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 25, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
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
* Flash-length sci-fi,
* ...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 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 email@example.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.
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
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
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!
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)
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)
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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Sunday, August 14, 2011
Like what you see here?
Farther Stars Than These needs you! Without your support, we wouldn't have come this far!
How can you help?
Easy! You can help Farther Stars Than These by purchasing books from Thunderune Publishing, which is the publishing company of the guy who runs all of these awesome sites. Even visiting our google-ad sponsors is a huge help. Part of every book we sell goes toward keeping Farther Stars alive and kicking.
Help us spread the word! (This helps you too!) Even the best writing goes totally unnoticed unless people talk about it, so make sure to tell everyone you can about Farther Stars, especially if we've published your work!
Need ideas? Check out our handy-dandy resources below! It's free to tell people about Farther Stars, and it makes all the difference in the world to us.
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