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.
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.
Every year my selection of flash fiction anthologies gets a little bit more garish. Continue reading
It’s taken a lot longer than expected (the original plan was to have the entire thing wrapped up by the end of November 2015), but the first (or arguably left-hand) half of Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure is now complete!
Provided you choose to sit around moping at the at the very beginning of the story, rather than going off and doing something interesting, you can explore every single possible option leading off from that point, and follow along all the way to every possible ending: 256 in all!
I’ll be starting work on the second (or right-hand) half of the Adventure pretty much immediately, but it might be a while before I make the new content available just so that there aren’t too many dead ends for readers to stumble into. If you haven’t taken a look at this yet, now’s a great time: you’ve got absolutely masses of options and I can guarantee that any storyline you can start, you can also finish.
At the time of writing, the story is 78,629 words in length altogether, making it the single longest work I’ve ever released by a reasonable margin (the next longest is currently Face of Glass, at 55,550). Despite that, this novel-length interactive story is completely free to explore. If you’d like to chuck some money my way, however, please consider pledging to support Ten Little Astronauts, my crowdfunded novella. You’ll get a book that wouldn’t have existed any other way, every copy will have your name recorded in the back as one of its patrons, and you’ll be helping me achieve my dream of having my best work to date distributed by Penguin Random House. It’s a win-win-win!
It’s got a little overshadowed by Ten Little Astronauts and Craft Keep, but yes, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month again this year! However, I’m not writing a novel this time around. I’m continuing last year’s massively interactive fantasy story, Girth Loinhammer’s Most Exponential Adventure. The upshot of this is that although we’re only six days into the event, and although I only really got into it on Day 3 myself, the project is already more than 60,000 words long (50,000 from last year, plus 10,000 words of never-before-seen storylines from the past six days).
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 get…erotic.”
“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 get…sexual.”
“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.”
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 24
“I can’t believe you’re eating poutine for breakfast,” said Mike, staring at Joe over his huge stack of pancakes.
“I can’t believe you’re not!” said Joe, setting the mountainous pile of food down on the tree stump they’d taken to using as a breakfast table. “Fries, cheese curds, gravy…it’s got everything a growing lumberjack needs!”
“Yeah. Because nobody in the history of the world has ever associated pancakes with lumberjacks.”
Suddenly, as if enraged by sarcasm, a moose charged out of the trees and straight through the lumberjacks’ breakfast.
“Well that was something, eh?” said Joe. Then he noticed the state of his breakfast. “Aww. That moose got maple syrup all over my poutine. Could you lend me a toonie for another?”
Mike was about to say “no,” and follow it up with, “but is it seriously just two dollars, because that’s either really good or really suspicious,” but he was drowned out by the sudden appearance of a helicopter descending into the clearing. Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 20
Challenge #9: Write surrealist comedy featuring a deity, an ex-lover, and a machine. The conflict of the story must be resolved using a Deus ex Machina.
It was an exceptionally hot day in the golf course at the centre of the earth, and so Salvador Dali’s moustache was enjoying a nice cool dip in the local clock.
“Swim, swim, swim,” said Salvador Dali’s moustache, content in the knowledge that nothing at all could possibly disturb the serenity of this lovely scene.
But suddenly, Adolf Hitler’s evil moustache appeared, wielding a doomsday device!
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 19
“Alright, Ms. Gibson. Just a few more questions—purely a formality, I assure you—before we approve your loan.” Mr. Smith of Smith, Smith, and Smith Associates brought up the relevant form on his computer screen.
“Okay,” said Ms. Gibson. “Ask away.”
“Very good. Question one: have you ever kicked a puppy off a cliff, collected Nazi paraphernalia, or done that thing where you accidentally bite the inside of your cheek while eating?”
“It’s a simple yes or no question, Ms. Gibson.” Mr. Smith folded his hands. “Have you ever kicked a puppy off a cliff, collected Nazi paraphernalia, or accidentally bitten the inside of your cheek while eating?”
