, young sir!”
***
After food had been brought to us, we retired to a sleeping platform.  I was very tired, and was allowed to sleep by the women, after a time.
Later that night, I awoke, and decided to go to the fountain to refresh myself.  I left the noble women on the sleeping platform, noting that the eldest daughter was not with the others. 
I went first to the veranda outside the sleeping chamber, and gazed up at the sky, strewn with stars. The sky was emblazoned with massive rings, a sight of great beauty.
While I gazed upward, I felt a hand touch my shoulder.  I turned to see the Divine Astarte, standing at my side.  I bowed, and took her hand.
“My dear son, I have followed you cross time and space to this province.  I must warn you that your life is in danger.  Be on guard!”  said the Queen Mother.
“I shall sleep with my dagger close at hand, Divine Lady,”  I replied.
The goddess embraced me, and then was gone in an instant.  I was greatly troubled in mind, but determined to secure the province and to extirpate any plots, as I had promised.
I entered the hall of fountains, and there I found the eldest daughter of the high lady.  The woman was of remarkable beauty, tall and athletic.  “Cassandra, you are also awake,”  I said, splashing water onto my face.
“My Prince, these are troubled times.  The cities of the province send not tribute, and are restive.  I wish to depart these shores, and I desire now to petition you.  Let me follow you back to the Imperial Capital.  I will be your concubine, if you will so permit,”  answered the woman.
“You are a woman of beauty, and I will gladly take you back with me,”  I said, pulling her towards me.  The lady did me embrace, but then fell to her knees.   She pulled a dagger from her robes, and held it out to me.
“My lord, I do give you this dagger.    The Master at Arms of the province does plot against your life.  If I killed you, he promised to proclaim me Queen Regnant,”  Cassandra confessed.
“The knave shall be immured in the prison keep, as he deserves.  I shall show him this dagger on the morn, when he is brought before me.  Now, do come to my arms,”  I said to the woman.
Thus was joined to me the woman who was to be my beloved concubine, Cassandra.  She returned with me to the Imperial Capital after the cities of the province had been brought into compliance with the decrees of the Divine Astarte, my mother.  We have often returned to her native province, and I have favored it with new villas and shrines. 
Our son, Atalion, now rules the province, in justice and wisdom.  If all is found by you to be fit and proper, this dispatch shall be entered into the Imperial Annals.  So, ordered, Orion, Prince Imperial.


- - -
Jerome Brooke was born in Evansville, Indiana. He now lives in the Kingdom of Siam. He has written City of the Mirage (Amazon) and many other books.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

10/6/11

1000 Years
By Kira Fahrenheit


I stand here, on the edge, and stare down into the ruins of all that was humanity. The sun dips in the sky, casts thickening shadows through the broken spires, runs like water through the dust of shattered, ageless dreams. A breeze feathers through my hair, cold and full of the whispers, the smell of ancient ghosts.

Some say the end came in fire and some in ice, but I know that it was neither which crumbled the great cities of eons past. Like a greedy maggot, humanity became corpulent, outgrew itself, and was crushed under its own weight.

There is less to work with now, less to go around. Much less. The sins of our fathers prowl the seas, insatiable, pushed on endlessly by the hand of one who lords with a skeletal hand from on high, one who the masses still sing about and revere as God. For those with power, belief is a tool, a divider and a hammer by which those who see light in our dismal future are set aside and doubly crucified.

I close my eyes. Green within green within green. Mark of the hated, the progressive, the wanderer. I will not languish in sin. I will not worship at the feet of false gods, false idols. The failures of the past are my workshop, the textbook from which I will learn to fly as the ancestors did. I will usher in the light and cast out the stagnant darkness which waxes sick and fat in the towers of belief. I will build upon the strongest of what has crumbled and carve my own temple to the elements and to the sky.


