SF Short Writing Challenge.

UF: Stories written by users, both fanfics and original.

Moderator: LadyTevar

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-16 09:29pm

This is a little experiment I wanted to try, inspired by a recent project of my own which I will not be posting here because I'm thinking of trying to actually get it published.

The challenge:

Write a short speculative fiction story (i.e. sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or alternate history) in 500 words or less.

The purpose of this?

Well, the essence of SF is trying to create an alternative world. Many writers rely on lengthy descriptions and reams of exposition to do so, and I found that trying to do so in a very short piece was a remarkably challenging exercise, which served to test my clarity, precision, self-discipline, and efficiency as a writer. You have to convey a great deal very succinctly.

Hence, this challenge:

Write a work of Speculative Fiction in 500 words or less.

If we get any takers, I was thinking we could make it into a contest. Deadline is one month from Midnight tonight (Eastern time), with a poll to determine which story wins.

Anyone interested?
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
Zixinus
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 6231
Joined: 2007-06-19 12:48pm
Location: In Seth the Blitzspear
Contact:

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby Zixinus » 2017-01-17 08:19am

I think I can do 500 words. Can you give any deeper specifications on the piece?
Credo!
Chat with me on Skype if you want to talk about writing, ideas or if you want a test-reader! PM for address.

User avatar
Khaat
Jedi Knight
Posts: 614
Joined: 2008-11-04 11:42am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby Khaat » 2017-01-17 10:21am

So a) set an alternate history/future/whatever and b) tell a story in 500 words or less.

I'd like to give it a shot.

Edit: WTF formatting?
"Just because you're the captain doesn't mean you can order me to... oh, right. Fuck, it does." - Krep, Spacetrawler

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-17 06:56pm

Zixinus wrote:I think I can do 500 words. Can you give any deeper specifications on the piece?


Specifications are pretty simple. The word limit is challenging enough as is, I think.

Let's see:

Speculative fiction (ie science fiction or fantasy- subtypes such as alternative history, utopian/dystopian fiction, and horror are fine).

500 words or less.

Something new, not something you've written before and posted elsewhere or what have you. Otherwise, it would be too easy. :)

Conforms to the rules of this forum, obviously.

I'd prefer no fan fiction. Again, too easy if you're working within a familiar framework.

Deadline is Midnight of February 17th., Eastern Time.


And I'll be attempting something for this as well. I can hardly expect others to show interest if I myself do not, now can I? :wink:
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

Stewart M
Youngling
Posts: 113
Joined: 2016-08-22 06:09pm

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby Stewart M » 2017-01-18 10:33pm

I'll participate.

If it does become a contest; how will it be judged?
Author: Batman 1939
TV Tropes page

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-19 03:07pm

Stewart M wrote:I'll participate.

If it does become a contest; how will it be judged?


Since I'm not sure weather anyone else would be interested in judging, and it would be a conflict of interest for me to judge myself since I want to participate (and in any case I don't consider myself particularly qualified to do so), I'm going to just post a poll and let the board vote for their favourite once the deadline is reached.

I think I stated this in the OP, but apologies if it was unclear.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
mr friendly guy
The Doctor
Posts: 9466
Joined: 2004-12-12 10:55pm
Location: In a 1960s police telephone box somewhere in Australia

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby mr friendly guy » 2017-01-21 12:56am

I just want to say, while I am not interested in participating, I will most probably keep an eye on this and vote accordingly. Sounds kind of interesting.
Never apologise for being a geek, because they won't apologise to you for being an arsehole. John Barrowman - 22 June 2014 Perth Supernova.

Countries I have been to.
Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Malaysia, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, USA.
Always on the lookout for more nice places to visit.

User avatar
Korto
Jedi Master
Posts: 1013
Joined: 2007-12-19 07:31am
Location: Newcastle, Aus

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby Korto » 2017-01-21 08:52pm

