Published!

Jun. 23rd, 2009 04:37 pm
kedamono: (Default)
Finally, one of my short flash fictions, Between the Stars, was published on 365 Tomorrows. Here's an excerpt:
Family Faxor Kwer had lived on this comet for five generations. The light of the home star Sol was indistinguishable from the light of the twin stars Alef and Bey, or the nearer star Prox. Their ship dwarfed the small comet, stretching far past it in both directions.

The great night of space wrapped around Morgzha, who took little notice of it. He had been born in it, his body was made from it, and he knew of nothing else. He was the son of the headman of the family and overseer of the mining machines. They mined the needed water and minerals from the comet as well as the even rarer metals. They very much needed metals.


Read more at the 365 Tomorrows web site!
kedamono: (Default)
This is absolutely hilarious, especially at the very end. So watch the whole thing through.



Besides, you just gotta love it for this frame grab:



Snatched from the Bad Astronomy blog.

kedamono: (Default)
From the blog of [livejournal.com profile] tebe_interesno, comes this picture of alternate history:

Yes we do...

A word of warning, his blog is mostly in Russian, but check out his artwork... it is very odd.
kedamono: (Default)

Everyone thinks that I died


By John Reiher


November 9, 2119:

Everyone that I knew thought that I had died when the Ad Astra impacted in the middle of New York City. My office was at ground zero, and I was scheduled to be at work that day. It was my “day in the barrel” and I was supposed to be the human face for our customers.

Only I cheated that day. I holo’d in and worked from my home in Pittston PA. I’ve done it before, since most of our customers would holo’d in their presences as well. So there I was in the tank, having a heart to heart with a customer from the lower Bronx, when he piped up, “What’s that sound?”

The audio on my holo unit is OK, but it didn’t pick up the sound of the Ad Astra as it screamed into the atmosphere. A second later I lost my feed and all connections to NYC went down. I tried to contact my hypernet provider, but they were down as well.

What I didn’t know was that the center of New York was a roiling ball of plasma, rising up into the air, as the shock wave flattened everything within a hundred kilometers.

I was 160 km from ground zero.

The shockwave hit 9 minutes after I had lost connection.

Every window in my place was blown out, the roof shingles were peeled off and I was tossed around in my holo tank. It’s what saved me. The straps that held me in place softened the impact as the tank toppled over and rolled around the floor.

When it was over, I unhooked myself and climbed out of the tank. My home was a wreck. Everything was in shambles. I picked through the wreckage, trying to make sense of what had happened. Then the fire fell out of the sky.

It was NYC raining down on my head. Impact debris was reentering the atmosphere and raining death out to three hundred kilometers from ground zero.

I ran for cover in the community-parking garage, along with my neighbors. Most of them had no idea of what had happened/was happening. I had a vague idea. We hunkered down and waited out the rain of molten rocks.

It didn’t last long, just a few minutes, but now the neighborhood was ablaze. Every house and apartment block was on fire. Two hundred year old Victorians burning next to modern prefabs melting and putting out white smoke as they tried to extinguish themselves.

Nothing survived.

As we sat there in the garage, wondering what the frak we were going to do, my phone rang. It was my brother in Seattle.

“Hello? John, is that you?”

“Mike! Dear God I thought you were dead!”

“Well, I’m not, no thanks to whatever happened. What the frak happened?”

“You don’t know? Jeeze, of course you wouldn’t! You’re too close to the impact site. Some nutjobs from the Martian International Liberation Front hijacked a cargo ship and rammed it into New York. The director of ICO has vowed retaliation against them, though how the Hell he’s going to do that… You know that all Marties look alike doncha?”

I laughed at that and said, “Hell yeah. Bro, I’m gotta go, I’m going to see if 911 works still and see about getting a rescue. Damn it’s good to hear from you.”

“Ditto here. You stay safe Mike, and if you need a place, I got room.”

I said my goodbyes and relayed the information to my neighbors. I called 911 and soon we were being flown to safety.

Thank God I played hookie that day.

Author's Comments


The inspiration for this story was a radio show I had heard on my local public radio station, KUOW. They were interviewing a fellow who runs an art blog, Postsecret. He solicits folks to send him a postcard with a personal secret on it. Listen to the interview: MP3 Hi/MP3 Lo

One of those postcards was a picture of the Twin Towers in New York City. On the back were the words "Everyone thinks I'm dead." That inspired me to write a story about someone who survived a major incident like 9/11, and decided to live a new life, leaving the old one behind in the ruins of the incident. But after a bit, I realize that would be too close to home for most folks, and I changed it to the story you see above. The main character is named after my brother, who lives in Pittston PA, but he doesn't work in NYC. And of course his brother is named after me.

I submitted this story to 365 Tomorrows, but they turned it down because:

"This is a sensitive subject that's been dealt with several times, and I'm afraid this story, while well written, doesn't bring anything new to the tale. I would encourage you to submit other stories in the future."

I'll keep plugging away at them. Hopefully one of mine will strike home. Thanks for reading!

P.S. I wrote this story on September 11, 2008.

kedamono: (Default)

Pride goeth...


By John Reiher

Counselor Biddle, of the Terran Diplomatic Corps, had been dispatched to the planet Hre'wei to help settle a potential shooting war with the planet Meryu. Both worlds were home to sentient feliniods. Hre'wei was home to the Assiotto, a tiger like species, descended from a nocturnal predator species.

The Firenordo, a species that was very lion like in its structure, populated Meryu. Both worlds were a mere 10 light years apart and developed star travel nearly at the same time. Habitable worlds are far a few between worlds and the Assiotto and the Firenordo were soon at each other throats.

