Archive | Fiction

02 August 2019 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #54A: “The Inspiration Machine” by K.S. Dearsley

“I’ve got it!” Barnes leapt out of his chair and knocked hot synth-coffee over his work interface and paunch. Perhaps that was why the idea vanished. By the time he had swabbed away the mess, the brilliant flash of creativity was no more than the memory of something that had almost been within his grasp. He needed a few breaths of bottled fresh sea air–his last multi-million global craze–to boost his brainpower.

He had exactly twenty-three minutes to find the next big thing, the product that everyone–young, old, straight, gay, white, black and everything in-between–had to have. Innovations Manager Oona Hardy had smiled at him at the last project development meeting–that smile. Barnes was sure it was produced by twitch implants that pulled back her lips to reveal entirely too much gum and teeth. No one who had been on the receiving end of that smile survived the next meeting unless they came up with something so good no one could understand why it had not been thought of before. The trouble was, the harder he tried to snatch at ideas, the faster they fled. What was that idea he had been about to have?

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15 July 2019 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #53B: “Lies of the Desert Fathers” by Stewart Moore

The Abbot’s eyes stared up at the ceiling. The reflections of blue-robed angels flew across his gray irises. Not much blood had spattered on his face. His chest was another story. The stains had finally stopped spreading from the rents in his brown wool robe. I noticed a smear near the hem of my long skirt where I stood too close. 

Revulsion erupted in my throat and I clamped my hands over my mouth. I could feel the dampness of the blood on my leg. I fought the urge to tear the bottom of the skirt off.  I needed to stay calm. If I panicked, all was lost. 

On the Abbot’s shaven scalp, the lights of his implanted sanctifications still blinked, attempting to change the thought patterns of a dead brain. One finger slowly twitched. The motor cortex must be getting extra juice. I focused on that. A simple, physical issue in the neurological wiring. I could fix that. I slowed my thinking around that problem.  

For some reason, the Abbot’s other hand held a saw. That problem I couldn’t solve right now.

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01 July 2019 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #53A: “Little Empire of Lakelore” by D.A. Xiaolin Spires

All the world followed pretty much the same guidelines for international trade and travel. That’s a very big gloss, but let’s say it was true. And it was, for the most part.

There was however, one exception. It was Little Empire of Lakelore. Little Empire of Lakelore had to be qualified by the word little, because simply calling it the Empire of Lakelore would be a misnomer. You see, there was nothing imperial about Lakelore itself, except for its air of superiority, which was manufactured much like the actual air itself. The air had to be manufactured and pumped out, and it wasn’t too costly to do so, given the marginal cost of opening a few more factories for that purpose.

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17 June 2019 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #52B: “Bootleg Jesus” by Tonya Liburd

Out where rock outcroppings yearn to become mountains, there was a town cursed with no magic.

In this town, there was a family.

In this family, there was a girl.

She was nine, almost ten, Mara. Childhood hadn’t completely lifted its veil. She had an older brother, Ivan, who was fourteen, and whose voice was changing. Elsewhere, puberty would have signaled all sorts of preparations – acceptance into a special group home as much for his safety as for the general public – while his Unique Gift manifested. Watchfulness. Guidance. Training. 

But not here.

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03 June 2019 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #52A: “The Ceiling of the World” by Nicole Crucial

This is important. When Margaret moved to the city, you see, the office she worked in was on the top floor, five stories up. The train took twenty-five minutes to travel between Bleek Street—where her office was—and Swallow Avenue—where she lived. She took a room in a basement, and that basement room was ten feet […]

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24 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Tailchaser’s Song by Tad Williams

Tailchaser’s Song is a fantasy novel by Tad Williams, published by DAW books in 1985.  The story is set in a world of anthropomorphized cats, a quest fantasy with the young cat Fritti Tailchaser as the hero.  It is set in something like the real world, but from the perspective of cats, where humans are known as the race of M’an, descendents of cats who have been deformed by an ancient curse.

