From atop the cliffs, the tumult of sea at night seemed remote, too far away to ever hurt anyone. On the horizon, a string of lights revealed freighters waiting their turn to enter port, some twenty kilometers to the north, like they had for thousands of years. Brilliant lights shone all along the curving shore in that direction, only fading as they came closer, through one sedated coastal town after another. The breeze brought a chill, and the smell of salt, while up the promenade traveled mixed music from merry-go-rounds and beer gardens. It was peaceful at this end. The few floating lamps kept trying to cluster where people did, to the cha
(Or: a discussion of science fiction clichés)
Long ago, I created a space opera universe, with high hopes of setting all kinds of awesome stories in it. That didn't work out. Took me years to write just one. Even writing down all I knew about the setting didn't help. After some reworking, it finally yielded another story written by a friend, and a forum-based roleplaying adventure. And that was all.
My third attempt at worldbuilding came much later, and went straight to science-fantasy. But even though almost everything changed, most of my old principles turned out to have aged just fine. So here they (still) are. Enjoy.Earth should not
Plumes of smoke drifted across the clear summer sky, carrying with them the acrid smell of still-burning fires. Below, narrow streets winded among facades riddled with holes, pavement stones upturned by tank treads wherever the lumbering mechanical beetles had struggled to turn some corner. Here, a lamp post leaned against a partially collapsed house, where an artillery shell had pierced the wall and exploded, scattering blackened bricks every which way. There, water gurgled out of the exposed pipework of what had been a lovely public fountain, forming pools in the tattered shadow of an awning.
There was no sound but for the crackling of fla
It was a beautiful day at the beach, with not a cloud in the sky and just enough wind to temper the burning sun, the piercing cries of seagulls breaking up the heartbeat of waves washing up on hot sand. The meteor shower was just a bonus; nothing like that had been announced, but still they came, strings of silver sparks streaking across the sky. People pointed, watched with binoculars, filmed with their phones, shouts of excitement punctuating the bigger fireballs. But none of them ever came closer than the horizon. For a while, the show seemed to have ended. Then the wind picked up, bringing with it small dark clouds that churned furiously
The young man was a lick of flame dancing on the forest path as he hurried along in his crimson cloak, hood pulled over the eyes. His feet pounding the ground were the only noise among the trees save for distant birds calling each other. Sunlight poured through the immobile foliage overhead in glittering beams of gold that had insects spinning round and round, drunk with summer. It was so hot, the air felt thick and heavy even under the green canopy. Served him well, the young man thought, for hitting the road in the early afternoon, but he'd finished his chores early and wouldn't wait a moment longer. It was that day of the year for him, the
The boy gasped for air at every step. His T-shirt had a big wet spot, his feet were cold, yet he didn't dare look down as he made his way through the deserted maze of back alleys among apartment buildings. Countless times he wanted to stop, to just sit down, but his pursuer was always there, implacably keeping up no matter how fast the boy tried to run. So he pressed on in the dead silence, while light poured from above.
The sun was disappearing behind rooftops when he emerged into the square. It was... vast, and not the way he remembered it, but somehow that didn't seem strange. People were gray shapes in the distance, walking listlessly pa
I've got to type this in 'cause my roommate is sleeping. He says we don't have the bandwidth for video here anyway. They're really low-tech, you know? They make their own power and capture rainwater. It's never enough to go around, but that suits me just fine. It tastes awful. They even warned me not to drink straight from the tap. Wish I could send someone to our favorite store for a bottle of soda, but they'd be arrested. And I can't go because I'm supposed to be hiding.
As if! A white face around here stands out like Slender Man at a gay parade. I was afraid to go out by myself at first. Did you know the police never come to thi