Monday, October 20, 2014

Horror Telephone is Finished!

Horror Telephone has now been finished.

Download it Here: Low-Quality or High-Quality

Horror Telephone is a project born of many of the same people as Sci-Fi Telephone. The literary telephone games we play look like this:

1. Someone gives a story a title.
2. Someone draws title art based only on that title.
3. Someone else writes a story based only on that title art.
4. Someone else reads that story and gives it a title.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 as desired, ending with step 3 when sastisfied.

Due to some administrative bumbling (my apologies) horror telephone ended later than planned and a little short, but we still got three fine stories with remarkably fitting titles and artwork out of it. I hope you enjoy this experiment. If you like it, feel free to seek out Sci-Fi Telephone here.

We'll be feeling out where to go from here as far as the next project; whether it will be Telephone or a different lit-game, and what its theme will be, I don't know. If you want to be involved, there's a sign up sheet on the blog.

I want to offer special thanks to all who contributed to the project, as well as everyone who signed up who was unable to contribute for any reason. Your support in this endeavor has been awesome.

The Horror Telephone rings for you. Tell your friends.

- D.J. Lower, Ed.

Stories Featured in Horror Telephone

The Monster Hiding in My Closet

Writing by B. Alex Pope
Artwork by Dr. Missile
Title from D.J. Lower

The Sleeper

Writing by M. Veiga
Artwork by G. Peet
Title from Jon Taylor

Inglorious Purpose

Writing by L. Wyatt
Artwork by John-Frederick Pope
Title from D. Morrison

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Web Version: Sci-Fi Telephone Issue #1

The following is the webpage equivalent of Sci-Fi Telephone Issue #1. If you'd like to grab the pictures, you can "save as" them from this page. If you like what you're reading, feel free to grab the PDF format HERE.

What this is About

Awhile ago I had a thought of how to make a sort of exquisite corpse sort of thing, but with science fiction stories. I know the fun of playing a good game of Consequences with friends and thought it worthwhile to attempt a literary experiment of sorts. I found some like-minded individuals and thus the project began. If you're reading this right now you may already know its basic structure, but here it is just in case:
  1. Someone gives a kickoff story title.
  2. The next person draws artwork based on that title alone.
  3. The next person writes a story based on that artwork alone.
  4. The next person reads that story and gives it a title.
And so on and so forth. For this first issue we've put together five rounds' worth of titles, artwork and stories, for a total of five works. For the sanity of readers and writers we kept the lengths of stories down a fair amount.

We're already in the very beginnings of the next project, Horror Telephone, and after that are looking at branching out to even more genres and possibly other literary games and constructions besides anthologies.

If you'd like to join us for a project in the future (there will possibly still be a slot left in Horror Telephone when you read this, even) please let me know in the form on our blog at . Though of course, the internet is always changing, and so if by the time you read this we're no longer there, look for it by Tele-Literary.

Without further ado, please enjoy Sci-Fi Telephone, Issue #1!

- D.J. Lower, project facilitator

The Stories


Title: D.J. Lower
Artwork: John-Frederick Pope
Story: B. Alex Pope

2. Murder at the Terraform Zoo

Title: P. Odenthal
Artwork: G. Peet
Story: C. Applegarth

3. Dream

Title: Jon Taylor
Artwork: Dr. Missile
Story: L. Wyatt

4. Cunning Ol' Fury

Title: M. Tongue
Artwork: Corban M.
Story: C. Brence

5. The Big Red Button

Title: D. Morrison
Artwork: John-Frederick Pope
Story: D. Gill


There’s nothing entertaining about this.”

“You’re wrong.”

“No, there’s nothing entertaining about this.”

“Then why are you watching?”

“Ever see a ship break up in the atmosphere when their retro rockets fail?”


“Did you look away?”

“Who wouldn't watch that? It's pretty sweet.”

“That's what it is. The entertainment value of this is offensive.”

“But you’re still watching!”

“That doesn’t mean I should!”

