Sunday, 12 January 2020

March issue open for submissions.

From now until February 16th we are OPEN for submissions!

It's a new year and that means a new theme cycle. But not just a new year, a new decade. It can't be 2020, surely, that's a science fiction date. That's the future...! And that's our theme cycle for 2020, THE FUTURE, starting with: INVENTIONS.

These must be inventions new to the world they are set in. Jet packs and rocket cars are fine in stories set next year (or a hundred years ago), but if it's 2050 and they're already common in the story world, they don't count. It could be a wacky one-of-a-kind or something set to revolutionise a world.

The theme lends itself to science fiction, obviously. A robotic third hand, because two is never enough, that develops a mind of its own. The first test of a FTL drive and the haunting images on the ship's rearward cameras of the Earth being swallowed by the uncontained singularity. Or the first fully automated AI-run smart house that decides the best way to keep itself clean is by removing the human element altogether. A next-level dating algorithm gone sentient, hacking global platforms for personal data, and the lengths it will go to to ensure matches get together, and stay together.

We're a cross-genre publication though, and the possibilities are vast. The opening of the first golem factory, as magic is industrialised, and the fate of the workers building their own replacements. The Gatling wand, rattling off fireballs quicker than any lone wizard could cast. Perhaps a Victorian watchmaker beginning work on his miniaturised clockwork death machine to avenge his lost family. Or the dream compass, part fairy magic, part 21st century circuitry, letting you live your deepest desires behind closed eyes, and leaving you wondering why you would ever want to wake...

And of course, what would inventions be without their crazy-haired, mad-eyed, cackling inventors...?

We are a genre publication, so primarily looking for sci-fi, horror, fantasy, but broader than that, surreal, crime, and even more literary pieces. The important thing is that it hits the theme and that it excites us, makes us want to read it again, and makes us want to share it with our readers.

The title cannot be Invention, or any permutation of that, and it must be a single word. The story itself must be 100 words, exactly. For our full guidelines and how to submit, check out the submissions page.

Imagine.

Create.

Have fun!

Sunday, 15 December 2019

December 2019. Issue 25.

Welcome to issue 25, where we take on time travel. This was one of those issues where I really could have done with a time machine to keep everything on track but it’s here and, thanks to our authors, it’s terrific.

One of our authors, R.S. Bohn, said she thought time travel was a melancholy concept, and while not every story here shows the symptoms, there is certainly a strong vein of melancholia running through the issue, a deep sadness, a soft and bittersweet sorrow, handled with a deft and delicate touch.

There is, as a rule, some driving force that sends someone through the corridors of time, some strong emotion. In here we have revenge, we have heartache, we have love (and then sometimes, it’s just a job). There’s murder, there’s always murder, but I think this is the first time at 101 Fiction someone has murdered... well, I won’t spoil it.

There’s an exploration of mechanisms: a machine of some sort, an innate ability, a mobile phone or... a cardboard box? And of consequences, the toll it takes on a person, on the future, on the world.

And it just wouldn’t be a time travel issue without dinosaurs, would it?

Read.

Absorb.

Enjoy.

____

Keep on scrolling for the stories (and let's face it, you're here for the stories, not my waffle), or bring up the whole issue here, or if you want a copy for keepsies, for reading wherever you like, whenever you like (just remember to fully charge your device before travelling to pre-electricity eras), then there is also a .pdf version available, for free.

Closet

by R.S. Bohn

A skull that fits entirely in her palm, with the downiest hair. He gasps, a single indrawn breath. Almost louder than the footsteps in the hall. Almost.

The closet door closes, and she counts.

*

Six elephants sway above the crib. He glances at the window – still nailed shut.

Son in crook of arm, he opens the closet door. Dust and extra blankets.

Just in case, he nails it shut too.

*

A decade for him, hundreds for her; she’s been carefully avoiding this thread, but today… She pulls.

Rusted nails plink to the floor; the door creaks open:

He’s still perfect.



Author bio: R.S. Bohn officially has no comment on allegations that Stephen Cosgrove based his 1978 book, "Misty Morgan," the story of a princess and her unicorn, on her. She can definitively say, however, that Scholastic book fairs at her school were, without a doubt, the best days of the school year.

