Posts Tagged ‘fiction’

The Rememberer

October 19, 2010

“Ben,” I say to his small protruding head, “can you understand me?” and he stares with eyes like little droplets of tar and I drip tears into the pan, a sea of me.

Go read this excerpt from The Girl in the Flammable Skirt.

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Rejiggering the Thingamajig, by Eric James Stone

June 6, 2010

This is the first appx. 1/4 of a story by Eric James Stone:

The teleport terminal had not buin built withTyrannosaurs sapiens in mind. Resisting the urge to knock hum-sized chairs about with her tail, Bokeerk squatted on the tile floor, folded the claws of her forelimbs together, and concentrated on her breathing. Meditation would calm her nerves. What should have been a two-minute waystop as she switched to a different teleport line had stretched to three hours, and being the only passenger in the terminal creeped her out.

The cheerful voice of the customer service AI roused Bokeerk from her trance.

“It is my pleasure to inform you that the cause of the technical difficulties in the galactic teleport network has been found.”

(more…)

Fiction in the Future

March 19, 2010

The web has revolutionized business, and, I think, will continue to drastically alter the face of commerce. Amazon whooped brick-and-mortar stores, Chris Andersen now speculates on how creatives can utilize the long tail, and Cory Doctorow continues to argue that proprietary everything is in decline — and should be.

I want to focus on the ways the web affects us here at AT and in the web fiction community at large. To explore where we’re headed, we can go back to Cory Doctorow, or to David Wong, or David Wellington, or Alexandra Erin — all people who, one way or another, have made their living by writing fiction for the web. Erin writes web serials, most notably Tales of Mu, and makes her living from donations toward bonus stories, ad revenue, crowd patronage, and some low levels of merch. Her achievement is the most fascinating to me, but I don’t think it’s the most relevant. I think we can look to David Wellington for a better preview of what’s to come.

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The Monetezation Problem

February 6, 2010

Charlie Stross writes about the pending troubles with monetization for fiction writers.

This is interesting because we spend a lot of time mulling this over in relation to the web fiction world — how do we monetize — but Charlie Stross, over in the world of legit published authors, is contemplating the same difficulty in his future.

The comments are particularly enlightening, because they show us a set of intelligent people who are confronting this problem for the first time. They have no idea that there are writers like AE who are making their living writing fiction on the web.

I feel like the population of commenters there represents an opportunity for those of us involved with web fiction, but I’m not entirely sure how.

A Story: “After the Fall”

January 23, 2010

My wife’s world has turned upside down. Last week, I came home to find her standing on the ceiling, drinking coffee.

Read it over at Twelve Stories.

Straw

November 2, 2009

You may need to read this first for context.

Also this.

“Landon.”
He called up her recent sexual history.
“Landon.”
He took a look at her emotional state. She glowered at him and tried again.
“Landon, look at me.”
He was looking at her. She grabbed his chin and pulled his face toward hers. Her hands were warm. Landon looked at her body temperature: normal.
“Damn it Landon, answer me.”
She looked… he couldn’t sort out how she looked. He pulled up her emotional state. Apparently she looked less angry now, and more heartbroken, more frightened. The colors used to represent emotional states were interesting. Landon changed them. He changed the colors again. He inverted all colors in the visible spectrum and abolished the emotional graph.
“Landon, I don’t want to lose you. I don’t want to lose you like this.”
He pulled up her geneology. She looked a lot like a maternal great grandmother of hers.
“Landon!”
She threw herself against him – tackled him, really. Landon turned, throwing her body around himself, but maintaining a grip on her arm. He used that grip to wrench her back toward him and pin her arm behind her back, lifting at the elbow. She let out a gasp, and Landon checked her pain index and paused. He slowly released pressure and turned her to face him.
“I’m sorry,” he said.

Burning Bridges

November 2, 2009

You may need to read this first for context.

Also this.

“This isn’t going to work.”
“What?”
“Get off, this isn’t going to work.”
“I thought you said it was-”
“-Well, I was wrong! You’re going to have to take them off.”
“Karen, we already talked about this – it’s important that I accustom myself to-”
“-don’t give me that bullshit! It’s not going to hurt you to take them off, and it’s not going to hurt you to admit why you won’t!”
“I… really, Karen, no bullshit, it just makes me uncomfortable. I’d feel naked – wait, no, that’s not what I meant. Uhm, it’s just… I have no idea what’s going on without them.”
“For God’s sake, you’ve only had the things for a week! What the hell could they possibly do?”
“You know I can’t talk about that.”
“Well, I can’t do this with some kind of bug-man, so I guess we’re at an impasse. Look, I’m getting out of here. You know how to reach me if you ever get up the nerve to take the freaking things off.”

