Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Excerpt: "Sans Ants"

Here's a bit from something I'm working on. It's the opening of a short story I wrote for a guy who is developing a open-source sci-fi universe. Pretty cool. 

“Is that wind too much on you? I can adjust it.”
I pulled the grass stem out of my mouth and flicked it toward the stream. The wind caught it and dropped it about a meter short of the water. I smiled at her. “It’s perfect.”
Genni blushed. “I’m glad you like it. It’s not a full custom, but I spent a long time modifying it.”
It showed. The resolution was fantastic and somehow she’d programmed my avatar to make goosebumps anytime the wind blew. It didn’t feel exactly right, but it was pretty close. It was actually amazing considering Genni had never had a goosebump in her life.
I plucked another grass stem and put it between my teeth. The plant tasted real, too, not that I’d had any more experience with grass than Genni had with skin. “It’s amazing.” I rolled over to see her face. She was blond today, with a pointed chin and green eyes. “You’re amazing.”

I leaned closer and kissed her on her forehead and lips. The kiss felt perfect to me. A lot of clock hours had gone into the creation of the program, along with hundreds of years of adjustments.
“Do you have to go?” she said.
“You know I do. It’s what we came here for.” Genni’s family had traveled just as far as mine had, but she’d never leave the ship. She couldn’t. She was an Artifact. Her whole existence depended on the ship’s mainframe. She might live forever, but she’d never touch the surface of the planet below. “You can’t go. I can’t stay. We knew that when we started this.”
She swallowed and nodded tightly. “I just didn’t think it would come so soon.”
I swatted her on the butt. “Enough. We have weeks, yet.”
Weeks on the mainframe, but only a day for the meat I’d left back in my capsule. In twenty-five hours I’d be on the shuttle, headed for the surface.
“What do you want to do next?” she said.


  1. Love this teaser ... really want to know what Genni is ...

  2. I knew going in it was for that project, so the blade of grass set me off. Then it developed, leaking a piece out at a time of the world they were in.

    It's lean prose, too. Says everything, and more than what it says; leaves you thinking like a Carver short story.

    1. Thanks, man. Wait ... you're talking about Raymond Carver not George Washington Carver, right?