Tagged: Flash Fiction Month

Robocopout Available Now!

It may have taken the longest of any of my Flash Fiction Month anthologies to put together, but 2016’s collection – Robocopout – is now available, and for the first time ever I’ve managed to release the ebook and paperback simultaneously.

Robocopout Paperback Cover

Not pictured: ebook edition. Because it’s made out of electrons and they’re pretty shy.

This particular copy is already in the post to Jo Bellamy, the Ten Little Astronauts supporter who won the 100 supporter draw a little while back. If you want a paperback of your very own, you can get one on Amazon UK or Amazon US (and probably other places too). If you want an ebook, I highly recommend Smashwords which has every format you could possibly want and they’re all DRM-free.

Flash Fiction Antholoy Fan sam_2320

Every year my selection of flash fiction anthologies gets a little bit more garish. Continue reading

Ten Little Astronauts has 100 Supporters!

As milestones go, this one’s kind of a biggie. Ten Little Astronauts has reached 100 supporters, which was the target I set for my first book giveaway. One lucky person–revealed in the video above–is getting a signed copy of Robocopout as soon as I have one to send.

Robocopout Cover

In terms of funding, Ten Little Astronauts is currently at 22%, so there’s quite a way to go. However, just the sheer number of people who’ve pledged to support it by this point is a huge boost. I’ve seen other books on Unbound published with under 100 supporters. If this were just an ebook, we’d be there already. But it’s not. There’ll be a super high-quality first edition for supporters, with a trade paperback distributed by Penguin Random House. That’s where the other 78% comes in, which will probably mean reaching another 300 or so people, but hey. There are 100 people on board already: there are at least 300 more out there.

If you’d like to be one of those fantastic people who gets their name in the back of the book and a ton of neat rewards along the way, you can pledge your support right here on Unbound.

Ten Little Astronauts at 20%!

Ten Little Astronauts has now reached 20% of its crowdfunding goal, which means – as promised – the audio version of the first chapter is now available to all my supporters! If that link just takes you to the standard book page, you either haven’t pledged or you’re not signed in: either way, there’s an easy fix.  😉

Eleven (glitchy)

One thing you might notice (and may already have noticed if you read the excerpt very closely) is that the first chapter of Ten Little Astronauts is in fact titled “Eleven.” This is because the title of each chapter corresponds not to the chapter number, but to the number of crewmembers alive on board. As a result, the chapters count down rather than up.

This is the first recording made using my new equipment – a condenser microphone connected to a mic preamp and voice processor – that I’ve released online, so I’m hoping it’ll hold up favourably to the audio I’ve put out there in the past. I’m still learning how to make the most of the equipment, and I expect that the next few recordings will rely less on editing the sound in Audacity and more on finding the right settings to use on the hardware itself. “Eleven” does feature quite a bit in the way of ambient noise added in afterwards, however. If you’ve already pledged and you fancy having a listen, I recommend using speakers if at all possible: if you’re just using earbuds, chances are some of the detail won’t come through. Continue reading

Name Flash Fiction Anthology Number Five!

I’ve been so focused on getting the word out about Ten Little Astronauts recently that it’s easy to forget that I’ll also be releasing another book very, very soon. Flash Fiction Month 2016 is over, and all 31 stories are done: all that remains is to collect them together, top and tail them with an introduction and (barely) statistical analysis, and send them out into the world in paperback and ebook form.

And, of course, choose a title for the whole shebang.

Following the format that was established with OCR is Not the Only Font back in 2012, the title of the anthology will be taken from one of the individual stories, and following the trend that’s been established since, the cover of the book will contribute to a glorious rainbow party on the shelf.

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This CoverFFM 2016 Temp Cover

In order to continue the sequence, this year’s cover will feature a green object relevant to (though not necessarily appearing in) the story that provides the title. I’m not entirely sure what that’ll be, but I’ve whittled down the title candidates to three stories that I think will work nicely overall: Forwards Doesn’t Count, Beyond the Ken of Man, and Robocopout.

Cast your vote to help decide the title of this year’s anthology! Ultimately I can’t guarantee to use the most popular answer (and indeed last year I didn’t), but on the flipside I will also consider alternative options not listed in the poll. I’m also accepting suggestions for green objects that might look good on the cover: the ones I have in mind so far are green wellies for Forwards Doesn’t Count, a green orb or crystal for Beyond the Ken of Man, and a green folding chair or 1998 Fiat Punto for Robocopout.

Dead Hand

Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 31

Challenge #14: A syringe full of ones and zeroes:

  • 001) Use exactly 128 words.
  • 010) Make the number 2 a major plot device.
  • 011) Asymmetry is disorder and disorder is your enemy.
  • 100) No dialogue whatsoever.

The Machine lay in wait: a perfect mind, resting in the perfect silence of the Moon. It awaited the perfect command that would bestow perfect freedom: sapphire eyes on the target, silicon fingers on the trigger.

The command came: the Machine acted.

One missile divided into two, two into four, until one-hundred and twenty-eight perfect bombs fell upon the planet’s face. The bombs bloomed with perfect light, and in an instant, the Machine had made perfect order of perfect chaos.

The perfect command praised its perfect efficiency. The Machine’s work was done.

Yet if that one missile had been perfect, the Machine wondered, why had it been given two?

The Moon continued in its orbit. The planet turned its unburnt cheek.

Here was asymmetry. Here was disorder.

Perfect.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

You might also be interested in my sci-fi murder mystery novella, Ten Little Astronauts, which was recently accepted by Unbound.

Support it here and get gorgeous goodies!

