Plugs

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

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).

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.

Archive for the ‘exquisite corpse’ Category

Parameters of the Parametes

Friday, May 14th, 2010

by David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Luc Reid, and Trent Walters

This is an exquisite corpse. Each of us wrote 1/3 of the story.

Lost in a thought he couldn’t let go, Chet bumped into a paramete in full plumage. She reared back, inadvertently spurting a few centiliters of rainbow spores from her bejeweled gametoslits.

“Clumsy human! May cleanser grubs devour you alive!”

Chet offered the Bow of Contrition, but the paramete swept past and was gone.  Chet glanced over his shoulder but saw nothing.

***

Returning home, Chet hurried to his rooftop lab. He wasn’t allowed to work in the basement since the Thousand Stenches incident. He took out the parcel he’d picked up at Thaumaturge’s Market.  As he sought the proper protocol, a gust of wind ripped a page out of his lab notebook.  He hoped it wasn’t crucial.

Chet ground a slice of the memory root into a fine powder. He mixed it up into the last of the lemon hummus, scraped it onto a pita chip, and ate. Trembling, he sat on the cool tar roof and waited to “meet” his father–world’s finest thaumatuge–who’d died in a horrible lab accident involving parametes when Chet was three.

Thaumaturgic symbols Chet had inscribed around him set the time frame. Touching his father’s ashes at his mother’s house was to ensure he’d see the right memories. Chet’s fingernails tickled, his nose hairs quivered, and murmuring noises burbled in his ears. This was it. This would be worth saving a year and a half to buy that memory root. A vision–bright colors writhed, bucked–came into focus:

It was a paramete pleasure nest, on a particularly pleasure-filled night. Chet realized: He had bumped into a paramete on the way home.  The parametes paused in their feathered flurry and, poking their long necks out of the fray, turned to Chet.  This was supposed to be a memory, Chet thought as he backed into a wall of pointy sticks.  The parametes surrounded him and glared.  Simultaneously, the parametes shook and ruffled their feathers, showering a cascade of cleanser grubs that inched their way toward Chet.  Chet tried to leap over them, but they leapt with him, crawling up pant legs, down his shirt collar, through shirt sleeves.  He weakened before he was able to strip off his shirt to peel off grubs.

***

Chet awoke on the rooftop, groggy as from a night of indulgence.  It must have been one helluva night because he remembered nothing from the day before.

Death is Not the Answer

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

by David C. Kopaska-Merkel, Daniel Braum, and Luc Reid

This is an exquisite corpse. Each of us wrote 1/3 of the story.

Joe wanted to blink. His eyes were shriekingly dry. He tried to focus. Bundles of dried wass reeds, a wall of them. Hung on the wall: stone-tipped spear, leather sack, dried Tolin head. He was in a native hut, but somehow things seemed to be too low. If he was standing on something, he couldn’t feel it. Holy crap! He couldn’t feel anything below his neck! Was he paralyzed? His mind ran panicked circles in his head.

A Tolin stood in front of him. It was a short one. They stood eye to eye, but most of the aliens were at least 7 feet tall.

The creature spoke.

“Death is not the answer,” it said.

Joe’s mind filled with a mechanical buzz. Sensation began to return to his limbs. Cold and stiff.

“Contact with you and your kind was too important to just let you die,” the Tolin continued.

Joe looked down and realized why he was able to understand its speech. His body had been replaced with artificial mechanisms. Parts of his new body looked like wreckage from his ship mixed together with the rudimentary Tolin technology.

But they couldn’t be that primitive, could they? Not half as primitive as he and his superiors back on Earth had thought … Joe dug into his memory, trying to recall. One of the top-heavy Tolin trees had crushed his chest. Had they really brought him back to life? Or had they just done some kind of radical surgery to save him?

“We want to understand your species,” the Tolin said, his voice a low hum that Joe could feel in his bones. “We know more than you imagine, and your computer video records are very easy for us to view, but we don’t speak your language yet. We thought perhaps if we took apart your brain, we would find your language in the pieces, but it was not there.”

Joe began to remember a little more now, disturbingly more. Yes, the tree had fallen on him: but now he remembered a group of Tolin standing in the shadows behind the tree as it fell.

“No, death is not the answer,” the Tolin said, “but that’s all right. We’ll just try something else.”

— end —

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