Category Archives: Science Fiction

Extraterrestrial Life

Monday, April 16, 2012

As you can see, I’m writing this under considerable duress.

As a long-term fan of science fiction, I’ve come to expect that our first contact with extraterrestrials would be dramatic, large, exciting, quite possibly scary and maybe life- or species-threatening. At the very least, I was certain it would be newsworthy with the most profound philosophical implications.

Ah, but alas, The Media seems preoccupied with more important political and entertainment news. How sad.

As it turns out, a re-examination of 36 year old data sent back by NASA’s Viking robots is believed by credible scientists to confirm the existence of microscopic life on Mars – that life was discovered 36 years ago, and that we just didn’t realize it until now.

Holy, moly. The story of this discovery ran on MSNBC and in various other electronic and print media, and was then summarily relegated to the modern era’s version of lining bird cages and wrapping fish. Why wasn’t this a bigger story? Have we become so blasé that the discovery of extraterrestrial life is neither here nor there? Had a space craft landed on Pennsylvania Avenue, would the server inside the gourmet cupcakes truck greet the ship’s strange alien occupant with no more than a casual, “Hey, man.. whatever. What can I get you?” while other young professionals waiting in line continue, undistracted, checking their email, texting and tweeting friends about meaningless drivel?

So we’re not alone. Ho, hum. Did anyone really think we were? And you probably thought Marvin was just a figment of some artist’s imagination.

-wf

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Interview With An Alien

Short Fiction for Guests of the Wordfeeder
Monday, December 19, 2011

“So. What do I call you?”

“Bob. I like ‘Bob.’ It’s simple, friendly and it’s a palindrome.”

“What does that mean?”

“It means it’s spelled the same way forward and backward.”

“And that’s handy because…?”

“It’s just neat.”

“I see. Okay, let’s…”

In the unfurnished apartment next door, two people sitting at folding tables are recording and watching the conversation on three flat screen monitors. One of them is a man in his fifties, a senior psychologist with an unspecified government organization. The other, a woman in her early thirties, the FBI agent who’d caught this assignment. Yellow pads are out, but without much on them. It’s a low priority case, the first one the FBI agent has been given to handle on her own. A single, perfunctory Homeland Security guard is leaning on the kitchen counter, playing something on his cell phone. A specially reinforced front door on the other apartment, with radio controlled locks, negated the need for anyone in the hallway.
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The Hangover

(Maybe it wasn’t such a good idea, eating the worm.)

Short Fiction for Guests of the WordFeeder
Sunday, September 5, 2010

“Hey.” The short line in front of him at the familiar shop down the street from his office had moved quickly. More than most days, today he needed the perfect cup of coffee. “I’ll have my usual.”

Fifty-two minutes earlier…

Naked, in someone else’s bed, in a bedroom and apartment he didn’t recognize, Anthony Null went from a dead sleep to wide awake the moment he heard his watch alarm go off. Pushing himself up onto his elbows, he paused for only a second before swiveling onto the edge of the bed, his bare feet pleased to feel the cool of the floor. He pressed the big button on his watch to shut off the sound. Disoriented, he looked around to see his suit and other clothes strewn about the old hardwood.
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I, Your Son

Short Fiction for Guests of the WordFeeder
Sunday, July 18, 2010

“Shhh!” He held his finger up to his lips, cautioning the girl he was showing around their laboratories to be quiet. The large room, covering most of the fourth floor of the new graduate Physics building was usually off limits to visitors, but he had a special unlimited access pass that even their extraordinary security had to respect, and managed to get one for her, too. It was a pick-up trick that had never failed him.
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“Brainer”*

The continuing legend of “Stillborn.”
Short Fiction for Guests of the WordFeeder
Sunday, May 30, 2010

*Futurespeak for someone who hacks into people’s minds, without the need for electronic enhancement.

Personal Journal
6:18 PM, July 14, 2010

“‘There are no superheroes, or gods for that matter. Only ordinary people realizing their potential.’ Twelve years later, I can still see his eyes, the odd mix…”

“Dr. Molinara.”

No answer. The 27 year old scientist, with doctorates in electrical engineering and neuro-physiology, sat on the sofa in her office, hunched over her laptop – typing notes, so her assistant assumed, on something she’d been trying to figure out. It was how she worked. Some preferred yellow pads. Others blackboards filled with equations and chemical formulas. Hers was a more literary approach, the last stage in her creative process. Her colleagues once realized that she was able to visualize the complex science of her specialties entirely in her head, and that she only wrote it out occasionally for their sake and as a prelude to manufacturing what she had invented.
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Dream On

Short Fiction for Guests of the WordFeeder
Friday, December 25, 2009

“Pssst.” Nothing. “…Hey,” he said a little louder.

“Whuh!” Carole shot up in her bed. “Ah,” she couldn’t seem to breathe, fumbling franticly in the almost darkness for her glasses on the crowed night table, pushing her alarm clock onto the floor, rattling her metal lampshade while she nervously clicked the switch again and again.

“Looking for these?” The stranger standing a few feet to the side of her bed held up her glasses and cell phone. Given the circumstances, his voice and demeanor were remarkably casual. He seemed comfortable, at ease with himself as if this was something he’d done before. “I’ve turned off your power. The light won’t go on. There’s no point.”

Carole could see him, but not clearly. Her vision wasn’t all that good, and the only light in the room was from a lamppost on the other side of the street coming through narrow blinds she’d closed just enough to give her privacy. Her breathing was labored.
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Implant

Short Fiction for Guests of the WordFeeder
Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sometimes the best place to hide secrets is in
fiction that no one would ever believe.

“Wow,” Lynn sighed. “That …was delicious.” Still holding the stem of her glass, she watched the last drop of rosé forming in the bottom, the last drop she knew she would never drink because it can’t make it to the rim without leaning your head back too far for a place this classy. Setting the glass down slowly on the tablecloth, she leaned back in her chair, certain she couldn’t look better than in the perfect light of the small, expensive, but somehow unpretentious restaurant where she would eat whenever her date could afford it. “I like it when you visit,” she smiled across at the boy, now man she had met in college, rubbing his finger across his plate to pick up what was left if his key lime pie.

Sucking the last morsel, all he could do is laugh back at her and nod, taking a moment to regain his composure. “Tell me,” Emerson leaned forward on his elbows, “you’re not dating anyone, please.”

No reaction, just a smile.
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