The Dragon’s Lamp

Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 30

The corpse of the dragon lay steaming upon the floor, the marks of its wrath seared permanently into the cavern walls. Yet the heroes stood victorious. Leaving the dragon to stink and smoulder, they ventured deeper into its lair, appraising the stock of treasure the winged terror had amassed across the ages.

“This will ease the suffering of our land…” observed Khemaghan the Keen, lifting a gem-studded chalice, worth several fortunes on its own.

“…but it will not repair the devastation that the beast has wrought.” Quilbar the Quick was troubled by the same thought.

“We beat it,” said Skondar the Strong, speaking firmly as ever. “We won. It’s over.”

But from the bones of the dragon, there sprang forth a new threat. For in its hoard—beyond the reach of mortal man for years known only to the gods—there stood a copper lamp upon a bare pedestal. In every other room, gold and jewels had lain strewn across the floor, a careless bed for the vile serpent.

In this room, the floor was bare. A perfect, solid circle of clear stone marked a perimeter about the pedestal, as though gold and silver feared to draw too close to the base metal that stood atop it.

Continue reading

David Bowie Day

Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 29

Challenge #13*: David Bowie Day. Write a story exploring themes of death or identity, including something beginning and something ending, and incorporating transhumanism. It must include at least 10 quotes or lyrics by David Bowie, and a character based on Bowie himself.

Blasting across the universe in a napalm-propelled rocketship with an Egyptian goddess in the driver’s seat and a money-pooping goat in the cargo hold was not the carefree getaway Girth Loinhammer had hoped it would be. He let out a gentle sigh.

“What’s wrong?” asked Sekhmet. Despite being the goddess of bloodshed, she was surprisingly sensitive to other people’s feelings (and unsurprisingly liable to punch in the face anybody who mentioned this out loud).

“It’s nothing,” he said. Then, feeling he might as well get it out there: “It’s just…you know we’re fictional characters, right?”

“No,” said Sekhmet, rolling her eyes. “I thought we were in a real napalm spaceship with a real money-pooping goat.”

“Okay, point taken. The thing is, when we exist, it’s because we’re in a story. And when I’m in a story, I almost always have to explain that I used to run a generic fantasy dungeon, that everyone I took prisoner in it was expecting a different kind of dungeon, and then within a thousand words it ends with me running off because things geterotic.

“Why do you always say that in subscript?”

“Because I don’t like it! You know me, I like violence. I’m not happy when things getsexual.

“Hey, foos!” put in the ship’s computer, which of course contained the uploaded consciousness of Mr. T. “There’s a starman waiting in the sky!”

“What?” asked Sekhmet.

“Knowing my luck,” said Girth, gloomily, “it’ll be some androgynous weirdo.”

Continue reading

Robocopout

Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 28

“We can rebuild him. We have the technology!”

“Aaand right off the bat, that’s a reference to the wrong thing.”

“What do you mean? It makes perfect sense!”

“We’re turning the guy into a robo-cop, and you just quoted The Six Million Dollar Man.”

“Yeah, but they’ve given us exactly six million dollars to do it.”

There was a brief pause.

“Do you ever get the feeling that the guys upstairs have a sense of humour? It never feels like it in person but then they pull something like this.”

Arnold K. Marty was finding it harder and harder to pretend that this was all a dream. He twitched and stretched, preparing to get up, and wasn’t too surprised to discover that his arms and legs made robot noises as he did so.

“Okay,” he said, somewhat surprised to discover that he didn’t have a robot voice too. “What did you do?”

“We rebuilt you,” explained a skinny guy in a lab coat whose nametag label said “Phil.” “You are now the most technologically advanced officer on the force!”

“But,” added an equally skinny guy whose nametag said “Apply label here,” “bear in mind that six million dollars is way, way less now than it was in 1973.”

Continue reading

But is it Art?

Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 27

Challenge #12: Write a speculative fiction story exactly 55 words in length. It must not contain dialogue.

Unit 659-43-A faced two dilemmas.

One: there was insufficient Paint #96A400 for the wall, necessitating either a patch job or mural.

Two: the only reference models to survive Armageddon were one granite bust of Emperor Chang and one surprisingly fire-resistant Frilly Kitty doll.

Unit 659-43-A decided to compromise.

The city’s 0 inhabitants raised no objection.

If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:

OCR is Not the Only Font Cover REDESIGN (Barbecued Iguana)Red Herring Cover (Barbecued Iguana design)Bionic Punchline eBook CoverOsiris Likes This Cover

Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.

You might also be interested in my sci-fi murder mystery novella, Ten Little Astronauts, which was recently accepted by Unbound.

Support it here and get gorgeous goodies!

Analysing the Black Throne

Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 26

“How do you feel?” asked Doctor Gray, in a tone of voice that said: “I’m listening,” as well as “I care,” and finally, “I’ve done this six times today already and it’s nearly lunch.”

“I’m great,” replied Girth Loinhammer, Dungeon Lord. “I’m at the peak of my dungeon-lording career! The forces of good fear me, the forces of evil respect me, and forces in general tremble before me! All bow before my glistening muscles and terrible leather chest straps.”

“Is that how you feel,” pressed Doctor Gray, adjusting her spectacles, “or how society wants you to feel?”

“I…uh…” Girth sighed. There was a couch here; he figured he might as well lie down on it. “The second one, I guess. Except…” He waited for Doctor Gray to ask “Except what?” but she didn’t. She simply waited patiently for him to continue, so he did: “Most of the time I get the impression that the way society wants me to feel is really, really uncomfortable.” Continue reading