Friday HYPERSHORTS… 1-page SciFi Stories launch exclusively here on the VlogBlog…

Ok, we’re trying something new here, people. Every Friday, we’ll be posting a 1-Page “SciFi Pitch” for your perusal. Read ’em up and let us know what you think.

“ALIEN”   by Anthony Lawrence (Fireball Pop)

“But where did you come from?” asked Professor Rigney, as he confronted the alien in the secured laboratory. He was still reeling from disbelief as he stared at the very humanoid creature that had emerged from the spaceship only hours ago.

She seemed to be a very attractive young black girl with flowers in her hair, wearing what appeared to be a pearl necklace and beaded anklet just below her flowing white robe.

The Professor of ancient languages had been astounded that she could speak English, but he had also been fascinated by the vertical ichthys on the anklet that had a special meaning in ancient religions. Ichthys is Greek for fish, known today as the Christian Fish symbol. 

“The Goldilocks Zone,” she replied with a charmingly wry grin, “not too hot, not too cold.  It’s 12 light years from here and its star is known to you as Tau Ceti.”

The Professor was astonished. “Yes, yes, it’s visible from here to the naked eye and perhaps six times the size of earth. I can’t believe this. You’ve come from Tau Ceti?”

The alien didn’t seem nearly as excited about her arrival.

“Oh, I’ve been here before,” she said simply.

The Professor regarded her narrowly, his words a slightly hoarse inquisitive whisper with a just a touch of sarcasm.

“You mean like ‘Ancient astronauts’?”

The alien grinned again, regarding the Professor as if he were a schoolchild who had asked an inane question.

“I’m afraid you’ve been reading too much paleocontact hypotheses. My earlier arrival just over two thousand years ago would have been a bit of future shock in a spaceship but in this time period it seemed quite appropriate. ‘Star Wars’ and all that.”

The Professor was stunned.

 “ This is incredible. But why are you here? What is your mission?”

“It’s quite simple, really,” she said patiently and gently, “our contact influences the development of human cultures, technologies, and religions.”

“Is that all?” asked the professor, with just a bit more of that cynicism creeping into his voice. “Do you have a name?”

“Of course,” said the alien. “Some of your people have known my name for centuries. It’s Jesus.”

 

TABLE EIGHTEEN… The latest @SciFi HyperShort from Ethan and Athony Lawrence #pitch #scifinovel #gambling @2tony2222

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A very cool excerpt from Ethan and Tony’s upcoming novel, TABLE EIGHTEEN is a moment that pits faith against the cards. The only thing you can’t bet is money…

TABLE EIGHTEEN by Ethan Lawrence and Anthony Lawrence

“Who the hell do you think you are, God?” asked Jordan sardonically. Daniel’s smile was inscrutable. “Divining secrets, abstract formulations of probabilities, there have been intrepid visionaries who recognized their practical applications.” The smile now had an edge of triumph, the eyes a brilliant fire deep within. “…To alter fate…change destiny…change your life…”Jordan regarded him suddenly like he was a cross between Darth Vader and Hannibal Lechter. He had become weirdly terrifying. She swallowed and inquired tenuously. “Even if I believed you, which I don’t, why would you want to do this for me?” “I don’t want to do it, Jordan. You came here because you want me to do it. That is part of the contract between us. Your free will, your desire, your want. Without that, you wouldn’t even be here. “I…want my son back, but I just don’t believe you have the power to do such a thing. It’s not possible.”

“Do you know anything about quantum mechanics, Jordan?
 Well, simply put it’s the physical laws that describe the subatomic realm. Don’t scowl. It doesn’t matter whether you understand what that means. As a dealer in casinos, you have dealt the cards that have had an effect on the lives of many people. Isn’t that true, Jordan? The result of those cards played made them rich or poor, or simply excited or depressed. Here, a divine intelligence in command of chaos can manipulate a vast number of quantum events with just a few well-chosen controls. You must understand there are other designs at work. The controls I mentioned, Jordan, are right here inside this table of very ancient wood and the cards played on it. These cards can and do respond to those controls and affect the outcomes.”

