Story Central

Alien Invasions
Short Stories

My short story Last Breath Day appears in the Alien Invasions Short Stories anthology, available NOW from Flame Tree Publishing or pre-order from Amazon.


Short Stories on this site:

Sylvester Down
Death vs Taxes
The Wind Wasn't Right
The War on Christmas
Divine Knowledge *
Fortunate Waze *

Shakespeare's Last Stand *
Uncertainty Persists *
Toto Was Wrong *
The Devouring *
Hail to the Chiefs *

* 100-word flash fiction


Recent Blog Posts:

Re-writing a Dead Author's Legacy

I know I’m getting ahead of myself here, worrying about what would happen to my characters after I’m dead given that a) I’m not even published yet and b) I’m alive (as of this writing), but re-inventing or re-interpreting or re-imagining another’s masterpiece feels wrong. Doing it after they're dead and can't respond, is worse.

I’m not talking about West Side Story (a re-imagining of Romeo and Juliet). I’m talking about Wicked, a story that completely redefines the roles of good and evil in The Wizard of Oz. If Frank L. Baum had wanted the Wicked Witch of the West to be a sympathetic character, he could have written her that way. If the author of Wicked wanted to write about misunderstood, sympathetic witches, he was free to do so, but doing it within Baum’s universe feels incredibly disrespectful, like peeing on a grave.

Thoughts on Station 11

Station 11 is a book with a bit of a buzz around it: written by a Canadian expat living in New York, it won the British-based Arthur C. Clarke Award for best science fiction novel of 2014, but has been slow to find an audience in the US. I’ve just finally gotten to read it, and have some thoughts.

First and foremost, as others have said, don’t mistake this for a science fiction story. If you expect science fiction with all the tropes that implies, you’ll be disappointed. If you're avoiding it because you're worried it might be too science fiction-y, take a chance on this book. It does take place before and after a plague wipes out 99% of the world population, but it’s not a book about science fiction ideals, utopian or dystopian society. If anything it’s about malaise and learning to forget the good old days.

Is it a good story? Yes. Is it without its problems? No.

Former Astronauts and the Causes They Champion

After years of training and in some cases as little as days in space, astronauts need to decide what to do next with their lives. Many will get a second chance to go to space, with all the training that that new mission will entail. But eventually, you’ve done your last space flight. Being an astronaut is, still, a very high profile position. Do you use that position as a platform to champion a cause or to move yourself into a longer-term career?

I want to look at some of the astronauts who have decided to champion causes, and what they’ve done.

The Martian is NOT a true story (but could have been)

So the buzz this morning is that a number of people are leaving theatres after seeing The Martian, believing that what they’ve just seen was “based on a true story”. Why are people coming to that conclusion?

For The Martian to have been based a true story, we would have had to have put people on Mars three times (The doomed expedition was the third mission to Mars). We would have to have a cool spaceship like the Hermes to ferry people between planets. None of which is true.

So why do so many people believe that it is a true story?

Ethics: The Right to Be Forgotten vs Censorship

Recently France’s privacy commission ruled that the European Union’s “Right to Be Forgotten” law applies to Google worldwide, not just Google’s European operations. In theory, the right to be forgotten sounds like something that we should have. In practice, such a ruling, if corporations are forced to implement it, would be tantamount to censorship.

Is R2D2 Being Demoted?

What happens when your old astromech gets replaced by a shiny new one? R2D2, along with C-3PO, was an iconic symbol of first the 1980s, then the 2000s. Now he's being replaced by a pipsqueak, half his size.

Realistically, R2’s brand took a hit with the release of the prequel trilogy. In those films, the little droid that could revealed himself to be superdroid - look, in the sky, it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s R2D2! There was nothing he couldn’t do - fly, fight fire, fight warrior droids, or any combination thereof. And he was invincible! All it cost was his role as comic relief.

So now we’re at the precipice - the arrival of a non-George-Lucas-helmed third Star Wars trilogy. We’ve all seen the hype - if you’re reading this, you have, I know. There are many intriguing ideas revealed, and few questionable ones (Luke’s/Anakin’s light sabre? Vader’s mask? Is this a film about fandom?)

One of the most interesting elements was included in the first trailer, BB-8. It’s the next generation R2 unit! (I haven’t heard that specifically, but that’s what it looks like - an R2 head on a beach ball.). So what becomes of R2D2?