I fucking LOVE books

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Archive for the tag “fiction”

Rescue: Weekly flash fiction challenge


The inimitable Chuck Wendig has ordered us to write another piece of flash fiction. As I want to get better at flash, I joined in. These are the rules for this week:

A few weeks back I was playing with that random sentence generator used in another flash fiction challenge, and I got what was, for me, a truly fascinating story-inspiring sentence.

That sentence:

“The noticed android walks past a wondering chamber.”

I don’t know what the fuck that means, but I like it.

So, your flash fiction challenge should utilize this sentence.

In fact, it should be your opening sentence.

After that, you’ve got up to 1000 words to tell the story, whatever that story may be.

Here is my attempt. It comes in at 727 words.

RESCUE:

The noticed android walks past a Wondering Chamber. It walks with a strange, halting gait – its left leg out of time with the rest of its body. As it walks, it disturbs the detritus of a dead civilisation. The notice on it’s back reads RESCUE in letters that must have been red, once, though now faded and peeling and coated in grime.

It walks past the Wondering Chamber as feral dogs and cats scatter before it. Just past the once glorious building, it halts. People came here in their droves. There is an alert set in it’s programming. People gathered here. A signal in the corroding mass of its mind. People. It is looking.

A Wondering Chamber: They come here as families, as lovers, alone. They come here and they laugh and love and dream. It doesn’t know what those mean, but the PROGRAMMER thought it was important. They come here and are human. Check. Check it Check it.

The outer door is locked, but the lock is rusted. The android can get through. The reception is dark, but the android can see through the dusty blackness. Computers are silent on desks. The android could talk to those computers if they were awake. They aren’t awake.

The inner doors are open and buckled. Force was used here. Great force. The Chamber lies at the end of a long, black corridor. The android switches on it’s recorder. What it sees and what happens transmits to a place where humans can pick it up. No-one has picked up a message since the start, but it’s part of the program.

The wondering chamber is huge. Information in the memory banks is available. The Wondering Chambers were made so that 100 human beings could comfortably co-exist within them, and never bump into each others space unless they wanted to. Metallic noises echo as the android searches it.

The android is programmed with the very best of analysis software. It can assess what has occured in any situation with 98% accuracy in order to make it more useful in its role. It is support staff for the RESCUE operation. Search and RESCUE.

They came here because the doors locked. Humans liked doors that locked. And the equipment that made the wonders, though delicate, was sturdy enough to keep the smaller humans (CHILDREN. Pay special attention to CHILDREN. Search and RESCUE) quiet as the fires burned outside. The doors would keep the screams out. People would come and save them.

No-one came. Humans do silly things when they are desperate. The android was too late. There were bones heaped in the corners of the Chamber, small ones and big ones. The smaller skulls had holes in the center of the forehead, the bigger ones had holes in the temple. The android was too late. They’d huddled in the corners, they’d killed their children, and then themselves.

The android can access recordings from the security droid that floated above this section. There are gaps in the memory, but it’s still good.  The fires had gone too long. The destruction had been too much. Everyone ran. The pictures are of that. Running and screaming and blood and fire. There were no videos from inside the Chamber, but the androids programming tells it it hadn’t failed. People do that.  Next one, Next one.

Instead, it picks up one of the smaller skulls. It has software to extrapolate faces even from wrecked messes. When giving people to hospitals it provides an image so that people can have faces again. It is important for humans to have faces. It picks up one of the smaller skulls, and it creates a face for it. It regards the face for a while. and saves it in it’s memory banks. A small query is raised in the programming, but it doesn’t matter. This is a thing that has to be done. It records the little girls face alongside the faces of CREATORS and PROGRAMMERS and V.I.P’s that must be long dead.

It stops and waits for a moment, surrounded by the bones of the dead. It thinks this might be MOURNING . MOURNING must not be interrupted unless humans are at risk. It is a necessary thing.

When it is finished, it leaves the Chamber and continues it’s search. It is a RESCUE droid, and it looks for survivors. It has been looking for twenty years.

 

If you like post-apocalyptia, why not check out In Case of Survival?

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Supernova


Chuck Wendig asked his penmonkey minions to write a 1000 word flash updating a fairy story. This is my attempt. It’s my first attempt, and I’m not sure I’m especially good at flash, but hey. I can only get better.

When a rich man has a daughter, people expect her to be cosseted and spoiled. When that rich man owns the worlds largest private space-fleet, people exoect her to be named something silly like Supernova. When that man made his money in some less than ethical ways, the people who hate him will hate her. Which is why no-one outside of her fathers huge compound of houses ever saw the young Supernova from the day she was born till the day she turned sixteen.

 

It had been a lonely upbringing for the poor girl, of course, though she hadn’t known it, surrounded as she was by people who were paid to love her and care for her. In reality, she had no idea of how to talk to real people.

 

Still. As one of her three dressmakers put the finishing touches on her dress (value: The yearly profit of a small country) for her she whirled around the room, giddy.

 

“And daddy has said he might even introduce me to some boooys!”

 

“Yes miss.”

 

“And won’t they just think I’m the prettiest?” She stopped to look in the mirror, patting at her face.

 

“Yes miss.”