A screeching wail cackled from the speakers as a searing flash from the screen illuminated the every crack of the tiny control pod that the two men were sharing. Both recoiled in such stunned awe of the horror, one would never expect that they’d seen the same thing on a daily basis for nearly three weeks, but the same reaction came every time.

“Aint that a thing…” Said Fronk, a heavy set man, obviously too old to be working this job, “Heh, I can’t get tired of it.”

Fronk was hardly in a position to brag about anything most of the time, but it had never stopped him from doing so, or from doing so verbosely depending on how much he’d had to drink. Simply, he was a stubby man, and he ran operation. A certain detachment from reality was expected of his position, but loving this job is a vice only for the strange.

“I still think there’s nothing entertaining about it.” said Nick. He was a tall and sleek man of what most would consider little distinction. He would cut his black hair often and religiously, but looking at him, it wouldn’t be obvious: slightly too long, constantly in his eyes, just above the point of his tiny nose. He had made sure that if wanted not to make eye contact, he wouldn’t have to. Just hide behind the hair.

He and Fronk never managed to find common interests, but they had silently agreed not to hate each other. After all, they were poised to spend the entirety of the mission with one another, and even if it was only for one month, they would have to be amicable to survive. Space will bleed a lonely man’s mind to madness, so this arrangement was an inescapable requirement, even if they were two men working for two different entities with two very different goals.

“Well, that’s it for this one. What’s next?” said Fronk flippantly, flipping off the static fuzz leftover from the flash.

“I… that’s not enter… it’s…” sputtered Nick.

“We’ve got nine more of these, kid. Don’t flip out now.”

“I’m not flipping out. I’m just… Tired of watching.” said Nick, looking down.

“Then don’t.” said Fronk flatly.

“Retro rockets…” said Nick, turning and hiding his eyes with his hair, “I’ve gotta send this footage back on the Wi-Com. Anything you need sent?”

“Send my regards to your mother!” Fronk guffawed.

Nick continued to the other side of the pod. It’s a short walk. He didn’t like thinking about the size of the room, so he’d purposefully walk slowly. His task at the end of the jaunt would be tedious one, compiling hundreds of spike-cameras into a single file to stream to the distribution hub on Terra 2. Meanwhile, Fronk would loudly plot the course to the next planet with every button making a distinct, percussive squeal with every poke of Fronk’s puffy round fingers.

Twenty days of this gestated Nick’s vitriol, which he was actively stuffing in the corner of his mind. The job was almost done, and he didn’t know the first thing about plotting courses or extra-light-travel compensators. He was simply a glorified photographer, the orbital camera man. No glory in job to speak of, but what bothered him most was that he needed Fronk.

“Sixteen hours to next body. Cuttin’ it close. No delays this time, kid.”

“Look, the network needs at least three hours of footage from every camera, I can’t just say, ‘hey, animals! come over to the big thing in the ground!’” said Nick, loudly enough to make Fronk consider that he might actually be mad.

“Look kid,” started Fronk, “as long as we’re leaving that heap this time tomorrow, I don’t care. Just launch your stupid cameras and take your stupid footage and I'll blow the damn thing to hell!”

“Ough…” said Nick, recoiling back to his hole. It would be a long night.


“Coming soon, the acclaimed series, Terraform Zoo! Wednesdays at 7pm Eastern Standard time! Watch all the magnificent wonders of the hundreds of planets we’ll soon be calling ‘Home’! See the wildlife up close! Get a grasp on every part of each entirely unique ecosystem in this two hour, fully holographic experience that everyone on the orbital causeways, and remember, WEDNESDAY at 7 EASTERN STANDARD TIME!!”


“I can’t believe I’m doing this I can’t believe I’m doing this I can’t believe I’m”

“Shut up kid, if you hate being on the ship then wear the damn visualizer goggles or something,” said Fronk, annoyed at Nick’s chanting, “don’t cabin fever out and ax murder me. You sound like a crazy person.”

“I don’t hate being here. I hate what I do here.” said Nick.

“Do what you do. Whatever if you hate it.” Fronk had very little to say. He would have more if he had bothered care about anything.