Closet is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

L'Albatros

by Lara Haynes Freed

By accident, she learned she could Visit. It frightened her and she stopped.

But over time, the desire to Visit arose on an internal tide of weariness. Ennui. Maternal angst. That desire was a cumulative response: to eye-rolls, to rhetorical sighs. Phones always in hand, teenage attitude. “Whatever.” Visit-lust accompanied a surge of Baudelairean spleen, as if Charles himself had been a single mother of two.

First she Visited them as babies – precious but sleepless days. Then, three and five – needy but sweet. Six and eight – her favourite.

She always returned renewed. Reassured.

As time unwinds, love changes but abides.



Author bio: Lara Haynes Freed is a Midwest-born transplant to the Pacific Northwest. She studied linguistics and literature at the University of Kansas, and screenwriting and technical writing at the University of Washington. Lara is inspired by interests in mythology, psychology, language, and subculture. Her creative nonfiction has appeared in And/Both magazine, and her short fiction received an Honorable Mention in the Regulus Press 2018 Literary Taxidermy competition.

L'Albatros is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Remember

by Clare O’Brien

November 5th. She hesitates by the window, wanting to be out there to welcome him off the ship. She can almost feel his deep laughter, his delight.

Remember, remember. Her memory stands guard but the future frightens her. She’s lived it already, after all.  She knows she can never stop him leaving, rejoining his men. Something always sets events back on track. That’s why this is her favourite time. She could almost believe he’ll live. That’s why she’s always here, tonight. The eve of their winter wedding. 

Outside, the fireworks crackle and blaze. She turns back the bedspread and waits.



Author bio: Clare O'Brien has been a schoolteacher, a journalist, PA to a professor, press officer to a politician and social media manager to a rock star.   She now lives in Scotland by the sea, writing her first novel, ‘Light Switch’.  Her work has recently appeared in Mslexia, The London Reader, Spelk, Three Drops From a Cauldron, Cabinet of Heed, Northwords Now and poetry anthologies from The Emma Press and Hedgehog Poetry.

Website
Twitter
Facebook
Instagram

Remember is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Unborn

by Katie Kent

Standing outside the cafe, my heart raced. He’d told the story of how he met my mother again and again. She always stayed quiet, but her smile suggested happiness. I knew better nowadays. It came out when I found her crying. He’d been hitting her for years, destroying her life.

I devoted the rest of my life to finding the secret to time travel. As he walked past, I stepped in front. He swore, missing my mother as she turned the other way.

My smile matched hers as I faded out of existence, happy for the first time in years.



Author bio:  My fiction has been published in Youth Imagination magazine, and I have had stories shortlisted for publication in Podcastle and a fantasy mental illness anthology.

I have had non-fiction published in The Lady, The Mighty, You & Me Magazine and a mental illness anthology.

Unborn is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Upgrade

by Voima Oy

The woman at the phone store handed Henry back his phone. "I'm sorry," she said. "That model is obsolete. You need an upgrade."

"But I don't want an upgrade," he said. "I want Stella back. Our messages are gone! It's like I lost her again."

"Of course," she smiled in sympathy. "But the new Time Machine option can give you your wife back, and more. Just set the time and place. You can go there whenever you like."

He was thirty again, eating an avocado outside on a breezy summer day. A girl sat beside him. "I'm Stella," she said.



Author bio: Voima Oy lives on the western rim of Chicago, near the expressway and the Blue Line trains. Her writing can be found online at VERStype, Paragraph Planet, Molotov Cocktail--Flash Worlds, The Cabinet of Heed, Burning House Press, and 101 Fiction. 

Follow her on Twitter, too---@voimaoy and #vss365.

Upgrade is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Cleaners

by Alex Minns

“Ten-minute window,” they call. I’m already in my outfit: Victorian butler, again.

“Do we know where it is?” I call up to the supervisor as I near the jump portal. He gives a shrug.

Biting my tongue, I wait for the countdown: time travellers are idiots. The flash envelops me.

I’m dumped outside the house under the cover of trees. First task, pick the back door’s lock. Next, make my way upstairs. Look like I belong, no-one will look twice. Eight minutes left. I’m in the lounge. Always check the sofa. I pull the smartphone from between the cushions. Idiots.



