Friday, 15 April 2016

June Issue Open for Submissions

WE ARE OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS!

From April 15th to May 15th we are taking submissions for the June issue. We want your tiny but mighty one hundred and one word wonders - we want adventure and excitement, humanity and heartbreak.

This is the fourth and final issue in our third year as a quarterly 'zine, and it's been an elemental year. We've been below the earth, on fire, and in the air. There's only one place left to go: Underwater. That's your new theme, immerse yourself in it and dream.

Fathoms down in the deepest ocean, lights might flicker on as a repair cycle ends and an ancient craft powers up for the first time since it crashed millennia ago. The bright spots on a modern deep sea sub could slide across ancient wreckage, picking out a nameplate: Nautilus, or maybe something slumberous blinks at the intrusive illumination, something massive that begins to uncoil itself in the sub's wake. Perhaps it is only shallow water and the hunger that builds the urge that drives the beast with the wicked teeth towards the splashing of feet and bright bathing suits. It might be the flick of a mermaid's fin, Poseidon's grin, a school of mechanised mackerel, or the creaking crack in the great glass globe of a submerged city...

You don't have to use the word 'underwater.' It could be a river, a lake or an ocean, this planet or another, as long as the story is recognisably set underwater.

You have exactly one hundred words of story to explode our imagination and a single word title with which to light the fuse. We are more or less a genre 'zine, but impress us enough and we will take any story. (Full guidelines here - please read them!)

The title must not be 'under,' 'water' or 'underwater.'

Make it marvellous; make us marvel at your creativity, your writing and your talent.

Take the plunge, grab a pen, get writing.


Sunday, 6 March 2016

March 2016. Issue 11.

Put your tray tables in the upright and locked position; fasten your seatbelts and fix your goggles; cabin crew to launch stations... 101 Fiction is taking to the air.

Every tiny one hundred word slice of twenty-first century fiction in this issue takes place off the ground in one way or another. Whether fully airborne, struggling against gravity just enough to get off the ground, leaping from point to point, or in full-on freefall.

This in-flight entertainment is first class, atmospheric stuff, and the sky is (literally) the limit. There’s horror of course, horror is one of our support pillars (the ancient cracked onyx one that always sweats a viscous black ooze), but the issue is perhaps, appropriately, a little lighter than usual, though no less impactful. There’s gods and monsters, screaming, bombing and murder (oh my), but there’s humanity too, philosophy, hope and love.

Strap yourself in, forget parachutes and crash helmets, open your mind and prepare for lift off.

Welcome to issue 11.

Read. Absorb. Enjoy.



____

Keep scrolling down for the stories or pull up the whole issue here.

Issue 11 is also available as a completely free .pdf for you to download and keep. Something to save for a dark day when the internet's out, something to read with the morning cuppa, or just a little something to brighten the morning commute, maybe. Grab it here.

Disappointment

by Ricardo Patriarca

My mother thinks of me as a failure, unable to traverse the sky with the raging speeds she does. On mornings that we roam the heavens, I'm always miles behind.

Her talons are as sharp as diamond. Her wings wider and more stunning than any eagle's. Her jade-green eyes can see prey a thousand mountains away. She has lived many eons, yet time only makes her stronger, bolder. Age agrees with her, my mother.

You disappoint me child, she always says. Just like your father.

Will she be so disappointed when she feels the poison burn deep through her veins?



Author bio: Ricardo Patriarca is a writer from Manila, Philippines. His work has been published at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He writes short stories and poems during his free time. He is 20 years old.

Disappointment is part of issue 11.


Valkyrie

by Kit Hamada

Mage Hellebore spoke of birds that lay their eggs in Heaven: the younglings hatch as they plummet earthwards.

I was practising scrying in the high tower when I saw the iridescent black egg drop from the sky.

Even if it began to hatch now, it would be too late. I cast a keep-safe spell and prayed that it took. I was an apprentice still.

