science fiction

Five More SciFi/Fantasy Very Short Stories (July 2019)

I’ve stayed pretty busy, so I haven’t been posting as many very short stories on Twitter as I was. But I am trying to keep it up, since it’s so much fun! I wrote these stories for #vss365, #scififri, #scifansat, and #satsplat.

Soup

She stirs a pot of water, smiling. "I'm making soup," she says. "Try some."

"Delicious," I say, wishing we had real soup. 10 more days. "Sweetie--"

"Don't worry, Mommy. I know we don't have rations. I'll be brave until we land."

"Yes, baby." Tears cloud my eyes.

Greetings from Earth

The craft unfurled like a tangle of vines. The beings inside shimmered and glowed like sentient mists. I tried to call off the airstrike. Too late--they'd triggered our 1980's paranoia. I cried when it hit--burned everything to ash. I hope they didn't suffer.

Contact

It was nothing like we thought. The first signs were in the flight patterns of butterflies and the song of the whales. When the ship arrived, it was a green and translucent, more like a bubble than a craft. Their contact brought a revolution of peace.

Fortune

It was a joke, a fun thing to do for my bachelorette party the night before the wedding. But the old woman had palsied hands and milky white eyes, and she gasped when she touched my hand.

"What's my fortune?"

"Run," she said. "Don't look back."

I wish I'd listened.

Liberty

Her hands stray over the shackles she's spent months shaving away. Liberty, almost... A key turns in the lock; a guard shoves something in her cell. A child, tiny shackles around bony wrists. Sobbing. She wraps it in her arms.

"Shhh, it's okay. We'll be free. Someday."

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Review: Fractalistic by Gerardo Delgadillo

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Gerardo Delgadillo and I were in a writing group together for several years, so when he sent me an ARC of his latest book, Fractalistc, I was excited to read it. I’m glad I did, because Fractalistic is a fascinating book—part scifi, part bildungsroman, part romance, with a lovely dash of Mexican culture that makes the setting vivid and interesting.

After moving to Mexico with her parents, Winter Gutan had been hoping the local alternative medicine doctor would cure her mother’s illness. When her mother does not survive his controversial treatments, Winter’s life spirals in despair.

In particular, I loved Fractalistic’s colorful and engaging cast of characters. Winter, the main character, has all the intensity and passion of a traumatized and confused teenager, in a good way. She’s deeply flawed and makes mistakes, but she’s also kind. I know that this is a small part of the book, but I loved Winter’s kindness to animals, including the dog she decides to adopt, and her sweetness to a crying child at one point in the story. Winter’s friends (or the classmates from her school who become her friends) are just as interesting, and have complex lives of their own. Even her love interest, Rafa, turns out to be way more than the hunky soccer player he seems at first. Meanwhile, grief and pain threaten to overwhelm Winter’s father, and the depictions of his drinking and descent into misery felt as vivid and painful as a fresh cut.

I thought the plot was also engaging, and it kept me guessing about people’s motives and their secrets through most of the book. Winter is distrustful, and with good reason, since many of the people close to her aren’t being very honest.

Overall, I really loved this book! The author’s depictions of Mexico are so real you can practically taste the churros, and I found myself wanting to attend a Mexican soccer game more than I’d ever have expected. I loved the characters and their relationships, and the story kept me guessing. I’d recommend it to anyone interested in YA, light scifi, or light, sweet romance. Fractalistic is available for preorder now, and comes out July 9, 2019!

Five Very Short Stories: SciFi and Horror!

Of course, I’m still writing tons of very short stories, or #vss, on Twitter, These stories came from the prompts for #vss365, #scififri, and #satsplat!

Explosions

She hired glitterbots for their five-year-old's birthday party, and timed the bright explosions of pink sparkles for when her daughter blew out the candles. Everyone clapped when they went off. Except for one of the neighborhood dads, who sobbed in a corner, shaking.

Not My Fault

It's not my fault. She shouldn't have dressed like that, just begging for it. Girls like her deserve what's coming to them, if you ask me. I mean, that Dora the Explorer backpack? That cheeky gap-toothed smile? What's a man supposed to think?

