Thanks to everyone who entered this week! Although we didn’t have many entries (feedback?), there were definitely some good ones!
Please keep returning to Microcosms, and retweet / spread the word about this contest among your followers and friends.
Don’t forget that Microcosms exists primarily to provide a platform for the flash fiction community to hone their skills, and secondarily to give entrants a chance of receiving an accolade from that week’s judge. We also have the vote button for anyone – not just fellow entrants – to register their favourite/favorite(s) and thus establish a Community Pick.
Remember, you can reply with a comment to any and all of the entries AT ANY TIME: It’s good to have feedback.
Thanks again to Dave Allen for this week’s prompt.
And many thanks to John Herbert for judging MC 86. Here’s what he had to say:
This was tougher than I’d imagined – just six entries this week but the quality was very high indeed and a particular thanks to Angelique for having produced two good pieces in the time. I particularly enjoyed Dave’s speculative task and wish I’d been able to take part in this one – fun stuff and I look forward to more of the same. I’d also like to say a particular thanks to the Microcosms team for keeping this wonderful community running and urge you all to join the publicity push in order to get more people in and writing. We all grow as writers from seeing the work of others.
Favourite / Favorite Lines
Angelique Pacheco “Europe 1465” – “Ma!” she yelled. “There’s a man going to magick me!” and off she ran.
Jeff Messick “Breaking the Future” – Any moment, I would hit the switch, saving humanity.
Bill Engleson “The Dallas Central Nuisance and Criminal Littering Detective Bureau: Case file 1963-11-22-1946” – If I wanted bullshit, I would have become a matador.
Angelique Pacheco “The Truth is Somewhat Sketchy – A Roswell Tale” – It was a cloudless day and the air was arid.
Dave Allen “The Death of Mrs. Lincoln” – “Sic semper tyrannis.” was all Booth offered when asked for an explanation.
M. Levi “Valley of Endless Sun” – “Goddamn Friscan,” the rancher muttered, and pulled the trigger.
Honourable / Honorable Mention
Dave Allen – “The Death of Mrs. Lincoln”
It’s one thing inventing the game, another to play it well. This was a great, compact and well-imagined piece of speculative fiction with a telling pay-off at the end. I wonder whether, in the light of the assassination attempt and his wife’s death, Honest Abe might have lived up to Booth’s terrifying justification and become a tyrant. I’d like to think not but the piece leaves us wondering which is, I guess, what speculative fiction is all about.
M. Levi – “Valley of Endless Sun”
This piece played with the conventions of the war and western genres and brought them to a scary future that, as things stand is not so unimaginable in the USA. The writing was tight and economical, the action well-managed.
And now, without further ado, we present the winners of Microcosms 86.
(insert drumroll here)
Jeff Messick – Breaking the Future
Astronaut / Assassination / Alternate History
She simply couldn’t live. I wrestled with the words and ideas, as my thumb hovered over the button that would send a signal to detonate the device and destroy the lander.
She would come back from the mission, a heroine. Nothing wrong with that, but the events surrounding it was a different story. She would conscript with certain scientists and create The Door, allowing one to travel through time. The abuses of that invention were catastrophic, enough so that I was forced to use it to save us all.
The lander neared its destination, hovering over the distant red sands of Mars, where her unbelievably fortuitous discovery of alien technology would lead to the death of humanity. My thumb twitched, but I couldn’t do it yet. It had to be an accident.
Technological advances through alien artifacts, abandoned a millennia ago by an unknown, possibly dead race, precipitating the end of another. Thirteen years of horror, disease, famine, and nearly any other travesty you could imagine, ate up the human race and spit them out as a footnote.
Any moment, I would hit the switch, saving humanity. The lander neared its target, crossing a ridge before touching down.
I looked out the portal of the ship I was on, a tear tracing down my cheek. She simply couldn’t live, thus, neither could I. She gave us all death, she gave some life. The scales couldn’t come close to balancing.
“Goodbye mother.” I whispered.
I stabbed the button and the lander exploded. I took a deep brea……..
Bill Engleson – The Dallas Central Nuisance and Criminal Littering Detective Bureau: Case file 1963-11-22-1946
This gives me great pleasure, not only for the winner of the best title but the matador line alone had me in stitches. I’ve been an admirer of Bill’s work for a long time and this is a worthy winner. I’ve been guilty of a little Drumpf-bothering on here myself but it wasn’t the politics but the inventiveness and wit of the speculation, the cleverness not to alter the events of history so much as give them a ludicrous tickle that got me. The dialogue is sharp and funny, the premise both scary and preposterous enough to laugh at the absurdity not just of the imagined world but our own.
Detective / Assassination / Alternate Reality
Detective Digby Dancer: Could’ve been worse, Chief. Two yoyos on a toot, playing at god knows what. Nutbars and idjuts. No big deal.
Chief Plankton: Ten words or less, Dancer. It was a simple assignment. Who’s creating a ruckus in Dealey Plaza and what’s their game? You know my motto: WHO, WHAT WHERE, WHEN, and WHY. The rest is fluffy bullshit. If I wanted bullshit, I would have become a matador.
D.D.D.: I’m a police officer, Chief, not some low-rent reporter. Turns out there was a big parade of mucky mucks…The President and the Governor, no less.
Chief: We KNEW about that, Dancer. Covered in the morning briefing. You gotta pay more attention. And it is a big deal, Detective. Most of the force is on security. Our job is to keep the streets clear of rubble. What went wrong?
D.D.D.: Wingnuts, Chief. Two for sure. The older one…mid-twenties, a weird vet named Oswald and some hoity toity rich kid from New York…a runaway from the New York Military Academy…Donnie…I got it here…Drumpf…stupid name…seventeen-year-old snot nose kid…the two of them were tossing books out of the School Book Depository…hell of a mess…yelling “WE WILL BURY YOU, AMERICA” top of their lungs. Wingnutjobs, Chief.
Chief: Say again?
D.D.D.: So, they’re tossing all these textbooks out the windows and yelling (let me check cause I wrote it all down… “history is on our side. We will bury you!” Over and over again like a broken record.
Chief: Damn, that sounds familiar.
D.D.D.: Me too, Chief, so I called my source at the Public Library. That Russkie leader, Khrushchev. He said it some years back.
Chief: This smells of more than littering, Dancer. Way above our paygrade. Write ‘er up and I’ll pass it on to the FBI.
D.D.D.: You got it, Chief.
Congratulations, Bill. Please let us know if you’d like to judge the next go round!