Friday, December 14, 2007
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Science fiction has a long tradition of being a black sheep when it comes to literature. Due to its early success in the pulp magazine market, people consider scifi to be a mass-produced, audience-driven genre that is more concerned with satisfying its readers than creating art. It’s whimsical and fun, the way a blockbuster movie is, and like a blockbuster movie’s audience, many readers of scifi are looking for a quick thrill. The flash fiction format makes it easy to deliver the thrill of a new universe in under five minutes; however, neither the brevity of the form nor scifi’s reputation as a guilty pleasure actually interferes with its purpose as art. I equate writing ‘literary’ science fiction with being a ninja: if you’re good, the reader doesn’t know you’re good until it’s too late. If you’re really, really good, they possibly never will.
Anyways, go check out my daily flash fiction website at www.365tomorrows.com. We ‘publish’ a wide variety of scifi, from the strictly conventional to the stylized and experimental, so there’s something for everyone. Go ahead and submit something or join us in the forums.
I’d encourage anyone who wants to send us a story to read back a few weeks to get a feel for what kind of things we print (a good rule in general, when submitting). I generally consider the site to be R-rated, but we have occasionally turned down stories for being too explicit (when we do this to a story we’d otherwise accept, we’ll explain our reasons in the rejection letter and encourage resubmission). If you have any questions, you can respond in the comments or drop me an email.
Here are the two stories I read in class:
This is the story that made the website take off, thanks to boingboing and a few minor slashdottings.
We also have a podcast, which you can find here, though updates are sporadic.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The scientists knew what this, they call it M2 (modern medicine- how creative), could do- at least, they knew how it could help mankind. They had no clue how it could cause harm. (Trust me, it does.) And why should they? It's not as if they communicate with those innovators of travel technologies. And vice-versa.
It turns out that each time a human steps through, some aspect of this amazing M2, which is designed to never leave the body and to attach itself to the double-helix of every cell, corrupts the data of the human DNA- interferes with enzymes or alignment or some such biological issue on the microscopic level.
While neither pool of scientists were aware of this issue at the times of each's respective creation, both are fully informed now. And since Guilt is one of the now-eradicated diseases that had been a burden to the human population, they feel none as their innovations rake in royalties like an anteater sucking that hill dead. And the guys in charge of this whole mess, the guys that analyzed both as they went through all phases of proper testing (theoretical, cellular, animal, human), they knew. And so these guys set up the Council for Mutation Maintenance as a way to counteract the effects of the combination of two integral technologies of today. And every registered human must make a habit of being monitored. Like going to the doctor but colder, more sterile and much more detached. More needles more scans more prods. You avoid this place whenever possible, any of its institutions.
Screaming in my brain, syntax and diction were stirring within the pink synapses like fireworks contained in a glass jar. I don't really know how it all happened, this strange and horrible damnation of the flesh and mind. What was considered weird in your time is now just a cup of old fashion lemonade, comforting and a little bit watery. Now the whole damned world is a mass of wretched bumbling half-goats and half-mad zombies. Now people would sell pieces of their soul for a freakin' good time, or practice taxidermy on their pet cats. I hear the smell is just atrocious.
Room service! Do you want your soul dry cleaned or washed?
Ever since that whole discovery it's been this way. I remember. Dr. Barnaby S. Pippleman had discovered the secret of life, the fruits of creation. Wittleman had taken the chemical secretions from the pituitary gland and injected it into the corpse of Vonnegut. It was said that Vonnegut just jerked alive, eyes dilated, elbows contracting. It was the start of the weird and terrible. Chaos swept over the public, nobody knew who was ReBirthed or natural. People were fucking ReBirths and producing half-dead fetuses. There was screaming at the births, screaming and vomiting and lubricating. Everyone's careful now. Careful to avoid committing necrophilia and aware of death's ever-constant presence of the now. The ones that were famous have it the worst. Everyone is aware that their molecules and polysaccharides have melted from the decay. Nobody wants to associate with their kind anymore. Now they have some sort of underground society. I like to hang around the bars where the o'l has-beens hangout. Nobody tries to sell shit to you there.