“So what are you telling me? That we’re going to play cards?” She couldn’t keep the sarcasm out of the question. But it didn’t seem to bother him. He simply smiled. “Gaming goes back to the Romans divining the secrets of their diced-based oracles. Throughout history, humans have been riding the odds, seeking out certainty but settling, reluctantly for likelihood. They have been the shadowy props of probability.” Daniel began to shuffle the cards with nimble skill and velocity, but not so quick that Jordan couldn’t see the faces of the cards, Aces, Kings and various lower numbers blurring by. It was almost like a trance as Daniel continued to draw her into deeper waters. “But here…at Table Eighteen…there is certainty. No chaos here. The patterns are elegant and purposeful as those of a bevy of swans.”

Daniel suddenly stopped shuffling the cards, staring at Jordan with those steel-grey penetrating eyes. “Table Eighteen is the physical embodiment of the gambles we all take in our lives”, he said. “It’s where your deepest desire, your most intense wish can become reality.Here, on Table Eighteen, we play for anything and everything except money. On this table we make experiential bets. A wish fulfilled or denied on the deal of the cards. It’s a chance to use the controls of quantum mechanics to change the hand that life has dealt you. Wouldn’t you like to play one hand and alter the outcome of your personal tragedy?” “So…What happens if I lose?”
There was the slightest darkening in Daniel’s voice.
“What happens if you lose any wager? Something of equal value is taken from you. Even though it went against everything that Jordan understood and believed, she was beginning to imagine the unimaginable and it terrified her. Her head was spinning. Her mouth had gone dry. But she could not resist the temptation.

“Deal the cards,” she said.

©2014EthanLawrence&AnthonyLawrence

TWINS… a New Sci-Fi HyperShort by Ethan Lawrence #hypershort #twins #highconcept #idea #story

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Great, and brain tweaking idea from my bro FIreball Ethan. Move over consciousness, I’ma comin’ in.

TWINS by Ethan Lawrence

John and I hadn’t seen each other for years, not since he went off to be an artist in Nepal. I was supposed to go with him, but I went into finance. I think I did it just to prove we weren’t carbon copies of each other. One twin was painting landscapes on a mountain, the other acting like a responsible adult – and making a killing at it.

Then, one dim winter day, someone in a hurry didn’t see the crossing’s lights and the roo bar of their 4WD propelled my responsible adult ass into intensive care. One twin was penniless and unemployable; one was good for nothing but organ donation. The researchers got hold of us, ran us through a bunch of tests, and then made us (well, him, I was a cabbage) an offer too tough to refuse. They kept me on life support and stuck my head in an MRI machine, painstakingly scanning my brain one nanometer at a time. That took a couple of weeks. Next, their computers converted that 3D image into a mathematical model of the connections in my head. That took eight months.

“This part of the production is nothing new,” Doctor Preminger explained.

They’d been scanning nervous systems to that level of detail for some years and the math was standard stuff from Internet Theory. What was new was what they did next. First, they cleaned my artist twin up, got the bugs and the drugs out of his system. Then they scanned his brain too, though not to the same level of detail. Then they took a stiff plastic ‘hairnet’ studded with four hundred tiny electromagnets, tucked his head into it, and switched me on.

By the time I understood I was dead and a computer simulation being run in my twin’s frontal lobes, it was already time to put me back into the box. I was screaming at them not to do it. What if they couldn’t get me back out again? What if when they switched me off, my twin didn’t resurface? At least they had the kindness and the common sense not to show me my own body. It’s still around, somewhere. I don’t ask.

It got easier every time. At first I could barely stand up, or count to ten. Within a few months I was able to walk into my old office and get my disoriented staff back on track. I insisted on drawing up papers that made my twin the joint owner of my portfolio. No matter what happens, his bills were paid for the rest of his life. While I was at it, I set up a foundation to fund Dr Preminger’s work. Since those first rough experiments with a handful of twins, his project had advanced in leaps and bounds. The push was towards better abstract models of the personality. But my investing in Dr Preminger’s work was more than just enlightened self-interest. What he was hoping to patent was immortality.

My twin generally hosted me for about a week. Much longer and his own identity and memories, submerged below mine, would begin to degrade. That week was packed with visits, neurological and cognitive tests, and business meetings. I cheated death, but it’s only earned me about a quarter of whatever time my twin had left to live. He took me to movies and a couple of art exhibitions, but mostly I just unwound by playing tennis. It was always a weird experience for me. I couldn’t play tennis worth a damn – but my twin could. At first it was frightening, to be reminded that all I was, was a thin layer of tissue atop someone else’s cerebrum. But it was exhilarating, like playing a video game, albeit with real muscle strain.