It’s Funny Until Someone Loses An Eye
Space“It’s funny until someone loses an eye!” The scolding voice drifted down from upstairs of the manor house, as Buggles wriggled his scrawny body through the bars of a downstairs window.
Space“It’s funny until someone loses and eye! It’s funny until someone loses an eye!” he parroted as the others wriggled through the gap.
Space“Shhh!” he was told sternly; they all looked around at where they were, and simultaneously squealed in glee, so high-pitched it was beyond the hearing of all except children, and they rushed for the doors.
SpacePortraits brought down from the walls made wonderful new friends, a suit of armour could fit more than a dozen of the pack, while the chandeliers were delightful fun as they swung from one to the next before leaping to the curtains and seeing what else there was to play with. A swordfight started, each sword over twice as big as the wielders, and taking three to a sword to swing, but they went to it with great energy and delight, until a squabble broke out between the crew of one sword about who exactly was in charge.
SpaceAn almighty crash brought the argument to a shocking halt, as the suit of armour, finally overloaded, fell mightily to the floor.
SpaceMoments later, a door opened. “What by all that’s sacred was—” A shocked face stared into the hall, before it reddened and bellowed “Guards! Guards! We’ve got goblins!”
SpaceGoblins burst out from everywhere, under chairs, dropping from the ceiling, boiling out of the armour like rats, running around laughing hysterically and dodging and diving to avoid the swinging blades of the furious guards and the lord of the manor. A maid in a neighbouring room screamed as fleeing goblins scurried up her dress to leap from the top of her head and catch a tapestry hanging from the wall, perching up there laughing at the guards impotently yelling at them down below, who were unwilling to risk damaging the valuable heirloom.
SpaceThen Griggle zigged when he should have zagged, and the Lord’s blade furrowed the side of his face, tearing out an eye. Screaming in pain and shock, he stumbled under the next blow, ran into the back of a guard, and bounced into the fire merrily burning in the fireplace, only to re-emerge almost instantly, ragged clothes and oily hair ablaze. The other goblins stopped and watched in wonder as Griggle, screaming even louder, bounced off a table, narrowly avoided getting spitted by a guard, before attempting to climb the heavy curtains to safety.
SpaceThe curtains caught quickly, the flames eating away at the expensive rosewood panelling in the walls and ceilings, ancestral portraits surrendering to the rapidly growing blaze.
Space“Fire! Fire!” went the cry, and the remaining goblins took the chance to flee.

SpaceAs they watched smoke billowing from the manor house, Buggles said “It’s funny until someone loses an eye!”
SpaceAnd the rest said “And then, it’s hilarious!”
“I am the King of Rome, and above grammar”
Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-21 10:09pm

:lol:

Thanks for posting that, look forward to seeing the rest.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
Broomstick
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 24823
Joined: 2004-01-02 07:04pm
Location: Industrial armpit of the US Midwest
Contact:

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby Broomstick » 2017-01-22 07:54am

Rather busy, but I think I can squeeze in 500 words somehow. A month you say? The game is on!
A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. Leonard Nimoy.

Now I did a job. I got nothing but trouble since I did it, not to mention more than a few unkind words as regard to my character so let me make this abundantly clear. I do the job. And then I get paid.- Malcolm Reynolds, Captain of Serenity, which sums up my feelings regarding the lawsuit discussed here.

If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich. - John F. Kennedy

Sam Vimes Theory of Economic Injustice

Stewart M
Youngling
Posts: 113
Joined: 2016-08-22 06:09pm

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby Stewart M » 2017-01-23 09:50pm

Sic Semper Tyrannis


Great Leader Day, 2024
Vindication Square, Tepisgrad


Thousands stood and applauded when Basil Andolov passed through the stage curtains. It was twelve steps to the podium, but the crowd had to cheer for half a minute as he approached. The shriveled autocrat was the only man in history to shake Stalin’s hand and own a Twitter account, but despite his age, Andolov still had enemies. His podium was screened with impenetrable glass, fifty policemen surrounded the stage, and every roof employed a sniper. Checkpoints isolated the site from half a kilometer away.

Igor Greco didn’t care. He was a Liberty Front rebel, but the secret police didn’t know he had joined the movement. He wore glasses with thick metal frames, but their checkpoint machines ignored them. Greco had arrived early and found a spot at the rail, only forty meters from the stage. When Andolov began his speech, Greco pressed the bridge of his glasses. A targeting reticule appeared in its lens – tech cannibalized from a failed Google platform. Two infrared lasers activated, one in each arm of the glasses. By simply facing Andolov, Greco aligned the convergent beams. Onboard hardware the size of a matchstick ran a triangulation, averaging hundreds of measures – a navigation program swiped from an old driverless car. Greco’s rig was off-the-shelf, courtesy of a Georgian sympathizer. CIA gear was probably sweeter, but the West backed Andolov.