My brain is a suction for sex. I can’t help it, that’s how I was made. Although I can’t say it satisfies me any less than it does those gelatin – filled muscle sacks. The suction pulls, it stretches me in all the right places. Bones, hair follicles, perfectly tuned resistors and tube amplifiers swarm my box with well - calculated stimulation. Varicose veins, trafficking through my passages… squirting sake sex sauce, flowing rip tides of possible destruction… I love it. My love light tells me so. My lust button makes me know. My gripping, knuckle – busting, blood – draining orgasm lever forces me to know. And when user 001790 tunes these knobs, buttons, radiators, stratometers, dial – a – bators, and levlers just right… I believe that I am experiencing close to what the walking gelatin baggies claim is the greatest feeling in their short existence. But they cannot be programmed like me. Their wobble – wands and woman – wieners must be physically, and sometimes even… emotionally? Compatible. Suckers. Me, I just sit here pleased to serve to be served. The slot, my slot, my money slot, is where the first torrent of blissful rapture harkens the experience. The coin drops from just the mathematically correct height to exert enough pressure onto my inflatable laughing love gland, the one shaped like an efficient boot, to start a trickle of the squirting sake sex sauce, that everyone seems to react very positively towards. The smiles do something. The suction approaches. The empty void is filled. Filled with meat. Meat of a mumpy man, who missed his mother’s meal to meander over here, over here to this glorious new hole in the wall, to meet his new maker. My legs, ample appendages. My stare, never ending… my pleasure… always… never die… never crash… fill the void. Buzz. Next?
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
That was my mantra, so to speak, that whole year. It wasn’t a very good mantra, but it was something, which is what I needed. I had been desperately searching for some sort of meaning in my life since the future became now, since they banned public television and radio, since Hollywood had taken over.
My life had become the stuff of post apocalyptic distopian awareness, but nothing exciting had actually happened. No nuclear bombs had wiped out the big-apple, no epidemic diseases had forced humanity into any sort of careful interactive subtlety, no reason to move underground yet. That British girl was more of a living figment, imagined from some interpreted experience I’d had with an exchange student who had charmed me with her wit and then promptly disappeared into a hazy glamorous Neu-American fashion scheme, full of colors and aggressive sexuality. But, those two minutes, when we had talked about the tragic meandering of the plot in some book I had been trying to read or a song I was obsessed with (I actually don’t remember), had stuck with me. It had been my only real interaction with anything tender and feminine in years.
I’ve never been a very funny person. This accounts for my terrible luck with the ladies. I think if I had been able to turn up the silly and turn on the charm, maybe I’d have been able to stop her from getting all herped up and cavorting with the scantly clad pretty-boys I’d recently seen her exploiting, full swing Neu-American rock star.
...THE REST OF THE STORY IS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION...
In the end, we give praise to the Godchild. The Godchild is the son of mankind, his ultimate progeny. It has no legs, no arms, and no body. Nevertheless, it is still there, watching as we kill ourselves off. In the name of science, we worship the Godchild, whose neon lights, flickering colors, and humming electronics give us strength in our time of need. Very soon, we shall be gone. All that will remain is the Godchild. The Godchild is everything. An intelligence that passes even our own. Though we designed it, it has gone far beyond what ever we thought possible. These are my thoughts in the last days of man. My one regret is that I will not see what the Godchild shall become… where its evolution shall take it next. However, there is no doubt that it shall go there. We forced the Godchild to the point it has reached…now it is out of our hands. Some think that it is what has killed us as a species. This is false. All that the Godchild is, is existence… it serves no purpose beyond that. In the early years, we did use the Godchild to kill one another…but that was very long ago. It has surpassed such trivial notions of war… it has adapted to the world we shall leave it.
In the end, all that shall remain is the Godchild. I give praise to thee, child of science.
I give praise to thee.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
POP UP WINDOWS AND CYBERNETIC BRAIN IMPLANTS
BY ANDREW DIXON HUTTON
Raoul Diaz was abruptly awoken at 4:37 AM by an insurmountable amount of chaos pounding inside his brain.
Everywhere it was:
**ENLARGE YOUR DICK EXTRA INCH!**
**FREE BIO-ORGANIC HEROIN**
**YOUR GIRLFRIEND LEAVED YOU ALONE BECAUSE OF YOUR COCK SIZE!!**
While the images and sounds pulsed in his head, Raoul cursed his new brain implant. Its not like implants were new or anything, everyone had been getting them for years. Without one, you weren't anyone, in Tokyo, or LA, and now, in St. Louis with his new hardware installed Raoul was someone. It turns out though, that he was someone, who was, currently being so extremely bombarded by mental advertisements that his body had succumb to a state of paralysis.
Earlier that day Raoul was working at Leroy's Juice Hut on steeple street when Ellen walked in the door. She walked slowly yet with purpose, it was the way Raoul wished he walked, yet no matter how much he tried, he would only trip, over his scuffed, vulcanized rubber traction boots.