“You see, what we’ve done,” Dr. Preminger tells me, excitedly. “We’ve created a model of native neuron-based computation itself. A software brain, on which we can run any mind. Given time, we’ll be able to run any mind in any brain.”

I’m doing fine on the IQ tests, but I’m not quite following. “I thought you could only use identical twins.”

“For the prototype, yes. If all goes well we’ll be able to port you into any brain.”

I’m seeing Dr. Preminger from a whole new perspective, all the little clues I missed. He was working for DARPA and I was their newest weapon against terrorism.

©2014EthanLawrence

ETHAN LAWRENCE – BIOGRAPHY

Ethan Lawrence has served on the writing staffs of the TV series The Pretender, Murder in Small Town X, Fearing Mind, So Weird and SyFy’s acclaimed series Eureka. He has developed web series for Generate Management/Alloy Entertainment such as Full Metal Alchemist and has sold TV pilots to NBC, ABC and The Gold Company.   He wrote the screenplay Hellraiser 5 for Dimension Films, Nevermore for Propaganda Films, Downloader for Stuart Gordon/Red Hen Productions, Mortal Velocity for Warner Bros. Studios, Creepers for Papa Joe Films (based on the David Morrell New York Times bestseller Creepers) and wrote the feature film Asylum for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios/Hyde Park Entertainment.

THE ACADEMY… a Sci Fi Hypershort by Ethan Lawrence #scifishort #story #pitch #idea #thegeekieawards

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Another awesome twister of the mind, thanks to FireballBro. This one, goes way back. Want to see more HyperShorts? Click it…

THE ACADEMY by Ethan Lawrence

It was the year 2072 under the rule of the United Planetary States and a time of great civil unrest and the rising threat of a primitive and aggressive neighboring galaxy. The President had become anxious and began strong preparation for a possible resistance invasion. Outside one of the world’s most dazzling cities, near a small village, became the center of military training for the eligible youth of the blue marble planet. The Academy, as it came to be known, was where young prospective military officers were trained in the divisional system of armament and function, as well as the crafts of espionage and the ancient study of ornithology, or birds, due to the discovery of a primitive and dangerous new world populated by terrifying reptilian-like creatures.

Academy excellence was the first priority, but it was here that young men and women, from peasant or aristocratic background mingled and developed character, leadership and a strong devotion to planet, through values and principles. The campus of the Academy was a wholesome, patriotic, and invigorating atmosphere in which students were inspired toward maximum achievement. It was a self-contained community with academic facilities, housing, dining, medical support, recreational and athletic facilities and its own maintenance section. A number of key staff and faculty members along with all drill instructors and their families lived on campus.

In addition to its academic buildings, the campus included an obstacle course, mud course, confidence course, rock climbing wall, speed-march reaction course, and facilities for various other athletic activities. There was a chapel, cadet activities center, which contained a great hall, game rooms, dining facility, which sat the entire Corp of Cadets at each meal. The zero-grav gymnasium was fully equipped, and there was an outdoor plasma rifle and artillery range.

Cadets were billeted in five, two story barracks with two cadets to a room and two rooms sharing a bathroom. Each barracks contained an apartment where the drill instructor and their family lived. In a separate stone structure, its turreted high-walled battlements echoed some distant and medieval protocol; the Main Center amplified the student’s knowledge of alien world inhabitants so much that anything was attainable in the evolution from ignorance to enlightenment.

The highly advanced Academy was a structured, disciplined, and motivating environment, with military history and weaponry strongly encouraged for the betterment of the President’s modern tactical expansion of knowledge and skills beyond the traditions of the old infantry, cavalry and artillery.

But these new uniquely talented young officers would not simply train in handheld weapons, but also a ‘directed energy orbital defense system’. While its sun-powered lasers were capable of vaporizing any asteroid passing too close to the planet, the same system was also used as asteroid-moving technology, capable of raining death down on enemies, like the reptilian creatures– a catastrophic, planet- annihilating impact.