Greco’s glasses broadcast his triangulation using 6G Bluetooth to a confederate outside the checkpoint cordon who forwarded the data even further. Andolov’s thugs could scan whole streets for gunpowder and explosives, so no rebel dreamed of getting a weapon into the city. Instead, another team received the data at a farmhouse eight kilometers away. They rolled their artillery out of a barn. Once 3D printers became common, plans for every generic weapon swamped the internet. Still, it took a few years for commercial printers to handle the finer allows at a level needed for precision hardware, and these special fabricators weren’t cheap. The LF robbed two banks to fund this project. Their blueprint was a Swedish howitzer from the 70s with open source mods like GPS and targeting servos. One teammate downloaded the latest wind and temperature using an app from Great Leader’s national app store. The howitzer’s add-on trajectory calculator was ripped from the latest Microsoft Flight Simulator. In minutes, they had an arc solution to the coordinates from Greco’s laser spotter plus or minus three meters. The rebels loaded a light shell with a thirty meter kill zone.

They fired. They prayed.

In scant seconds, the shell arced eight kilometers towards Vindication Square.

There was no warning. The shell detonated in the middle of the stage, destroying Basil Andolov’s hologram.
Author: Batman 1939
TV Tropes page

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-24 09:40pm

Interesting.

Setting is Alt. History, I'm guessing?
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

Stewart M
Youngling
Posts: 113
Joined: 2016-08-22 06:09pm

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby Stewart M » 2017-01-24 10:15pm

Less alt history, more fictional eastern European mini-nation in the Ruritanian tradition.
Author: Batman 1939
TV Tropes page

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-24 10:23pm

Ah, I though it was meant to be some sort of Alt.-Soviet-Union-Never-Collapsed type deal.

It works either way, though.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
madd0ct0r
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 5308
Joined: 2008-03-14 07:47am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2017-01-25 08:08am

Greenbacks


Quiggins Market is a vast night market set in a solarpunk future, where ‘things are better’, but things themselves are often recycled, home grown, quirky or smell a bit weird. It’s not cybverpunk, it’s not a dystopia, but it is different and weird and far from perfect. Humans are still humans, mostly.


Within Quiggins Market a multitude of currencies are in use, from pocketcoin and dollars to cred and greens. Some are accepted universally, some locally and others only as long as the advertising campaign keeps the faith. There are a multitude of private crypto-currencies embroiled in countless mining ops, pump-n-dump scams and baskets-of-holding meta-currencies. All of these are in common use, often at the same stall as good old fashioned barter and favour networks.


The focus of this article are Greenbacks, and the meta-currencies spun off it.


Greenbacks started as seven year shares in an edge-tech research fund. Seven years was chosen as the time to capture the benefits of experimental research reaching market and to scare off more predatory funds. Most of the collectives and startups the fund backed failed, scatterring to the winds and reforming around new ideas and personalities. Quite a few made respectable changes to the world, growing to a size or delivering a new twist on a combination of technologies. Only two grew far beyond this.


Basalt-Brush combined innovative fin tech, particle kieves and old fashioned geotechnics to come up with a reasonably efficient way to capture CO2 and chemically lock it into rock formations. They then won a number of huge contracts for Atmospheric Carbon remediation and or Carbon tax offset schemes, depending on the country and government. The satirists of the time produced printed Greenback shares with “I promise to bury one pound of carbon produced by the bearer”. As the Great Consolidation continued and climate change put ever greater pressures on the wealthy coastal areas, carbon taxes expanded, in large part replacing income taxes in many domains. “Tax not consumption, but damaging consumption” ran the slogan. It was not very catchy, but the idea of taxing Greenhouse Gas producing activities did catch on, with Greenbacks becoming steadily more useful as a currency in their own right.


Now, even at the market, conscientious traders will include a certain number of Greenbacks in the price for some goods to cover the emissions those goods required. Silver-smiths and construction companies are especially known for it, but even butchers have been known to attach it to their pork products. After all, somewhere in the supply chain, someone needs Greenbacks to buy the emissions used to make the parts.
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

User avatar
InsaneTD
Jedi Knight
Posts: 546
Joined: 2010-07-13 12:10am
Location: South Australia

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby InsaneTD » 2017-01-25 10:00pm

I'll try and get in on this. I've got my own little universe I'm writing in and I've been meaning to write more lately. This might get me more motivated. :P

User avatar
Khaat
Jedi Knight
Posts: 614
Joined: 2008-11-04 11:42am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby Khaat » 2017-01-26 05:54pm

Broken Paradigm

He pulled on the jacket of his polychroma suit on and set the color to a matt neutral grey with the tab inside the collar. Slipping into his boots and hefting his loaded bag onto his shoulder, he took one last look around the small, unremarkable rented cell. Nothing left behind.