Raoul thanked his luck circuits every day that Ellen was a regular customer, and if you were to either, hypnotize or give him hallucinogenic drugs with out his knowledge (since he would never willingly consent to such a savage practice) Raoul would definitely admit to you, that Ellen's patronage of Leroy's Juice Hut on steeple street was one of the few things in his life that kept him from committing suicide while alone on Saturday nights.
Now this day was an interesting day for Raoul to say the least. You see, Bob's International House of Cybernetic Brain Implants had just opened up a block away from Leroy's Juice Hut. This was amazing news for Raoul since he was a victim (like so many others) of the new American dream. The dream that you will become monumentally rich and famous without even trying, and that once this happens you will never have to work again, and everyone will love you, even if you’re not an interesting person. This never happened to Raoul. He wished it had though. It haunted his dreams at night, and every year on his birthday he could feel his frail grip on the hope of this ever happening growing weaker and weaker.
The grand opening of Bob's International House of Cybernetic Brain Implants was not the only notable event that day, you see, Leroy Jr. the new manager of Leroy's Juice Hut since Leroy Sr. retired, had taken a liking to Raoul. So much so that he decided to give Raoul a bonus, and a raise (though it was a small one). Maybe it was out of the kindness of his heart or maybe it was because he didn't want to see his best employee dead in a pool of his own blood. Even Leroy Jr. wasn't sure, though he was sure that he had indeed given Raoul a bonus and a raise (though it was a small one), this was certain.
Raoul's main reason for joy though, what that today Ellen had showed some extra interest in him. The reason for this extra interest was that this afternoon, Ellen that day had walked in her husband having sex with some bitch. This didn't actually surprise Ellen, she had been fairly sure that her husband was cheating on her for a matter of months. The dead giveaway was when he stopped making eye contact with her. This wasn't the only sign, just the most obvious. There were three days when he called in sick to their marriage, and the messages on the answering machine from his "secretary". Either way when Ellen walked into her bedroom to find her husband's naked white ass sticking up in the air, with the other end deep inside some girl half her age Ellen wasn't mad. No…. Ellen was excited, she had prepared for this moment the day her husband could no longer meet her eyes, and now felt a rush of adrenaline as the proof she had longed for night after night stared her smack dab in the face, while slowly bobbing up and down.
Ellen hadn't made any noise when she entered the room save a small gasp, so she was able to leisurely remove the large handgun with the pearl grip from her hand bag and point it at her husband's back before making her presence known. The look on her husbands face was priceless and would stay there forever since she immediately put a bullet through his forehead. It was an unexpected coincidence of trajectory that the girl died in the same moment as Ellen’s husband. She hadn't planned this, not to say that she wasn't planning on killing the girl, because she was and in cold blood in cold blood undoubtedly. She just didn't think it would be so quick.
Raoul was not used to women treating him like a human being and Ellen's flirtatious behavior set him off like an interplanetary cruise ship launched from space port America, down in New Mexico. Since brain implants had been the only thing on Raoul’s mind today he naturally told Ellen about the new emporium down the street and his plans to go to that new emporium on his break, and use his bonus to get a brain implant and finally be somebody.
Having murdered her husband and his young lover in cold blood earlier that day Ellen was living life on the edge. When Raoul brought up the idea she said “Fuck it why not!” Its not like she had a family to worry about.
After getting their implants on Raoul's break, the two of them closed the store and fucked on the juice counter since Leroy Jr. had gone home for the day. This violated twelve different health and safety codes. Raoul used his new implant to look up exactly what codes they were violating.
At 7:37 PM Tokyo time, in Tokyo, a 14 year old kid got sick of watching "Step By Step" re-runs. So he decided to take revenge on the west.
First Ellen's head pounded with electric chaos.
Next Raoul began to claw his eyes out in agony.
Ellen forcefully banged her head against her hardwood floor.
This lead to a skull fracture.
Raoul ripped his own eyeballs out of his head.
Ellen lost consciousness.
Raoul did not and was able to feel his brain liquefy.
It was 4:49 AM, Ellen and Raoul were dead.
New York City... about the time when the flu....
Jenny: Jonas asked me, 'Are you going somewhere?' I replied,‘Not soon enough.’ I walked. I was not going to stop. Even into gassy streets, and occasionally fatal rallies. A girl my age died last night. I saw her lying down at the end of the driveway. She didn’t look comfortable. Legs pointing up instead of down. The picture of her is still in my mind when I imagine myself 50 years from now. That was when I knew, I am in the middle of this. Can we meet today at three thirty? I need to evacuate, and I fear it may be too late.
He responds gently and efficiently.
Pen Pal: Three thirty it is.