Mining

Typical mining practices might disrupt the fragile ecosystem of Proxima 5. Instead, Xan had developed a network of modified plants whose roots could pull metals to the surface. An iron farm, he thought, as he disentangled the first muddy clumps of ore.

Sentient

"Don't be absurd. Coral doesn't have sentience."

"Have you ever asked them?"

"No, why would I?"

"Haven't you heard them? You know they sing at night."

"Of course they don't! That's the sound of the wind and the waves."

"Just remember, they tried to negotiate."

Jed’s Rehydrated Burgers

Jed was not the first person on Mars, or the first to climb Olympus Mons, or even one of the first wave of colonists. But he did open up the first bistro in space! He proudly put up a sign for Martian potato fries and the best rehydrated burger outside Earth's orbit.

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Book Review: G.M. Nair's Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire

I picked up a copy of G.M. Nair’s Duckett & Dyer: Dicks for Hire because I met him on Twitter, and he seemed very funny! Also, I happen to love scifi/fantasy comedies like Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and anything by Terry Pratchett, so I was excited to read one by a new author. I’m so glad I did, because Nair’s book is a joy to read. It’s funny, but it also has moments of great drama and pathos, and I loved the characters.

It took Michael and Stephanie nearly an hour of walking before they spotted a lone cab searching the edge of suburbia for a fare like a grandparent canvassing a toy store for a "Nintendo Playstation."

Michael Duckett and Stephanie Dyer seem at first like the most hilariously awkward/incompetent duo to ever fumble their way through a cosmos spanning mystery. But one of the things I loved about the book was how they grew and developed as the story progressed. They both come to reevaluate their lives and their friendship in meaningful ways, Even side characters, ones we barely meet, seem to grow over the course of the book. What’s more, while the story has plenty of moments of zany comedy, there are moments of poignancy and depth that I loved. As the book progressed, Nair gave both Duckett & Dyer a level of self-awareness that lead to some very thoughtful, sweet moments.

Overall, I really loved this book. If I had any criticism, it’s that the set up was a little long, but the payoff was so great it was totally worth it. Like the best comedies, it has a kind and compassionate heart, and like the best scifi, it has a fascinating and engaging world. I can only hope that G.M. Nair is working on a sequel, because I can’t wait to read what happens next!

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StoryTime Read Aloud of "The Last Bird"

One of the things I signed up for during OWSCyCon 2019 was Timothy Bateson’s Storytime. Timothy and a few other volunteers agreed to record some of our stories and put them up on youtube! Storytime ended up being so popular that poor Tim got inundated with requests, but he kept going and is going to finish them all! I loved the audio for this story so much, I got tears in my eyes when I heard it. “The Last Bird” was one of my favorite stories from Sapience, and it’s been pretty popular with reviewers as well. So check it out, in audio form! Thank you so much, Timothy and Phoebe Darqueling, who did the voice recording.

Your Listen

More Very Short Stories, Mixed Genres

Here are five more very short stories I’ve written recently in a mix of genres—science fiction, dark fantasy, and realistic. I had posted them on twitter under #vss365 and #scififri. Also, if you are a writer, some of the members of #vss365 are going to be making an anthology of very short stories, submitted on twitter via the hashtag #vss365a. You can find out more on the Making Fiction website, so if you’re interested in submitting, check it out!

Orion

Capt. Dayne surveyed the icy surface of Enceladus from the deck of the Orion.

"What are the surface readings? When can we attempt a landing?" she asked her science officer.

"Tomorrow," came the taciturn answer.

"Good. We're ready."

"Perhaps."

Regrets

I have a thousand regrets. Paths not taken, love not given, friends lost for no real reason. But I have never regretted even one kiss I gave your soft baby face, or one nuzzle of your fuzzy hair. There is never enough time to tell you how much I love you.

Sudden Silence

I perk my head up, aware of the sudden silence.

"What are you doing?" I call, my heart beating in trepidation. No answer.

"Kids! What are you up to?" There's a flurry of footsteps and whispers.

"Nothing, Mommy!"

I start running upstairs.

Reciprocated

"What happened?" Sal yelled over the blaring alarms.

"Meteor," Jen said. "Pierced the hull."

"Isolate the compromised sector."

"That's us. We'll die."

"Put on your breather. We'll work fast and find a patch."

