Archive | Fiction

01 February 2017 ~ 1 Comment

DP Fiction #24: “The Avatar In Us All” by J.D. Carelli

For my 88th birthday, I celebrate with a bottle of bourbon. I fumble with the anti-intoxication meds my doctor insists I take, the dispenser flying out of my hands and across the kitchen table. “Goddammit!”

Chrissy walks in, putting her hands on her hips in disapproval. Her face is her mother’s, but when I look for my eyes, all I see are the blank, grey eyes of an android. Not my daughter, only her avatar.

“Is it so hard to ask for help?” she snaps. The avatar has a faux personality—based on Chrissy’s—but the motherly tone in her voice tells me my daughter is sitting halfway around the world, jacked-in.

“I’m an old man,” I say, reaching for the bourbon. “Why bother?”

She walks over to the table, deftly dispenses a tablet, and pops it into my mouth. Sitting down in a chair beside me, she pushes two glasses my way.

“Do you at least have a glass of something where you are?” I ask, filling both glasses.

She chuckles. “It’s morning over here, Dad. You know that.”

“I know,” I say, washing the pill down with the bourbon. “I was just testing you.”

“Sure you were.” She follows my lead, downing the glass.

I fill them both again. “You know I’m just going to empty your stomach reservoir and drink it, right?”

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02 January 2017 ~ 3 Comments

DP Fiction #23: “Curl Up and Dye” by Tina Gower

Amelia fingered an unruly hair into place, willing her locks to stay safely tucked under her scarf. She prayed the stylists cleansed the utensils between appointments. Last thing she wanted was to pick up another tangle. Although, Dye for a Change was the highest rated Psychosomatic Hair Syndrome recovery shop on Karma-Yelp.

The bell clinked against the metal door like wind chimes. Burnt hair mixed with the distinct chemical scents of nail polish, astringent, and hair spray assaulted her as she entered.

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02 December 2016 ~ 1 Comment

DP Fiction #22: “The Schismatic Element Aboard Continental Drift” by Lee Budar-Danoff

“Captain, we have a situation. I’ve been investigating a potential religious sect.”

Captain Madeleine Salim of the generation ship Continental Drift set down her vitamin soup bottle. Instead of spending the start of her shift in contemplation of the new planet below, part of the anti-agoraphobia program mandated by the ship-to-shore landing process, she faced the lieutenant. Ronald Chin resembled the noble eagle from their histories, with short wavy hair, sharp nose and piercing eyes. Salim returned his salute.

“Why wasn’t this brought to my attention immediately?”

Chin stiffened. “I couldn’t report gossip. Rumors of religion crop up during every new generation. In the past, they turned out to be student groups prepping for exams, or thought experiments. I had to rule out those possibilities.” His proper military posture tired Salim, who waved him to a seat.

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21 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: FIX by Ferrett Steinmetz

FIX is the third book in the ‘Mancy series by Ferrett Steinmetz. Before I go any further, if you haven’t read the previous two books, FLEX and THE FLUX, I would recommend stopping now and consider reading the earlier books (I reviewed them here and here respectively). There’s been enough backstory and worldbuilding in the first two books that I think starting with the 3rd book might not be the best way to read the series, and it will spoil a bunch of the major plot moments in the first books as well.

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07 November 2016 ~ 0 Comments

TV REVIEW: Wayward Pines Season 2

Wayward Pines was a weird speculative mystery/thriller show that aired as ten episodes in the summer of 2015–see my review of that season here. At the time that it aired it was unclear whether it was going to be a standalone miniseries or whether there would be a second season–the ending wrapped up a lot of things but left a route to continue the story if it were desired. And, (obviously, given the title of the article) it did return for a second season in the summer of 2016.

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02 November 2016 ~ 5 Comments

DP Fiction #21: “The Banshee Behind Beamon’s Bakery” by Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

Most nights the alley behind Beamon’s Bakery is just an alley.

The street lamp bleeds piss yellow light, casting jagged shadows around the overflowing dumpster and discarded boxes. The walls are tagged with gang signs, claiming territory that was never theirs, yardage, bodies, souls, rights.

Some nights a transient clears away the broken glass, the random detritus, to squat for the night. Setting up camp here has its own rewards. The warmth that seeps through the bakery walls and through brick facing chases away the chill, but not the ghosts. This is the drawback, you see. The alley is never as vacant as it may seem at first, never as lonely as one may wish. The price of physical warmth is the chilling of your soul.

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03 October 2016 ~ 6 Comments

DP Fiction #20: “October’s Wedding of the Month” by Emma McDonald

When Percy and Astrid met they’d no idea that only a few short weeks later they’d be getting married.

“Percy really swept me off my feet” said Astrid. “I’d just stepped outside the pub for a quick smoke and suddenly this guy was bundling me into his car.”

“It was love at first sight,” Percy confirmed. “I saw her and I just had to have her.”

Despite their unconventional first meeting our October couple are obviously very much in love. Sitting in their home, admiring the various objects of cult paraphernalia, including an antique sacrificial dagger, it’s also obvious that this was never going to be a normal wedding.

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28 September 2016 ~ 0 Comments

Long List Anthology Vol 2 Kickstarter!

long-list-antho-cover-art-color-comp-lg-1The Kickstarter has been launched for the Long List Anthology Volume 2!

Same premise as last year, to put together an anthology of works from the longer Hugo Award nomination list. This year, Galen Dara has been commissioned for original cover art–the art at the top of the post is not the final version, it is a color proof of the art, but the final version will be shared as soon as possible.

Check out the rewards, besides copies of the books there are critiques from Martin L. Shoemaker, Sunil Patel, Erica Satifka and myself.

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02 September 2016 ~ 1 Comment

DP Fiction #19: “Do Not Question the University” by PC Keeler

“History,” spoke The University. Albert had no interest in History. Nor had he interest in Mathematics, Science, Language, Art, or any of the other schools of The University. But one did not question The University, let alone defy it. Tales skittered among the Uneducated about Accepted Candidates thrown back from the gates for a single […]

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01 August 2016 ~ 1 Comment

DP Fiction #18: “Sustaining Memory” by Coral Moore

The Archivist held the three remaining beads in her left hand. Images flickered across her visual cortex: an unknown woman’s face, a sunset on a planet she couldn’t name, the dazzling color of a sea she no longer had the words to express. The beads felt cool and impersonal in her fingers, though what they contained was neither. She had only these few memories left and she no longer remembered if they were hers or someone else’s.

Around her, the machine chugged and whirred. The metal tubing that encased her pod vibrated. The glowing core rose in front of her, spinning slowly around its vertical axis.

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