David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Luc Reid writes about the psychology of habits at The Willpower Engine. His new eBook is Bam! 172 Hellaciously Quick Stories.

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Maybe why he didn’t want to be involved

by David

Yeah, D’miss and I, we own exoarcheology. We translated a newly discovered example of Precursor writing, which we found etched onto a billion-year-old polished stone standing upright at the geographic center of a rubble-strewn plain. Mauger the rubble, the place was flat as a pancake. Must have been an important spot. Now? Sole remaining trace of life on a long-dead world. The stone, with its inscription, the only fabricated object within lightyears. The Precursors were the oldest interstellar civilization; their ruins range in age from 1.8 to 0.9 gigayears. The few known examples of their writing had been enough for Odaro to crack the code – to translate. Yeah, that Odaro. Not just a writer and singer. I know; his translations haven’t been published yet. Heard rumors at the last Interstellar Archeological Congress. We tried to contact him after IAC, but he blew us off. At first he said he’d try to squeeze us in, but then he said he was too busy, when he’d merely glanced at a photo of the stone. After that, even his autoclerk wouldn’t respond to messages. So we fixed his ass. The AI Klondyke hacked his linguistic database. With its help we tackled the new inscription ourselves. The translation was surprisingly easy to come up with, though we’re not sure what to make of it. Here’s what we’ve got so far.

Some flowers have color, others do too,
food additives have flavor, and I love you.

So the oldest known poem is … doggerel, of an all-too-familiar sort.


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