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Short Fiction

Short stories are an elusive art, and one that I don't claim to have mastered. I do, however, maintain a growing arsenal of short stories that I add to periodically when inspiration hits. The following is a list of titles I have written. So far none of them have been published, though I have only recently tried.

Little by Little

This story is hot off the press, and it is based on my experience in ground school plus some thoughts and impressions I have concerning the quality of mercy.

Code Red Extraction

This story is based on the premise that universal health care will somehow change the nature of the reach of healthcare to the point that other lines of work may one day be re-classified as part of the health care system for the purpose of getting funded. Or hidden. Enjoy.

The Eye

I first wrote this story in 1989 and it's been haunting me ever since. It is a three page gothic horror that me and my colleagues recently turned into an independent film known as "the project." As a short story, The Eye has been rejected by Fantasy and Science Fiction, Apex, Alien Skin, and Asimov's Science Fiction. Boy this one must be a stinker! The problem is that I love the story and know that it is exactly what it is supposed to be. The Eye is about a research scientist who becomes aware that his work involves more than they told him. One by one his coworkers make the mistake of entering a chamber that he helped design. There are rumors that everyone who goes in there goes insane. As much as he knows it is the dumbest thing he can do, the main character, known as Fulton in the movie chooses to take his turn and see what nobody should see. The part he doesn't understand is that it isn't so much what he sees but rather what sees him.

EMC Cubed

I wrote this story twice, its first incarnation I think having been written in the early nineties. EMC Cubes has been rejected by Asimov's, but to be fair it was never sent anywhere else in its current incarnation. It was written specifically for Asimov's Science Fiction as I felt it was a good fit for what they are doing. Apparently it wasn't. EMC Cubed is told from the point of view of a criminal seeking asylum. He is an evil man who does evil things and deserves punishment. The strange cult that takes him in, however, promises to help him get away with his crimes by making him look different. The EMC cube rewrites his DNA giving him a completely new body type. Apparently, he gets more than he bargained for in the process.

Measure for Measure

This story has been rejected by Fantasy and Science Fiction, Analog, and Escape Pod. Here I'm not sure if I disagree. When I read it I like some aspects of it, but it seems too much like space opera. The basic idea is that Earth and its military have become the bad guys. Our expanding domain rolls over the rights of indigenous populations like the settlers did in the westward expansion. But the Arjons, a strange long-lived race of giants who've just finished inventing the wheel are a force to be reconned with.

The Ultimate Case

Boy do I ever hate this story, but it's nothing personal. The Ultimate Case is a great idea, but I shouldn't have based a screenplay on it. The Ultimate Case is a tale about a lawyer who must decide whether or not to take on the devil as a client. The devil character is both charming and pathetic at the same time, and he makes a reasonably good case for his own defense. When I was looking for a story to base my first independent film since college on, I thought this would be easy. It was not! Ultimate case, as a short story was rejected by The book of Dark Wisdom and Mindflights. The latter found this particular title "offensive!" That one made me smile.

Another Time

This story was rejected by Asimov's, but was not sent anywhere else. I like Another Time and I worked very hard on it. It is the story of the Earth under the merciless rule of evil cats from outer space. It is supposed to be both funny and serious, and I treasure this story whether it sells or not.

Life As We Know it

This one is still in the works, but was written originally in 1993. It is the story of an asteroid miner facing the end of his career. He decides, rather than retire, that he would like to end his days by being the first human being to set foot on Pluto. There, he finds a form of life unlike any that could exist on Earth. They are just as surprised to see him.

Alacornia

I haven't had the guts to send this out yet, but I know it has potential. My target for this will be Asimov's, but I'm not sure it's ready yet. It is a first person account of a man who remembers the state of Alacornia, a place that was originally west of California, but not anymore. Apparently he is not supposed to remember Alacornia. People who mention it don't stick around very long.

One Night Stand

This story was never sent anywhere, and it most likely never will be. It is one of the most violent and sinister things ever to crawl out of my subconscious. I do recognize it as having potential, but have not revisited it since 1991. It had been improperly archived for a while and was recently recovered from an old floppy disk. I probably should have let it rest in peace. The story is about a womanizer who basically hates women but likes to use them. One night at a dance club he meets his match. The problem is that the woman who finds him brings more to the table than meets the eye.