Short Stories (5 - 0K Words)
"Nobody Here But Us Beavers" - Tara Saunders (6372 words)
Gather around me children. Have you ever wondered why there are no people in this world except for us Beavers? Listen close now, and I'll tell the story of how it came to be.
Dark-skinned and black-hearted, the Wolf hunkered in the fork of a willow tree, his shooter held loose across his body. He didn't look left and he didn't look right, just kept those big eyes of his fixed on Karl's island. They were something those eyes: white as white except where they were brown as brown. A man spying him leaning so peaceful in that tree wouldn't have guessed what he planned to do to Karl, nor why.
"Hurry Up and Wait" - Holly Schofield (5419 words)
I dug my left toe farther into the loose dirt of the cliff and gripped a scraggly salal bush. The cell phone had landed on an outcrop a full meter away, beyond a patch of tall, yellowing grass. Western fescue. Slippery stuff, this late in the year. My right foot dangled above a large rock, slick with Oregon moss. A seagull shrieked far below, wheeling over the ocean. Don't look down. I eased onto the inner edge of the rock, shifting my weight off my aching left leg.
The rock overbalanced. I jerked back and listened to it crash against garry oak and scrubby arbutus as it fell and fell and fell. No splash - the tide was out.
"Proximity" - Iain Ishbel (5307 words)
Nameless, bodiless, half conscious - forced, in fact, into a therapeutic rest state by neural nanos - he floated in a watery white space. Minutes trickled past thinly, without guilt or pain, and the system maintained his daily rest with pulses in theta time.
Until a voice tried calling him down.
He ignored it, but it spoke to his nannies, and he became too dense to float. "No" he called out to the voice, "Not now. I need to rest."
"Domain" (Story 2 of the Domain Main Sequence) - Coming Soon!
'Once in a hundred years' natural disasters were happening every week, things were getting very desperate . .
"After the first human minds were uploaded . . Domain evolved rapidly. Domain was initially a small network of Artificial Intelligences instantiated by a group of world scientists with support from western militaries (and later, from radical groups within other militaries). However, the uploading of human minds caused the system to change fundamentally . . and the new direction had existential consequences for Homo sapiens sapiens . ."
"Cecilia" (Story 1 of the Domain Main Sequence) (7400 words)
Tragedies happen all the time, it has been that way for millenia but now a family must deal with their tragedy and also come to terms with what it means to be human.
"Celia didn't realise she was dead. Of course she wasn't permanently and irretrievably dead, but her continued existence was in doubt. Her vision was blurry and all sounds were muffled. She couldn't move her head and could only feel pressure in her chest, but could not feel limbs or guts. All this should have been frightening yet instead she felt oddly blissful.
Where am I? What is happening?
In her hazy state, the last things she could remember were from that morning - driving to her current gardening and landscaping job, parking her car . . After that, her memory was a total blank.
She tried to remember more but fell asleep again."