“Passengers had a water leak an hour ago.” The air suddenly seemed to sharpen.
Water had been critical to interstellar travel from the beginning. Reclamation tech had never lived up to its promise, and building craft with large enough water supply tanks proved too expensive for most. So, ships like the Pinoche carried less water, relying on carefully planned stops along the route to collect ice.

Although incredibly clean, like the rest of the ship, the floor in the corridor showed its age with scuff marks and scratches, the kind paint doesn’t hide.  As she strode along, the worn metal grating beneath her feet rattled occasionally.  Kaylah tipped her head back to examine the conduits running overhead behind a series of grates.  Several were taped together with what looked like duct tape.

“A budget ride is a budget ride,” a family friend had warned as they said their last goodbyes back on Earth.  He had added earnestly, “but it will get you there in one piece.  The captain’s a good man.”

“Whatever that means,” Kaylah thought.  She pulled her coat tighter.  The air smelled musty but better than in the passenger rec area.   On any given day, when too many of the unwashed crammed into the converted cargo hold… Her nose crinkled in disgust.  She understood the need for limited water rationing, but she didn’t have to like it.

I wasn’t standing in the Oval Office when it happened.  Those upper echelons don’t know I exist.  Didn’t, I mean.

I bet it was quite a shock, though – a hologram appearing out of nowhere just to the right of the Resolute desk?  I would have loved to have seen the expressions on their faces.  Did they think it a prank?  Did they disbelieve their eyes for a split second?

You know bureaucrats.  It took them way too long to figure out it was real – the message and the alien.

If the figure hadn’t been dressed in high fashion – as in Milan – would it have been so incongruous?

Story Trailer/Idea: Colorado, Mountain Climbing, and… Alien?

Here’s an idea from my journal. Let me know what you think in the comments, Facebook, email, contact form, whatever:

Rock climber in Colorado. He watches another climber shimmy up an iced face. The other climber makes a move so fast the watcher almost doesn’t catch it. But catch it he does. It was a move impossible for a human to make.

What does an alien do when stranded on a planet not his own? When he has a long life, and needs to hide out from crowds of people? Learns how to be a mountaineer, of course. Find out how one man learns his secret.

Nanite Short Story in Black Hole?

No news from the competition out of Glasgow. I have no idea whether they’ve accepted my short story into the anthology. Is no news bad news?

I suppose I need to sit on the story for a year, then assume they’ve foregone the rights to it? Er, I’d better go back and read the submission rules on rights.

It’s hard not to let this burn me on writing more short stories.

Science Fiction Authors

Submitting a science fiction short story made me think of some my favorite authors, then and now, in the genre: Heinlein, Norton, H. Beam Piper, David Weber, Ernest Cline, Bujold, John Scalzi, and many more.

With Heinlein, I really like the first half of his work, the young adult adventures. Norton was a genius in conveying ideas with brevity yet telling a great action story. H. Beam Piper? What can I say — I’m a sucker for Fuzzies.

David Weber’s Honor Harrington is one of strongest female protagonists I’ve read in science fiction. It’s a fantastic universe he’s created, even if my eyes glaze over a little at the longer descriptions of the ships of battle.

Ernest Cline tied into almost every memory I have of the early years of computing and my own gaming experiences, not to mention tons of other pop cultural references of my childhood, all the while tying it to an exciting action story with a future not too far from the realm of possible.

Miles Vorkosigan is one the most flawed protagonists you’ll want to cheer on and on. Bujold really crafted a solid series.