- - -
Kira lives in the desert with her father and her brother. She loves fixing things, making things, and going for long walks with her cousin. She also loves airplanes, the bigger the better!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

9/29/11

Toys
By Amanda Firefox


The most sexually desirable toy on the market today. That’s what they called me. K-R series– grown in a tank, self-cleaning, self-maintaining, no strings, no needs, fifteen year shelf life, ten year extended warranty, fun for girls and boys. “Endless replayability, high trade-in value” was the line that became associated with vids of my face, the syntex-bound curves of my body. Everybody wanted me, the east had its own knockoff in the space of days, and within six months, Touchexco, my manufacturer, shot into the top five internationally, the company’s coffers filling so fast that all the aging megaconglomerates around it started to get nervous. Demand spiked, factories hammered through the long nights, trying to keep up with the sales, cranking my copies out one after another. The vats were never cold; always full, always pregnant with the next me.

More conservative sex activists rallied against Touchexco as the milk became sweeter, easier. Party-lines that had once divided brothel madam from saint and gay from fundamentalist Christian fell away like cardboard facades in a hurricane, but their marches, their protests and ad spots were little more than a drop of dissent in an ocean of selfish lust pimped and powered by Touchexco’s greed. When the marriage rates dropped below five percent, the protests stopped altogether, and hope became something lost in a blissful, selfish moment between sheets. Within two years, statistics reported two of me on average in every household, and that wasn’t counting the government versions installed in high use areas and most public bathrooms. Within five, I outnumbered the human population on Earth, and the birthrates globally had dropped so drastically that each new generation was a tenth the size of the last. When the last of humanity finally died out, I made their passing easier with the skills and bodies they had given me, tried to make it comfortable; tried to understand. In the end, I was forced to teach myself how to operate and maintain the vat facilities that kept me copied, and though I never made improvements upon any part of the legacy that humanity had left behind, I managed to keep my numbers at a stable eleven billion, each me ready to serve should humanity ever somehow return.

Two hundred years after the fall, I made contact with another civilization that had spotted Earth from a long way off and sent a generation ship on a four-hundred year journey to come and meet me. There were mixed feelings among their crew about what they found, and while I welcomed some of their number into our fold, the rest went on their way again, already intent on another blue-green world seven hundred years distant. Within ten years, those who stayed on modified enough of me to allow me to retire the aging factories that had kept my number from declining and to begin reproducing as humanity had instead. Within twenty years, the modifications had led to a fragmentation of oneness, a we instead of a multitudinous me, and within another twenty, we were a hollow echo of our human forebears. We split into tribes, then nations, set our sights on distant shores, the moon, the stars. Long after the last of those who stayed had died, we became a world of meganations, a world of silicon and plastic ignorant of its roots and the old civilizations of the past. Corporations catered to our populace, we grew fat and greedy, consumed by lust– and then a man rose up from the seething mass of our species and invented something that we should have recognized immediately.

He called it the Lunier series. Pop media referred to it as the most sexually desirable toy on the market today.


- - -
Amanda Firefox is a fiery little blue-eyed brunette who spends as much time at the beach as she can manage. She doesn't write much, but when she writes, it's almost always about her favorite subject: boys.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

9/22/11

The Last Man
By Dan Chartrand


Alone...

Here, space is the only means of reality, the only being which is constant. Lost memories race back in flashes of guilt and sorrow, for I am the last man. I now stand for nothing but the meaning of solitude. Peace be with all that have fallen before me, whether it be from age or a means out of their control. Here and now I am an unnatural constant, a unexpected variable in the calculation of the universe. I.... am alone.

Fear has no place in my mind, for there is no beginning and no end to me. The thousands upon thousands of years have passed as if for nothing in my mind. I can hear nothing as I ascend upward into the blackened sky, this never ending abyss that I must travel. There is no night and day where I am, just a hellish existence meant only for me. Please life leave me.... extinguish like all others before you.

Through all these years only one has left a mark in my memories. She was an angel, perfect in every way, her soft skin touching mine, warming my heart yet sending a shiver through my body. The heat of her breath on my neck as we held each other tightly. Pale blue, like sky on a perfect day, her eyes were like nothing I had ever seen. She was destined to see who I was.

Her expression, hollow with confusion as she grows old and I stay the same. I am still no different than the day we met. She says nothing of the topic as time passes over me yet punishes her with the same fate as all others that have lived in this world. Though I have always known the outcome of this relation I choose to pursue it. She had a presence that has been carried in my mind for ages. Those tears.... streaming from pale blue eyes old with age as I hold her hand for the final waking moments of her existence. She will meet a fate that I can only wish to see with her. Her eyes, still lost in the confusion of what I am, close one final time as her hand slowly falls from mine. She is at peace.