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15 May 2019 ~ 0 Comments

DP FICTION #51B: “Dogwood Stories” by Nicole Givens Kurtz

“Late bloomers have the prettiest blooms,” Sadie’s momma said, after she tapped her on the head with the comb. “So, stop squirmin’.”

“It’s too tight.” Sadie winced, sucking in air to offset the pain. Her scalp burned like someone had set fire to it. She put her hands in her lap and tried to weather the storm, her hands rubbing each other to soothe the pain.

“Tenderheaded. That’s all.” Her momma pinched off a section of hair, and began another braid. 

Sadie stifled a groan and squeezed her eyes tight. Once her momma finished the braid, she rubbed a finger full of grease along the parts, oiling her scalp and providing a balm to her irritated skin. The braids still hurt; the hair pulled taut and confined in the creative style.

With her hands sweating, Sadie gritted her teeth and stopped complaining. Not cause her momma’s braiding had stopped hurting. It did, but she wanted to look nice for the Dogwood Arts Festival. It happened once a year in Knoxville and she loved the early spring weather. Fresh grass, the flowers’ sweet smells and the pollen, giving everything a yellow hue. 

Other places had festivals honoring dogwoods, cotton, and barbeque. Heck even bacon. Here in East Tennessee, beneath the Great Smoky Mountains’ rolling hills and purple mountains, the dogwood reigned. 

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01 May 2019 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #51A: “What the Sea Reaps, We Must Provide” by Eleanor R. Wood

The ball bounces off the tide-packed sand and Bailey leaps to catch it with lithe grace and accuracy. He returns to deposit it at my feet for another go. It’s nearly dusk; the beach is ours on this January evening. It stretches ahead, the rising tide low enough to give us ample time to reach […]

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29 April 2019 ~ 0 Comments

BOOK REVIEW: Watership Down by Richard Adams

Watership Down is a survival adventure book written by Richard Adams published in 1972 that might arguably be classified as fantasy as well, which was adapted into a well-known children’s movie in 1978.  It follows a group of young bachelor rabbits who run away from their warren when one of them has a premonition of coming disaster.  The book follows them as they try to find a suitable location for a new warren and try to settle back down.

Multiple rabbits are point of view characters throughout the book, but the most important rabbit to the story is Fiver, the one who has the premonition of disaster (an upcoming construction site where the warren is located), which might be psychic or might just be intuition based on the sudden incursion of signs announcing the construction project.  Hazel is the one who first believed Fiver’s warning and helped convinced the others to make their escape.  Most of the group are pretty scrawny, secondary members of the warren, except for Bigwig, who is a member of the Owsla, the warren’s internal enforcers.  And then there’s Blueberry who seems to not think like a rabbit at all, coming up with new strategies that no other rabbit would even consider.

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15 April 2019 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #50B: “One Part Per Billion” by Samantha Mills

There were already two Irene Boswells onboard and a third in the making.

Radiation poured out of the Omaha Device in an endless stream of buttery yellow light, and Irene (the Irene in the containment room) knew they were doomed. But she slapped patch after patch over the ruinous crack in the device’s shell because she hadn’t come twenty billion miles to sit and wait for death.

Huang’s voice came through over the intercom, tinny with horror. “Your hair,” he said.

It was on fire, or close enough. The strange light lifted it away from her face in a rippling wave. The ends were burning down like the fuses of a hundred thousand bombs. Her arms were smooth and hairless, her face the same.

“Just tell me what to do next,” she said. 

There were no more patches in the kit. A six inch gap remained in the smooth white shell but it may as well have been a mile long. The Omaha Device just sat there, as unyielding and enigmatic as a ceramic tortoise, and still that noxious light poured forth. Irene squinted but she couldn’t see past the light, she couldn’t see what was inside. Dammit, if she was going to die today she wanted to know what she was dying for.

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