On the eve of war, a Navigator is suddenly thrust into the path of the humans. Caught between a centuries-old lie and her own discoveries, Endora must reconcile her duty to her home and her yearning for the far reaches of space. A classical science fiction story about duty and trusting your own instincts. SY
Endora Toinette stood before her mirror in her quarters and stared at her own reflection, wondering if this was all life had in store for her. She had been born on her home world, Plaxes, and joined the academy to hone her natural skills to help alien species in space flight. It was an honour to achieve such status and now that she was assigned a place on the Tralaxion starship, she wondered if she had done right by joining this race and their battle with the Kronons.
For years, the Kronons have been spreading throughout this galaxy, spreading their propaganda and taking over alien worlds. Their target: her home world of Plaxes. With unlimited access to her race, the enemy would be able to use her people to pilot their mighty starships through the cosmos and tip the hand in battle.
They must not succeed.
The Kronons might be a powerful race, but they lacked one thing: the use of Navigators.
When disgraced doctor Avril Chase wakes in a park, he thinks his guilt is finally driving him mad. But the reality is far worse–the world is ending in a most gruesome way. Surreal and horrific, Bone Park will make you flinch at the slightest of breezes. SY
Avril couldn’t say how he wound up in the park or how it all began. He hadn’t slept in a week, perhaps it was more. But more baffling he couldn’t account for the rips in his shirt or the holes in his shoes. Did he drink that much last night at Reno’s? There was a dry spot under his feet. He assumed he must have slept there because the rest of the grass was wet and the park was empty, and he had that groggy malaise that told him he’d slept recently. Beyond the gate he could see people walking along Sixteenth Street, umbrellas bobbing in the wind. Avril Chase was too spacey, and too confused to think it all out. He took a few steps towards the edge of a dirt clearing under a rusty set of swings, and his eyes fell over more he could not explain.
Whispers of the past, the last wind, the breeze that swept it all away flew past him unnoticed.
A sliver of a bone jutted out of the dirt. There was no question in his mind that it was a human bone. Being a doctor, even if he had lost his license, Avril knew about bones. A rainy day, an empty park, inexplicable rips in his clothes and shoes, and a bone sticking curiously out of the ground. He wondered if he’d somehow woken up in a George Romero film. Would the next surprise be the undead creature (that was formerly attached to the bone) rising to take a bite of his arm? He should be scared, maybe he should be terrified, but he wasn’t. A strange curiosity grabbed him, along with a queasy, cautious feeling in his stomach. Maybe sleep deprivation acted as a buffer to fear the way scotch acted as a buffer to everything.
“No Free Parking at Journey’s End” was second place prize winner of the 2011 Story Quest Short Story Contest. Louis Baum paints a bleak far-future universe, with twists and turns that are well crafted, and a masterful sense of irony. GH
Forty-one years, and now it was at an end. It was hard for Leo to believe. It was like a beautiful dream that once awake you try and hold on to, but whose ghostly substance disappears in the morning light like an evaporating mirage. Only strangely this dream was not fading with sober wakefulness. Instead, every day now, his cherished vision was being made more real, emerging from out of the realm of wishes and growing more solid in its yet opaque flesh.
He was on the cusp.
He was on the cusp of achieving the lifelong ambition of his deceased father, and in turn, the goal around which his entire life had centered. For the last few weeks he had been giddy and had done each hour’s tedious tasks with a big idiotic grin on his face. And yet his patience, which had been eternal his whole life, seemed to expire all at once in the last couple of days. He could not wait. After all, it was not much of a life to live one’s entire existence in space.
In this, the first part of five, MF Burbaugh introduces the reader to a time not too far in the future, where Earth has taken on a rather distasteful role among the scattered planets that humanity has now colonized. Enjoy this pulp-style science fiction, through the eyes of a teenage boy. GH.
Damn it! I almost said out-loud.
I found my mouth was dry and my heart was pounding. The buzzing was grating on my nerves. I ducked behind the rubble as the noise got louder. It meant the damn Searchers either heard me, or smelled me, or, if I was lucky, someone else. Ya right.