This cataclysmic event caused mega-tsunamis. Clouds of super-heated dust, ash and steam spread from the crater as the impactor burrowed underground in less than a second. Excavated material ejected out of the atmosphere by the blast, was heated to incandescence upon re-entry, broiling the planet’s surface and igniting wildfires. Colossal shock waves triggered global earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The impact of the asteroid caused the worldwide extinction of the prehistoric reptilian-like creatures, more commonly known on this alien planet 65 million years later as dinosaurs.

©2014EthanLawrence

Ethan Lawrence has served on the writing staffs of the TV series The Pretender, Murder in Small Town X, Fearing Mind, So Weird and SyFy’s acclaimed series Eureka. He has developed web series for Generate Management/Alloy Entertainment such as Full Metal Alchemist and has sold TV pilots to NBC, ABC and The Gold Company.   He wrote the screenplay Hellraiser 5 for Dimension Films, Nevermore for Propaganda Films, Downloader for Stuart Gordon/Red Hen Productions, Mortal Velocity for Warner Bros. Studios, Creepers for Papa Joe Films (based on the David Morrell New York Times bestseller Creepers) and wrote the feature film Asylum for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios/Hyde Park Entertainment.

TIMECRADLE… A New Sci-Fi HyperShort by Ethan Lawrence… #alien #scifi #pitch #hollywoodidea #story

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Ok, this one is a brain tweak from FireballBro… Hope you’re ready.

TIMECRADLE by Ethan Lawrence

In the cold, faraway reaches of the Arctic wilderness, a crew from an American mining company discovers a cake of ice with a cryogenically preserved body inside. At a research center some distance away, scientists cut through the ice with lasers, and on the operating table lies a primitive Cro-Magnon man.

Dr. David Briggs, a knowledgeable anthropologist with a small scar on his chin, and Dr. Lindsay Brady, a microbiologist specializing in auto-immunity, are given the opportunity to examine the primitive being’s impossibly-preserved 12,000-year-old body to learn the secrets of cryogenics for future generations. Both examine him and make the startling discovery that his blood produces a molecule that selectively kills diseased and cancerous cells in a desired way and leaves healthy cells virtually untouched. They are intrigued that the frozen man could be the key to curing diseases. But there’s one problem – the primitive man’s cancer-killing blood is short lived because its natural compound is breaking down due to the effects of long-term cryogenic freezing. They need fresh blood to have a chance in developing a workable mass-produced cure.

David and Lindsay are approached for a top secret government project. They are led into a laboratory where they are surrounded by an array of highly sophisticated computer equipment. Using hi-tech methods, the U.S. Intelligence program has developed a powerful electron module bombarded with a plasma-like constellation of ionized, excited electrons, protons and other particles, as a sensory deprivation capsule, a ‘matrix cradle’, to release from volunteer subjects a ‘time bending body’ that duplicates the physical body of human beings. This counterpart is able to separate itself from the physical body, while leaving the other one behind in the present – and move through a quantum wormhole to the past. The name given to this experimental program, ‘Witch’s Cradle’, comes from the witch hunts of the Middle Ages and Renaissance. One method of torturing accused witches was to tie them up in a sack, string the sack over a tree limb and set it swinging. The rocking motion caused disorientation and induced a ‘separation’ of the possessed victim and the demon inside her.

With the discovery of the Cro-Magnon man, David and Lindsay are to be sent back in time to bring back enough “cancer killing” blood to cure mankind of all diseases. With no time to think, the two learn that they’ll have only two hours before they are either irretrievably trapped in the past themselves or are dead. The longer they are “split” from their body, the greater the chances are that their first body will suffer insanity and death.

David and Lindsay are sent back in time amid cries of pain and unearthly wails from within the cradle. Their second bodies appear 12,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age, where mile-high ice sheets cover all of North America. It is cold and dry and unimaginably harsh. Land masses shift almost constantly, near-continuous climatic oscillations, sea levels rising in seconds, rendering most parts uninhabitable. It is chaotic and dangerous, like nothing ever seen or imagined before.

For the next two hours, David and Lindsay search for a Cro-Magnon man. They locate one, but, suddenly, the ground begins to shake, crack and split. As the valley caves in on itself with ice, water, mud, trees and even heaven itself – David slips down into a fissure, lost in vapor dust. Lindsay watches everything slip from their view in a time-bending retreat back to the present.

Devastated by her failure, Lindsay stares at the cryogenically frozen Cro-Magnon man. She notices something about him for the first time. Beneath his beard is a small scar. This Cro-Magnon man is David!