Author bio: Alex Minns hides away in the east of England writing a variety of sci-fi, paranormal fantasy and steampunk fiction. She has been published in Spring Into Sci-Fi 2019 and Fall Into Fantasy 2019 (both from Cloaked Press). You can find her wasting time on twitter under @Lexikonical or posting short stories and articles on https://lexikon.home.blog/

Cleaners is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Cardboard

by Joseph Davidson

When I was young, Calvin and his tiger taught me a cardboard box could be a time machine. It didn’t work for me. Angry, I piled up those books and burned them.

As I turned thirty, life fell apart. My love left. My dog died. No job. I found myself with a Sharpie, scrawling TIME MACHINE on the side of another cardboard box.

I hopped in. Closed my eyes. BANG! There I was, staring at a younger me, matches in hand above the comics. I took them from him with a conspiratorial wink.

Maybe thirty won’t be so bad now.



Author bio: Joseph is the Assistant Director of Storyfort in Boise, Idaho. When he's not working with Storyfort he's either working on finishing his Creative Writing degree at Boise State University or being the head honcho over at Procyon Creatives. His work has appeared in 101 Fiction and From Whispers to Roars. You can find him on Twitter @ajoedavidson and check out what the Procyon crew is up to at procyoncreatives.com

Cardboard is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Reverse

by Sharon Frame Gay

She kills me every day. I loop round and round in time, coming back to the moment when she backs her car into me as I cross behind her with the groceries.

"John! Oh John!" she cries, as the oranges and apples roll under the rear tires. The last thing I see are the eggs, crushed and seeping from their shells, running into my blood.

I do not see a light for my soul to follow. I only hear her sobbing to the police.

 Frightened and sad, I relive this moment forever.

I can always tell when she is lying.



Author bio: Bio: Sharon Frame Gay has been internationally published in many anthologies and literary magazines including Chicken Soup For The Soul, Thrice Fiction, Crannog, Typehouse, Lowestoft Chronicle and others. She has won awards at Rope and Wire, The Writing District, Wow-Women On Writing, and has twice been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.

Reverse is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Collected

by Shannon Bell

The blade slices through flesh, seizes another death.

My father’s voice echoes inside me; “Prove your worth. Travel, to other worlds, dimensions, and times, gathering souls. When you have taken enough, the knife will glow. Only then may you return.”

I stare at the weapon. It remains dull. Hundreds of years, thousands of lives. How many more? How much longer? I can almost hear my father’s voice counselling patience.

Blood drips from the steel. I’m tired of travelling. I’m sick of slaughter. I plunge the blade into my stomach. “I’m sorry, father. I wasn’t worthy.”

Death approaches. The knife glows.



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. His stories have been published in Dark Edifice, Short & Twisted, 101 Fiction and strippedlit500. You can follow Shannon on Twitter at @ShannonBell1967.

Collected is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Payback

by Wm. Brett Hill

Kip trailed the man through the crowd, intent on what had to be done. There was no time left to put it off.  It had to happen now. The bastard had unapologetically ruined everything in his life and he would have to pay. Kip slipped the pistol from his pocket and raised it, unconcerned with who saw the action or what they would do. 

“It’s over,” he said, “finally.” 

Hoping this desperate act was the solution, a tear rolled down his cheek as he took a deep breath and shot himself, thirty years younger, in the back of the head.



Author bio: Wm. Brett Hill lives on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where he spends time with his wife and daughter, works in IT, and writes stories. His short fiction has appeared in 101 Fiction, Firewords, Flash Fiction Magazine, and numerous others.

Payback is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Burble

by Allen Ashley

“But we’ve never travelled back that far. The T-force would be unimaginable.”

“Listen, son, I’ve seen the Crucifixion, the fall of Rome and the palace of Rameses. T-force is nothing; just a little burble in the stomach.”

“But sixty-five million years is not the same as sixty-five hundred.”

“Just do it. I’ll pay you a bonus.”

And now, as his craft slowly materialised, the Cretaceous hove into view. A Tyrannosaurus circled a young Triceratops, ready to strike. Perfect moment.