The egg lay at the base of the tower, miraculously intact. As I held it, it rocked and crackled; the monster began to emerge.

Too late, I remembered how the story ends: in fire and destruction.



Author bio: Part-time writer; full-time dog walking robot.

Valkyrie is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


Dive

by John Xero

I drop through sheets of hazy cloud, exhilarated.

Part of me grows alarmed as I drift off-mark, but with a tweak of my fins I am on course again, happiness flowing through my circuits: reward.

Air surges by me. Do I surge through it?

I wasn’t built for semantics.

I cost considerably more than any of my antecedents. I am a scalpel to their crude club. Or am I surgeon to their caveman?

Irrelevant, I suppose. My time is brief.

I rush to meet destiny, joyous, pregnant with my lethal payload. I would sing, if I could.



Author bio: John Xero believes in the explosive power of words, and knows a small word count can carry a massive payload.
Orbital platform: xeroverse.com
Propaganda: @xeroverse
Recon: instagram.com/johnxero

Dive is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


Wireless

by Margaret McGoverne

He entered the grid site at dusk; high-voltage cables whined as his shadow passed below.

He wrenched a lever; the air was alive and hungry, defying the insulators that deterred the ignorant and the desperate.

Circuit breakers cracked like thunder as power surged in mindless spasms.

Then: jump!

Lightning harnessed, arcing ropes of eternity leapt skywards, supersonic screams marking their path.

The receiver glowed, an ultraviolet orb of light and gas, suddenly alive.

He had transmitted electricity wirelessly! They had said it couldn't be done! Where were those naysayers now? Where were they, and why was the orb still screaming?



Author bio: Margaret McGoverne is currently writing her first full length novel, while being distracted by short stories, flash fiction and her blog about all things writing. http://margaretmcgoverne.com/

Wireless is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


Pulped

by Shannon Bell

Tegan sat on the highest branch, hugged the trunk and pressed her cheek to the bark.

“I hate him.” She whispered over and over, a mantra for her broken heart. Her tears and her words seeped into the tree. Its sap pulsed with the power of her contempt.

Kyle walked along the garden path.

“Hate him.”

The tree reached down, seized him, threw him in the air.

Tegan stared at Kyle’s body, limp and lifeless in the upper branches. “Oh,” she smiled, “thank you, tree.”

The tree shuddered, its leaves shook as ridges of bark stretched into a grotesque smile.



Author bio: Shannon Bell is addicted to words. You will find him madly writing away in the spare time he has available between holding down a full-time job, being part of a dysfunctional family and looking after his attention seeking dog.

Pulped is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


Kindness

by Daniel Gooding

Terry held on grimly to his wife as the plane continued its seemingly never-ending descent. With all the chaos around them, screaming women clinging to red-faced children and slumped men in business suits weeping incoherently into cell phones, nobody seemed to notice Terry, or his violently trembling wife.

Once the tremors ceased, he released his hands from her throat. It was a kindness really. That had always been one of her favourite refrains: “You really should try and be kinder to yourself Terry!”

Leaning back in his seat, he sighed contentedly. The last minutes of his life were his own.



Author bio: Daniel Gooding was born in 1984, and his flash fiction has appeared previously in '101 Fiction', as well as 'The Legendary' and '101 Words'.  His short story 'Crow Magnum Xix' is featured in the upcoming anthology 'Startling Sci-Fi: New Tales of the Beyond' published by New Lit Salon Press, and he occasionally blogs about books for 'The Guardian'. He currently lives in Bath, UK.

Kindness is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


Freedom

by Ricardo Patriarca

“No more words. I’m leaving and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.” Martha said, her suitcase beside her. She and her mother had been arguing for almost three hours now.

“And what are you going to do there, huh?” her mother said. “You won’t survive a day.”

“How would you know? You never tried! You let Papa lock you up here all your life! I don’t want to be like you! I’m going. Now, before he comes back.”

She slammed the front door behind her. Three steps and she was off the cloud, plummeting towards her new life.