“What does that even mean?”

“Iunno. I just pilot the thing. And make sure the terra-gizzy works. Hard to hate that.” said Fronk.

“Ough.” It was Nick’s sign-off.

Twenty-one planets in twenty-one days. The terraforming process would take years, decades, but the entertainment industry capitalized immediately. The opportunity was obvious.


Fronk awoke from his hammock to find Nick poking at the console on the other side of the pod.

“Early rising this morning.”

“Space, damnit. There is no morning here.”

“Clock says morning.” said Fronk as he rolled out of his hammock with the grace of a wingless butterfly. On all fours, he crawled his way to the desk chair on his side of the pod. It would’ve been more pathetic if the ceiling was higher, but the pair would stoop to walk in the pod anyway, so they often avoided walking at all.

“Could you be a bigger idiot?!” Nick was needlessly angry, but Fronk wasn’t willing to do anything about it.

“Uhh… Did you make coffee?” Grumbled Fronk “Coffee and food. Then we start.”

A hissing roar erupted in the pod, deafening Fronk and Nick in the shear cacophony.

“GOOD GOD, what the hell was that?” Fronk said furiously, “You do NOT mess with MAH SHIP!”

“Relax, it was just the cameras.” Said Nick calmly.

“The hell did you do, fire ‘em all at--” Fronk stopped in his tracks, “of course you did… Why would you catch me off guard like that, man? I aint even had my coffee yet!”

“Just trying to save time.”

Fronk grumbled to the coffee pot in the center of the pod. “You aint saving any time. I hadn’t even set up the terraformer yet. That’ll take hours.”

“More footage for the network, I guess.” Nick began ignoring Fronk as he grumpily made coffee.
Nick stared at the monitors. Of the 200 spike-cameras he had fired to the surface, only 75 were working, plenty to get the footage he needed. The impact had scared the wildlife away as it always would on the twenty planets prior, but they’d be back. Nick always chose the best possible places for the cameras; where they would invariably see the local fauna. He waited, knowing somewhere in his mind that it would push him too far.

Flipping through the living cameras, he found a river, an oasis in what was seemingly a desert. The sun was setting on it slowly. This sunset would take hours, even days, days of a taupe haze blanketing and softening the edges of the otherwise harsh environment surrounding an anemic river of green liquid, perhaps water, but it was far from Nick’s understanding of nitrogen based life. All he knew was that it was beautiful. And when Fronk finished the terraforming missile, it would be gone.

By the second hour, the birds had returned to the river, his Eden. The joy and terror of this place kept every second of his solitude watching the monitor a mesmeric nightmare of anticipation.

“What’re you doin’?” boomed Fronk.

“Shh.” Hissed Nick quietly.

“Whatever. Almost done, kid.”

Something was tickling a ripple in the river. The life was returning to his Eden. A small quadruped, perhaps a reptile of some sort, approached the river. The ripple intensified.

“There we go, baby!” Fronk exclaimed, shattering Nick’s silence, “Ten minutes, max.”

Nick silently arose. His hammock was so close to Fronk’s that he’d learned how to walk across the tiny pod’s metal grate floor without making a sound. Halfway across…

The lizard recoiled from the liquid’s edge. The ripple was now too obvious. Something was in there, and it knew it wasn’t friendly. A single eye, poked slightly out of the liquid. It darted around, looking for what it knew was edible and locking firmly on the reptile. A single vibrant tendril oozed its way up the beach as stealthily as it could. The lizard was entirely unaware.

Nick reached out for the steak-knife that the two had used for everything. His grip on it tightened with every step. He knew how many were left. He’d counted. Three steps… Two steps… The knife now burned in his hand, his knuckles ached.

The lizard, still oblivious to the imminent danger of becoming prey, slowed to enjoy the fading sun. A gust of wind sent the trees dancing… The wrong direction! The lizard picked up the scent of the tendrils, but the eye of the tendril was ready.

Squeeeeek! The floor under Nick screamed his presence! Fronk turned in his chair, startled and immediately bursting into cold sweat.

