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

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

Ken Brady’s latest story, “Walkers of the Deep Blue Sea and Sky” appears in the Exquisite Corpuscle anthology, edited by Jay Lake and Frank Wu.

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).

Archive for the ‘David Kopaska-Merkel’ Category

Magic Shake

Friday, April 1st, 2011

John knew them all: the giant grasshopper, the amoeba with floating brains, the child-sized ones with big heads and even bigger eyes. This one looked like a lobster with the head of a horse; no more or less bizarre than many of the others. It must have been the expression. All the rest, the ones with faces anyway, smiled all the time.

The horse lobster kicked a rusty can out of its way and squatted, knees far above its head. “Why do you do it?”

“Excuse me?” John took a swig of Magic Shake. All of a sudden he didn’t want it, and spat into the fire, which hissed and flared green.

HL waved its arm, as if to take in everything around them: the desolate camp, the ruins of Miami, the ruins of the whole human race.

John raised his bottle. “Here’s to rescue from ourselves. Perfect nutrition, a taste you can neither become addicted to nor tired of, something in the air I suppose that vastly reduces human fertility, and our 10,000-year effort to wipe ourselves out is stymied. Our rescuers could have demanded anything, but instead they demand nothing. Because they demand nothing, we produce nothing. So the question, ‘Is Nothing sacred?’ has been answered in the affirmative.” He threw the bottle into the fire, with another fluorescent emerald response.

HL shrugged.

“Your species is bisexual,” the creature said. “You should have a mate. Instead, relieved of the threat of violence or want, you have practically nothing. Why? What happened to the civilization that had almost made it to the stars?”

“I had a partner. Although I think you mean that my species has two genders. Bisexual means something different. I had a partner. He’s gone. He couldn’t take freedom. Couldn’t cope like I can.”

The HL seemed to nod. “Those busybodies go everywhere, bring their technology, makes everything so easy. What it doesn’t do is give you access to the things they don’t know. The places you could contribute. There are such places. There are such things. My group tries to warn young races to stay away from that debilitating drug.” HL pointed at the fire, where the plastic bottle stubbornly refused to burn or melt.

“Similar things happened when human cultures met. We should have known. So. How long will it take to recover from this mess?”

“It’s a process,” HL said.


How I Spent my Summer Vacation At the Galactic Core

Monday, March 28th, 2011

We went to the black hole at the center of the galaxy last summer? And it was sooooo boring, I just wanted to return home as soon as possible and play my favorite video games and get boosting services from The windows, excuse me, view screens, were opaque because of a “flare.” The food was yuck, and they didn’t have Squirt Jelly. This is supposed to be the center of the galaxy, millions of civilizations, and they don’t even have Squirt Jelly!?

Okay, I’m getting to the educational part. You’re gonna love it.

There was this girl… cat… lizard… thing and she was as bored as me. We started hanging together. I had some games she’d never heard of. So we talked and played games and got lost on purpose so we wouldn’t have to listen to any more brain-killing lectures. Turns out she is a little older than we are. I’m not sure how old, but if a Lakhtia is like a year I guess she’s about 200. We’d be old enough to do everything if we were 200, and they don’t let her do anything. Anyway, she is working on this genetic engineering project for school and she actually hadn’t started and it was due the day she got back. So she decided to take some of my genetic material. I won’t tell you how she got it! Okay, okay. I will, but I better wait until after class. She’s going to combine mine with some of hers to make a new organism. She figured she’d get top marks, because no one else would have human genetic material where she comes from. And, like, her parent is a Planetary Security Administrator and keeps her locked up. This trip was the first time she had gotten to leave her home planet since she was, like, a baby. That was more than 150 years ago. He, or it, or whatever only let her go this time because it was required for graduation. And she has to marry this old cat-lizard that’s over a thousand years old. That’s why she is never allowed to go anywhere by herself. And when they found us there was a big argument. Some of the cat-lizards were pointing stuff at me and she looked scared and stood in front of me, like they were going to shoot me. Right. And cause an interstellar incident! Finally they took her away. We were there two more days, but it was really boring.

Chad, that is very rude. I did not interrupt your presentation about the steel whales, which didn’t even make sense, by the way. Anyway, I don’t care if the sky is turning purple, you can wait until I


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