02 November 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #45A: “The Memory Cookbook” by Aaron Fox-Lerner

The first thing to remember is that your memories are no longer your own. You’re worth something now that you’ve been implanted, but only so long as you can remember something worthwhile.

You need to think about your memories in terms of who will consume them. What kind of mood will it give them? What do they want to feel? What food or drinks will be paired with the memory? Will they be remembering it alone?

Remember that while your memories may be yours, they are being recalled in the service of paying customers. You should never remind them of this fact, but always be aware that they are the ones with money and you are not.

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15 October 2018 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #44B: “Still Life With Grave Juice” by Jim Moss

“This is the real thing? None of that synth-sludge?”

“Yes, sir. Direct from Earth.”

“And it’s the best you’ve got?” Quincy eyed the glass on the robowaiter’s tray. He should have ordered a bottle. He would need more to help unravel the stress of his turbulent negotiations with the Wattlars, who had rejected yet another contract. At least this outpost had an overpriced restaurant where he could run up his company’s expense account.

“Highest quality and price, I assure you. You may access my Integriport–”

“Yeah, yeah…” Quincy waved his hand, the gesture cue enough for the robowaiter to spit out a coaster which landed on the table with a soft plop. In a ballet of hydraulics, the robowaiter plucked the glass off the tray and set it before Quincy with the exaggerated grace of a suitor presenting a rose.

“Will that be all, sir?”

“You know, on Earth, they pop the cork in front of the patron, so it can be inspected for dryness, and they show the bottle so that–”

“You requested a glass, not an entire bottle,” the robowaiter spun its upper torso away from Quincy and sped off. Quincy held up the glass by the stem, examining its deep burgundy contents by the overhead light. He brought it down below his nose and inhaled.

“Cannibal.”

That word, that accent, the derisive tone — Quincy knew it referred to him.

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15 August 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #42B: “The Vegan Apocalypse: 50 Years Later” by Benjamin A. Friedman

Dear valued McFleshy’s patrons, 

On this, the solemn 50th anniversary of the Vegan Apocalypse, we’d like to thank you — our loyal Consumers-of-the-McFlesh™ — for relying on McFleshy’s (and only on McFleshy’s) for all your dietary needs. As you know, without your loyal patronage our tremendous planet would have surely long since fallen prey (yet again) to the Vegans. Instead, thanks to your fortitude — we’re still here. And thanks to us (and the delicious McFlesh™) — you are too!

For it is only together by consuming at least three juicy Fleshies™ a day, that we can be certain to avoid the fate of our Beloved Billion™ — keeping the Earth safe for all our children…and all our children’s children – etc. 

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02 April 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #38A: “Giant Robot and the Infinite Sunset” by Derrick Boden

Giant Robot stands alone on the battlefield. Its hulking titanium shoulders slouch. Its articulated polymer knees bow inward. Its blazing fiberoptic gaze falters, downturned. But Giant Robot experiences neither regret nor remorse while surveying the wreckage at its feet.

It knows only aloneness.

Giant Robot scours the battlefield. It scrutinizes the meat and metal carcasses that litter this desert torched to glass. Servos click a nervous rhythm beneath its knuckled joints. It relocates corpses with the utmost delicacy, but still they crumble in its hands. Underneath, there is only ash. Its gaze sags—

There. A patch of sand between two corpses, shielded by an overturned transport. A desert bloom sprouts, an improbable splay of color. Lavender? Periwinkle?

No. Amethyst.

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02 March 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #37A: “What Monsters Prowl Above the Waves” by Jo Miles

We emerged, inching forth from the sea’s safe haven into the bright void above.

We had done it.

Sharp-edged light flooded the vehicle, casting disturbing shadows through the water within. Three of our arms, drifting lazily in a moment’s rest, merged shadows like a new menace from without. One arm whipped about in alarm, and we spun, searching, assuring our whole self that no danger was near. But that arm refused to calm. The interior of the vessel was safe – our other arms, questing, found nothing but smooth walls and each other, confirming we were alone – but the cloudy surface of our vehicle revealed only dim and distant shapes.