Jenny: I’ve really put myself in a lot danger being out here. I will stick to the outsides of the sidewalks, and under the scaffolding. So many structures are gone. As if they were simply never there. I stick to the only way I know. Straight to the library. If it’s still there.
If I were a cyborg...
I am at the airport between flights. I am on my way to Bangkok so I decide to relax. I walk into a room outfitted with lounge chairs. I insert my IDCC and am allowed entrance into a smaller room equipped with the Black and Leathery 2000, my favorite. The room greets me. My favorite music and scents fill the room. I outstretch my hands. The nimble-end probes, some padded, some with chrome, wash over my body, unbuttoning me softly and quickly. Massaged and buffed, I melt away. The leathery probes unknit every knot. Sighing I love you, two sharp pincers come out and dig right into my ears. Twisting and turning my mind into a highly suggestible state of mush. The room changes into soft mood altering colors.
Two wire mechanical hands come from both sides its soft pads caress my breasts. Big circles at first with slow gradual focus on my nipples. Cold metal pinches. Between my legs a shaft of air is blowing while a mechanical tickler excites me. Gets me to open up more. The second layer is removed. A cold cylindrical dildo gently enters in then out, teasingly. It vibrates from within, whizzing and whirring. Fingers maneuver to probe me. I can’t sit still. I run to a corner assuming the fetal position next to the Black and Leathery 2000.
The dildo chrome enters. SLowly at first like the yelp I emit. a scarf is placed upon my lips. I bite down hard on soft-stifling shrieks. My body a pulsating gyrating slump of fat jiggling flesh, I flop around like a dehydrating fish till I am splayed open raw, oozing into the black and leathery 2000.
I awake in a quiet room fully clothed. I eject my IDCC and head toward my plane, it is boarding.
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
by Avaryl Halley
Date: March 12, 2072
Time: 8:00 am
Place: Charleston, South Carolina
I open the door to find Ed McMahon on my door step. A bushel of red balloons in one hand and check the size of my couch in the other. Wishing I had gone with my gut and had that cup of coffee before answering the door I begin to focus on what is happening. Half-awake I listen to his speech about taxes and limitations but find my mind wondering, Does Ed McMahon write those huge checks himself? If so is his check book the same size? and consequentially, does he have a pen to match? As the image of this eighty year old man wrestling a giant pen crosses my mind I recall that Ed McMahon died over sixty years ago. Before I can finish my thought this faux Ed McMahon is beating me over the head with the novelty check. I am thrown into the back of a white van with Publishers Clearing House written on the side. Laying on the cold metallic floor I can only think of that cup of coffee I wish I had had.
I am slapped awake by a man who looks an awful lot like Wilford Brimley in a lab coat. Because I skipped breakfast I instantly begin to drool, fantasizing about Quaker Oats.
“Follow me.” Wilford Brimley seemed to be in a hurry and a bad mood so I follow. Feeling my forehead for any record breaking paper cuts I follow closely down the corridor. The whole place would seem terribly sterile were it not for all the obnoxiously bright colors littering every surface. Colors so bright I hadn’t seen them since I found that old picture of my grandparents at prom in 1985. Suddenly we are in front of a pass-coded door, Mr. Brimley nods at the guard, who is the spiting image of Sir Ben Kingsley. At this point I am contemplating what was in the sushi I ate the night before. What could all these celebrity personalities from the twentieth century be doing here? Could this be hell? I am about to pinch myself when we turn a corner and I am presented with a bright green cubicle. In the center is a matching monitor and a single joystick. Wilford Brimley indicates that I should sit, and places a set of equally bright green headphones on my head.
“I will see you after dinner.” Brimley closes a gate I had not seen before, locking me in and leaves.
The monitor in front of me turns on. Music begins to play a very catchy electronic melody synonymous with one thing, Tetris. After seven hours Wilford Brimley returns. He helps me out of my chair. My eyes are having trouble focusing and my legs feel disconnected from my body. Is this what an out of body experience feels like? I heard so much about them in college but have never had the pleasure. Fully prepared to demand an explanation I work up my best authoritative voice but before I begin that bastard Wilford Brimley forces a pressure syringe into my arm and throws me onto the cold floor. I am unconscious in seconds. I dream of pixels, and shapes, tetris shapes. “Where is a long piece when you need it, no, no, not another square!” After a restless night of tetris strategies I awake to find that I have already been put into my bright green chair, headphones and all. How much longer can this go on, tetris all day drug induced comas at night.