Author bio: Ricardo Patriarca is a writer from Manila, Philippines. His work has been published at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He writes short stories and poems during his free time. He is 20 years old.

Freedom is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


Kite

by Wendy Steele

The rain has stopped. I ruffle my rufous body and preen my black-tipped wings. Far above, my parents call.

The undulating land below me is colour-washed with golden hues as the giant orb retakes its place in the blue of eternity and I fly. Never before have I harnessed the air for my pleasure and I call my delight as I dive and climb. I laugh at the creatures in miniature below me. It's all wind to them.

A generous updraught holds me in glorious suspension until a glance of my wing sends me soaring and the spiral dance begins.



Author bio: Wendy Steele lives on a hillside in Wales with her partner and cats. Following training in belly dance and writing, she has published novels and novellas in the magical realism genre and teaches ATS® Belly Dance. Renovating her Grade II listed farmhouse and reading fill the rest of her time. www.wendysteele.com

Kite is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


Buoyancy

by Sally Basmajian

Before we parted, she smiled and said she loved me. Bubbles of happiness began to form, filling me with intoxicating lightness. From gut to extremities I felt uplifted and joyful.

But why was I floating over the park where the two of us had embraced? Had love made me gravity-defiant? I should have panicked over my weightlessness, but I couldn’t stop thinking about her hair, her scent, her lips. And, the more I thought of her, the higher I rose.

Later, she came back to meet me. From on high, I saw her shoulders slump as I failed to appear.



Author bio: Sally Basmajian is an executive escapee from the corporate world of broadcasting. She has been writing for almost two years, dabbling mostly in fiction and memoir pieces. In 2015 she won prizes in the Rising Spirits Awards and SQ Mag’s Story Quest contest, and had stories pop up in places such as Psychology Tomorrow and the UnCommon Bodies anthology.

Buoyancy is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


Onwards

by Stephanie Hutton

Being such a good girl, the children had not questioned it when Amy silently took each of their balloons, wrapping them around her forearms. Before the memorial speech had finished, she floated upwards – bound for heaven, or at least the Mainland. Amy soared with a heart turned light as chocolate mousse. Kicking off her sandals, she wiggled her toes just for the feeling of it. Green turned to blue, blue, blue below. Maybe she didn’t need anyone after all?

A family of honking geese flew by, each keeping its place. Then land ahead – and the possibility of a new mummy.



Author bio: Clinical Psychologist with an interest in flash fiction and the therapeutic value of creative writing.
@tiredpsych

Onwards is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.

Monsters

by John Xero

Alma watches me calmly, her brown eyes so serious.

The air outside roars like a monster, a thousand monsters, barely muted by the metal cylinder we ride downwards to our dooms.

“Is this where we die?” she asks.

So unafraid.

There was chaos at first, a mad tumble settling to a somehow stable plummet. There were wings too, before that first monstrous roar.

Her calmness envelopes me.

“Yes,” I reply, “I’m so sorry.”

“Don’t be,” she says. “Death is a doorway. You saved me once. Now let me save you.”

So earnest.

And when the final roar comes... so bright.



Author bio: The once and future bookseller, John Xero is, was, and will always be in the business of stories. And where would stories be without monsters... and hope?
He should update his blog more: xeroverse.com
Or even tweet once in a while: @xeroverse

Monsters is part of 101 Fiction issue 11.


March 2016. Issue 11. Postscript.

The beginning of the end! 101 Fiction always publishes backwards to be read forwards, which makes as much sense as having only 100 words to tell a whole story, and yet this is what we do, every issue.

Big worlds, big ideas, big emotion. Tiny word count.

Is today 6th March 2016? Then issue 11 will be going live throughout the day. Refresh the site every hour for a brand new story.

If you're beyond that date, sitting among the clouds in your floating future house, being read to by your robot butler, then you've reached the end of issue 11. But there's no reason to stop here! Logic (and your robot butler) will tell you there are ten more earlier issues to enjoy. And even earlier than that are a whole slew of stories published one by one. All 100 words long, all proving that a tiny word count is no limit to scope and scale.