Welcome to the very first edition of SQ Mag, our all new ezine.
All of us here at the magazine, and at IFWG, are loving the great new online format. We are also excited with the possibility of reaching great new audiences and other speculative fiction enthusiasts.
If you enjoy what you’re reading, please share it with others. And if you’re feeling generous, drop us a donation so we can keep on entertaining.
Our new edition showcases the exceptional quality of short stories received here at the magazine and for the associated Story Quest competition, run by IFWG Publishing.
“Rationalized” was the winner of the 2011 Story Quest Short Story Contest. Dystopian short fiction has a long history, the modern era examples stretching back to the late 1940s, and some of the best science fiction fall into this sub-genre. The judges of the Story Quest contest determined that Larry Hodges’ piece, Rationalized, took a fresh approach, and carried a clear and brutal message. Hodges, a seasoned wordsmith, asks the question, what do I do if the odds are overwhelmingly against me? I’ll leave the answer to those who read his short story. GH
How nice—to feel nothing, and still get full credit for being alive.
~ Kurt Vonnegut
It had been a long Saturday morning, but the training was over. Now Dr. Bruce watched Jeremy and his friend Lara as they played games and drank lemonade. Both actions were illegal.
He took a sip of the chemically-created lemonade he made himself. It was a break from the dreary diet of nutricubes and water, the only approved food or drink allowed or needed. He wondered if actual lemon trees still existed.
Jeremy came over. “Dad, where’s the puppy?” he whispered.
They’d “borrowed” it from the puppy farm.
“I kept it a secret like you asked, but when are you going to tell us what it’s for?”
“Soon,” Bruce said.
Traversing the Nullarbor can make you think you’re alone in the world. But this time, it’s not just a feeling. An Australian twist on apocalyptic fiction that’s sure to raise the hairs on the back of your neck. SY
You didn’t think you’d have bad weather in summer, yet here are grey skies lying sulky over the Nullarbor in the middle of February. Nothing you can do about it. You take the tent down and stow it in the panniers before straddling the Kawasaki and continuing east. With luck, you might hit Ceduna before nightfall.
At Balladonia an Irish backpacker serves you coffee and a sandwich, and looks wistfully out the window at your bike parked by the petrol bowsers, the clutter of occy-strapped luggage teetering on the rear of the seat. “You take carr on dat boike, all right? Just take it easy.”
Ravens flutter and croak in the spindly trees at the edge of the road. The flat and barren landscape is broken only by the occasional road sign or ruined farmstead. You gear down every time a road-train approaches, lowering your head so the whoosh of displaced air doesn’t pick you up off the bike. At 120 kilometres an hour, the buzz of the engine levels out as a steady drone. The frigid wind picks out the exposed bits of skin between helmet and jacket. Still, the weather holds out.
Reviewed by Mysti Parker
The circus arrives without warning.
From this memorable opening line, Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”, is more than just a good book. It’s an experience.
“The Witness” was third place prize winner of the 2011 Story Quest Short Story Contest. Laura Haddock is a newcomer to published fiction and the Story Quest judges noted a high level of maturity and polish in her writing. “The Witness” is, in many ways, a classic sci-fi, but projecting readers into a court-room drama, with a most interesting twist. GH
Of course there are ethical implications.
First, the procedure may never be used on children. The filter of childish perception would only confuse. The intellectually disabled are excused as well. And there is no “off” switch. It is understood that the court will wait respectfully for the duration. I think the record is six minutes.
From the beginning there were promising results with Alzheimer’s and neural trauma patients. The mechanical apparatus buzzed day and night in the research centers, with no shortage of volunteers. Once those crafty engineers discovered that the brain could be manipulated to reverse the erasure process—that memories could be rebuilt—there was no turning back.
I don’t know who first thought to use the machinery on corpses, but he must have been one macabre SOB.
Even now, most REBUILD subjects remain incoherent or don’t even revive. One of my own first cases filled screen after screen with gibberish until he finally powered down. After my “Mr. Harrell, I am prosecuting attorney Jack Sullivan,” I saw the lines scrolling at a frantic pace, saying nothing at all.