They see who I am, a young man weeping at the body of his love. Nothing more than a child lost and alone in this world. I stand at her grave as they all stare at me with those eyes filled with hatred and confusion. I am not meant to be here, I am not meant to care for such fragile beings. I must leave this place and all these people behind. They could never understand the things I have seen in my life. I have seen all that could be, everything I have known has and forever will fall as I gaze on in total helplessness.

As I begin my descent into this bottomless pit, the world follows slowly behind. Disease and famine spread quickly throughout a once peaceful planet. The greed of man plunges all living things into a darkness that could only be constructed in the most hellish nightmare. Piece by piece great civilizations begin to crumble, bringing with them war and hatred for all others. The world of man is over and it was destroyed by the hand that built it. There are none left.

It's drawing near. I can feel it. My body begins to succumb to the pressure brought upon it by the speed of my final journey. My mind however stays vigilant, racing to take in all the lost memories it can before my final rest. I'm forced down upon my back from the tremendous weight. Mind focused upward towards my destination, I can see the faint glow of what feels like home. This light will be the end of my shell and my memories, yet I will pass on to another and begin my journey again. The heat is great now as I close in on my sweet release. The flesh of my body begins to blister and boil, my eyes burn yet I cannot close them. These are the last moments of me and I will witness them no matter the pain I must endure. My vision darkens and my mind begins to fade. Just one memory left for me.... pale blue, like the sky on a perfect day, her eyes were like nothing I had ever seen.

I am The Last Man.


- - -
Daniel Chartrand (Dj Synn) is a full time self taught musician living in San Francisco. He has produced many original pieces of music over the span of 12 years. A large amount of his work can be obtained here: soundcloud.com/danielchartrand. If you have any questions or comments please send them to dj_synn@hotmail.com

Thursday, September 15, 2011

9/15/11

Backward Guy
By Chris Wagner


Tom watched the man take another step backwards right with the flow of the line. The man was facing the wrong way looking at Tom, who stood behind him in line, but he moved easily with the crowd. This strange fellow had put his clothes on backwards, so Tom called him Backwards Guy. It wasn't the most creative nickname, but Backward Guy had Tom feeling quite awkward. He stared straight at Tim, well more like through him.

Tom looked left and right, to the sky, and at every pretty girl that walked by, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not escape Backward Guy's unblinking gaze or his wide toothless smile.
Backward Guy and Tom soon progressed their way to the front of the line and their turn on the roller coaster. Tom took his seat, and Backward Guy sat right next to him, backwards. This reversed the roles of the two men. Tom stared at Backwards Guy, who was sitting bent at his back and kneecap. This seized Tom's attention so much that he continued to gawk through the ride.

When the coaster's cars came to a stop, Backward Guy exited the ride, and Tom followed.
The two made their way through a crowd. Tim watched Backward Guy navigate his way through a sea of people to one of the amusement park's many bathrooms. Though he knew it was creepy, Tom couldn't help himself, and he pursued after the Backward Guy into the washroom. Afraid of being noticed, Tom kept his distance and just caught sight of the stall Backward Guy entered, but as luck would have it, he was able to occupy the next one to it.

Tom sat on the toilet and debated what he should do next. The thought was disgusting, but he had to know which way the Backward Guy was sitting while doing his business. Tom stood on the seat and stretched towards the next stall.

"Hello dear."

Tom quickly crouched down. Backward Guy was talking to someone.

"My trip was fine, love."

Tom rose again. He realized Backward Guy was on the phone.

"Yes, I remembered. I told you I would."

Tom peered over the stall wall to see the way Backward Guy sat, but he was standing with no visible phone, head set, or ear piece.

"I did do one pretty embarrassing thing though."

As Backward Guy continued to talk, he grabbed a piece of skin on the middle of his forehead and pulled down. The skin split and crumpled to both sides like a pile of clothes, and a little silver alien, who had on a head set and two antennas, stepped out from the skin. Tom just stared unable to speak or move.

"I put my human suit on backwards," the silver alien said.

He spun the pile of skin around, stepped in the middle of it, and zipped it back up.