"Done. And I love you."

"Reciprocated."

A Dream

The sound of rain on her window inspires reverie. She runs a hand over her swollen belly.

Who will you be? she wonders.

The baby kicks. She closes her eyes. She sees the rain turn to blood, and the patter on her window becomes the sound of distant gunshots.

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Five More Science Fiction/Fantasy Very Short Stories

Yes, I’m still writing tons of very short stories on twitter! Most of these I wrote for #vss365, with a couple that were for #scififri and #satsplat as well. I hope you enjoy them.

Vile

"What are these vile things?" he said, peering at the android.

The bot shuddered at his touch, and kept her eyes downcast.

"We should throw them into the fire along with the pervert who engineered them."

The bot transmitted a silent warning to her sisters.

Embrace

Her poisoned filaments floated in the water like gossamer strands of silvery hair. She stretched out her arms and smiled at him, a sailor who'd caught sight of her from the prow of his ship.

"Come to me," she sang. He dove after her. Sweet and soft, just as she liked.

Listen

"Listen, listen deeply. The susurrus of magic is there, like the heartbeat of the earth. You must hear it first, before you can sing back to it."

Flowers

Mist flows along the river like breath from the mountains. She hears the scream of a black hawk winging its away across the gorges. The paleden flowers are high on the slopes near the water, a dangerous climb. Raeda looks for a secure handhold.

Lamb

The fields bloomed a verdant green. He stroked lush leaves, the wealth of the earth, inhaling the heady scent of spring.

"Please," the Lamb whispered. "Let me go."

He smiled gently, almost kind. "You are a gift. Your blood will water the earth gods. Rejoice."

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My Top Five Sci-Fi Cosplayers from Fan Expo Dallas 2019

I had a great time at Fan Expo Dallas 2019, where my friend Sarah Mensinga and I had a table together (signing and selling books and having tons of fun!). I thought the con was tons of fun, and I especially loved seeing all the amazing cosplayers! Seriously, the creativity and care that go into some of these costumes really blows me away. I saw probably dozens of incredible looking cosplays, but for now I’m limiting this post to science fiction characters and I picked just five. Without further ado, check out these amazing customes!

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1.Hazel and Cha Cha

If you haven’t seen Netflix’s Umbrella Academy, I’d recommend it. Hazel and Cha Cha are fascinating characters, especially Hazel, who has a fascinating and touching emotional arc of his own.

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2. Deadpool

This is my favorite Deadpool cosplay I saw at the con, and I love that I got a picture of him with Spider Gwen, too!

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3. Fiona and Prince Bubblegum

I love Adventure Time! One of the funnier stories on the show is the long running references to a gender-bent comic version (or perhaps an alternate reality version? Both?) of Finn and Jake, which the Ice King obsesses over. I have some of the Fiona and Cake comics, and they’re so cute!

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4. Padme Amidala

Just…wow. The effort that must have gone into this costume—I had to pick this as my favorite Star Wars cosplay, although there were so many people in wonderful costumes, this was a hard decision.

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5. Cable, Wolverine, and awww!

Yes, those are cosplaying dogs. Deadpool doggie and Negasausage. Just, so cute. Squee!

If you’re visiting from OSW CyCon 2019, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter using the Subscribe box below, and check out my author booth!

Odin Oxthorn Shares Their Greatest SciFi Gadget for OWS CyCon 2019

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Welcome to another fantastic stop in our Greatest Gadgets blog hop! On this stop, we’re highlighting awesome Scifi tech, and you can find a full list of participating authors and topics for this hop on the OWS Cycon Website. Let’s dive in!

Welcome Odin!

Hi there! Thanks so much for having me!

Before we dive in to the nitty gritty, what is Sleepless Flame about?

Sleepless Flame is a fast-paced mission style cyberpunk thriller featuring a nonbinary protagonist. You follow the exploits of Nara, an alien war criminal that made a new life for herself as a mercenary in the Undercity of Arcadia.

Things get interesting for her when the unconscious body of the heir of the largest Biotech conglomerate lands at her feet. The same company that also has the largest price on her head. Oh what to do?

What can you tell us about the piece of SciFi tech you’re featuring today?

