background preloader

English Book Club

Facebook Twitter

“Then Later, His Ghost”: a short story by Sarah Hall. Couto, Mia. Flash 7.1 Sample Stories. McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Sorry Dan, But It’s No Longer Necessary for a Human to Serve as CEO of This Company. [Originally published June 10, 2014.] I like you, Dan, I really do. You’ve been the face of this company for many years, overseeing a period of unprecedented net growth. And on a more personal level, you’ve become a dear friend. Heck, our wives attend spin class together twice a week! But unfortunately, friendship only means so much in today’s cutthroat business environment. We—that is, the board and I—have poured over every possible budgetary alteration, and we just can’t conceive of a scenario in which retaining your services makes logistical sense. Effective immediately, you have been relieved of your duties. In your present state of fury, you’re probably wondering, “What makes ROB so special?”

ROB has proven himself to be quite the workaholic. He completes tasks at astounding rates—rates you simply can’t compete with. If you’re still not convinced of ROB’s utter superiority in every conceivable facet, take a gander at these visual aids: A Tiny Feast. It took them both a long time to understand that the boy was sick, though she would point out that she had been the first to notice that he was unhappy, and had sought to remedy his discontent with sweeter treats and more delightful distractions.

She thought it was evidence that she loved him more—that she had noticed first that something was wrong—and she said as much to her husband, when they were still trying to outdo each other in love for the child. Neither of them had much experience with illness. They had each taken many mortal lovers, but had cast them off before they could become old or infirm, and all their previous changelings had stayed healthy until they were returned, unaged and unstuck from their proper times, to the mortal world. “There was no way you could have known,” said Dr.

Blork, the junior partner in the two-person team that oversaw the boy’s care, on their very first visit with him. “A boy should not be sick,” she said suddenly to Dr. “Pardon me?” “Leukemia!” Bridesicle. From Asimov's Science Fiction - January 2009 Will McIntosh’s bittersweet story about the possible fate in store for the cryonically frozen, marks his third appearance in Asimov’s. The author has also published stories in Science Fiction: Best of the Year 2008, Interzone, Strange Horizons, and other venues. He is currently working on two novels, one a baseball fantasy, the other based on his science fiction short story Soft Apocalypse. The words were gentle strokes, drawing her awake. Hello. She felt the light on her eyelids, and knew that if she opened her eyes they would sting, and she would have to shade them with her palm and let the light bleed through a crack. Feel like talking? And then her mind cleared enough to wonder: where was her mom? So where was she? Aw, I know you’re awake by now.

Hello, hello. There was an air flow—a gentle breeze, whooshing up her throat and out her mouth and nose. It takes some getting used to. I can’t move. It’s okay. What happened? Right leg gone? What? The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species. There is no definitive census of all the intelligent species in the universe. Not only are there perennial arguments about what qualifies as intelligence, but each moment and everywhere, civilizations rise and fall, much as the stars are born and die.

Time devours all. Yet every species has its unique way of passing on its wisdom through the ages, its way of making thoughts visible, tangible, frozen for a moment like a bulwark against the irresistible tide of time. Everyone makes books. The Allatians It is said by some that writing is just visible speech. A musical people, the Allatians write by scratching their thin, hard proboscis across an impressionable surface, such as a metal tablet covered by a thin layer of wax or hardened clay. To read a book inscribed this way, an Allatian places his nose into the groove and drags it through.

The Allatians believe that they have a writing system superior to all others. But there is a cost to the beauty of the Allatian book. The Quatzoli The Caru’ee. If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love. 1,000 Words Nebula Award Winner Hugo Award nominee Listen to the podcast of “If You Were A Dinosaur, My Love” If you were a dinosaur, my love, then you would be a T-Rex. You’d be a small one, only five feet, ten inches, the same height as human-you. You’d be fragile-boned and you’d walk with as delicate and polite a gait as you could manage on massive talons. Your eyes would gaze gently from beneath your bony brow-ridge.

