NEW FICTION: AWAKENING IN SIX PARTS by Karen M Roberts

Paul Raven @ 01-06-2009

It’s time for another fresh piece of fiction here at Futurismic, and this one’s something quite unique. “Awakening in Six Parts” is a hugely immersive and somewhat gonzo tale about dreams, mathematics and relationships, set in a tomorrow whose strangeness only emphasises its plausibility. Karen M Roberts has created something that is mysterious and revelatory at once; this story has been haunting my own sleep since I first read it, and I hope it does the same for you. Enjoy!

Awakening in Six Parts

by Karen M. Roberts

One

It wasn’t precisely forbidden for a husband and a wife to discuss their dreams, but it wasn’t the sort of thing decent people did. Max’s coffee cup rattled against the saucer when Claudette raised the topic over breakfast.

“I think my night owl is defective.” Inside her teacup, some leaves had escaped the strainer. She rocked the cup in her hands, watching them swirl.

Without lifting his eyes from the editorials page, Max said, “Did you run it through the diagnostic programme?”

“It flew off before I had the chance. But the dreams, they were… ” Claudette broke off, unable to make sense of the vivid and impossible images that crowded on her tongue. “Do you ever have unsettling dreams?” She peered across the laminate tabletop. Max raised the page of newsprint closer to his nose.

The lucid dreams provided by the night owls were realistic and recurring, a secondary life experienced while the body rested. Who had designed the owls no one knew; they had simply arrived, winging down with the gift of pleasure without consequence, of fulfillment without price. Claudette had never spoken to Max about her dream husbands, and she had no desire to know about the fantasy women with whom he spent his nights. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: AWAKENING IN SIX PARTS by Karen M Roberts”


NEW FICTION: A PROGRAMMATIC APPROACH TO PERFECT HAPPINESS by Tim Pratt

Paul Raven @ 01-04-2009

I can’t tell you how proud I am to be introducing a story by Tim Pratt at Futurismic. Seriously; this isn’t a man short of professional venues for his wide-ranging fictional output, but he tells us he’s been keen to sell us a story for some time now, and “A Programmatic Approach to Perfect Happiness” rang Chris’s editorial bell in just the right way. It’s something a little different to our usual house style: a little Gonzo, a little retro, but all Tim Pratt. I hope you enjoy it!

A Programmatic Approach to Perfect Happiness

by Tim Pratt

My step-daughter Wynter, who is regrettably prejudiced against robots and those who love us, comes floating through the door in a metaphorical cloud of glitter instead of her customary figurative cloud of gloom. She enters the kitchen, rises up on the toes of her black spike-heeled boots, wraps her leather-braceleted arms around my neck, and places a kiss on my cheek, leaving behind a smear of black lipstick on my artificial skin and a whiff of white make-up in my artificial nose. “Hi Kirby,” she says, voice all bubbles and light, when normally she would never deign to utter my personal designation. “Is Moms around? Haven’t talked to her in a million.”

I know right away that Wynter has been infected.

I carefully lay my spatula aside. “Your mother is… indisposed.”

She rolls her eyes. “Whatever makes you two happy.” She flounces off toward her bedroom, the black-painted shadowy forbidden portion of our home that my wife April calls “the tumor.”

I go to our bedroom door, push it open gently, and say, “Darling, your post-coital brunch is ready, and I believe Wynter has been infected by the H7P4 strain.”

A groan emerges from the pile of blankets, straps, and oddly-angled cushions that constitutes our bed. “Oh, god. Which one is that again?”

“The one that makes you happy,” I say, and close the door on April’s sardonic laughter. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: A PROGRAMMATIC APPROACH TO PERFECT HAPPINESS by Tim Pratt”


NEW FICTION: AN EDUCATION OF SCARS by Philip Brewer

Paul Raven @ 02-03-2009

This month’s fresh fiction at Futurismic is another examination of the ways small and alarmingly plausible advances in science and medicine might affect people’s lives in the near future. This time out, Philip Brewer delivers a dark and touching take on the classic love triangle in “An Education of Scars”. Let us know what you thought in the comments – and enjoy!