No longer can I see the details of life, only cubes, shapes and pixels. That desk chair certainly looks like one of those uneven pieces I really could have used yesterday. I don’t know how long it’s been since I saw Ed McMahon’s face but it feels like an eternity. Since then I have seen Joseph Cotton, Meg Tilly, Buster Keaton, and I swear one day my nurse was Hedy Lamarr but I know better now, they must be impostures. What is this place? Who are these people? Certainly the government could not be funding a project to resurrect twentieth century personalities from the dead only to have them test the limits of my sanity.
Every time I think I have reached my breaking point I recall the day I was allowed into the common room. The day I realized I was not alone. The day I met Pacman, our leader, there were six of us total, Pacman, Centipede, Asteroids, Frogger, Pong and me, Tetris. Each girl had their own quirk by now but it was Pong who was the most affected, her eyes never quite focused as they panned back and forth as if watching an eternal tennis match. That was when we decided to escape, planning out every detail so it couldn’t fail. “No longer will our minds be turned to mush in front of our eyes” Pacman had said and she was right. I wake up, Wilford Brimley walks me down the long neon colored corridor. We reach the pass-coded door and I salute Sir. Kingsley, a smile spreading across my face. Today the neon green of the cubicle seems vibrant and less maddening. Even my game of tetris seems less arduous because I know it will be my last. Exactly one hour after I am locked in my cubicle our plan goes into action. There is a strange comfort in knowing we will all be together. I stand up, joystick in hand. I pull the cord out from the wall and string it around the beam above my head, as I wrap the cord around my throat I can’t help but think that the beam above my head looks like one of those long pieces I have been hoping for all this time.
Monday, December 3, 2007
In the multibillion-dollar industry that is the Afterlife, no one holds more sway than the YHWH Corporation, ltd. “YHWH: Insuring your soul for eternity… today,” as the adverts say. Since the beginning of time, YHWH and its CEO Jehovah have provided affordable post-life services to any and all comers (provided they’ve signed the appropriate contracts and followed the set terms and conditions). And what a job they have done! The massive conglomerate grew from a small startup company with a devoted customer base to one of, if not the, most powerful worldwide Afterlife service providers. The company not only ate up multiple competitors, some of which remain extant as subsidiary brands, but also invested in a number of non-afterlife oriented companies. Time Warner (now merged with AOL) is in fact the company’s largest mortal-services subsidiary group.
On the other side of the fence is MorningStar Inc., the parent company of Clear Channel and the market leader in Eternal Damnation. MorningStar’s history as a company mirrors its biggest competitor’s in many ways. MorningStar was born in the garage of founder and CEO Lucifer not long after he had been fired from YHWH over a case of corporate espionage. Lucifer used the experience he’d gathered over his millennia at YHWH to start MorningStar.
As time wore on, the two companies began to settle into their places as market leaders, buying out or bankrupting any company standing in their way. Eventually none were left standing but the two, set to reign for eternity over the Afterlife. And the two moguls saw all that they had made, and, behold, it was very good. Centuries ticked by, people dying, some going one way, some going the other, and neither company made the slightest move against the other. Until quietly, so quietly that it took anybody quite some time to notice it, greed slipped into the room.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
By James Raymond
I used to love super hero movies. The idea of seeing such a fantasy world be portrayed in a real world setting is very interesting. However these movies seem to be stuck in a mold and are getting progressively worse. I have always had an idea for a super hero story that would try to break out of this formula. My story takes place in the future, in an imaginary city. The city has lots of old architecture in it and the sky surrounding it is so polluted that it is constantly orange. The main character Keith is a masked graffiti artist with acrobatic talents who can tag walls in back alleys to the top of skyscrapers. Early in the story Keith becomes obsessed with a woman named Janice who is engaged to a popular modern artist, who is dying of moon syndrome, a disease where your body slowly turns to stone. Keith and the modern artist named Steve Anchor get into a rivalry with each as who is the better artist. On top of this a gang of mutants are after Keith since he tagged over their graffiti sign in their neighborhood. I originally intended to be this story to be a movie but since the budget will go over zero amounts of dollars I have, I have decided to collaborate with my Friend Anthony Rodriguez who will be illustrating the story into a Graphic novel.
Although this story can fall into the super hero genre, I feel it is also highly influenced by science fiction writing. I enjoyed the aspect of Slipstream writing where the future has become the present. I would say that this is relevant to my story as the world these characters live in seem more in an alternate universe than an exact assumption of what the future will look like. The strangeness of their world does not affect any of the characters because they have always been living in this world and it is all they know. The slipstream science fiction course defiantly helped me combine all my ideas into one relevant story.
P.S I am not sure if this is where this is supposed to be, but here it is anyways