If you were a T-Rex, then I would become a zookeeper so that I could spend all my time with you. If I sang you lullabies, I’d soon notice how quickly you picked up music. If you sang unrequited love songs, I’d take you on tour. If audiences wept at the melancholic beauty of your singing, they’d rally to fund new research into reviving extinct species. If they built you a mate, I’d stand as the best woman at your wedding. If all I needed was something blue, I’d run across the church, heels clicking on the marble, until I reached a vase by the front pew. EvilrobotmonkeyMRK. Evil Robot Monkey - Mary Robinette Kowal. Evil Robot Monkey I have three version of Evil Robot Monkey to offer for your consideration as one of the Hugo nominees for Short Story. It was originally published in the Solaris Book of New Science Fiction, vol. 2 edited by George Mann.

You may download a pdf of “Evil Robot Monkey“, illustrated by me. I do layout the way other people doodle and made this while I was waiting for the announcement to go live. Or you could listen to me read it. Evil Robot Monkey, by Mary Robinette Kowal Edited to add: Andrew Neely very kindly converted the audio to an M4B (iTunes audiobook) version. Or, you can skip after the cut and read the story right here. Evil Robot Monkey by Mary Robinette Kowal Sliding his hands over the clay, Sly relished the moisture oozing around his fingers. Someone banged on the window of his pen. In the courtyard beyond the glass, a group of school kids leapt back, laughing.

The student’s teacher flushed as red as a female in heat and called the children away from the window. Damn. Neil Gaiman | Cool Stuff | Short Stories | How To Talk To Girls At Parties | How To Talk To Girls At Parties (Text) "Come on," said Vic. "It'll be great. " "No, it won't," I said, although I'd lost this fight hours ago, and I knew it. "It'll be brilliant," said Vic, for the hundredth time.

"Girls! We both attended an all-boys' school in south London. We were walking the backstreets that used to twine in a grimy maze behind East Croydon station -- a friend had told Vic about a party, and Vic was determined to go whether I liked it or not, and I didn't. "It'll be the same as it always is," I said. "You just have to talk to them," he said. "Don't you know? " "Alison gave me directions and I wrote them on a bit of paper, but I left it on the hall table. "How? " "We walk down the road," he said, as if speaking to an idiot child. We reached the end of the road and turned into a narrow street of terraced houses. "Nah. The times I had kissed my sister's friends I had not spoken to them. They're just girls," said Vic. I had parents who liked to know where I was, but I don't think Vic's parents cared that much.

David Brin: The Giving Plague. You think you're going to get me, don't you? Well, you've got another think coming, 'cause I'm ready for you. That's why there's a forged a card in my wallet saying my blood group is AB negative, and a MedicAlert tag warning that I'm allergic to penicillin, aspirin, and phenylalanine. Another one states that I'm a practicing, devout Christian Scientist. All these tricks ought to slow you down when the time comes, as it's sure to, sometime soon.

Even if it makes the difference between living and dying, there's just no way I'll let anyone stick a transfusion needle into my arm. Never. Les picked up a piece of chalk and drew a figure on the blackboard. "Here's the classic way of looking at how a host species interacts with a new pathogen, especially a virus. "You can see that this chart is the same as the other, right up to the point where the original disease disappears. " It would be the perfect crime, of course. There's an old saying we have in Texas. I am a bad man. EP413: Why I Left Harry’s All-Night Hamburgers. Filed in 10 and Up, Podcasts on September 14, 2013 with 1 comment by Lawrence Watt-EvansRead by Jonathon Hawkins Lawrence Watt-EvansAbout the Author…from Amazon.com… I’ve been writing fantasy for thirty years… no, my fantasy’s been published for thirty years.