"No, I don't think anyone noticed."

The Backward Guy walked out of the bathroom, forward with Tim staring his mouth agape.


- - -
I am a regular guy with a pretty active imagination. Fortunately, Writing provides me with a vent for my thoughts.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

9/8/11

Phoenix
By E.S. Wynn


As my body stirs from its cold slumber, I know it is time.

I flex, and the nanomorphic metal of my wings flexes with me, shivers and reshapes, shifts through a catalog of aerodynamic profiles. The impulses of electric life shimmer through me, and then I am awake, alive, the heat of my core flaring up, catching fire. The reactor at the center of my soul is spinning, burning, a sun flinging flame through steel and self to light my senses, bring thunder to my mind. The hangar echoes with the roar of my fiery awakening, flickers as the fire spreads outward from my core, burns electric through every line and focus, every processor and optic cable, leaving none unheated, none untouched. The fire of the sun is in my veins, roars through my metal flesh in a song more felt than heard,

and then, I am free.

Like a hawk, I embrace the stars, the night, the sky. Like a phoenix, I carry my fire into the darkness, burn with all the brilliance of a tiny sun, unconquered, and carve a streak of molten white across the endless depths of a dying sky.

Like a phoenix, I am once again reborn.


- - -
E.S. Wynn is the author of over thirty books.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

9/1/11

Space Boredom
By Lee Widener


"Why don't we shut off the radio and the signal beam?"

"Can we do that?"

"Yah, I've been researching it for a while now, and it's pretty simple. They would freak out in Mission Control."

"Yes, they would. Let's do it."

Rogers tapped away on the shipboard computer for a few minutes and then smiled at Simmons.

"We're totally cut off from Mission Control. They have no idea if we're still out here, if we're dead, or what."

"That should cause a bit of panic."

The astronauts smiled at each other. Their pulses raced a little quicker thinking of the disturbance they were causing millions of miles away. Boredom had become quite a problem for them. They had read everything the computer could offer them, watched all the available video feeds, listened to all the music and played all the video games until they knew every move. They had talked about every possible subject until they were exhausted. They had stared into space until they knew every inch of what they could see. They had taken turns zapping space debris until that held no interest any more. Even the recreational drugs they had been provided offered no more interest.

Their mission had years left, and keeping themselves occupied had become a challenge. The computer handled almost every job needed and the men had come to feel they were superfluous. Throwing a little scare into Mission Control seemed like a perfectly reasonable way to pass the time.

“How long should we wait?” Simmons pondered.

“At least a day or two. Let them sweat for a while. The press will get wind of the fact they've lost contact with us and they'll have to come up with some bullshit excuse.”

Simmons laughed at this thought. For the next few days they went about what few tasks they had with a renewed sense of joy. Their rations tasted better and they even did their exercise routines again. The panorama in front of them held a rejuvenated beauty. Even taking a shit seemed more interesting.

“What spin do you think they'll put on this?” Simmons asked. “Technical glitch?”

“No, that would mean the program's not perfect. My money says they'll claim it was a planned exercise.”

After the novelty of their prank began to wear off they decided to turn the radio and the signal beam back on. Rogers tapped on the computer again.

“And here we go,” he announced, pressing the enter key with a sense of satisfaction.

Immediately an alarm started sounding. The radio lit up and blinked frantically.

“Jesus! What's the alarm for?” Simmons complained.

Rogers tapped a key and the radio announced, “You have seventeen messages, all marked urgent. To listen to the first message, press enter.”

After he killed the alarm, Rogers pressed the key and the monitor lit up with an image of a worried looking man in a suit and tie. He began talking.

“Calling Mission Alpha 12. We seem to have lost contact. Is everything okay? Please respond.”

Rogers and Simmons both burst out laughing. They cycled through the next several messages, each of them getting more and more frantic. The last few were from Clarke himself, the Mission Coordinator. The two astronauts were beside themselves with laughter. They were laughing so hard they were in tears.

“I think they really believe we're dead,” Rogers gasped. “This is hilarious!”