The tendril beast arose fully from the liquid. A maze of medusa pink tendrils shot across the sand with terrifying speed, engulfing the scrambling reptile in a gruesomely futile squirm… for naught.

His nails been digging into his palm when he finally lunged fist first for Fronk’s neck. Burying the steak knife deep in his neck, feeling things sever and snap as it went, Nick knew that it was done… but he’d never thought of those final seconds, releasing the knife with orgasmic catharsis, he met Fronk’s eyes… they seemed to beg something, but Nick wanted only to see one thing. He would hear no more screeching wails from the life, he'd see no more writhing pain immediately after the flash, it was done. At least, he was done.
The lizard was finished. Not dead, but the job was done. The tendrils began to recoil back to the liquid and the eye the once stared knives into its prey’s eyes, now contented and blissful rest. The sun was finally over the horizon and the colors were fading away. The pod began its descent into the atmosphere, and he knew that the beauty of this Eden would be eternal for him.

Murder at the Terraform Zoo

The Quadrarian detective kneeled beside the corpse, typing everything he saw into his omni-tab. Having four eyes meant that there wasn't much he didn't see.

Quadrarians were quite a paranoid, intolerant people.  They used their four eyes (one in back, three in front) to great effect.  As a result of their paranoia, Quadrarians didn't dream, they couldn't dream, and humans always found that fascinating.  Humans were obsessed with dreams, he thought.  And yet, Quadrarians weren't as technologically advanced as humans, except in the field of genetic engineering.  They'd given themselves extra sensory organs (e.g., eight ears) and an increased lifespan.  Quadrarians still couldn't dream, though.  That's why humans looked inward while Quadrarians always seemed to look out.

The detective thought for a moment about the case he was researching, typed in a few more details, and then got up from his place and looked over at the witness.  The witness was neither human nor Quadrarian, but a robotic drone, part of the zoo's security system.  It beeped and whirred and its monitor flickered on.  Pictured on its screen was a hard-boiled, pockmarked human policeman.  "I am unit alpha.  You can call me Harold.  Allow me to replay the scene for you."  A panel on the front of the robot opened, revealing a large, telescope-like device.  It popped and, suddenly, the Quadrarian found himself looking at a translucent hologram of the victim.

"Are you ready?" asked the robot in his shrill voice.  "This is a hologram.  It's like a dream."

The Quadrarian scoffed at the word 'dream.'  "I'm ready," he said gruffly, and the hologram began to move.  The victim was a tall, pale Quadrarian man, wearing a jacket labelled "Park Security."  The victim's image slowly made an angry, waving gesture and shook its fist.  Something exploded nearby, and the man was knocked off his feet, dark red blood flying everywhere.  He landed on the concrete below, his hand still outstretched, exactly where the victim's body was now.

"What was he saying when he was shot?" asked the Quadrarian.

"That has been redacted," asked the robot.

The detective's wrinkled hands hurriedly typed into the omni-tab.  This robot was probably the only lead there was.  He had to get that information. "Play that one more time, please," he said, getting to his feet once more and walking to the front side of the scene.  As the hologram whirred into life again, the detective stared into the eyes of the poor Quadrarian man.

The man wasn't saying anything.  He even looked quite resigned to his fate.  In fact, if the detective wasn't mistaken, he looked strangely alien... strangely human.

The Quadrarian sighed, and with a few more taps on his omni-tab, began to walk away.  "I'm done here, robot."

"Okay.  Will continue securing the perimeter," the robot beeped.

The Quadrarian began to step away from the scene, but realized he'd forgotten to collect a DNA sample. 
 He turned around to go grab one, but he stopped in his tracks when he saw the scene from the back.  The victim's hologram had no back eye.  He couldn't have been Quadrarian!

Eagerly, the detective took a sample of his DNA.  "Quadrarian, Human," stated his analyzer.

"Can you give me any records on this guy?" the detective asked.

The robot responded with a grunt, and then its screen flashed with a brief employment history for the victim.  He had worked at a genetics lab for a very long time, but otherwise his records were empty.