©2014Ethanlawrence

IN THE BEGINNING… a New Sci-fi HyperShort by Ethan Lawrence #story #sciencefiction #tale #inthebeginning

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The end of the world only brings possibilities in this new tale from Sci-Fier and Fireball Bro, Ethan…

“IN THE BEGINNING…” by Ethan Lawrence

The asteroid Hermes has been orbiting the sun and the outer planets for a thousand years, and is now coming into its closest affinity to the earth.  It will soon pass close enough for the International spacecrafts to reach the double synchronous bodies that will continue to arc along an orbiting pathway toward the planet Mars.  NASA’s calculations indicate that, even if they could hitch a ride on one or the other of the asteroids, they could not actually reach the surface of Mars, but there is a better than even chance they could make it to one of Mars’ orbiting moons.

As the Senior Officer, Commander Benjamin Acker soon finds himself in the unenviable position of having to choose between those who may live and those who will definitely die.  Only a certain number of the crews and remaining humans would fit into the two dozen spaceship’s constricted cargo holds should they launch the vehicles, one-by-one, toward the near-earth asteroid Hermes.  It is a risky but desperate attempt to land them on the small surfaces of either of the two orbiting components that make up the doubly synchronous bodies.  Then, there is an even slimmer chance one of the spacecrafts can manage to survive hitch-hiking on the asteroid until its orbit brings it close enough to allow them a second launch from the asteroid to the single closest planetary body on its course.  It would be for a calculated landing on the surface of Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons, (the innermost moonlet) both mysterious remnants of the original accretions of the solar system, that is, the long sought but still undiscovered “Rosetta Stone” of early planetary formation and evolution.  But no theory has yet explained the existence or origins of Phobos and Deimos.

A strong conflict emerges over the plan, so little being known about the ‘diseased potato’ shaped moonlets or their capacity to sustain life now that the earth is dying.  It would be too far to jump from either one to the surface of Mars, so they would be stuck there.  But the determined Acker points out that some scientists have long thought the two moonlets would be more interesting than Mars itself.  What they do know would indicate that the grooves seen in photos of Phobos may be raised lip craters strongly suggestive of outgassing, or the escape of vapors from within the moonlet.  Trapped water ice within the interior rocks could be found, mined and utilized for primitive but survivable terraforming.

The Deepstar, Acker’s ship, is the first vehicle to make the attempt to hitch a ride on the orbiting asteroid, managing a skillful slide into the surface soil, the ‘regolith’ that covers a system of grooves on Phobos’ three-mile-wide crater called ‘Stickney’.  But the second attempt proves fatal, with the next spacecraft smashing into the edge of the crater, disintegrating the shuttle’s occupants in a ball of fire.

The rest of the ships manage to successfully land on Phobos and, in an exploration of the moonlet’s surface, the crews discover steam vent crater chains from the interior of the moonlet.  But instead of discovering pure deposits of water ice in the interior, it is Acker who uncovers the incredible fact that Phobos, Mars’ orbiting satellite, long known to involve a mysterious “secular acceleration,” is due to the fact that it is hollow and artificial, the apparent construct of intelligent life.  Inside Phobos, the crews ultimately discover the source of visitors to earth for a thousand years, the alien beings who had created a base here but are now long gone into the blackness of space.  Acker and the rest of the spacecrafts’ population can now begin a new destiny as strangers on a strange ship seemingly capable of traveling anywhere in the known universe.

“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away.”  REVELATIONS 21:1

©2014EthanLawrence

Ethan Lawrence has served on the writing staffs of the TV series The Pretender, Murder in Small Town X, Fearing Mind, So Weird and SyFy’s acclaimed series Eureka.  He has developed web series for Generate Management/Alloy Entertainment such as Full Metal Alchemist and has sold TV pilots to NBC, ABC and The Gold Company.   He wrote the screenplay Hellraiser 5 for Dimension Films, Nevermore for Propaganda Films, Downloader for Stuart Gordon/Red Hen Productions, Mortal Velocity for Warner Bros. Studios, Creepers for Papa Joe Films (based on the David Morrell New York Times bestseller Creepers) and wrote the feature film Asylum for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios/Hyde Park Entertainment.

ERASURE… Today’s Prison HyperShort by Ethan Lawrence #hypershort #shortstory #story #sciencefiction #future #prison

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Today’s HyperShort comes from the Courtroom of Darkness… Prepare to be erased.