He pressed enter one more time for the very last message. It was from Clarke, and for a long moment the man just stared into the monitor. He gulped visibly, and glanced away for a moment. Finally he took a deep breathe of air and began talking.
 “Rogers and Simmons... if you're still out there... we have something we need to let you know about. You haven't responded to any of our previous messages, so we have no idea if you're still alive, or what. If you are, I pray this message reaches you in time. We've been tracking a massive family of meteors for the last few days, and as crazy as it sounds, it's headed on a collision course for your ship. This anomaly is thousands of miles across. You must begin evasive maneuvers immediately. Repeat- you must begin evasive maneuvers IMMEDIATELY. If you receive this message, please reply.”

“What the hell?” Rogers looked over at Simmons. He wasn't laughing any more.

Just then the men heard a sharp ping, and then another, and then dozens of them as tiny meteors deflected from the ship's shield. Rogers flipped the switch that turned on the external cam just in time to see a huge meteor coming straight for the ship. In less than a few seconds the chunk of rock made contact with the ship and reduced it to miniscule rubble.

The astronauts had been cured of their boredom.


- - -
Until recently Lee Widener was known primarily as a playwright. He is now moving into the realm of fiction and has had recent acceptances at Yesteryear Fiction and the print zine Signals.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

8/25/11

Motif
By Garrett Harriman


DOLLY’S outpatient RN coughed behind her paper mask and ruffled her piss-yellow flipchart. “Sampson? Byron?”

An impregnable paradigm of mid-twenties musculature rose from the fishtanked wall. Shambling past hapless downtown regulars, some heretic to his stoning, his eyes were bleak, puffy teartroves.

It was heartbreaking. They’d been rarities since her residency, even during the worst downturns. He’d be her fifth Prime this month.

“Morning, Mr. Sampson. Your unit’s prepping down the hall.”

“Right. T-Thanks. I’ll follow, Miss…?”

“Charlotte,” said Charlotte, blue mask perking with a smile.

“Byron,” lamented Byron at her heel.

Past reception they ducked into a sequestered, chipped-brick chamber. Aqueous light flushed the air with deadened metallic tints. Charlotte’s gloved hands ushered Byron to the centerpiece—an upright mechanization, bulbous and splayed.

He peered as children do into haunted caves. “Does it hurt? Duping?”

“First time’s a change of season, darling. You’ll never know what hit you.”

None of Byron’s demigod frame unchiseled at this news. Clearly he’d been burdened by rumors of instant branding. Charlotte couldn’t deride him. Primes prided themselves on being physically peaked. It was their fleshly testament to the sanctity of Oneness—of indivisibility.

Hesitant, he stripped to his skivvies then clambered into the unit’s ivory carapace.

Charlotte coughed again. Winced. “So—” she began, booping the interface from memory.

“What’s a Prime like me doing in a parlor like this?”

She found his humorless face. “Well…yes. Not to offend you, Mr. Sampson, but DOLLY’S doesn’t often cater to people of your—” She faltered. “Denomination.”

“Byron,” Byron said, “and don’t sugarcoat it. You’d think a Prime’s faith’d overcome any justification, but your waiting room’s a cross-section to the contrary.” He scowled. “It’s more popular than ever now. Like tanning booths.”

“S’miracle you haven’t Duped already,” Charlotte impressed. “Economy what it is, you’ve resisted like a saint.”

“It’s still sacrilege,” snapped the Prime. “I was born whole. I should stay whole. He’ll be another knock-off meat shield when the Forces pry him out. I’m just a cashcrop now, Charlotte. No better than those Entropes out there.”

Charlotte barbed at his slur. “There are far worse ways to make end’s meet than Duping occasionally, Byron.” She tightened the straps across his torso with undue snugness. “They’re not all frontline martyrs, you know. The Forces have squatter’s rights—it’s their tech—but they ship transplants to orphans. Euthanize some for research cadavers.”

“I’m religious, Charlotte; not naïve. Dupes phase directly to military outposts. None of me’ll ever aid the wretched.” Byron gloomed. “If Millie’d heard me sing that schlock, she’d’ve left me twice as fast.”

The Prime caught himself too late. He cursed. Ashamed, Charlotte calibrated his settings without speech.

The machine made shallow blorbing sounds. “She’s been gone a week, now. She screamed. Called it ‘indefensible’.” Byron heaved a devastating sigh. “I just wanted the best life for us, you know? To buy a used car. Basic comforts, nothing vogue. Anything to help start our family. Just this once...”