"I thought you knew..." the robot buzzed in a strange tone.

"Knew what?"

"He was part human," said the robot.  "He was a successful experiment... he could dream.  People didn't like that.  People... your people... hated him.  For his ability to dream.  To hope... There were others like him, but he was the last one."

The Quadrarian looked down solemnly.  Had this been the only one of their kind able to have a dream?  To take his own thoughts and experiences and create something wonderful in his mind?

He got up and walked away from the scene, incredulous of his planet's inability to tolerate a simple dream.  The detective looked back at the robot one last time.  "The only thing that makes us different from humans is that we'll never be able to dream," he said.  "Not until we can really dream, in and of ourselves."

"Humans were once the same way," beeped the robot.

The detective thought about that statement for a moment, scratched the back of his head, and carried on.  For a second he could have sworn he saw a vision, but he shrugged it off and continued walking toward the tall, steel gates.


“How’s the carriage, Jeff?” I asked, skipping the usual good morning and how was your date with Lucy? I could see from his eyes that something else was more important.

“You’re gonna love this, boss.” Jeff said proudly. His grin stretched from ear to ear, and his eyes glowed brighter than the sun. “We’ve integrated the Brody Technique.”

One sentence, then a pause for dramatic effect. Not that he really had to – the Brody Technique was the one thing that every team in the Special Olympics was striving for. It had been theorized about a quarter-century earlier - I did my middle-school science report on it - it was called the Heiner- Andromeda Problem back then. By the time I got to college, Brody had proven it with precisely controlled experiments. But this was the first time it might possibly have been achieved in real life. The hang up was the heat. How did they transfer the heat?

“We were having trouble with the heat.” Jeff seemed to pick up where my mind left off. “The Brody mechanism works superbly, we’ve had one running since last summer. The problem is that the system generated too much heat, making it impossible to use in the games. But now…” Jeff looked like a kid in a candy shop. “We covered your carriage in fur!” He said, looking me dead in the eye. And I almost smacked him for it.

“You did what?” I demanded.

“Fur. We replaced the scales with positively-ionized fur. It’s flame-retardant, lays down smooth in the water, and can be stood erect to act as a massive array of cooling towers.” Jeff went on for a few more minutes, explaining all the technical mumbo-jumbo. All I really cared about what that it would let me use the Brody. He swore that it would. Admittedly, I had grown fond of the scaly exterior that we had been using, but I’d be willing to give that up for a fully-functioning Brody kit. I gave him the green light, and the techies ran off like kids who hear an ice cream van on a July afternoon.

“Boss, we got a voicemail this morning.” Mr. Kiernanabag informed me as the others scurried off. Kiernanabag was my legal guy, rules guru, yes-and-no person, and paper-pusher all in one.

“Voicemail? Only the IOC ever uses the phones anymore.”

“Exactly. God help them when they stop making those clunky old contraptions.” She produced a transcript from her notepad. “This our official announcement that this year’s Special Olympics will include mechanically-activated threats. No surprise there.” She added. We had all been expecting this announcement for months. It made me extra-thankful that I would have Brody on my side.

I went to lunch and followed my routine as best I could, although I could feel that little extra spring in my step. I’ve trained hard to control my emotions, but I guess even the best aren’t perfect. When I got back, Jeff was waiting by the door.

“Are you ready, boss?” He asked, eager to show me the fruits of his labors.

“I’m all yours, Mr. Lundgrenfeldt.” He likes it when I use his last name, it makes him feel more dignified. Jeff and I walked in to the darkened shop. Just for the hell of it, he had shut off all the lights for a big reveal when I arrived. Once my eyes got used to the darkness, I realized that I was looking at a mouse. Not the furry kind that you tell your kids are special squirrels to avoid the ugly truth, but the flattened, triangular kind that were on TV way back in the 20th century.

