Tag Archives: short-story


I’m very pleased to welcome globetrotting flyer-in-the-face-of-convention Lavie Tidhar back to the digital pages of Futurismic, and once again it’s with a story that stretches – or at least seems to stretch – our guidelines to breaking point, upsetting a few apple-carts full of sacred cows along the way. “In Pacmandu” is something a little out of the ordinary, even for us… and perhaps even (dare I say it?) for Lavie himself.

Are you ready? Then begin!

In Pacmandu

by Lavie Tidhar

  • GoA universe, Sigma Quadrant, Berezhinsky Planetoid, sys-ops command module

It has been two weeks since the disappearance of the Wu expedition.

We are gathered at the sys-ops command module of the Berezhinsky Planetoid, Sigma Quadrant of the Guilds of Ashkelon universe. The light is soft. Music plays unobtrusively in the background. Outside the windows it is snowing lines of code.

Present in the command module: myself, CodeDolphin, Sergei and Hong.

Our task –

‘Find out the fuck happened.’ Continue reading NEW FICTION: IN PACMANDU by Lavie Tidhar


This month’s fiction from Nancy Jane Moore takes us back to a post-collapse America, but this isn’t your average post-apocalyptic story. “Or We Will Hang Separately” brings together a bunch of favourite Futurismic themes – post-capitalist lifestyles, changes in climate (environmental, political and social), and resilient communities – and dares to dream that the end of an era doesn’t have to be the end of the line, that our technology can rebuild as well as destroy. Quiet, powerful and optimistic, this is where determined people work together to transcend a difficult future. Enjoy!

Or We Will All Hang Separately

By Nancy Jane Moore

Marty Shendo knew both the truck and the roads best, so she drove. Ooljee Yzaguirre rode shotgun – literally: She kept a rifle in her lap. Tomas Perez sat in the back, his gun also in easy reach. Within most communities – or at least the ones Ooljee knew – no one went armed. Traveling between them, everyone did.

The dust blowing in the open windows made it difficult to talk. Both Marty and Ooljee had covered their mouths and noses with kerchiefs, like old fashioned bandits, and Tomas had pulled his cap down over his face to block the worst of it. It was too hot to close the windows.

Ooljee stared out at the parched southern New Mexico landscape. Even before the extended droughts brought on by climate change, this had been harsh country to live in. Now, though, most people had given up trying to make a living out here. Even goats, who can survive on land incompatible with any other domesticated animal, need water.

She wondered what they would find up at Los Alamos — the enclave of scientists they were hoping for or just another group of people trying to survive in a world in which few things worked any more. Or maybe bandits, or, even worse, nothing at all. It was a long way to travel if it turned out to be nothing, especially in a jerry-rigged solar-powered truck that hit its high of 25 miles per hour only on downhill stretches.

“Please don’t let it be for nothing,” Ooljee thought. It might have been a prayer, if she’d known of any gods to pray to. Continue reading NEW FICTION: OR WE WILL ALL HANG SEPARATELY by Nancy Jane Moore

Must-read writer interview: Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang may not be the most prolific sf short story writer ever, but you’d be hard pressed to find many folk who wouldn’t concede that he’s one of the best. So go check out this interview with him at BoingBoing if you haven’t already… here’s a snippet where Chiang describes his writing process, which is rather about-face by comparison to those I’ve heard from other writers, though it makes a compelling sort of sense:

In general, if there’s an idea I’m interested in, I usually think about that for a long time and write down my speculations or just ideas about how it could become a story, but I don’t actually start writing the story itself until I know how the story ends. Typically the first part of the story that I write is the very ending, either the last paragraph of the story or a paragraph near the end. Once I have the destination in mind then I can build the rest of the story around that or build the rest of the story in such a way as to lead up to that. Usually the second thing I write is the opening of the story and then I write the rest of the story in almost random order. I just keep writing scenes until I’ve connected the beginning and the end. I write the key scenes or what I think of as the landmark scenes first, and then I just fill in backwards and forwards.

Good interview: go read. And when you’ve finished it, go read some Ted Chiang stories if you haven’t already. And if you have, why not read ’em again?

Tobias Buckell story and interview at Lightspeed Magazine

Veteran readers of this ‘ere blawg may remember that, back when yours truly joined up as a blogger and started posting short starry-eyed blurts about nanotech*, the regular contributors included a man now much better known as the novelist he was working hard to become. That man is, of course, Tobias Buckell… and new-sf-zine-on-the-block Lightspeed has his short story “Manumission**” available for reading at no cost wahtsoever to you, my fiction-hungry friends.

There’s a short interview with Tobias as well, in which he talks about the horrifying implications of memory editing that underly the story (a theme that crops up in a more Mundane-SF context Marissa Lingen’s “Erasing The Map”, published right here around a year and a half ago), and how it connects to the universe in which his novels have been set. Smart guy, great writer; there’s no Futurismic column this week, so spend that half hour on our Tobias, why don’t you?

[ * – Yeah, I know, big change since then, AMIRITE? ]

[ ** – Almost certainly not named after the mid-90s Ibiza superclub. ]

Read this story: The Guy Who Worked For Money by Benjamin Rosenbaum

I know, I know I keep linking to Shareable of late, but I promise I’ll stop… just as soon as they stop publishing stuff worth reading. Today’s extremely heart-felt recommendation is another Benjamin Rosenbaum story called “The Guy Who Worked For Money”, and while there are bits of it I’m not so keen on (some of the the characters feel a little 2D, for instance), it’s one of the most detailed fictional visions that I’ve ever read of a near-future society based on reputation rather than wealth.

It’s the sort of story that makes me think of how many revisions and changes I’ll now need to make to some of my own, in order to even come close to keeping up… and it’s the sort of story that takes a lot of interesting contemporary ideas about the socioeconomics of the future and strips them of their utopian gloss. It’s well worth the twenty minutes it’ll take you, so go and read it right now.