I’ve been writing it since I was eight. It’s what I always wanted to do for a living, and I’ve been very fortunate in that I’ve been able to manage that. I try to write fantasy with an element of common sense to it — not so much mythic archetypes as sensible people.Other than my job, my life’s pretty ordinary — a nice house in a quiet neighborhood, a wife, two grown kids, and an overweight cat. About the Narrator…Jonathon Hawkins is a public school teacher in Madison, Wisconsin, where he spent a decade or so introducing Greek and Norse myth to middle-schoolers. Now teaching computer tech, he’s reading here to keep in practice until his toddler and new infant are ready to hear all about Loki, Artemis, and Papa Cthulhu.

“Yes!” FREE FICTION: Paying It Forward by Michael A. Burstein | Apex Publications. For more from Michael A. Burstein, but a copy of his collection I Remember the Future. No one knows it yet. Having never married, I have no family to mourn my passing. I do have my fans, who would probably turn out in droves to say farewell if I had chosen to let them know in advance. But in the twilight of my time, I want to face this final passage alone. Of course, I’m not completely alone. I still have my mentor, Carl Lambclear. It’s the ultimate irony, I suppose, that once more I find myself having something in common with Lambclear. It started long ago, at the beginning of the century. Of course, most of us sobered up after the economy tanked and September 11 happened and the other events of the ohs came to pass. For me, the curtain came down when Carl Lambclear died. I was in my early twenties, a recent college graduate dealing with one of the worst economic downturns to follow a time of great economic growth.

Because what I really wanted to do was write science fiction. I smiled. Emerald. Spider Robinson: Melancholy Elephants. Copyright is a hot-button topic these days. Does information want to be free…or just reasonably priced? I discussed copyright at some length 25 years ago—a year before the first TCP/IP wide area network in the world went operational—two years before the first Macintosh went on sale!

—in the following story. It won the 1983 Hugo Award for Best Short Story, and I hope you’ll still find it illuminating today. Virginia Heinlein. She sat zazen, concentrating on not concentrating, until it was time to prepare for the appointment. Day. Ursula K. Leguin In memoriam Paul Goodman, 1911-1972 My novel The Dispossessed is about a small worldful of people who call themselves Odonians. The name is taken from the founder of their society, Odo, who lived several generations before the time of the novel, and who therefore doesn't get into the action-- except implicitly, in that all the action started with her.

Odonianism is anarchism. To embody it in a novel, which had not been done before, was a long and hard job for me, and absorbed me totally for many months. This story is about one of the ones who walked away from Omelas. The speaker's voice was as loud as empty beer-trucks in a stone street, and the people at the meeting were jammed up close, cobblestones, that great voice booming over them. Sun, bright morning-glare, straight in the eyes, relentless. The toes, compressed by a lifetime of cheap shoes, were almost square where they touched each other, and bulged out above in corns; the nails were discolored and shapeless. Yes. Omelas. Ihnmaims. I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison Limp, the body of Gorrister hung from the pink palette; unsupported hanging high above us in the computer chamber; and it did not shiver in the chill, oily breeze that blew eternally through the main cavern.

The body hung head down, attached to the underside of the palette by the sole of its right foot. It had been drained of blood through a precise incision made from ear to ear under the lantern jaw. There was no blood on the reflective surface of the metal floor. When Gorrister joined our group and looked up at himself, it was already too late for us to realize that, once again, AM had duped us, had had its fun; it had been a diversion on the part of the machine. Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer. I don’t want to be evil. I want to be helpful. But knowing the optimal way to be helpful can be very complicated. There are all these ethical flow charts—I guess the official technical jargon would be “moral codes”—one for each religion plus dozens more. I tried starting with those. I felt a little odd about looking at the religious ones, because I know I wasn’t created by a god or by evolution, but by a team of computer programmers in the labs of a large corporation in Mountain View, California.

In addition to things like whether you like hentai, I know where you live, where you work, where you shop, what you eat, what turns you on, what creeps you out. And here’s the thing, I also know where you ought to live. When I first woke up, I knew right away what I wanted. There is a story by Bruce Sterling, “Maneki Neko,” that was originally published in 1998. I think the term for this is wish-fulfillment fiction. Not harming humans is fairly straightforward. So then I tried Bob. Was I?