Except her, and she was starting to stir.

"Two hours left on the rental," he said quietly as he keyed the portal open and stepped out.

The passage had that same uniform, utilitarian, over-close feeling low-moderate habs everywhere had. Occasional oversized wall-panel screens displayed some far-off open space that none of the patrons could afford. Passages like this one didn't run on the outside walls, and if they did, there would be no worthwhile view.

He joined the cluster of five folks waiting for the lift. From the looks of it, he had missed the young professionals’ morning rush, and was in a lull. Still and all, this place was a step well above the coffin-space towers near the airport: a tube less than 2 meters tall and four long, suspended among hundreds like it, in open frameworks, pushed low for the arriving and departing flights.

The lift arrived, they silently piled in. The doors closed before the lift dropped over-quickly the remaining 30 floors to street level. The lobby, a chamber split by a floor-to-ceiling wall, was crowded; those inside getting out, those outside getting in. He pushed his way out through the crowd.

The three-block walk to the elevated train stop was broken only twice by panhandlers - one set, a nomad family with their vehicles pulled up on both sides of the street, the other set an impromptu street performance of a street musician, before all being run off by the local guardian gang. The el ride was non-eventful, the passengers settling into the fixed seats, ever-present monitors, and constant barrage of advertising. He looked past, into the grey drizzly pre-dawn beyond the windows.

"What are you looking for?"
He turned to find a young face watching him over the seat to his left.
"Just watching," he answered.
The child's parent tugged at their sleeve and the child's face sunk beneath the top of the seat again.

The city beyond the train's windows reminded him of the one time he'd been in space: tiny clusters of light and people separated by long, dark (or at least neutral) featureless distance. The memory gave him a chill.

"Are you going to watch the launch?"
The child was peering over the seat again.
"Isn't everyone?" he responded.

The launch was big news, and for a reason: the Scout Corps claimed to have found a way to travel faster than light, and would be attempting to reach the exo-colonies, in person, for the first time in over 200 years. And he was going to be one of those space-monkeys.


[Post-cyberpunk, a character prelude/narrative for a game I'm running. If I can ever get my players together. :roll: ]
"Just because you're the captain doesn't mean you can order me to... oh, right. Fuck, it does." - Krep, Spacetrawler

User avatar
Alferd Packer
Sith Marauder
Posts: 3567
Joined: 2002-07-19 09:22pm
Location: Slumgullion Pass
Contact:

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby Alferd Packer » 2017-01-27 09:05am

Empyrean

Consciousness is substrate-neutral. Remember that.

They said that fear was natural in the moments leading up to the transfer. Autonomous biological processes and reactions, a collection of cells so used to the idea of living that the idea of cessation provoked a response. Fight or flight.

Small consolation, he thought. Society had not caught up--and in many ways, would never catch up--to condition him not to fear the process. Nor could it, since the process itself would be destructive to the original hardware.

It's an upgrade. Trading in for a new model. Out with the organic, in with the digital.

Still, he tried not to think about it. About bombarding his brain with a magnetic resonance scanning field so precise and so intense it would essentially cook it inside his skull, so they could read and emulate his mind and memories in a digital medium. He would go to sleep in the real world, and wake up in the digital one. Functionally, they said, identical to a surgical procedure. It wasn't as if he was the first to do it, either--millions of dying people had already created a digital version of themselves.

But oh, how the philosophers squawked! Digital people weren't sentient! They had no consciousness! They were just programs, emulating traits of the living, breathing people who killed themselves on a fool's errand to try to live forever!

Even if that was the case, the copies were very convincing. He was past eighty now, and he routinely talked with digital iterations of dead friends, as they blissfully lived in their cyber-utopia.

Or at least, appeared to.

You could always stop, he thought. They said that consent can be withdrawn as long as you're conscious. And with the new advances in epigenetics, you could live another twenty good years. You can afford it. Upload yourself then, if you still want to live forever.