“Glad to see there’s a point to all your hard work.” I said, making a way-too-corny pun about the razor-thin point that was both the nose-cone of the carriage, and the snout of the mouse. Two sun yellow headlights played at being eyes, and the umbilical of power and hydraulic lines plugged into the rear hatch looked more like a tail than anything.

“Check out those legs.” I observed. They were wiry, straight, and looked far too brittle.

“I’ll let you in on a secret.” Jeff mock-whispered to me. “Each leg is a series of composite hinges. They can simultaneously rotate in varying directions from varying pivot points. Highly versatile. And they’re made of Titan®Combination, so you’ll never break them.”

We spent quite a while walking in and around the recently nicknamed HyperMaus. Jeff pointed out all the improvements over last Olympiad’s model, and raved about how vastly ahead of the field I would be once I adjusted to the Brody Technique.

On my way in to the similar room, I passed a wall photo of a 100-meter runner with a prosthetic leg. I had to marvel at what had become of the Special Olympics in the century since this photo was taken. How that poor man got on with such an awkward prosthetic, and how he would have dropped to the floor in awe what the games had become.

By the time I finally got in the simulator, I had worked out exactly how to put this new invention through the ringer. I mounted the simulator and donned my helmet. Jeff cued up the Brody Technique for me. Brody didn’t just map my nerves to control circuits like a matrix, or tax my mental fortitude with the basic telepathy that empowered the Sensosuit. Brody would fully link my consciousness into the HyperMaus. I would re-train my mind to think like a cyborg rodent and would be controlling the carriage just like a human controls his own body. Intuitively. Naturally. As I ran through the simulator, dodging obstacles, fighting with opponent’s carriages, and evading predators in the arena, I knew in my heart that this year was mine to win.  The official voicemail from the IOC was still lingering in my mind and I couldn’t quite shake the image of a computer-driven drone zeroing in on me in the darkness, but I knew that I’d have mouse-like instinct on my side.

In his infinite wisdom, Jeff had built a sound system into the carriage. I didn’t need speakers – it was directly linked to my consciousness. All I had to do was think Queen and the band burst into song, filling my mind with Don’t Stop Me Now! I know nobody else could hear me, despite them standing right next to me in the simulator. I must have looked like a madman, dancing with a partner only I could see to music only I could hear. But everyone knew that this was our year. And this madman, dancing around and decimating cyborgs in his mind, was their best chance to stand on the Olympic podium.

Cunning Ol' Fury

A curious beast, this, she thought as she observed the Warmech. My presence ordinarily upsets these monsters, yet this one seems docile. The Warmech towered over Michiko by what felt like one hundred times, and it had clearly spotted her, yet it had made not a twitch in her direction. Michiko stood from her perch on the rock, which barely rose up to the Warmech’s foot, and steadied herself using the actuator rod that she’d mistaken for a bo staff. She wasn’t in much shape to be fighting, but fortunately for her, it didn’t seem like fighting was something that she’d need to do for the moment.

Michiko took a walk around the beast’s legs, observing what she could of the silver giant. She tried her best not to trip or lose balance, using the actuator as a walking stick to compensate for her injured left leg. For such a hulking mass of...she’d assumed tempered steel, the mech was surprisingly slender. The legs, despite their length, were only as big around as the old magnolia tree from the courtyard back home. The mech was mostly unadorned, its torso lacking any sort of musculature, with only some heraldic symbol on its chest to tell it apart from others like it.

She approached one of the Warmech’s legs and made an attempt to climb it. Its surface was slick and difficult to gain a hold on, and just as she thought she had a good grasp of it, she slid right down again, nearly landing on her bad leg. She grabbed the actuator rod from the ground and tried using it as leverage to raise herself up, but failed to lodge it in the ground, nearly winding up face-first in the rust-red soil. When she tried again, this time lodging the tip of the actuator into a notch in the mech’s foot, she didn’t even manage to get off the ground before the mech finally began to stir. Oh no, she thought, I’ve awoken it! I’m finished! I--

The Warmech slowly lowered itself to a kneeling position, stuck out one of its giant steel fists, and bowed its head. A hatch atop the Warmech’s head, which Michiko could not see properly before, sprung open as if to invite her inside. It was then that the telltale screech of her “giant ravens” approached again. The last time she’d seen one of them, her surroundings had been bathed in fire, the explosions still ringing in her ears. She couldn’t afford to be caught in her state of injury and defenselessness, so she tossed her actuator rod aside and climbed up the giant fist, its surface quite a lot rougher than the legs, perhaps to allow for a better grip. She calmly lowered herself into the hatch, taking care to put her weight on her good leg.