 

“Oh, I’m so excited!”

 

“Yes miss.”

 

On the day of the party, she was squeezed into the expensive dress, her hair dressed. She looked quite the little eligible heiress. Outside some hippy types were protesting, but, kept from everything but the most banal of entertainment channels, she had no idea.

 

Her party was excellent. She danced. She flirted, in her amateur, obvious way. She could have been shaped like a donkey and talked like a lumberjack, and none of the men would have cared. She was rich. The word had a beauty of its own. But somehow (don’t ask how, dear reader) a protestor found their way inside the ballroom. Dressed in a hire suit, the handsome young man danced with the girl… and she. Was. SMITTEN.

 

Rich girls always pick me who will upset their daddies.

 

Shame he was only dancing with her to inject her with a concentrated dose of Hyperflu, the illness that struck down her daddies worked. Within minutes she was writhing on the floor, dying.

 

Her daddy did the needful.  The needful being rushing her away to a cry chamber where she could sleep until the cure was found… and arresting the young man who’d given her the disease, who trust me, was already feeling pretty grateful. She’d had such pretty brown eyes, and she’d looked so unhappy when he stabbed her.

 

And so it was that they locked her in away. Even though he felt guilty, the young man (who’s name was Paul, but we all know the princes name isn’t important) refused to help her father develop the cure… unless the cure was given to the workers. Despite how her father loved his girl, he would not be blackmailed. So for two years, as they argued, she slept.

 

When the father gave in, it was discovered it would be one hundred years to develop the cure. At this, the young man and the father wept, because they had not expected it to take so long. The normal hyperflu could be fixed in a decade, but her dosage had been so high…

 

The father would die, long before she woke, but the young man worked on the cure until he was an old man, watching the business for her. It was kept in trust, long after it’s value was gone. The space fleet he’d built was outmoded. Still he worked, and when he got old, he grew a vat baby, and taught his ‘son’ how to complete the cure.

 

And then, one day, when 100 years had passed and the world was horribly changed, they went to give the girl a cure without thinking of how it would effect him. A young man in love with a girl he only knew from his fathers stories. The watchers of a dead legacy.

 

They gave her The Kiss, and she opened her eyes. They weren’t even brown. They were green. The young man (Paul II) had his heart shattered. And as for Supernova? We’ll I’d say it was better that she died, and for two years she felt that herself, but she managed. She married a starship engineer, and went travelling, and if sometimes she wondered what could have been, well, I don’t blame her.

 

And if you wonder how I could know such a thing… Well, she is my grandmother. So, though it was a cruel thing to do to a girl, I am grateful for her freezing.

 

 

 

(My other idea was Stilt, a short based on Rumplestiltskin about a girl who claims she can make any account go into profit, and bribes a hacker to help her out, but I didn’t know enough about hacking or banking. I still intend to write it soon.)

A field in Wales is a dreadful place to have a panic attack.


Especially when you’re camping in a silent, almost deserted campsite.

Oh, I was safe, utterly so – within a few yards of a farmhouse at all times, and never more than a mile and a half away from a village or town – but it was off season, wo we only had two other tents on the field… which eventually became JUST us. And it turns out there are downsides to a good imagination, in that my mind combined it’s horror obsession with animal instincts… and voila. Panic attack. I had to make my husband take me to the toilet.

Fortunately, I had books.

Read more…

Rainy Day Books


On cold, rainy days when you don’t have to work, there is nothing better than a book. I have a tendency to wrap myself in a quilt on the sofa, use the fact that it’s raining as an excuse not to go for a run (My ankles are weak and I might twist one!) put on the TV to something like The Mentalist – something I can enjoy and follow with only a quarter of my attention – and read something. Usually not a new book, but something I’ve read a dozen times before. Something comforting.

 

However, my choices on the comforting may seem odd to other people, so I will explain them here. This will be very dull unless you enjoy people gushing about books and writers, and if you don’t – why are you reading this blog?

So, below the cut, I will explain.

Read more…

Only tangentially related to books


In that I am also, obviously, a writer. Perhaps it’s a thing. When you love reading and books so much, perhaps it’s natural that you want to write, bring some of that joy you felt to another person.

I NEED TO STOP GOING OFF TOPIC SO FUCKING MUCH.

Ahem.

I am a writer, as yet unpublished by anything more than a few non-paying webzines and the like (you can see my published works up there). This is fine! I’m at the start of my career. Now, one thing I don’t want this blog to be is yet-another-unpublished-writer-talking-about-writing blog. There’s only room for a few of those, and they are dull, so I promise to keep writing chatter down to a minimum (though I will tell you when I get published things and the like).

But what I would like to do is occasionally- very occassionally – post some of my shorter works that I don’t think I can find a market for on this blog. These will be things I like that, for one reason or another, I don’t think I can get published by someone else. You will not be getting my shitty rough drafts, but it’ll be something else for you to read other than my self-indulgent writing about books.

Also, it’s a way fro you to tell me what I suck at, and for me to practice my skills, and perhaps a way for me to see where I can improve. Also, if I have a schedule (1 a week/fortnight/month) I’ll get more into writing regularly as I should.

Do you like the idea? Would you keep reading, or go away?

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