1. Andy Weir’s Short Story “The Egg”

    Briliant short story by Andy Weir: “The Egg“. Highly worth checking out.

    I’ve always been opposed to the Cartesian fueled afterlife that dominates Western society. The Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno once asked a peasant if he believed it was possible there is a God– but no afterlife. The peasant responded “Then wherefore God?” It’s comforting feeling I suppose that there is somewhere else to go when the engines power down, but a dangerous one. A comforting feeling that brings out the most vile aspects of humanity in fear, war, violence, and domination.

    So when a story about the afterlife doesn’t leave a bitter taste in my mouth, it has to be good. I’m damn impressed.

    The Egg” by Andy Weir is just that. I would say its better than any of the short stories in the recent cult-classic Sum: Forty Tales of the Afterlife by David Eagleman.

    Also worth noting is “The Martian” his ongoing saga of an astronaut stranded on Mars and (so far) cleverly survives.

  2. Ted The Caver

    Ted the Caver. It’s the story of a caver who comes across something terrifying on an spelunking adventure. The story unfolds on a website done in the early 2000’s (its even on Angelfire!) almost like if the Blair Witch Project was a website and not a movie. Ending with a 404 error with a promise of more information is brilliant.

    Turns out the story originally by Thomas Lera in 1987 (but is set in the early 2000’s) who pens horror and sci-fi stories on the the name “John Rowlands.” Lera is very interested in caves and speleophilately or the study of caves on stamps, covers, and cancelations. Yes, some people’s interests are more specific than yours.

    I found the PDF of the original short story “The Fear of Darkness” on my computer and its a good read if you enjoy the Ted the Caver site. There’s something though about the interactivity of the site though and mysterious lack of conclusion.

  3. FU1K: Crescents, 772 Words

    Installment two in our short fiction series, Fiction Under 1000 Words.

    Printable PDF

    I find little crescents of her fingernails in the corner of the room. There’s two of them perched on the carpet, leaning against the molding like they were little animals, two legged beasts carved from flimsy ivory. She never painted her nails since we had the kid. I’m not looking for them, on my knees cleaning the edges of the living room, but I find them. She’s still here, in a way. The dust on the edges of the molding and on the rim of the light switch plate is probably 30 percent her skin cells, 30 percent mine. If a neutron bomb got dropped and we were all wiped out and archeological crews from a future civilization came through here studying, reconstituting the dead from what we touched, they’d vacuum up all the cells and grow a new her and me and Aidan right here again in this house. Would we remember each other?

    She’s somewhere, not far but not hanging around town either. Not that I’d run into her as that I haven’t left the house in god knows but I’d still know about it because I’m being checked on. Her friends, my friends, relatives from out of town happen to be just passing by on Saturday afternoons, heading to the mall that nobody goes to anymore. I feel less comforted than observed.

    Especially with her friends. Reconnaissance units Stacey and Jennifer. They come as a pair with some kind of decoy object, typically something suspect. Rabbit-eared plastic covers for the outlets. A home knit scarf delivered in early August. Jenn and Stacey, in and out my door ferrying 43 thrift store volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica for Aidan. The kid is four.

    Last Wednesday they showed up with no-bake cookies as I was paying the sitter. “Vegan no-bake cookies,” Jenn noted. The visit’s intent was transparently investigative. Nostrils flared discreetly to check air quality. Furniture was sat on gingerly, inspected with hands and given a test bounce. At one point, I could of sworn I saw Stacey measuring Aidan’s dimensions with palm lengths.


    Read the rest of this entry »

  4. FU1K: Submarine, 659 words

    As promised, we’re diversifying our offerings to give you some short fiction, collected as Fiction Under 1000 words (FU1K).  As that I personally find reading a story off a screen to be lacking, we’ve got a specially formatted print version as a PDF for you to print out.  It’s adapted from the Pocketmod so it should fit nicely into your pocket and be ideal for reading on public transportation, no matter how crowded.  Print and fold ’em, leave ’em in public places, sneak them into friends’ jackets.

    print version

    Admission is five hundred yen, which I chop the last two zeroes off of to get dollars. I pay for both our tickets even though we never said this was a date. The attendant closes the door behind us silently and the rivets on our jeans click together as we sit down next to each other. When the ride slows near the top, my thumb is tracing the underside of her bra back underneath her shirt. A man comes on the intercom and says something I tune out and she translates: “He say we stop.” We stop moving. I slide my arm down and she moves closer.

    Before I moved to Japan, I spent my last month or so drinking in local bars and making a lot of calls from the payphone to lie to old friends and acquaintances. These were important last steps, the calls and the bars, because I figured I ought to make myself good and sick of where I’m from by overexposure and I just might need that last hit of barroom wood paneling, pointless gossip and dusty neon beer signs that are part of my DNA, for better or worse. Besides, there’s that whole theory of relativity where time moves differently in different spaces and at different speeds and while I live my life here a day in the future, back home they may be all aging terribly or enslaved by a race of superintelligent lizard men or something. Its important to establish a base line measurement of lies and hazy last memories to figure out the path you’ve taken once you return. If you return. I told several people I was on a submarine making a documentary on polar lichen so they shouldn’t expect any quick replies. Now I get letters from ex-lovers that read like:

    I think of how we could of been and what you mean to me while you’re so far away under the icy waters and I feel frozen like the lonely lichen and…

    The letters usually wrap up with something about Jesus, pot brownies or trying a new prescription on advice of an ad in a women’s magazine. These are the thoughts that stagger through my brainpan while I’m clinking glasses with salarymen to Health, Wealth and Stealth and still telling lies in bars and on phones and acting completely simian. I email back home from under a table:

    I’m talking to you from the future where there’s an electronic board that lists the date and hour of your death. I have a cell phone that looks like a ten year old’s idea of what cell phones are like in Japan. Its the size of a baby hamster and can tell the future if you type to it in Kanji. I eat bento for lunch that I buy from a man wearing a rubber horse’s head.

    This is the stuff of daily life, so far out of context that the only point of reference I can grasp is a dim idea of a slow, quiet apocalypse approaching behind the jumbled skyline like the flat grey clouds of a summer storm.

    On my wrist, my watch beeps and says in a tiny computer voice “Do you remember the nineties?” I look out from the top of the 8th largest ferris wheel in the world built on the top of a thirteen story building with my hand down the pants of a girl wearing a tshirt that reads “There is no now, only Couture”. There’s more lightbulbs flaring at me than visible stars in the sky. Through her hair I see fields of neon hustle for my shifting consumer whims. I think of the oil that lubes the gears of it all and the grim ugliness that will come when it runs out, the darkened grey buildings, the unfashionable desperation of hunger and the dust of stalled progress and I shift my hand down a few more centimeters to the places forbidden here on video.