When disease surfaces in a world long free of illness, the old techniques for containment must be put in place, if anyone can remember how. Incubators is free on Readwave 2705 words
Category Archives: sci fi
‘Something odd was happening. The air had been tingling for days; fizzing when he wafted his hand across his face.’ On Readwave now.
I wonder if the person who arrived here by entering this search term found what they were looking for. Maybe it was ‘If It Ain’t Broke …‘: Robert is a man with Down’s who has to make a choice when he’s offered a chance to go back in time and change his DNA, and he’s here on Ether for download to iPhone or Android devices, or here for on-screen reading. I’ve known a lot of Roberts over the years and I think many of them would recognise the dialogue. For quite a few, the framework for any conversation was a superhero or Dr Who but always with a wry twinkle!
Do you remember ‘No Arrests in 2039′ on Every Day Fiction? No? Great – it’ll be all fresh when you listen to the podcast then! And you might think twice about falling crime statistics …
The third EscapePod flash fiction competition opens to voting on September 20th. There are ninety-six SF stories (two of them mine, and no I can’t tell you!) all 750 words or under, competing in ten preliminary rounds. The first three of each go to the semi finals, and the top two from each of these, to the final. Join EP forums (free) to vote, then stick around for some quality podcasts – three of which you might have chosen yourself! http://escapepod.org/ Obviously, it helps if you like science fiction so if you don’t, while the rest of us put our critic hats on, you get to do maths homework instead. Fair deal?
‘I keep thinking we should have left it to die, you know, rather than do what we did …’ on Read Short Fiction today. A tale of a personal road to hell paved with the best of intentions. What choices would you have made?
Fliss compressed her short, squat frame further into the burned out hollow of the hull, shoving Hennessey’s evacuated carcass aside and flicking indeterminate debris casually off her weapons harness. She holed up to consider strategy.
Fliss was a soldier; a grunt on the peri-solar defence ring where killing aliens, not caring platitudes, got you through a shift. She looked down at her uniform, or what passed for one after this morning’s skirmish, and scraped off the residue it had collected from the blast that took out her unit’s communications array. Most of her squad had gone with it and some of the residue was biological but Fliss didn’t much care whose just so long as it wasn’t hers. She kicked the mess away with her boot, checked out her shoulder mountings for ammunition and headed off into the silence that used to be the galley. One survivor, not human. She shot it without ceremony and moved on, disregarding the plea for help it had registered on its translation device.
Fliss was not given to social communication; few of them here were, thrust out onto the edges of civilisation. How long had it been? Ten years? And had any relief units been sent up? No! A flicker of anger caught momentarily then disappeared under Fliss’s cold dismissal. She had avoided execution by taking this option and the company of like-minded ‘volunteers’ had proved physically and sexually entertaining. No hardship, she concluded, hefting aside the stinking morass that had been another invader and squirming through the gap in the bulkhead towards the bridge. She opened a com channel and hissed a command. They’d better be there or she’d make them wish the bastard crawlers had got them. A slight smile curled up one side of her mouth, that might be an entertaining distraction if push came to shove.
The ship hummed and throbbed as its automated repair systems got started on reconstruction. Fliss wiped something viscous off her face and onto her pants and the fabric felt slick with – what? Blood? Vomit? No, lubrication oil, some of the life support gaskets must have blown – shit! She pressed on, the urgency was cranking up; if this tub was holed too seriously…
The bridge was empty. A huge gap in the far skin was sealed now by the emergency force field unit but not before what was left of the crew had been spaced. One body remained, the commander, an honest woman here out of duty. Fliss probed Mackenzie’s top pocket for her ID, lingering momentarily over a breast hardened with rigor – nice tits, shame – then ran the bio-chip through her scan-and-rip software and elevated herself to officer class. Might as well be her family got the compensation payout as anyone else’s she thought. She stuck the tag into the sub light transfer unit and squatted down next to Mackenzie’s body to wait for the air to run out.
(c) suzanne conboy-hill 2012. First published on PowFastFiction, October 2010. Sadly, PowFast is now closed so I had to find a new home for this nasty little psychopath before she ran out of aliens and crew-mates.
Out on Every Day Fiction today. Suddenly, I want to know where my council tax goes!
There is actually some science behind this piece of fiction. The Google research car has travelled thousands of miles without incident (see TED talk by Sebastian Thrun), and other vehicles have been driven remotely, including one by Gadget Show presenter Jason Bradbury in a race against an F1 driver. Both cars were live on the track. This set the scene, in my fevered mind at any rate, for a virtual cab company whose ‘drivers’ operate passenger pods from call centres. Then came the idea about what to do with drunken, offensive punters: round ’em up, wash ’em down, and – er …
Two really exciting things just happened and, right now, I really don’t know which has got me gibbering most. One is an extraordinary convergence in the technologies that will underpin our next research bid (and look out world, if we’re successful, because this will change the way we get information from hospitals and doctors for ever). The other is my first fiction publication outside of the recent NOT competition and it feels like my kid came home from their first day at school with an A* in higher maths! So which to choose? Well, in fairness, there’s no showing off to be had with the research yet as it’s at the ideas stage and will have to be costed til it squeaks to get a sniff at any funding. So that leaves the blatant, unashamed, trumpeting of my lovely (in its mother’s eye) flash piece with its not-so-lovely MC. Find ‘Promotion’ here at the very lovely Powfastfiction.
I thank you (bows dramatically and sweeps off stage leaving wafting evidence of ego-glitter and, in this instance, alien entrails)