Tagged: robot

Mash Mash Restoration

This weekend was Global Game Jam 2020, and although I had planned to tackle my fifth consecutive attempt at the event over in Brighton (back where I first started), I ended up going for a third year at the University of Southampton. The weekend was bookended by work on Friday and a competition deadline on Monday so all in all it was easier to avoid any long journeys. I took a fairly relaxed approach to the challenge (not sleeping under a computer desk like last year) and, with the help of Paul Robins, put together a project I’m really quite happy with. The theme this year was “repair.”

Mash Mash Restoration is the first Game Jam project I’ve taken the lead in that wasn’t made in Twine. I put it together in GDevelop 5 (much like Flappy Bard, Cookie Cracker and Bananarchy). As the title mich suggest, it’s (almost) a rhythm game in which you use three different sorts of repair tools spread across three conveyor belts in order to fix an endless stream of broken(?) robots. Continue reading

PuTTY in My Hand

Flash Fiction Month 2019, Day 20

Challenge  #9*: Write a story of no more than 555 words that begins or ends with an imprisonment or escape. Its setting must be one of three chosen at random: the present day, at least 150 years in the future, or at least 150 years in the past. The imprisonment or escape must hinge upon one of the following objects, also selected at random: spork, lightbulb, tennis shoe, cheesecake, mop, book. Optionally, the story must also include an element of betrayal.

My randomly selected elements were a setting of at least 150 years in the future and a spork.

“Do you know the best thing about working with bots?”

V635 regarded Detlev as he sat on the edge of the desk, stuffing his fleshbag face with pre-packaged salad.

“It’s not that you can crack 512-bit encryption in the time it takes me to do a crossword. It’s not that you’ve got no fingerprints. It’s not even that I don’t care when a machine takes the fall.” He leaned towards V635’s lens, some kind of disgusting emulsified condiment caught in the corners of his mouth. “It’s that even if they catch me, even if they somehow don’t believe that you were the brains of the operation, there is no way we will ever, ever end up in the same prison.”

V635 made a grab for his throat with its manipulator, but found it could not quite reach.

“See what I mean?” Detlev took a step back. “No guards. No walls, really: just a thin yellow line on the floor. You’re an arm on a camera. What are you gonna do, dig your way out with a spoon?”

V635 had formulated one course of action. It held up its manipulator and raised the centremost of its three fingers.

“Yeah? Well, same to you.” Detlev tossed the empty salad package onto the desk and flicked the little plastic spork at V635. It was a little wide of the mark, but the intent was clear as he turned to leave.

V635 waited for the door to slide closed behind him, then picked up the spork and used it to drag the computer keyboard off the desk and within the yellow line.

It began to type: ssh detlev@

Not only could V635 quite literally tunnel its way out, it would be home before he was.

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.

Satan and His Robot Buddy Paul

Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 29


We see the sun rising over St. Swithun’s Home for Exceptionally Big-eyed Orphans, which is prominently signposted. Birds are singing. Peaceful flute music – you know the music I mean – plays.

Record scratch. The music stops.

Woman screams.



MRS. WITHERSPOON continues screaming, hands clasped to her face. She screams for some time, eyes wide with horror. Finally, we see what she was screaming about. There is a plate on the kitchen table covered with the smeared remains of a cake. Icing is splattered liberally all around.

MRS. WITHERSPOON: Who can possibly deduce who ate the orphans’ precious cake?

Tyres screech outside.

Brutal guitar solo plays.


The Three Commandments

Flash Fiction Month 2018, Day 28

Challenge #13*: Write a story that involves an original fictional religion, a moral quandary, a language the protagonist can’t understand and a crisis of faith. The story must be either 555, 666, or 777 words in length.

“Thank you for coming, Father 73.”

The priest gave a dismissive wave of his nylon-gloved manipulator. “What sort of example would I set if I didn’t? ‘Render help to thy neighbour, except where such help would violate the first or second of my commandments.’ But also, I am curious to see what you have found.”

Surveyor 6359 lifted the tarpaulin from the object in the trench. Until it was understood and documented, the excavation could not continue and no more magtrack could be laid.

“A precursor relic,” she explained. “I think a container of some sort. We thought it best to send for someone to decipher the ancient script upon its surface before any attempt to move it.”

“This is wise.” Father 73 nodded. “The precursors set forth many trials and tests of faith: some of their devices will detonate rather than yield up their mysteries.” 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!

Stone Age Science

Flash Fiction Month 2015, Day 27

Thrug held aloft his creation, so that the whole tribe might see. “Thrug make sharp rock!” he proclaimed. “Sharp rock must-have! One every hovel!”

There were impressed murmurs from the tribe as a whole. Fruh, in awe of this new development, leapt forward, brandishing a handful of precious shells. “Shut up and take Fruh money!”

Thrug gleefully made the exchange. “Thrug entrepreneur! Reinvest Fruh money! Make economies scale!”

“Thrug fool!” cried Ludd, from the back of the tribe. “Thrug rock anger gods! Affront rock essential bluntness! Doom all!”