ERASURE by Ethan Lawrence

The judge clears his throat and continues, “Case #1202.  Tommy James Rexton.”

A tall, unctuous man strides forward.  He preens confidently for a man on Death Row.  “You have been found guilty of seven counts of murder.  Your sentence is death.”

I, and most of the room, begin to simmer with audible discontent.  We are disgusted with his crime but equally with what we know will be the form of execution.

“Considering the severity of your crime, you are offered no choice in your execution.”  This is what I, and the gallery, both feared and expected.  “I order death from category E.”  Somehow these words sound less insidious than the proper name.  There is only one type of death in this category.  It’s called Erasure.

This murderer Rexton must have seen it coming.  For the most heinous crimes, Erasure is a popular choice among judges.  But no convict selects Erasure.  Across species and across cultures, the psychological barriers to Erasure are universal.  Erasure means you will have never existed.  Well, for all intents, anyway.  What Erasure really amounts to, what it proves, is that you were never born.  Government operatives, or executioners, go back in time and plant a microscopic weapon inside you.  Not at the time of your birth, but at the moment you reach maturity around twelve years of age.  The universe will not abide paradoxes, but it is surprisingly resilient.  A change here or there may make little difference in the long run.  But it’s what makes time travel possible, and Erasure too.

The weapon is insidiously clever.  It includes a built-in trigger with an extremely high probability of killing you moment to moment.  But you keep beating the odds so long as your actions in the past benefit the present.  The moment they don’t, the moment the universe can tolerate your absence from the timeline, you are dead.

Erasure is the ultimate insult added to the ultimate injury.

The killer Rexton didn’t choose it, but he has come to terms with it.  He stands patiently waiting to be Erased.  To have been Erased.  And when he is, the universe will forget him – most of him.  From birth until sometime after his twelfth birthday, he will exist.  But some or most or all of his adulthood will unexist.  And where does that leave the gallery and me viewing his Erasure?  In a state of profound discomfort.  It’s true that Rexton might begin to convulse and bleed out before our eyes.  Perhaps he was too important to die before this moment.  But this rarely happens, and the gallery knows it.  Instead, people look at the clock, and at the people sitting next to them, and at the judge.   Everyone is hoping to survive a minor bump in the timeline.  But like a patient who has just been given an anesthetic, there is no way to stave off the effect.  Like it or not, fight it or not by concentrating very hard on the revolting Rexton, history will change and we won’t remember a damn thing about it.

With the case closed, the judge performs the task he does before the start of every new case.  He opens up the execution register, sealed safely in the time-proof vault.  And he reads the name of the most recently Erased prisoner.  He clears his throat and says, “The last convict was #1202, Tommy James Rexton.”  Everyone stands in momentary disbelief and disorientation.  None of us remember what just happened.  Nobody remembers a man named Rexton.  We understand what must have just happened.  And we wonder what else has changed to the timeline.

I look and see my wife in the gallery, and I wonder if she was there before – before this now Erased Rexton changed our timeline.  I shake my head in an attempt to clean the thoughts from my mind.  But nothing has changed for me.  I’m still who I am.

My number will be called next.

©2013EthanLawrence

EDEN… A New HyperShort by Anthony Lawrence #eden #spacetravel #interstellar #story @ScienceFiction #tale

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Today’s HyperShort tips on saving the race, only to discover a small glitch. Read on…

EDEN by Anthony Lawrence

My slave ancestors were brought by force to a new world but I stand here now close to the end of the 21st century as a free black man who has come willingly to discover a new world to save all of humanity.  It is one of three planets around the star Gliese 667C, long considered a target potentially capable of supporting life as we know it. Our incredibly long journey was made possible through the theory of space pioneer Robert Goddard who early in the 20th century proposed that “it might be possible to reduce the protoplasm in the human body to the granular state, so that it could withstand the intense cold of interstellar space.” It took nearly two centuries to realize that process of freeze-drying and slow awakening as well as development of the spacecraft which could achieve near-light speeds that brought us so far through space and time.