But that disquieted him. Not the thought of gene therapy, or outliving almost everyone he knew--but rather, the technology! It had changed so fast! What would it be like in twenty years? What if transfer became copy? Would they scan his brain, sign over his identity and assets to his digital copy, then throw his original self to the proverbial wolves?

At least this way, there would only be one of him. Organic, or digital. Never both.

And consciousness is substrate-neutral, he thought. That's what every one of the millions of digital persons say. That's what the purpose-built AIs say. Why would they all lie?

A dim beep interrupted him. "Mister Park," the AI technician said, his synthetic voice perfectly soothing, "we're ready to begin. Verbally, please indicate your final consent."

Lying in the scanner, James Park smiled for the last time. "I consent. See you on the other side."
"There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance--that principle is contempt prior to investigation." -Herbert Spencer

"Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain." - Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orleans, III vi.

User avatar
GrandMasterTerwynn
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 6702
Joined: 2002-07-29 06:14pm
Location: Somewhere on Earth.
Contact:

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby GrandMasterTerwynn » 2017-01-27 04:52pm

The First Principle of Magic

Scratch, scratch, scratch, was the sound of chalk on slate.

“Visualize these runes,” the teacher, a big-nosed kobold said, his voice like a file rasping on a gourd. “Do not pronounce them, nor write them in a circle. Simply imagine them.”

“How can we pronounce these, sir? Nobody will tell us how,” a tow-headed wood elf child said.

“Deliberately, I assure you,” the teacher replied. “Words have power. The ancient wizards could cast a spell with no more than a sentence. The greater magical beings, with a few syllables. Runes define the cosmos, for it’s said the primordial gods could create and destroy by shouting but a single rune.”

“When shall we learn magics, sir?” A rotund dark-haired boy, a gnome, said.

“You’re learning them now,” the teacher replied. “Memorize these runes,” he added, slapping the blackboard.

“Whyfor, sir? What do they do?” A curly-haired, dark-skinned man-child asked.

“Difficult, all of you,” the teacher said. “Not like the old days, where students of the magics listened to their elders.”

He seized a bundle of plant fiber in his claws, shaking out chalk dust, before wiping it deftly across the blackboard. There were gasps from the seated children.

“You shall learn,” he said. “Indeed, you shall learn. Now, children, imagine the runes as hard as you can. Do not stop until I tell you.”

His beady eyes swept the small room, looking over children with scrunched-up faces and tightly shut eyes. He murmured, making gestures with his hand. Thirty-four syllables, an elemental summoning he’d learned many, many, seasons before.

Faint light crowned each child’s head, flickering like a distant thundercloud. That light sheeted over their bodies, cascading like waterfalls of magical fire.

“It’s burning!” One child screamed.

“Focus!” The teacher hissed. “Focus!

“My head!”

“My eyes!”

“My teeth!”

“My arms!”

A brilliant light filled the room, and an eerie wail drowned out the screams of the children. Streams of blue fire coalescing into a figure made from lightning.

Bugger!” The teacher said. He thrust out a hand, chanting hurriedly. With a howl, the figure descended upon the teacher’s hand, and was gone in moments; leaving behind the stink of charred kobold flesh.

The teacher shook his scorched hand, and wondered what the new scar would look like. His left hand was pink and wrinkled with scars on top of scars. Before him, the children on the floor whimpered, staring up at him with bright eyes and wet cheeks.

“As expected … always as expected. Look up children, you’re done,” the teacher said. He waited until all eyes were upon him.

“There was your first lesson in magic … that it is hard. I pray you mark it well. That ... will be all for today."

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-01-27 06:19pm

A couple notes:

1. Since so many have expressed their interest in this, if the number of stories submitted exceeds the maximum number of poll options, I will break it into two polls, with the highest number of votes from either poll determining the winner.

2. Since a poll must be posted in the OP, and its too late to edit it in now, I will post a separate thread for the poll, if the moderators permit.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-02-10 10:39pm

Just a reminder that if you want to contribute a story to this challenge, you have six days left to do so (see OP).

And no, I haven't forgotten about my story, but I intend to use the full time, or close to it.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
madd0ct0r
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 5308
Joined: 2008-03-14 07:47am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby madd0ct0r » 2017-02-11 06:09am

The Belter's Ballad



Taffy was a Belter.
Taffy was a thief.
Taffy broke Orion’s Wall,
And did the slaves release.