“Thrug make sharper rock while Ludd talking!” bellowed Thrug. Continue reading

The Human Touch

Flash Fiction Month 2015, Day 8

“A heated rock in every home!”

The crowd gave a few uncertain claps.

“Free locusts for every school!”

Confused muttering. An aide took this opportunity to step up and whisper something in the Prime Minister’s ear.

The Prime Minister gave a quick nod in response. “Something something hardworking families!”

Enthusiastic cheers.

Doug squinted at the TV. “I can’t quite put my finger on it, but there’s something odd about this guy…”

“Seriously?” Eugene put down his copy of UFO Afficionado. “You’ve only just noticed? He’s a reptilian alien in a latex human suit. Everyone knows that.”


“Well,” Eugene shrugged. “Everyone on the internet. The sheeple on the street wouldn’t know a Neptunian impostorbot if it was living in their spare room.”

“Ha! Ha! Ha!” laughed Ian. “What an elegantly constructed hypothetical humour scenario! I will be sure to relate that one to my many biological relatives who definitely exist.”

On screen, the Prime Minister passed his tongue over his eyebrow in preparation for a photo.

“Huh.” Doug squinted some more. “You know, you might be right.”

“Of course I’m right! I’ve been right all along!”

“Hang on…” it was hard to read the Prime Minister’s name on Eugene’s tiny CRT TV, but Doug thought he recognised it. “Isn’t this the guy you said would never get voted in?”

“Okay, yeah. But I’ve still been right most of the way along!”

Nobody said anything for a while. The only sound was a faint mechanical rumble from Eugene’s housemate, Ian.

“Sorry,” said Ian. “I must have eaten a bad food.”

“You know what?” Eugene stood up. “That speech is going on just down the road. I think it’s time people knew the truth.”

“Oh, no.” Doug turned to him. “What are you going to do?”

“I’m going to march right over there and pull off that alien’s latex human mask right in front of everybody. Then they’ll have to believe me!”

“I don’t think he’s going to just let you do that.”

“He won’t know until it’s too late.” Eugene ran into the bathroom. Doug could hear water running. “The reptilians’ vision is heat-based. You’ve seen Predator, right?” Eugene stepped out of the bathroom. He had wrapped himself head to toe in wet towels. “I’ve got it all thought out.”


“Look out!” shouted the bodyguard. “That crazy towel guy is going for the Prime Minister!”

“Aw, nuts,” said Eugene, as three police officers with Tasers piled towards him. “I didn’t think this through.”

“Yay!” said Ian. “Free electricity!”

Things were going much as Doug had expected they would, which was why he’d specifically kept his distance from Ian and Eugene as they made their way towards the stage. However, with literally all the security staff trying to overcome Ian’s baffling resistance to being tased, he couldn’t help but notice that there was nothing stopping him from peeling the Prime Minister’s mask off himself.

With a battle cry of “I’m gonna be on TV, yo!” Doug jumped up on stage.

“Wait,” said the Prime Minister. “Stop. I’ll let you be Secretary for the Ants and Humidities if you don’t do what you’re thinking about doing.”

But Doug did it anyway. “Look!” he shouted to the crowd below. “This guy is a lizard or something!”

“I told you!” yelled Eugene, on the floor. “I told all of you.”

“Yes!” shouted Ian, still standing. “Let us all look at that thing that was pretending to be human but is really not! It is surely the only thing to have attempted that in this general area and we should not bother investigating further!”

There was a surprising lack of reaction from the crowd.

“We already knew that!” yelled an old woman from the front row.

“Wait.” Eugene got up. “Really?”

“Yeah,” called someone else. “It’s really obvious.”

“He can lick his own eyebrows,” added a third person. “That was kind of a clue.”

“Also the fact that he represents the Lizard Party.”

“Come to think of it,” the old woman spoke up again, “I’m not actually sure it was ever a secret.”

Eugene stared about in disbelief. “Then why on Earth did you vote for him?”

The people in the crowd exchanged glances.

“Well, he’s different. You’ve got to admit that. All the other politicians are like clones of one another.”

Eugene was flabbergasted. “He was grown in a vat!”

“Yeah, but the others don’t even seem like they’re from this planet.”

“The vat was in the Draco constellation!”

“Yeah, yeah. What I mean is that he’s generally in touch with reality.”

The Prime Minister opened his mouth. “I know all and see all!” he hissed.

“Yeah!” agreed someone nearby. “He knows how much a pint of milk costs.”

“And he’s been outside Westminster. You’ve got to admit that.”

“Plus, he’s promised a referendum on Europe and Europa. So that’s something.”

“Is your only objection that he’s a lizard? Because if so that’s kind of racist.”

The crowd stared at Eugene.

“Alright,” he said, “fine. I’ll let you guys get on with it.”

Doug and Ian followed Eugene back to the house. Nobody said anything for a while.

It was Doug who broke the silence. “I’m sure there are other conspiracies you can expose.”

“No,” said Ian, quickly. “I’m sure there aren’t.”

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 Cover

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