Our instrumentation informed us upon awakening that we had passed through cosmic strings and a Kerr hole that was a black hole with a rotating ring of neutrons that produced sufficient centrifugal force and was safe to enter without being crushed by the infinite gravitational power at its center. We were not sure how that had affected us in the space-time continuum but we were happy to be alive and searching for the target planet. It had originally been discovered by the principal investigator and planet hunter for the Kepler mission at the Ames Research Center.  It was an ideal exoplanet possessing large expanses of shallow surface water, heated by tidal forces, plate tectonics essential for life, and an atmosphere very much like earth. Its star was an orange dwarf, a bit cooler and smaller than our sun, but providing a more favorable ultraviolet environment than a yellow dwarf. It had a longer time to develop life and provide seasonal variations that spur diversity of life and evolution.

When we landed safely on the planet’s largest continent we named this new world “Eden” because it reminded all of us of the biblical garden of earthly delights as described in the Book of Genesis. We were staggered with the exquisite beauty of this new promised land. It seemed to be “Paradise found”, a far better earth-like twin exoplanet than we had imagined or expected, the gentle meadows, lush forests, the seas graceful and magnificent, rich with natural resources, all teeming with biodiversity. The indigenous people whom we met and have been so gracious are peace-loving, intelligent, similarly humanoid both physically and mentally. They have welcomed all of us as if we were of the same family tree. But they do seem primitive and child-like, and apparently had little desire, like earth humans, to build sophisticated architecture and empires.

We discovered very quickly that this is because their lifespans are roughly equivalent to that of an American Cocker Spaniel, approximately 11 years. We have only been here a relatively short amount of time and my once coal-black hair is already turning white.

©2014AnthonyLawrence

INCARNATION… A new Western Sci-Fi HyperShort by Anthony Lawrence #pitch #western #scifi @tordotcom @bleedingcool

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By no means is it easy to mix two completely different genres… unless you’re a master. Behold, …and welcome to an unusual 1908.

INCARNATION by Anthony Lawrence

“So you’re claiming that you’re an innocent man?” Jack tried to keep skepticism from his voice. Ed struggled to get his words out. He could barely breathe because the canvas jacket compressing his body was so tightly laced.

“They’ve tried to break me. My spirit. Fact is I never belonged to that gang and I never robbed the railroad let alone killed anybody.”

It was 1908. San Quentin was California’s oldest prison. Inmate labor had built the prison on 20 acres of land in Marin County near San Rafael. It consisted of little more than fort-like structures built on rugged bare land surrounded by barbed wire fencing. In the dim light of a solitary confinement cell in one of the structures, Ed lay on a simple cot, his face pale, his body constricted by the cruel straitjacket. Jack sat on a wooden stool close by, a notebook cradled in one hand, the other scratching notes with a heavy rude pencil.  “So how about the other stuff? You say all that’s true?” Ed’s grey eyes flashed and he managed to nod his head recalling the pain and the images. “You won’t believe it if I swear on the God of my fathers.” Jack just shrugged slightly. “Try me.”

There was a long pause as Ed perused Jack’s face for some sign of trust. When he found it, he continued. “I come from the future. Far in the future. Nobody believed me when I said I was part of a team of scientists in 2055. When I talked about drug-induced reincarnation they thought I was crazy. They don’t understand anything about electrodynamics or quantum physics.” “Neither do I” offered Jack still trying to suppress his natural cynicism. But he couldn’t hide his curiosity. “You say you were able to separate your consciousness, travel through time and space and experience past lives?”

“It’s true,” Ed replied as he gasped for air and twisted slightly to gain a little more traction inside the horrid jacket. “Don’t care if anybody believes it. I went back to the beginning of time. I was a prehistoric tribesman, a 4th century hermit; I was a 16th century Englishman who was the first white man to set foot in Korea. I was Ragnar Lodbrog, a Norse-born Roman centurion in the service of Pontius Pilate.” Ed sucked in another gasp of air and hurtled on backward as he recounted the tales of spinning through time and space in other personalities. “I was Count Guillaume de Saint-Maure, a swordsman of medieval France; Jesse Fancher, a nine-year-old member of a wagon train crossing Utah in 1857.”

Jack London listened intently to the man as he took notes, admiring the convict if not for his pure inventive imagination but fascinated by the exceedingly remote possibility that he could be telling the truth. By the end of the afternoon, as he was leaving the prison, the novel was taking shape in his mind. It would be something radically different from anything he had written before. He would call it “The Jacket” or even a more romantic title, “The Star Rover.” Wondrous ideas were swirling through his mind.