But the pressure… the transportation-force. Instead of a gentle emergence, he was arriving like a megatonic missile… exploding, darkening the sky…



Author bio: Allen Ashley works as a creative writing tutor and is the founder of the advanced science fiction and fantasy group Clockhouse London Writers. His latest book is as editor of the anthology “The Once and Future Moon” (Eibonvale Press, 2019). His flash “Cookbook” featured in “101 Fiction” issue 24.

Burble is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Compression

by Karen Hallam

The pictures anchor us to the past.

Waking from the long sleep, my old body is gone, I slip into a new outer shell. Only consciousness crosses over.

At least I still have eyes, I’m seeing in the same colour spectrum. I spit out the bitter waking solution, confirming tongue and taste remain. My first breaths tell me I have lungs.

The inspector strolls over, without a care in the world, not having been compressed into a nightmare. The dreams they tell us, are the passageway. When we awaken a new world is possible. It looks the same to me.



Author bio: I'm a member of SCBWI and International Thriller Writers. My Young Adult novella, The Unmoving Sky was published with Leap Books in 2016, and my Sci-Fi story Charger Nine was featured in the anthology Alien Dimensions #13 (October 2017). Over and Over is the debut issue of Fantasy Short Stories Anthology (Sept. 2018), and my SFF story G.L.O.R.I.A. published in Alien Dimensions #16 (Sept. 2018). Currently revising a historical fantasy.
www.karenleehallam.com 
www.klhallam.com
Goodreads
Twitter
Instagram

Compression is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Degeneration

by John Xero

“When are we?”

“Do you mean where?” She knew word choice could be difficult. “Or what time is it?”

He grabbed her shoulders. “What year?”

“Now, now.” Her heart raced, her exterior remained calm; his mind was not his own. “It’s 2019, December.”

He let go. “Twenty... nineteen? No...” He began to tremble. “It’s too early.”

“Early?”

His eyes went glassy with tears. “The drugs don’t exist yet. Time travel, see, taxes the brain; temporal drag wreaks havoc, degenerative, ongoing.”

“Of course,” she nodded. His past was unknown, a mystery patient, but they all guessed sci-fi nerd, before the dementia.



Author bio: Over the past year and a half (ish) John Xero has had a daughter (adventurous, bright, contrary), changed careers (to care work, with dementia) and taken up aquascaping (soon to include fish)... He wonders why he struggles to find time for his old (but still real) passions, of writing and reading...
Occasional twittering: twitter.com/xeroverse
Blog (in desperate need of new content): xeroverse.com
Instagram (surprisingly active): instagram.com/johnxero

Degeneration is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Charity

by Christopher Collingwood

You can never escape the cold look of fear in a dying man’s eyes, it always pulls you in, clutching for any chance of hope. Whether it was the young sergeant clinging to her arm, or a four-hundred-year-old photograph, it had the same effect.

That’s why she volunteered for historical service in a WWII field hospital, she understood the purpose in relieving past human suffering, even if history couldn’t be changed.

She knew the sergeant’s fate had been sealed the moment he coughed blood, her eyes offered him some relief, “my name is Mila Charity, I’ll stay by your side."



Author bio: Chris was born and raised in Sydney Australia. He completed university in Sydney and graduated with a degree in business studies. Chris has devoted his spare time to writing, with works published in Outposts of Beyond, Illumen, Neo-Opsis, Liquid Imagination, Abyss & Apex,Adelaide Magazine, Empty Silos Book (Inwood Indiana), Fantastical Savannahs and Jungles Anthology (Rogue Planet) and various works in Oz Poetic Society.

Charity is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.

Memorial

by Kelly White

An act of violence distends through time and space, thinning the distance between them and me. I slip backwards and forwards to watch from darkened doorways, liminal spaces.

The first time I bore witness was accidental. I heard it, felt it, before I slipped through and saw – pulled back as time coagulated, trembling. So much blood.

I kneel next to his body, hold his hand. He squeezes mine, vice-like, silent questions in his pale eyes. His breathing is shallow.

I wish it was different, I say, and mean it. It never is.

I will remember you.

I remember them all.



Author bio: Kelly White writes horror. Her story, The Yellow Marble, was published by KnightWatch Press in the anthology Play Things and Past Times. You can find her on Twitter @KWhiteHorror.

Memorial is part of 101 Fiction issue 25.