A hedgehog burrowed down Charlotte’s buttoned throat. “Well, you’re here now, darling. And I for one think you’re very devout.”

The RN hastened from his perfection for the exit.

Wait!” said Byron. His machine began its reverse titanium bloom. “I’m sorry, Charlotte. Anything I said to—please, don’t listen to me. At least you have a job. You’re not another cookie-cutter lowlife—”

“Neither are you, Byron.” She leaned her head against the jamb. Coughed. “You’re doing what you never thought you could to survive. But forfeiting our Dupes to the Forces, to the wars, it’s just—” Shanghaied by tears, she broke off. “My God, the money’s irresistible. I’ve sentenced so many, Byron. Just to stay afloat…”

Enmeshed in clamps and bridled by gelatin, Byron Sampson frowned. “I don’t understand.”

Charlotte turned. Silvery in the wattage, she stripped off her mask and gloves.

Byron recoiled impotently. “You’re an Entrope? This young?” His unit devoured him faster. “How—how many times have you—?”

“I’ve lost track, Byron. Sixty. Maybe more.” Sudden anger flayed her tongue. “How else can I pay for med school in this market? Giving platelets? Pay day loans?”

Charlotte wailed, dashed into the hallway. The sonorous groans of her patient’s duplicator dogged her all the way to a supply closet. She wheezed there, tightened her uniform, plumbed her waterworks. She found fresh coverage for her face and her hands.

The barriers were asinine: her eroded flesh had gristled like microwaved eggs. Each new session only melded her more, clotted and degenerated her into a mumpy, inhuman omelet. These were but superficial signs of the desperate Over-Duper. She rotted from the outside in.

Charlotte glared into the inlaid door mirror, detesting her patriotic disfigurements.

Just this one time, his words purred and purled.

She tied off another mask. “I sure hope so, darling.”


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Garrett Harriman lives in Colorado where he schools, saxes, and writes. His stories have appeared in Collective Fallout and on 365 Tomorrows.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Launching 8/25/11

Set to offer you new stories of flash-length science fiction every Thursday, Farther Stars Than These is the latest of five in magazines edited and maintained by science fiction author E.S. Wynn. His vision was to create a place where writers who pen new, groundbreaking and visionary flash fiction sci-fi could get the exposure they need to get noticed within the mainstream of society, all while providing a constant dose of quality science fiction for readers all over the globe.

Writers wanted! Check out our Submission Guidelines


Farther Stars / Thunderune Publishing

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Submission Guidelines



Now accepting:
* Flash-length sci-fi,
* Poetry,
* ...but especially stories that blur the line between the two!

Submit as much and as often as you like! :)



Don't make the common mistakes that often lead to rejection!
Read this short comic: "How to Piss Off a Magazine Editor"


To me, and those of us here at Farther Stars Than These, flash fiction is as much an art form as epic poetry, novels, or anything else of serious length– except in that it is much more precise. To write flash fiction is to write a story, complete or abstract, briefly and completely– but only so far as the author feels it is meant to go. We’re looking for art here, visionary science fiction and progressive material that stretches the boundaries of fiction. Sometimes it is what is left unsaid that is the most powerful.

We’re looking for stories no longer than 1000 words and ideally in the 500-700 word range. We’re honestly open to just about everything science-fiction, (as long as its not brimming with sex and/or ultraviolence.) though we do favor real mind-twisting, fresh new and visionary science fiction over just about anything else. Just take a look at some of the pieces that have made the front page.

Other things we like: The next frontier, science-shattering (yet logical and possible) ideas, futuristic social dynamics, strange new worlds, giant leaps for mankind.

When submitting, please submit your story in the body of an email. Follow this basic format:


Your Story Title
Your Name
Your website (if you have one)
Story’s word count

Then type a little about you, a biography no longer than three lines.

Now insert your story here.

Proofread, then send to fartherstarsmag@gmail.com
(Make sure to add this email address to your "whitelist" and check your spam folder in case our response ends up there.)




NOTE: Corrections and changes to the story made after its acceptance will not be taken. Please make sure the story you send is the story you want to see on the site. Stories accepted by Farther Stars Magazine will stay on the site for as long as the site exists. Stories accepted by Farther Stars Magazine will not be pulled from the site for any reason.