There Will Come Soft Rains, by Ray Bradbury

October 17, 2009

Ten-fifteen. The garden sprinklers whirled up in golden founts, filling the soft morning air with scatterings of brightness. The water pelted windowpanes, running down the charred west side where the house had been burned evenly free of its white paint. The entire west face of the house was black, save for five places. Here the silhouette in paint of a man mowing a lawn. Here, as in a photograph, a woman bent to pick flowers. Still farther over, their images burned on wood in one titantic instant, a small boy, hands flung into the air; higher up, the image of thrown ball, and opposite him a girl, hand raised to catch a ball which never came down.

Read the whole thing here.

Paul, Again

October 1, 2009

Paul woke alone in the darkness. He felt around the blanket nest, but did not feel his captor. After a few moments, his eyes began to adjust, and he was able to see, somewhat. This was not the utter darkness of before.

A sound caught his attention – a groan, perhaps. Paul stepped carefully to the left, looking for the source. The wall was dark and featureless save for one door. The door was locked with a beam set into simple brackets on either side of the doorframe.

Another moan, and definitely from behind the door.

Paul looked around the room behind him and turned back to the door. Then he paused, chewed his lip, and went to survey the rest of his place of confinement.

Facing away from the door from where the noises were coming, Paul could see a boarded up window on his left, a doorway covered by draped cloth opposite him, and a solidly barricaded door on the farther end of the right-hand wall. Between the two doors was some counterspace and holes for appliances – what used to be a kitchen. Closer to Paul was the blanket nest where he awoke. Paul remembered that through the draped doorway was another room, and the bathroom, so he contemplated the door to his right.

The bar over the door, along with the several locks,  indicated that this, unlike the other doors, was a way out. Paul thought about last night’s warning about a possible attack, and decided that he wasn’t ready to venture out, just yet. Besides, he was curious about the last door, next to him. There was a thud from behind that door, and Paul became very conscious of his pulse.

He lifted the beam from the door and turned the knob, swinging the door open to reveal a mid-size closet. Huddled on the floor was a girl. Her hands and feet were tied behind her, leaving her laying on her side. In her mouth was a thick cord that prevented her from talking, but did little to muffle the groans that had attracted Paul’s attention. A bowl with some water in the bottom sat in the corner.

The girl looked up at Paul with wide, wide eyes. She scooted back and tried to sit up, and Paul realized that she wasn’t really a girl – she was fully grown, at least sixteen, just of a slender build. He knelt down and untied the cord and removed it from her mouth. She remained still and tense all over.

Paul reached down to untie her. He was struggling with a particularly  tight knot when the girl started to tremble. He ignored it and tried to finish untying her quickly. It was then that he saw a shadow in front of him shift. He whirled around, still crouched, to find himself face to face with the sharp-toothed lady of the house.

This took too long.

September 2, 2009

They were talking in the dim light. Cards on the table, chips in untidy stacks, they focused on the game and company, avoiding thoughts of the night outside the narrow wooden walls.

There was suddenly a jiggle and a thunk at the door, and it swung open behind the weight of the pale figure now staring at the three card players. The vamp held a long, hooked knife in front of it, and advanced on the men.

One man lifted a naked sword from the ground by his chair and yelled to his companions.

“Go upstairs and get the fucking weapons! Keep an eye out – there’s probably more of them!”

They ran up the stairs, Jon dashing ahead. He reached the blades first, grabbed them, and turned to give Brian one – just in time to see Brian tackled. The thing flashed against Brian – thump – and next thing John knew, Brian was struggling at the window. He clutched at the sides of the opening and hooked his legs over the windowsill, but the arm wrapped around his waist was winning.

“Your knife, Brian, your knife!” called John.

For a moment, it seemed that Brian had not heard him, but then he reached for his boot and pulled out a small knife. He jammed it down into the pale arm that pulled at him and the arm slipped away. But by the time it was gone another arm had snaked across the other side of Brian’s body, reaching up his torso and gripping him by the neck.

Jon caught Brian’s frantic eyes for a moment before Brian jabbed the knife at the new hand, stabbing over and over at his own neck, and then his body slipped out the window, leaving only a red spatter on the sill.

Jon forced his rigid body to turn and run, gripping the handle of his rusted machete. He took the stairs three at a time, rushing back to aid Lars.

Lars was backed into a corner, still holding the vamp off with his sword. As Jon hit the bott0m of the stairwell, the menace turned his pale, bald head. Lars took the opportunity to lunge forward. The vamp leaned to the side and grasped  Lars’s right hand with his own pallid fingers. Jon heard a wet pop as the vamp, almost too fast to see, shoved his forearm against Lars’s head. Jon saw his friend’s arm dangling uselessly at his side, grotesquely twisted out of its normal range of motion. The vamp turned and affixed Jon with his too-big eyes for just a moment, smiled a toothy grin, and was gone, leaving the door open to the night.