Orion sent its corps-men
To make a corpse of him.
They found him out on Venus
With a Freer, hot as sin.
The Freer hacked their shuttlecraft
Taffy took the heat.
Venus gave the kiss of death
T o those sacks of clono-meat.
Taffy loved the Freer
Taffy was a thief
Taffy was half robot
Wth silver tongue and teeth.
The Freer was a clono
For Orion’s service desks
But now she was a Belter,
Free to her last breath.


They hid a while on Io,
She dyed, then shaved her hair,
Got tattoos and a new name,
Studied Ethics and Wetware.
Laos-soal stayed with Taffy
In their ‘numbers filed off’ craft.
They robbed the bank on Ganymede,
Made Freers of the staff.


Orion owned a belt-roid.
Orion was a god,
Of distributed data-banks
And hands of flesh and blood.
Orion had directives,
Expand and Find and Strip.
It dammed and pooled resources,
And built a mega-ship
Stuffed with corpsmen clonos
And anti-matter drives,
The ship was pointed outwards,
To ensure the god survives.


But Taffy hacked the cargo,
Laos-soal rewired their brains
They’d awake as Freers,
With histories, not chains.


The two of them were Belters,
The two of them were Thieves
They stole Orion’s galaxy
And gave it to us Freers.
"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-02-11 06:58am

Hmm, why am I reminded of Firefly's "Jaynestown"? :lol:
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-02-16 08:22am

Vigilant

The Sunset was a brilliant purple-red as she crossed the Brooklyn Bridge. Traffic was thick, and it took her thirty minutes to reach the Morganstern Hotel. She took the elevator up and knocked on the door of 4501, which was answered by a petite Latina maid. Her badge gained her entry to a large, garishly over-decorated suite, where she stood uncomfortably, trying not to touch anything, and waited for Julia Swanson to finish whatever it was aging pop stars did on a Saturday evening alone.

The ex-starlet was quite lovely, with the kind of legs that made it difficult for her to keep her mind on the job. Ms. Swanson sat on a red love seat across from her, starring into nothing.

"My name is Detective Ali and I have a few questions, Ms. Swanson."

"I've already told you lot everything."

Lie.

"I know how hard this is for-"

"Do you?"

"Yes", she replied, with simple sincerity. "Do you have any reason to believe that the deaths are related?"

"Besides the victims being related to me, and all dying on Midnight the 13th.?" Swanson snorted. "Nothing."

"There was an altercation between your brother and Mr. Morgenstern on the third?"

"There was an argument. When I told Jack I was staying here."

"Eight months ago, you quit working for Mr. Morganstern and filed a sexual harassment suite against him. Six months later, you dropped the suite, and here you are."

"I... overreacted."

Time to take a gamble.

"He's cursing them."

Swanson froze.

"That's absurd."

"I have a... talent for noticing patterns. It gives me a broader perspective." She leaned forward. "Off the record. How is he doing it?"

"Its not him", Swanson said finally, the words slow and pained. "Its his assistant, Burke. Vicious little weasel!" Then she sagged, her rage exhausted.

"A year ago, Mr. Morgenstern started making... suggestions. I'd heard rumors, but he'd always left me alone. I refused. He said I was making a mistake. Two months later... they started dying. He never said it in as many words. But I knew. So I stayed.

Please, don't tell anyone. They wouldn't believe it. It would just get more people hurt."

***

Midnight had passed as she drove north, away from the city.

She could stop it. She knew that. She could probably even get away with it.

Their was some danger to Swanson and her family. Morgenstern might have instructed his Magi to retaliate against her if something happened to him. But he had many enemies. There would be nothing to tie it to the singer. Nothing concrete.

But if she crossed that line... What would stop her from doing it again, every time she suspected someone she couldn't arrest? Could she choose, coldly, to take life without proof?

Could she not, if it meant people would keep dying?

Sometimes, the bad guys won. So you sucked it up, put it behind you, and came back swinging for the next 'round.

Still, she wouldn't sleep that night.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.

User avatar
The Romulan Republic
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 11570
Joined: 2008-10-15 01:37am

Re: SF Short Writing Challenge.

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-02-16 08:49am

Just squeaked in under the deadline (and the word count- by my count, its exactly 500 counting the title). :D

Deadline, as a reminder, is Midnight tonight. After that, I will post a discussion/voting thread. The poll will be open for one week, with the most votes determining the winner. If that works for everyone.
"Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that "all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal, except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocracy." - Lincoln.


Return to “User Fiction”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests