Home

Everyday Drabbles #674: Under Construction

Leave a comment

The commander looked down on the planet from the ship. She sipped tea from its zero-gravity bag and watched the progress far below her.
She wondered when the point outside her viewport went from ‘out’ to ‘down.’ It was just one of the many things that changed when she had made her decision.
The frame was coming together nicely, and the asteroids and cloud objects they needed were arriving on schedule. She was pleased. After years of searching, humanity had found a good, Sun-like star. But no planet in the system could support life.
So they decided to build one.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Advertisement

Everyday Drabbles #673: Centaurian Rabbits

Leave a comment

He hears the chirp coming from somewhere above him and sighs.
He’s got Centaurian Rabbits in his vents again.
He doesn’t think they look much like the Earth rodents, but they’re cute in their own right, and mostly harmless. They just have the unfortunate tendency to nest in spacecraft air systems.
They are named not for their appearance, but for the danger they pose. It’s a warning about what happens when animals are introduced into unsuitable habitats. But the rabbits don’t know that.
He brings up the controls to flush the vents into space, hating himself for the cold equations.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Hugh Likes Fiction: Elder Race

Leave a comment

Elder Race
Written by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Published by tor.com

The Skinny – A braided novella that plays well with two very different set of tropes.

Lynesse Fourth Daughter is a princess on a noble quest. Perhaps the queen forbid her to get involved, and she doesn’t really know what she’s doing, but she’s off to a good start. She’s even recruited the legendary sorcerer Nyrgoth Elder to her side. Except that ‘Nyrgoth’ is in fact Nyr Illim Tevitch, a shlubby, depressed anthropologist from Earth, who should be studying the regressed society of interstellar colonists instead of playing wizard. But the rest of his team headed back to Earth centuries ago, and he hasn’t heard anything from them. And he’s lonely and depressed. But everything should work out fine, right?
Elder Race mixes far-future science fiction with old school sword and sorcery. Author Adrian Tchaikovsky weaves a deft course between genre tropes and delivers a stunning gut-punch of a novella packed with complex characters.
The story is split between the points of view of the main characters, switching off between Lynesse and Nyr as they go to confront a ‘demon’ causing havoc on the planet’s surface. Nyr is sure that this is just another bit of old technology that’s gotten out of hand. Lyn is sure that the Ancient Sorcerer will have no problems dealing with evil magic, as he did centuries before, when her ancestor called him. Of course, they’re both super wrong.
One of my favorite tricks Tchaikovsky plays with in this story is in the use of language. Nyr is constantly frustrated by the fact that he can’t even confess that he’s a charlatan, because all of this post-Earth cultur’e’s words for ‘scientist’ are also cognates for ‘wizard.’ By shifting perspective, the reader gets to understand both characters better than they do each other. There is even a great sequence where their text appears side by side, and the reader sees the same story as Nyr means to tell it and as Lyn hears it.
Tchiakovsky takes a warrior princess and a displaced sci-fi crew member and puts them into what amounts to a comedy of manners, with each struggling to both use the other to their own ends, and to understand one another. It’s a clever little story, and it surprised and moved me more than I expected.
Elder Race is a delightful spec-fic gem of a novella, and I highly recommend picking it up, whether you’re a fan of quests or post-human existential angst, it’s a cocktail sure to delight the palate.

Everyday Drabbles #667: The Runner

Leave a comment

The Runner is the ghost of Machine City. Everyone has a second-hand story of a friend or a cousin meeting the one spanner in The Corp’s mighty works.
He hacks a bioterminal to distribute free medicine here and diverts trucks full of SecForce thugs away from a housing protest there. He’s an urban legend, both everywhere and nowhere.
The Chief Policing Officer appears regularly on the feeds insisting that The Runner doesn’t exist. But the work continues.
High above, the boy jumps from catwalk to catwalk, knowing the value of being born without tackers in a city of electronic eyes.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #666: The Loading Bay

Leave a comment

The robots roll out of the factory and onto the waiting ships. The assembled troops salute each passing unit. The grunts have never seen them unfinished or met one of the legendary elite pilots inside, but they’ve all heard the stories. They’ve seen what the Walkers can do. They will bring honor and glory to Luna.
Inside the unit, the child beats its hands against the metal walls. They try and pull out the tubes and wires that connect them to the machine. They scream the ancient words until they are hoarse.
“Alexa, stop!” But the units keep on rolling.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #644: The Vacation

Leave a comment

He began having stress headaches and needed a vacation. He found a backwater, undeveloped planet and booked a cabin in the wilderness for a week. No email, no videophone, no ansible. Just himself and nature.
He first saw the aliens on his second day. They were spectral, hairy little things, almost like earth insects, but cute. He spent his days sketching them as they hopped and skittered over the rustic furniture. Slowly, he relaxed.
He was packing up when there was a knock on the door.
“I’m here about the gas leak,” the technician said. Suddenly, his headache was back.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #638: The Simulation

Leave a comment

The being held the smoky cube in its hands and watched the tiny world orbiting inside.
“I’m confused. It’s a simulation, but it knows it’s a simulation?”
“Not quite,” its companion said. “It creates billions of self-aware intelligences inside itself, which only last for a certain amount of time, and those intelligences are capable of discerning they are simulated.”
“Why?”
“We wanted to see how a large population would react to such knowledge.”
“How’s it going?”
“Not great. We’ve had to reset the simulation five times already.” The other being flicked a toggle, and an asteroid appeared inside the cube.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #635: The Mountain Giant

Leave a comment

The monks gathered on the side of the mountain to complete the ritual that was the true purpose of their order. Today was the one day of the year that the sun would pierce the canyon and light the ancient ruins, summoning their protector.

After some time, the wall of the canyon changed, and the Mountain Giant opened its eyes.

COMMAND?” it commanded in the Ancients’ secret language. The monks chanted the response spell, although none of them knew what the words meant.

“Enter sleep mode.”

Acknowledged.” The Mountain Giant closed its eyes. The world was safe for another year.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #633: The Power Behind the Throne

Leave a comment

When we discovered the alien world, we debated for a long time how best to proceed. Everyone on the international committee claimed to hate the idea of colonizing the developing native civilization, but nobody trusted the others.
In the end, we decided to send an uncrewed probe to observe the planet. We thought that an artificial intelligence would keep to its mission above all else.
But we forgot the early lessons of that technology: The biases and flaws of the programmers often appeared in their creations.
We just received a message from the planet’s rulers, puppets of the orbiting robot.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Everyday Drabbles #632: Hand of Glory

Leave a comment

The Hand of Glory was a disreputable, backwater station in solar orbit somewhere between Neptune and Uranus. It was built in that fanciful period of space exploration when engineers had abandoned the utilitarian designs of previous stations in favor of something more baroque.

As its name implied, the station resembled a giant’s hand, with docking facilities in each fingertip, and the central habitation hub floating like a pearl in its upraised palm.

As my ship began an intercept orbit, I readied my blaster and checked my supplies. Hands of Glory were lights in the dark, but not without their dangers.

Thanks for reading! You can support me and find links to all my other work via my Linktree!

Older Entries Newer Entries