Inside the Warmech’s head, Michiko had landed upon a large chair. It was not quite as luxurious as the throne she remembered from her homeland, but it would do. No sooner had she taken a seat, than the Warmech began to stir again. Michiko felt herself rising into the sky for a brief moment. Then, a light in front of her, and a voice. The voice spoke some language she could not understand, but it was clearly the voice of someone like her. The lights seemed to form words of some kind, but not any that she could interpret. All she could understand of the things in front of her was a large, glowing button, which she could not resist pressing.

The lights in front of her dissipated, then Michiko was granted a view of the world outside. Not like she was used to, but from many hundred feet off the ground, as if she were in an immense tower, overlooking her old prefecture of Hokkaido. Old? she thought, Have I given up on it so easily? There must be a way back...I just have to keep searching, and perhaps this strange beast can help me. Now if only I could tell it what to do…

The Big Red Button

He snapped out of his reverie. Taking a deep breath, Dirk looked back down at his work. His computer was smashed, and his emergency broadcast device that he was running through it, too, was destroyed. If only that power surge had waited a bit longer… He took stock of his surroundings; the pipes were undamaged, hallelujah, otherwise he’d be hallucinating thanks to the gas running through them. The cords he had severed were still more or less in one piece, although his flask was completely empty, as that surge had caused him to knock it over. He sighed. No more instant pick me up. 40 year old scotch, gone. He shook his head. He was getting sidetracked again. He crawled back over to his right, ignoring his now broken tools, looking to see if his way out was still secured. While he moved in the darkness, he thought of everything that had happened. GigaVita, the megacorperation that was running 90% of the world’s healthcare had started changing their policies, basically forsaking those who were ‘unfit’ to grow in society, as determined by the clauses in their healthcare forms which denied certain patients. The media ignored it all, being paid off by GigaVita, so the public at large was ignorant of their movements. Dirk’s son, Thyme, was one such patient, GigaVita’s system giving them the run around when Thyme was diagnosed with bone cancer in both of his femurs. Dirk begged, pleaded, gave up everything he had to try and save his son, only to finally have one doctor tell him that, as he was being escorted out of the hospital, “Your son has no place in our world.” Not realizing the depth of these words, Dirk took his son and sought to leave the country, heading out to find unbiased care. However, Dirk, instead of driving to the airport and leaving his car, he decided to use a taxi. Less payments on his car for parking. But, as soon as they got in the taxi, the doors were locked, and the divider window sealed itself. Dirk and his son were driven far away from their home, their friends, their family, and brought to a facility of some kind far from their known ground. Dirk and his son were finally allowed to exit the car, only to face a small armed unit of men, circling one man who wore a white coat which read, ‘The Esteemed Dr. Rasp.” Dirk asked him who he was, and why he and his son had been kidnapped. Dr. Rasp didn’t respond to him directly. Instead, he raised a hand, and the guards took aim. Dirk tried to shield his son from the shots, but his body suddenly jerked with pain, with what he would later realize to be a stun dart. He watched, semi-conscious, as his son was knelt down, crying, and read out his ‘crimes’; ‘inferiority of genes,’ ‘attempt to leave quarantine,’ ‘intent to spread inferiority.’ Then, Dirk’s brain locked up as his son’s body shook with pain as bullets rained into him, ending his existence for no more reason than that of ‘genetic supremacy.’ Since then, Dirk has done his research, and found out that the entire project that Dr. Rasp lead was one similar to Hitler, but worse; instead of actively killing people continuously, he instead chose to let them suffer ‘til they died, with only those who were strong enough to try to escape being hunted down and killed. Dirk was spared because it wasn’t his fault, he was informed as he was driven back to town. It was his wife’s fault. The woman who had been in a different state at the time of Dirk’s attempted departure, but was now, he was assured, buried in a shallow grave full of holes. Dirk vowed to bring down the mega-corporation, to show their corruption, and then avenge his fallen family of the wrongs committed against them. This lead to where he was currently; he found out that an ‘abandoned shack’ outside of town was being used to house documents of a sensitive nature. Dirk rounded up equipment he would need; an emergency beacon to attract the police’s attention when he was done finding his evidence, a grapple line, a code breaker to enter the computer records, if any, some plastic explosives, a lap top, some rations, and some wire splicing equipment. From the get go, his mission had proved quite easy. Too easy, in fact. The guards didn’t notice him breaking in, and his entrance into the computer mainframe had been undetected. That is, until he reached for his beacon. As soon as his hand touched the beacon, the entire building had been rocked with some sort of seismic event, completely upsetting everything he was working with, erasing his data, and all in all denying him the satisfaction of his vengeance. He shook his head, wondering why he felt so dizzy. Must have been from the crash. He began to plan his next move; find a safe place to hole up for a week or so, then start digging again. He would not fail. The future of humanity may well rest upon his shoulders. He tripped once, crawling, not noting how heavy his limbs were beginning to feel. He approached where he remembered the air duct being, but, with a sinking sense of despair, he realized why he felt so weak; the air in his small crawl space was being removed. It dawned on him that he had been led here, a witness to the crimes of GigaVita, and therefore a liability. He slammed his head against the ground, cursing his powerlessness. He had been lied to by the powers that be. In fact, he had been lied to by his sources. The air vent he had used to enter the base was in tatters. He had been lead here. He was known.