“I trod interstellar space, exalted by the knowledge that I was bound on vast adventure, where, at the end, I would find all the cosmic formulae and have made clear to me the ultimate secret of the universe.”

©2014AnthonyLawrence

Anthony Lawrence biography

Beginning his career as an actor in the early fifties, he performed in many plays and films, then began writing in television, nine episodes of Bonanza, then on to many other series such as Gunsmoke, Columbo, the Fugitive, Outer Limits, and the Twilight Zone, creating and producing Sci-fi/fantasy series such as The Sixth Sense and the Phoenix with his wife and partner, Nancy Lawrence. He was considered one of the most prolific writers in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, writing films for Blake Edwards, Samuel Goldwyn Jr. and three Elvis Presley films for Hal Wallis at Paramount.  He wrote and produced a three-hour Presley biopic starring Kurt Russell, has received four WGA nominations as well as being named on the Writer’s Guild list of 101 best-written TV series.

SUNDOME… Today’s Hot HyperShort by Ethan Lawrence #ethanlawrence #hypershort @dailysciencefiction @sfsignal

SundomeImage

Another awesome HyperShort for today comes from the sunny side… the DARK sunny side, thanks to an “end of the world” master.

SUNDOME by Ethan Lawrence

Of all the trillions of people who have lived and who will live, I was not especially important, nor heroic, nor handsome, but for a few moments I was cradled by the laws of nature.  In a universe that allows humans to survive in a minuscule sliver of all possible times and places, this was a rare accomplishment.  I was under the Sundome.

I wanted to see the killing sun for myself so I took the Long Elevator to the surface.  The Sundome was a hemispheric pocket of air trapped under massive polymer plates on the crust of my dying planet called Earth.  The Sundome persisted only through the efforts of robotic fixers, and the robots themselves needed constant repair from the ravages of the sun.  Through the transparent ceiling of the dome, I watched the sun rise over the world it had destroyed.  The sun was a boiling disc, white and fringed with solar arcs.  Ancient archived images showed a turquoise sky, but the sun had long since blown the atmosphere to wisps across the ruins of the old city.  Rising from the centre was a tower many kilometers tall.  It had been even taller once, reaching all the way to orbit.

As the sun rose in the sky, the number of visitors to the Sundome thinned out.  It was a terrifying experience for many people to stand beneath the blinding and blazing star.  But not for me.  I wanted to face the sun, to challenge its authority to kill me.  While the bulk of the people around me withdrew to the safety of the rock beneath their feet, I chose to go further outwards.  The Sundome hosted a number of small transports that allowed visitors to tour the old city.  They were rarely used in daylight hours.  I went to the transport bay, now completely emptied of people, and found a bus.  The doors closed shut with a pneumatic sigh, and then it trundled out the airlock gates.  As the transport moved over the blighted landscape, it gave an automated commentary.

“Different astronomers on Old Earth,” said the bus, “reported different colors for the sun over different centuries.  It was thought that the colors had been misreported due to the primitive telescopes of the time.  Now we know that the old astronomers were seeing signs of instability.”

I tuned out the words, but the sound of the voice was soothing.  The transport made its way over to the great, ruined tower.  It was impressive, but once it had been majestic, almost god-like in its engineering.  Now it was a candle stub of eroded carbon.  The soil at the foot of the tower had been baked to glass.

The bus took me around the Old City.  The voice pointed out downtown, Santa Monica, and a charred area known as The Valley.  Every one of them had long since crumbled to an abstract mass.  I sat quietly on the bus as the sun showered the world with light of many frequencies and particles of many energies, with some that knocked lesser particles off the land around them and made the world glow.

On the time scales that affect human consciousness. I did not have long before I would be processed by the forces of nature.  Human sacrifice had dogged living creatures as far back as pre-Columbian Aztec civilization.  With the evolution of abstract intelligence, the tragedy of death became a folly.  But without that folly, humans would never have made it across the Red Sea and there never would have lived a man like me taking his last ride across the crust of a dying world.  Each of us ultimately took this tour before they died, for recycling.  Up ahead, at the end of this Grand Central Line, the bodies of the living were committed to the huge bacterial vats that broke down flesh and bone and returned organics to the community.

It was my last day on Earth.  And I couldn’t wait.

©2014EthanLawrence