The last war fought between the two of them nearly decimated both worlds. It was only under the auspices of the Terran Diplomatic Corps did the two species stay their hands and sign a truce between each other.

However, the Firenordo were fencing along the borders again, looking as though they were thinking of trying a preemptive strike.

Counselor Biddle read all of this on his trip to the world and about the different physiology of the two species. The Assiotto were primarily nocturnal, living in darkened cities, with only the barest light sources available. Just enough light for them to see by. They formed a tight knit society, highly social and able to work together as a people.

The Firenordo were proud race of conquerors, the current pride, the Amo'rina, had conquered their planet and sought to conquer other worlds as well. There were several prides, each vying for a top place in the imperial court, so it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to imagine that the current intrigue happening in the Hre'wei capital city of Saso'pas was not sanctioned by the Imperial Pride.

Disembarking from his shuttle, Biddle slipped on his night vision contact lenses and stepped out into the cool night air. The city of Saso'pas was a bustle with Assiotto all about doing their nightly business. He was met by a robust male Assiotto, by the name of Log'isi.

"Greetings counselor!" purred Log'isi, "Welcome to our fair city!"

Biddle turned his head for a sniff, the traditional greeting of the Assiotto, and Log'isi obliged, sniffing the human's ear. Biddle returned the favor, noting that Log'isi was wearing cologne of some kind.

"Glad to be back," replied Biddle, "It has been a while since I've been here."

"You were here for the great peace ceremony between Hre'wei and Meryu?" replied Log'isi.

"Yes, I was one of the signers," Biddle replied nonchalantly. "Now what is this about a spy in your government?"

They walked as Log'isi explained that transmissions had been intercepted from the capital to various Firenordo "trade vessels" in orbit about their world. The messages were encrypted, so their contents were not know... yet. However the Assiotto were very tenacious, and they hoped to find out soon who it was that was sending the messages.

They entered the Capital building, only slightly better lit than the outside and just as busy. Log'isi presented Biddle to the Chairperson of the Assembly, Mree'huu. She greeted him with the traditional sniff. She smelled of cinnamon and allspice, not an unpleasant combination, but Biddle was here on business, pleasure later.

"Counselor Biddle," she said, taking his hand. "We are very worried about this. All Firenordo in our city are accounted for during the transmissions, and their movements were tracked well by our security, none of them could have setup a transmitter for an automated broadcast. So we fear the worst..."

"That they have found a way to alter the appearance of one of their people to look like an Assiotto?" replied Biddle.

Mree'huu nodded, "Yes, that is it exactly. But who? Everyone in our staff has impeccable backgrounds and family ties that can be verified. Only a handful do not have that level of security, but they all willingly took a physical and body scan to prove they were Assiotto. The rest..."

"...Have refused, afraid of what we humans know as a witch hunt." relied Biddle. "And it is also a great invasion of privacy, one that once allowed, could always be allowed in the future, for less dire circumstances."

"Which is why we have not do so," replied Mree'huu. "We do not want such a precedent made..."

"Madam Chairperson! I want to have words with you!"

A muscular Firenordo bellowed the latter out. His mane was puffed out, and he was surrounded by several female Firenordo, probably his wives and assistants.

"Ambassador Churmee, now is not the time..." started Mree'huu.

"It is, when my fellow country-persons are being stalked every night and day by your jackals!" replied Churmee. He then caught sight of Biddle and was taken aback. "Counselor Biddle! What minor trifle has drawn you back into our little squabble?"

"Nothing you should worry your mane about ambassador," said Biddle, who then shook hands with Churmee, the Firenordo way, grasping the forearm and digging one's nails in. He had left his untrimmed for this purpose. He didn't wince when Churmee's claws drew blood.

"I shall take my leave, while the two of you talk," said Biddle. "Madam Chairperson, Ambassador." He gave both a little bow. He took a few steps away, pulling an object from his pocket.

"Oh Ambassador," he called out, poised waiting for the Firenordo to turn around. He then turned on his pocket flashlight, shining it in the eyes of Churmee and Mree’huu.

"What? Arrgh, my eyes!" cried Churmee, his females as well as Mree'huu.

Mree'huu's eyes glowed a bright orange in the light, while the Firenordo's eyes were dull green from night vision contact lenses.

"What is the meaning of this human!" bellowed Churmee. "I'll have your liver for supper tonight for this affront!"

"Yes Counselor Biddle," demanded Mree'huu, "why did your try to blind us?"

With a faint smile, Biddle said, "This is why..." He turned a flashed the light at the several Assiotto assistants, senators and pages who had gathered to watch the fight. All their eyes glowed orange, except for one pair that glowed a dull green.

"There is your spy, Madam Chairperson," said Biddle triumphantly pointing at the lone pair of green glowing eyes, "Log'isi!"

Log'isi was grabbed by security and found to be wearing a pair of night vision contacts lenses.

"Well, ambassador," said Biddle as Log'isi was carted away, "you do not have to worry about your country-persons being followed any more."

"How did you know?" said Churmee.

"You can alter your bone structure to mimic the Assiotto, dye your fur to match their color, but due to the nature of their eyes, that you could not duplicate. And that proved to be your downfall."

"How?" asked Churmee.

"You can disguise everything, but...

"You can't hide your lion eyes."
kedamono: (Default)
I made this word cloud using the Wordle tool on Wordle.net. Click the image to see the full size word cloud.



I submitted this story, but not in this form, to 365 Tomorrows hopefully they will accept it. Just think of this as a teaser to that story. I'll let you know if I get published.
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I am:
Gregory Benford
A master literary stylist who is also a working scientist.


Which science fiction writer are you?

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