Thanks for reading.

And thank you to all our contributors.

If you want to be a part of this, keep an eye on 101fiction.com and @101fiction for details of our next submissions period and theme.

Keep writing. Keep reading. And always... have fun.

- John Xero

Friday, 15 January 2016

March Issue Open for Submissions

*** now closed for submissions ***

From right now, January 15th, through to February 15th we are open for submissions! We want your teeniest tiniest tales - thrills, kills and adventure wrapped in little one hundred word bundles.

It's year three of the quarterly 101 Fiction and so far we've been underground and on fire, and for our next trick... we're taking to the air. The new theme is: in the air.

We all breathe it, but we're specifically looking for stories that take place off the ground, up there, in the air. It could be the winged sandals of Hermes launching an unsuspecting holiday-maker high above Greece. Or the fiery descent of an escape pod as its occupant discovers that far from salvation, she is bringing the alien terror back down to her homeworld with her. It might be calamitous thunder and lightning, fallout from the god-war raging in the heavens. Perhaps the revelation of the mid-air human cannonball as he realises the safety net has been sabotaged. Or the last human survivors, cursed to never again set foot on Earth, alive only until the fuel runs out and their craft plunges back down to the apocalyptic chaos wrought upon the surface.

You don't need to use the word 'air,' or the phrase 'in the air,' but the story needs to be distinctly set off the ground. Equally, characters do not need to be 'loose' in the air, they can be in a craft or container or bubble... so long as that object is in the air.

The title cannot be 'air.'

You have exactly one hundred words, and a single word for the title. We loosely hold to the four genres listed - Science Fiction, Horror, Fantasy, Surreal - but if the story is good enough, exciting enough, bold enough... we'll take it.

For full submissions guidelines and info check the submissions page!

Get thinking. Let your imagination soar. And get writing.


Sunday, 6 December 2015

December 2015. Issue 10.

Ten issues! 101 Fiction hits double figures, and we are on fire. From inner hells to outer space, through mindscapes and metaphor, the flicker-lick of flames plays over it all.

Come closer, warm your hands, stay awhile and listen. Inside issue ten are fifteen tiny tales to tantalise, terrorise, and transport you to other places, other times. Fifteen sparks to ignite your imagination.

I’m excited about this issue. We always try to capture a breadth of style and species of story, and I think we generally succeed (if the leaning is, often, towards horror, but that is a fair reflection of the submissions). This issue really showcases that range, and across all the various genres and differing tones, amongst some great writing, inspired storytelling and incredible imagery, all of these stories have such great spirit for such small word counts. They are all so alive.

It’s an issue I look forward to revisiting in the future. I hope you will too.

It may be chill outside, but in here amongst the words, things are heating up.

Read. Absorb. Enjoy.


___

Keep scrolling down for the stories, or bring up the whole issue here.

As always, each issue is available as a free downloadable .pdf for your easy-tablet-phone-laptop-reading delight. And you can download issue 10 right here (right click, save as, you know...)

Advancing

by William Swain

When people spoke of Yueying, they called her “Huang Chengyan’s ugliest daughter.” But the strategist Zhuge Liang, withdrawing Yueying’s veil, holding up a soft lantern, said, “Exaggeration is the greatest strength of men.”

That is why… thinks Yueying, lighting the signal-fires, that is why my strategy is perfect. Zhuge Liang lies stuck to his bed with illness, his armies Yueying’s, on the precipice of defeat or victory.

I fight that victory might rekindle Zhuge Liang’s heart, restoring warmth to his skin, white like ice.

“Fight for your wishes,” says Yueying to her officers, “and you will fight for the world.”



Author bio: I am William Swain, with no accolades or credentials to my name, besides that I am guitarist of the band Mediseasin: https://mediseasin.bandcamp.com/track/quiet-roar

Advancing is part of 101 Fiction issue 10.