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Margaret Atwood. “Stone Mattress: Nine Tales.” London, Bloomsbury, 2014.
What a great start to a story, “At the outset Verna had not intended to kill anyone.”The stone mattress of the title refers to the stromatolite, one of the earth's first life forms, which helped create oxygen. It is ironic that a piece of a stone mattress is used to murder a rapist. Only Atwood could have thought of that. And what do you feel when you finally get revenge on the man who has changed your outlook on life for the worse?
The first surprise was that I woke up. That wasn't supposed to happen. I couldn't move, but that was understandable. I sensed a gathering crowd, but they seemed to be standing well back, not sure what to do — I suspected that nobody wanted to get blood on their shoes.
Starship Gaia touched down lightly on the planet’s surface, an amazing feat for a ship so large.
A light shudder swept through the entire craft, causing the gravimetric stabilisers to engage while each of the sleeping pods awakened.
When time travel finally happened, it wasn’t the way anyone expected.
For the last century or so we’d been looking to science for a way to travel through time. Bigger and more powerful machines were constructed, black holes and wormholes were investigated, theories advanced, experiments offered — nothing worked.
Faithless, she waited.
Sitting so still, movements caught her ear at intervals, the furtive scuffling of small beasts searching for tubers, beneath a thin veneer of white.
The call of a hunting owl swung muffled overhead.
On the beach it’s not uncommon to find strange things like purple chocolate wrappers buried stern-up like the sinking titanic, or triangles of softened green glass, or driftwood with a lacy hem of jellyfish corpses, or a thong divorced from its partner. At the witching hour we collect these artefacts with reverence and dexterity, for future use in our restorative potions.
‘Despite the AI taint, you’re safe with us, Rhea,’ Jenko had said to her as a foundling he'd discovered inside a derelict junker’s cracked bio-dome. Rhea had barely survived eating the strange fruits engineered by the vessel’s damaged neuro-hub while it drifted beyond the Saturnian rings.
Jenko. Gone now. And wrong. Not safe at all.
“We’re all sick,” the lunch-trolley attendant said. “If you want to get healthy, you have to realise that.”
I didn’t bothering replying, at first. Instead, I shook my head, scratched my chin, and turned back to the job at hand. I brought my own lunch each day, and didn’t require any of the services offered by the lunch-trolley lady.
“I’ve never seen anything like this website,” said the normally confident computer expert. “I can see why you asked me to take a look.”
I chided him a little. “I thought you knew all about the deep web, Rizz.”
“As much as anyone,” he replied. “I know the contract killer sites, the drug sites, and porn rings, but this is different. Take a look at this, Verne.
The best day of Doctor Herbert Winter’s life was the first successful test of his dimension portal. It was also the worst.
His work with parallel universes had always been considered fringe at best, wasted resources at worst, and quackery by most. So when he announced he had opened a door to another world, it was met with scepticism.
Coming In Issue 206
by Kevin J. Phyland
Predator Versus Alien
by Annette Backshall
by Stella Samaras
by Christine Gladstone
The First Pill
by David Adès
The Interrogation Of RJ-12577
by Harris Tobias
The Singing Stairs
by Rob Riel
by steve duffy
Online Since Feb 1998
Genetics - by Cecilia Clark
Google X - by Zeb Carter
The Museum Of Useless Pursuit - by Sheryl Gwyther
Interruption - by David Scholes
The Cocoa Conspiracy - by Shaun A Saunders
Blink - by Shaun A Saunders
Fat Cats & The Taste Of Revenge - by Wes Parish
The Last Woman But One - by David Adès
The Last Streetcar To Somewhere - by Wayne Haroutunian
Goldilocks The Epilogue - by Harris Tobias
Routine Maintenance - by Steve Ruskin
Iggy - by Lorena Torres Loaiza
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