And now, he was going to die.

Sci-Fi Telephone Issue #1 is HERE


Sorry, I forgot to put the link where it said "HERE" up there. Instead...


Or if you prefer, you can read it online right here on the Tele-Literary blog.


by B. Alex Pope
art by John-Frederick Pope

Murder at the Terraform Zoo
by C. Applegarth
art by G. Peet

by L. Wyatt
art by Dr. Missile

Cunning Ol' Fury
by C. Brence
art by Corban M.

The Big Red Button
by D. Gill
art by John-Frederick Pope

So what are you waiting for? Grab up this piece of awesome free science fiction stories and art in PDF form, or read it here on the Tele-Literary blog. We'll be looking at some other possible formats as well.

As before, definitely tell your friends, and let us know if you'd like to get involved somehow. There's even a nifty form on the right that anyone can use to get in touch, if they don't happen to know anyone involved personally already.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Testing, Testing

This will be a blog to host Sci-Fi Telephone and its related projects. One of the authors, CJA, suggested Tele-Literary and I thought that was a pretty cool name.

Sci-Fi Telephone is a project I got together to get people collaborating in a telephone-like way on a series of stories. It works this way:

1) Someone (in this instance me) provides a starting title.
2) Someone draws art based on that title.
3) Someone writes a story based only on the artwork.
4) Someone reads the story and gives it a title.
5) Repeat steps 2-4.

The first project, Sci-Fi Telephone, will be up soon. There's one more story to get done yet, then maybe a day or two to get stuff up! While I did get the ball rolling on this, it's hardly my project alone. Mad props to all of those of you who have been involved in this thing. You made it happen. We're looking at various formats to get the stuff out there; it'll be blogged, but I'm also wanting to have it all collected in PDF format for those who desire it. CJA's going to be looking at maybe doing a printable file as well, so this thing can be shared physically.

So stay tuned. Sci-Fi Telephone begins publishing soon. Tell your friends. If you're interested in writing, drawing or reading for one of our projects in the future, or know someone who would, please feel free to let us know here (see the nifty side-bar) or elsewhere. If you like what this is about, please consider following Tele-Litarary on Blogger or in your neighborhood feed-reader so you don't miss anything!