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02 February 2018 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #36A: “9 Things the Mainstream Media Got Wrong About the Ansaj Incident” by Willem Myra

1. Jeter and Amir were neither thugs nor terrorists. They were dumb kids, plain and simple. They meant no harm to anybody, human or alien. They were armed with blatantly obvious toy guns and throughout the whole ordeal they used PG language.

2. They weren’t turned into ash. Weren’t deleted from existence with the pull of a trigger. There was no disintegration ray involved. The alien guarding the main gate used vasoconstrictor-based pistols. That’s how Jeter and Amir died, from internal bleeding. The medical report that wasn’t shown on TV confirmed it.

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16 October 2017 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #32B: “Three Days of Unnamed Silence” by Daniel Ausema

A letter would be waiting for me at home, a real physical letter, like the old days. I knew about it, knew what it would mean, as I rushed through the day, calibrating grading bots and marking AI tests. As soon as I met my quota and had the batteries for my hDevice fully kinked, I hurried down to the great rotating front door.

The grunt whose effort powered the door slipped just as I approached. It shouldn’t have been a problem. Engineers work all kinds of failsafes into the systems so what a grunt does won’t go directly into the connected machine. Supposed to, anyway. But for some reason, the grunt’s tripping translated into an interruption in the door’s power, which made the door jerk. I slammed my shin into it, limped inside.

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11 September 2017 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is a near future dystopia published in 1985 about a United States of America that has become an oppressive theocracy.  ((It has also very recently become a TV series streaming on Hulu, but I haven’t seen the show so I don’t have an opinion one way or the other about that)

Offred lives in Gilead, the theocratic country that the United States has become in a near future.  The Christian Bible is the rule of the land, or at least a very strict interpretation of a very selective subset of the Christian Bible.  Tales of the “way things used to be” are a constant mantra told by those in power to justify the extreme measures taken to uphold the current law, tales of when women could not walk the street without being harassed, when women were expected to paint themselves for beauty, when women had to fear rape and assault.  Women are safe now, they say, treated as the precious vessels they are meant to be, to bear children as God intended.  There is a wall in town where the body of criminals are hung on display: atheists and homosexuals and adulterists and traitors and others.  All for the safety of the good citizens of Gilead, of course.

A lingering effect of the way things used to be is low fertility across the population, caused by some mixture of chemicals, diet, medications, intentional blocking of fertility, and other causes.  In the new world women who can’t produce children are unwomen, sent to labor camps to live short miserable lives.  Lower class women, at least.  Upper class women may be assigned handmaids who, inspired by the tale of Jacob’s handmaiden in the Bible, may act as a pregnancy proxy for an infertile wife (according to the dictates of Gilead, no man is infertile, it is always the wife).

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16 June 2017 ~ 11 Comments

DP Fiction #28B: “Regarding the Robot Raccoons Attached to the Hull of My Ship” by Rachael K. Jones and Khaalidah Muhammad-Ali

From: Alamieyeseigha, Anita To: Alamieyeseigha, Ziza Date: 2160-11-11   Dear Ziza, You already know what this is about, don’t you, dear Sister? The robot raccoons I found clamped along my ship’s hull during this cycle’s standard maintenance sweep? Oh, come on. Really? You know I invented that hull sculler tech, right? They’ve got my corporate […]

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01 May 2017 ~ 2 Comments

DP Fiction #27A: “The Things You Should Have Been” by Andrea G. Stewart

“You should have been a doctor,” my mother said. She squinted at me through the screen, as though the new computer I’d bought her had some secret flaw. She never quite trusted that it was better than her old one. “You always liked stitching when you were small. Remember that shirt you made? So many compliments!”

“Mom, it’s a little late for that. I’m thirty-three.” I tugged at the hem of my jacket, my elbows rubbing against the chair’s metal armrests. Fidgeting usually helped me calm my nerves. It didn’t help now. It had seemed simple on paper: five years away from home. Now the only thing I could think of was the blackness of space beyond these metal walls.

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