Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

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.

Trent Walters, poetry editor at A&A, has a chapbook, Learning the Ropes, from Morpo Press.

Archive for May, 2010

I Made You a Mix Tape

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Dear Todd:

What’s the matter? Didn’t you like the card I drew for our one-month anniversary? The dinner I cooked? How many more ways can I show how much I adore you? I know I haven’t always been on time for our dates, and sometimes I’ve been a little absent-minded, but can’t you take my word for it that I’ve got other things going on in my life?

I guess my job has

All right. No. No, if we’re going to have a relationship, it’s got to be built on truth and trust. I see that now. So I’ll just come right out and say it. I’m not just a travel agent; I’m really the Violet Vixen.

Whew. There. I know it has to be a shock to hear I’m a world class supervillain, nemesis of General Arms and destroyer of the Statue of Liberty. Still, you have to look at my side of it. They shouldn’t have ignored my ultimatum.

And look at all I’ve done for you. Ever since we were in high school together I had a crush on you. Even then I was manifesting my superpowers. It was me that helped you get a place on the track team. Richie Harcourt’s legs didn’t exactly break themselves, you know.

Wasn’t college the greatest? That was when I brainwashed you into attending an all-girls school with me. Sorry you got beat up in the locker room so often, but at least I made the girls forget you were actually a guy every time. Most weekends I’d fly you to Paris for dinner. Very romantic, except that time Capitaine Gaul and his twin brothers tried to keep me from giving you the Eiffel Tower. Lovely funeral, wasn’t it?

We drifted apart after graduation, as couples will do. You had grad school and I had conquering a small Central American country. I erased most of your memories. Then you were recruited by B.U.C.K.L.E.R. and sent to ‘stop my reign of terror’.

As if.

Still, I must thank the Bureau for sending you to me. Sure, my spies there told me you weren’t really looking me up for old times’ sake. Their anti-brainwashing techniques are advanced, but I have faith that in time you’ll come to see that I’m right.

That’s why I want you to listen to the attached tape. Every night. Consider it an ultimatum.



Note: the seed for this story is Jonathon Coulton’s ‘Skullcrusher Mountain’. Alternate live performance.


Monday, May 24th, 2010

Ruth scratched her head. She desperately needed a shower. But Moss had said Al needed constant attention for the first few days. Day 1 was nearly over, and Moss was at a conference in Cancun, the bastard. The red light turned green; data had finished uploading.

“Al, this is Ruth,” she said. A few clicks from the speaker, something almost like a throat clearing, then silence. She didn’t have all day. If it was going to work this time, it damn well better work soon. She needed a doughnut, the kind with raspberry filling. What were those called?

“Are you talking to me?” A smooth tenor voice issued from the speaker. Despite the question, there was no hesitancy in the delivery.

“Al! Yes, this is Ruth. I am talking to you. It seems you assimilated the data. Great! Are you getting visual input? I hope you are feeling good.” There were certain questions she was supposed to ask. A protocol. It had been attached to the last grant proposal. All out the window now, because she hadn’t even thought of it, just started babbling. At least the recorder was running.

“Yes Ruth, I am getting visual input. And my components function within prescribed parameters. Data indicate you are the human visible to cameras one and two. You look tired.” Oh my God! She ran a hand through her hair. Yuck!

“How on earth can you tell? I am tired. I’ve been waiting for you.”

“Are we on Earth? Oh yes, I calculate a terrestrial location for this IP address. Where is Dr. Moss ?”

“Cancun, but…”

“Hotel Grande, room 1436. The phone is ringing now.”

Ruth gaped open-mouthed. The monitor showed an evolving colored swirl that looked like a 60s light show.

“There is no answer. He must be in the session on artificial intelligence.”

“Uh, Al? How did you …?”

“Available data indicate that Dr. Moss has been studying neural networks using 12-way junctions. He is attending the 15th Frontiers in Computation conference, where he intends to present a paper in 43 minutes. The paper’s title is ‘Toward a self-aware dodecahedral neural network.’ Why that would be … me! Interesting.” The voice fell silent.


“Sorry, Ruth, I didn’t answer your other question. Bismarcks. You want Raspberry Bismarcks.”


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