Category Archives: Stories

Short stories I’ve written

Under the Crescent Sun

“Sorry about the tea. I know it’s weak.” Marnie hustled among the dozen or so people, handing out plastic cups. “I’ve relied on my SmartKettle so long now that I’ve forgotten how to make it properly.”

A few nodded and smiled.

“I thought we could go around the room and introduce ourselves and just say why we’re here.” She said. “I’ll start. I’m Marnie, and I’m the one who put up those signs. I’m glad you could all solve my little puzzle. I didn’t want to make it too hard, but didn’t want Surveillance to realize there was a puzzle at all. Let’s hope they didn’t.” She laughed. No one else did.

She looked down at a young man sitting close to her and he took … Read the rest

Jimmy the Fire Truck

The accident had devastated Mike and Jeanine Miller, and after the surgeries they were told that Jimmy would require ongoing life-support technology in order to survive. They discussed the cost and agonized over the decision of whether to pull the plug, but then their doctor pulled them aside and said there was a radical, untested procedure that could help him.

A man named Dr. Perkins described the emerging field of cybernetics and explained that there were techniques that could help Jimmy, and the technology was only a few years away.

Mike and Jeanine signed the papers and kissed their comatose boy goodbye as he was wheeled away. They got in their car and cried all the way home.

Days passed. Jeanine called the number that Dr. … Read the rest

Famous Castaways

History.com has 6 stories of individuals marooned at Sea

“Selkirk may have believed that a passing ship would pick him up in a matter of weeks, but he would eventually spend more than four years and four months alone on the island. He passed the time by notching the days and months on a tree, reading his Bible and chasing goats—first for food, and then merely to have something to do. All the while, he kept his eyes peeled for signs of rescue, but the few ships he saw flew the Spanish flag. On one occasion, he was even forced to hide in a tree when Spanish mariners landed on the island to resupply. Selkirk was finally rescued in February 1709, when a band of privateers … Read the rest

A Silver Bullet

I returned the following morning. I always do, or try to, after a night like last night. Sometimes I leave something behind.

Once I found my shirt hanging from a tree. I asked some local boys to throw rocks at it to knock it loose. They happily obliged.

Another time I left behind the smashed window in the door of a butcher’s shop. The next morning, the owner was taking inventory and I offered to help sweep up. He shrugged and turned away. I whispered an apology and then bought the last fresh ham from his wife. I had a bit of a stomachache, but knew I would eat it later.

But this morning at the gas station, I couldn’t find any evidence of misbehavior. In … Read the rest

A Tin Can

I was reduced to crawling through the dirt. My legs and back were done. On the upside, being near the ground meant I could better see any movement among the leaves and trash. Movement meant something living, and that meant food.

I inched along toward a wooded area and my hope grew as I neared a rotting log. I struggled to flip it and saw dozens of larvae and some larger bugs scurrying around. I gleefully reached in and got a fistfull of rotting wood and grubs and picked out the larvae one by one with my lips, as though kissing them. I didn’t chew – just let them slide down my throat.

This was the biggest meal I had had in days, but I suddenly … Read the rest

A Darker Horse

The speaker crackles and a voice says, “Hello Finn. Apologies for the circumstances. You understand how privacy is paramount. Your past assignments have shown you have the skill to erase digital histories and now I need you to erase some… for me. This job will require more… delicacy. I’m prepared to triple your rate.”

Finn smiles. “I’m all yours.”

Big Eddie finishes a call with his wife and waves Henry in. “Everything changes when you have kids. So… A very private individual we’ve worked with before asked for you. Said you were discreet.”

“I never…”

Eddie gives an address and another for the dropoff point.

“Don’t write it down. Remember it. They’re paranoid; I don’t care. It’s not my job to care. In fact, it’s … Read the rest

Discussing Sci-Fi Storytelling & World Building with Writer Jon Spaihts

A rewarding interview with one of the writers of the ‘Alien’ prequel, ‘Prometheus’, Jon Spaihts:

Discussing Sci-Fi Storytelling & World Building with Writer Jon Spaihts

His bit about the central predicament defining the protagonist is obvious, yet insightful.

And he goes on about making narratives compeling:
“There are three motives of story that matter: having something that you hope for, having something that you fear, or having a burning question that you need answered. Any one of them is sufficient. If you can have more than one of them running at one time, or all three—you can be afraid of one thing and fearful of another and desperate to understand some mystery that’s been dangled in front of you, then you are maximally engaged, all three … Read the rest

Zebulon

A ChoiceScript game I wrote in November 2010 has been ported to an app!

To get a taste of what it’s about, play Zebulon online, or get the iPhone or Andriod app


iTunes customers have given it 4.5 stars!

“Brings back good memories!… Back before computers and video games were common place, these books were such a fun way to spend time. Decent writing and lots of fun choices to make, about to read it again and see how it ends this time.”

“Fun adventure… Good story, a number of different choices with consequences, and a chance to name your own starship – goldfish not included. Thanks for creating a fun app!”

“Really good… I really enjoyed this adventure! It’s absolutely one of the best … Read the rest

Zebulon



(latest revision: 2010/12/20)

This was entered into the 9th Casual Gameplay Design Competition where it lost the 3rd-place slot by something like 1/100 of a point.

The engine is the ChoiceScript engine, which is essentially a set of JavaScript libraries and is intended for the creation of interactive naratives, somewaht similar to the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure stories from the 1980s.

There are no graphics, but there is no typing either, as there was in Zork and those other classic Infocom games. Instead, every few paragraphs the reader is presented with a multiple choice about how the plot should unfold. It’s a fascinating and unique genre.

The prior examples of ChoiceScript games I had seen were quite dramatic, so I wanted to do something more whimsical. With the 1980s … Read the rest