Let me introduce you to the InSpec Araknyd Visualization Assistant. Ranked number 1 in reconnaissance and user experience.

This tiny AI will give you the power of sight from another camera’s eyes! Just switch it on then drop it, and  this ingenious piece of machinery will do the work for you! No more depending on open wireless ports to risky security systems.

The Araknyd will automatically seek out the nearest surveillance device and infiltrate its systems, handing off the device’s visuals directly into your Augmented HUD in YOUR preferred platform. Its eight output connectors are not only its mode of transportation, it is also guaranteed to interface with every type of port on the market! (And some off market too.)

Don’t be cornered on your information gathering excursions without taking one of these with you!

NOTE: InSpec is not held liable for actions that violate trade agreements and local law. The Araknyd is used for in-house corporate surveillance and not to be used to gain access to unauthorized property.

Here is an excerpt from Sleepless Flame describing it in action:

She extracted a tiny mechanical spider from a pocket, turning it on its back to reveal a switch on its abdomen. With a gentle push, the critter twitched to life, flailing its tiny needle-like limbs excitedly as she set it on the ground.

           The critter darted over the floor, racing up to the ceiling with an eager tempest of pointy feet. Consumed by its hunting instinct, the creature accelerated toward its hapless victim, stalking a vigilant surveillance unit monitoring the corridor. The predator encircled the base of the camera, rearing back on its hind legs as it sized up its foe. Having uncovered the device’s weak point, it lunged onto its prey, ramming two of its wiry projections into the base of the camera. After a moment, it let off a victorious chirp, alerting Nara of a successful connection.

           Proud of its achievements, the critter summoned a display into Nara’s screen, showing off the perspective of the conquered camera. As she zoomed in on the screen, she reached her hand out past the elevator door, watching her fingers disappear in a hazy mist of warping light as the bug worked its illusory magic.

Where can people find you on the web?

Thanks for having me! I have a booth over at OWSCyCon where you can check out my work and come chat with me:

https://owscycon.ourwriteside.com/forums/topic/odin-oxthorn-author-booth/

As well as my Books here:

https://www.amazon.com/Odin-Oxthorn/e/B07B546XXR

But you can also follow me around the internet here:

https://www.odinsmusings.com/

https://www.facebook.com/OdinsMusings/

https://twitter.com/OdinsMusings

https://www.youtube.com/user/odinsmusings

https://www.instagram.com/odinsmusings/

Hope to see you there!


For more stops on our World-building Showcase, visit the tour page on the OWS CyCon website. You can also find more great SciFi authors and books on our main Sci Fi event page.

Also, if you’re visiting from OWS CyCon, don’t forget to subscribe to my Lunarian Press newsletter using the Subscribe box below!

Yes, even more Scifi/Fantasy Very Short Stories!

Yes, I wrote even more science fiction and fantasy Very Short Stories! These appeared on Twitter on the hashtags #scififri, #satsplat, and #vss365! I hope you enjoy them!

  1. "WILLOW! Bring me that antidote!" His slave stumbled into the room, tripping over her feet. He poked her with his cane.

    "Hurry!" Her hands shook as she poured a drink into his mouth. He cursed.

    "Wrong one, stupid girl!" He fell, his mouth foaming.

    Willow smiled.

  2. Water poured out of the sea caves and frothed at the bottom of the cavern, tearing at the rock with hungry force.

    "They call this place Charybdis," he said. "If someone fell down there, they'd be torn to pieces."

    Was that what had happened to her sister? she thought.

  3. She dropped her eyes and blushed, looking pretty and demure. It gave her the opportunity to give surreptitious glance at their guests' weapons. The milk-faced boy carried a fine sword, Damascus steel. His fingers drifted to the hilt like he knew how to use it.

  4. The cauldron boiled and seethed. Frothy black effervescence floated to the top. She sprinkled a couple of milky eyes into the brew. At last, when the smell burnt her nostrils, she poured him a tumbler full.

    "There," she said. "The strongest hangover cure I can make."

  5. The delicate butterflies flit over the surface of the lake, their wings silver and blue in the moonlight. They float around the waterfall and vanish in the mist.

    "Where do they go?" I whisper.

    "No one knows," Gran says. "But mayhap the fairies."