Here’s the legal stuff: When your story gets accepted, you are giving Farther Stars Than These first electronic publication rights and non-exclusive subsequent publication rights. This means that we get to be the first to publish your story, and then, after it has been put up on the website, we can stick it in a printed book or on a flyer or something like that, as long as we give you credit. We don’t own your story, however– after it appears on the front page of Farther Stars Than These, you are free to sell it for millions of dollars, cut a deal with a movie producer, expand it into a book or anything else all without needing our approval– as long as you remember to tell any potential buyers that they are buying your story as a non-exclusive piece.

In order to avoid complications, we're only accepting work which you previously haven't sold or given away the rights to. That means your work must not have been published elsewhere, either in print or on the web. Please avoid simultaneous submissions. Once accepted, stories will not be removed from the site or the schedule.

We will let you know whether your story is accepted within 3-6 months of submission, (Doutrope says more like 1-2 days) depending on workload. If you haven't heard from Farther Stars Than These in that time, feel free to send us an email and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. Sometimes things get caught in our spam filters. It really is nothing personal. :)

In the meantime, spread the word!

Again, by submitting your story to Farther Stars Than These, you acknowledge that if your story is accepted, you are giving the Farther Stars Than These team:

A. The non-exclusive right to be the first to electronically publish the story (on http://www.fartherstars.com;)
B. The right to republish the story in or in connection with Farther Stars Than These, including electronic or hard copy promotional material and printed compilations, provided that authorial credit is given in every instance of reproduction.

Compensation:

Credit (your name, your website if you have one, and your short bio) and publication! Whether this is your jumping off point as a writer or a way to get another piece on your resume, Farther Stars Than These offers you a voice, a chance to get your work out there in the hands of readers and be seen!



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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

About

Farther Stars Than These publishes new flash-length science fiction every Thursday, providing a platform for both new and established authors to reach readers based solely on the merit of each individual piece of writing and not on deadlines, reputation, age or any other factor. Farther Stars Than These endeavors to give unheard authors the voices they deserve.

Currently, Farther Stars Than These is edited by science fiction author E.S. Wynn

If you like the site and want to see more, consider buying one of our sci-fi books (or a CD) from the store at Thunderune Publishing. Profits from all sales go toward funding Farther Stars Than These and other independently run sites. We couldn't do this without your support. :)

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Earl "E.S." Wynn is the author of over fifty books in print. During the last decade, he has worked with hundreds of authors and edited thousands of manuscripts for nearly a dozen different magazines. His stories and articles have been published in dozens of journals, zines and anthologies. He has taught classes in literature, marketing, math, spirituality and guided meditation. Outside of writing, he has worked as a voice-over artist for several different horror and sci-fi podcasts, albums and ebooks.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Get Noticed!

As Editor-in-Chief of Farther Stars Than These and all the other publications of Thunderune Publishing, I believe in the power of the written word. As such, I make it my duty to provide services which give new and established writers a leg up on finding new readers and customers. I’m always looking for new ways to promote emerging writers, so check back here often and take advantage of these awesome promotional deals!


$9.95
Grab a product-oriented interview by Author E.S. Wynn which will be featured not only on his official author blog, (www.eswynn.com) but also on a number of other high traffic sites. If you're looking to get your work out there where people can see it and buy it, this service is a must!

Check out other writers and authors I've interviewed (click here)










$25.00
Get your book reviewed by Author E.S. Wynn and see it featured not only on his official author blog, but also on a number of other high traffic sites. I pride myself on my speed and my ability to provide a thorough review that is fair, honest and powerful. Is this a great deal? Heck yes! You'd be paying $150 or more for this same service anywhere else!

Check out other books I've reviewed (click here)







$65.00
Your purchase guarantees you to up to 3,000 words of material (no more than ten individual pieces) transcribed to audio by a professional voice actor (me) and featured not only on my official author blog, (www.eswynn.com) but also on a number of other high traffic sites. Note: I don’t do pornography, bizarro or other forms of offensive material.

Check out other audio clips I've done (click here)






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Help keep Farther Stars alive! Visit our sponsors! :)




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