“I don’t understand.”
“For our purposes, a puppy is defined as any dog under one year old,” explained Mr. Smith. “If that helps.” Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 17
There was a blinding flash of light, and a deafening bang.
The entirety of the the Quantum Trans-chronometrical League of Scientists stared in surprise.
Adolf Hitler stared back.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,” he began, with the aid of a futuristic-looking translation device, “not more than a minute ago—in my time—I was presented with a glorious device capable of transporting me one hundred years into the future of my very own thousand year Reich, now destined to…why are you all covered in disgusting red goo?”
The first two rows of the auditorium hastily shuffled back.
A few seconds later, Hitler exploded.
“Huh,” said one of the delegates, peeling a fragment of toothbrush moustache from his glasses. “It would appear that one can use time travel to kill Hitler after all.”
If you’ve enjoyed this story, you can find my work from previous Flash Fiction Months collected in these books:
Click any cover to find that book in your choice of format.
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 16
“So we are agreed. If any member of the Quantum Trans-chronometrical League of Scientists is successful in developing human time travel…”
“Ah!” Sergei Konstantinovich Krikalev thrust a hand into the air.
“Forwards doesn’t count!” The chairman banged his gavel on the podium thrice for emphasis. “If any member of the League is successful in developing human time travel, they will make their way to this location, at this time…” he checked his watch. “…nnnnnnow!”
Absolutely nothing happened.
“Well, that’s most disappointing.” The chairman leafed carefully through his notes, selected the next seventy-three pages precisely, tapped them straight on the wooden surface before him, and chucked them in the bin. “However, I understand that there have been numerous insightful developments in the study of relativistic aberration of cosmic rays at velocities approaching ten percent of the speed of light. If you will all turn to page eight hundred and six of your…”
There was a blinding flash of light, and a deafening bang. Continue reading
Flash Fiction Month 2016, Day 15
Challenge #7*: Write a story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic setting. It must include both situational irony and a tone shift, but these things must be kept separate. It must also include fifteen colours that are also things, and elements from at least four different mythologies, only two of which may be well known.
It took fifteen seconds for Gilgamesh to descend into the underworld. Thirty seconds to wrap the paquet congo—ebony, ochre, lavender—in the hopes that it would bring the loa to his aid. It will take him fifteen seconds to draw his sword, but his sword is missing.
It took fifteen seconds for Gilgamesh to descend into the underworld. Thirty seconds to wrap the paquet congo—ebony, ochre, mint—in the hopes that it would bring the loa to his aid. It will take him fifteen seconds to draw his sword, but his sword is missing.
It took fifteen seconds for Gilgamesh to descend into the underworld. Thirty seconds to wrap the paquet congo—ebony, ochre, nutmeg—in the hopes that it would bring the loa to his aid. It will take him fifteen seconds to draw his sword, but his sword is missing.
It took fifteen seconds for Gilgamesh to descend into the underworld. Thirty seconds to wrap the paquet congo—ebony, ochre, orange—in the hopes that it would bring the loa to his aid. It will take him fifteen seconds to draw his sword, but his sword is missing.
It took fifteen seconds for Gilgamesh to descend into the underworld. Thirty seconds to wrap the paquet congo—ebony, ochre, periwinkle—in the hopes that it would bring the loa to his aid. It will take him fifteen seconds to draw his sword, but his sword is missing.
Corn-teeth Hal and Big Myrtle stared at the gaping hollow in the ground, a low beacon of black in the ashen, Fimbulvetr snow. There had been surface structures here at one point, but their walls had been reduced to knee-high shin-stubbers by whatever had formed the crater that the pair had just spent the morning traversing. Only the entryway remained intact.
Hal spotted something emblazoned on the concrete, and used his glove to scrape away the snow: Medusa’s Gaze Tactical Facility. It was not written in paint. It was written in the ivory of paint long gone, the rest of the wall seared to a charcoal hue.