An Education of Scars

by Philip Brewer

I was just two steps from escaping the party by slipping out onto the terrace when I spotted Hostess and Investment Banker Pickering watching me. She didn’t say anything, but her expression of reproach stopped me. I ducked my head.

“Oh, stop it, Peter,” she said. “I invited you to the party to cheer you up, not make you miserable.”

I did my best to look happy.

Hostess Pickering sighed. “Is there anybody here you actually want to talk to? I’ll introduce you.”

I looked around.

The floor was a shimmering sea green. Forty or fifty people drifted back and forth in couples and small groups. Outside it was night, but the terrace was lit just enough to keep the windows from turning into mirrors.

“Peter? I’m not going to introduce you to the terrace.”

I snapped my head back and looked again at the people.

Then I saw a woman. Continue reading “NEW FICTION: AN EDUCATION OF SCARS by Philip Brewer”


CYCLE THIEVES by Mark Ward

Jeremy Lyon @ 01-02-2006

Mark Ward‘s a new writer from the United Kingdom with a lot of talent. His Futurismic début “Cycle Thieves” is a moody mystery that wonders if life makes sense if you know too much.

[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]

Cycle Thieves

by Mark Ward

“You know what I’m sick of?” Trev said.

“No,” Duffy said, pawing through his rucksack, “I don’t.”

“Perfect relationships.”

Duffy stopped rummaging, looked up, and saw that George, El and Chrissy were as nonplussed as he was, not least because Trev was going through a messy divorce.

“What?” Duffy said, speaking for all of them.

“Look,” Trev said. “I’ve joined all these online dating networks that hook you up with people that you’re bound to fancy based on your likes and dislikes, who your friends are, your aspirations, personality, salary. The lot. We’re all members of them. I’ve got accounts at Taxa, Umfriends, Benco, Lulot…”

“Lulot?” El said. “Don’t think I know that one.”

“Stands for ‘Love you long time’. Well, almost. Anyway, I’ve joined loads of them but when I’m on one of these dates there’s nothing to talk about. I know everything about her, and she knows everything about me. What music, what books, fave films, pet peeves, where we went to school. Collar size. Everything. The social network side of it means you can’t lie either. There’s no surprises, no mystery, nothing to discover. You’re perfectly matched and bored stupid. It takes all the fun out of dating, I can tell you.”

“You just miss getting your face slapped a few times a night,” Chrissy said. Continue reading “CYCLE THIEVES by Mark Ward”


BETTER SWEETS TO PROVE THAN SLEEP by Lisa Mantchev

Jeremy Lyon @ 02-04-2005

“Better Sweets to Prove Than Sleep” by Lisa Mantchev is the story of a woman caught between men, between demands on her time, and between life as a microsleeper and the pressures of a comatose society.

[ IMPORTANT NOTICE: This story is NOT covered by the Creative Commons License that covers the majority of content on Futurismic; copyright remains with the author, and any redistribution is a breach thereof. Thanks. ]

Better Sweets To Prove Than Sleep

by Lisa Mantchev

Jenna retrieved four poems memorized in third grade, the capitols of the fifty-four states, and the molecular structure of hydrogen. She dumped them in the recycle bin, shuffled around her free memory and recategorized the Townsend project as High Priority.

Zach grunted above her but she couldn’t concentrate on little things like his sweating body and enthusiastic penetration with so much junk swirling around in her head.

Distracted by the look of gleeful concentration on his face, Jenna lost her grasp on the sorting process and slipped into microsleep. Finalization of the new changes. Rapid cell repair and regeneration on the soles of her naked feet. QuickDreams of Cinderella at the masquerade, frolicking in fountains and surrounded by pink and gold fireworks. Then she jerked awake to the panicked repetition of her name accompanied by gentle slaps to her face. Continue reading “BETTER SWEETS TO PROVE THAN SLEEP by Lisa Mantchev”