The Steam-Powered Singularity
Charles Babbage was the first to translate himself into the vast Matrioshka Brain that enclosed the young star in its ironclad Dyson sphere grip. The giant leap in computing power required for this happened accidently when his Difference Engine was left running un-supervised over the weekend. It had overheated, and had somehow spewed out the blueprints for a Mark Two version of itself. Enthralled with this accidental discovery Babbage tried to duplicate the action by purposefully running the Mark Two Engine beyond its safe working parameters. It worked. Exponentially. Time and time again.
He started thinking about the possibility of creating a Singularity.
Sometime later, in the cold, hard vacuum of space.
Huge plumes of superheated steam crystallized into diamond droplets of water immediately upon being expelled into space from the city-sized vents as the furnace, deep within the Singularity’s centre, chugged-away happily consuming the star’s inexhaustible power.
A vast improvement upon the prototype coal version, Babbage thought.
However, as the last human being on Earth was finally uploaded, and the ravaged planet, which the uncontrollable landslide into the Industrial and Technological Age had generated, was finally returned to Nature, no-one was left to notice that the Niagara Falls-sized water tube (which showed the boiler’s water level) was not as full as it seemed. The gargantuan glass was stained at the full mark by the oxides in the water. The tube was actually empty and the boiler was burning unabated. Yet another overheating problem that the genius had overlooked. The last thing that went through Charles Babbage’s virtual mind before the Matrioshka Brain went supernova was:
‘Is it hot in here... or is just me?
Scifi-Tales Stories are now available on a dial-up service. Got fifteen or twenty minutes you want to fill and can't be bothered to read? Why not give my 08726657636 number a try?
Choose from a Science Fiction Story - Do We Not Bleed?
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A belated Happy New Year 2014 to you all!
2013 ended on a very sad note with the passing of the great Joel Lane suddenly November 25, 2013, reportedly in his sleep. He was only 50 and although I never got to meet him I feel honoured to be in one of his last anthologies R.I.P. Joel.
I'm in two new anthologies and keeping company with
World Fantasy Award Winner Joel Lane
British Fantasy Award Winner John Llewellyn Probert!
The anthos are:
(What's your star sign? Is our fate pre-determined by the constellations and the position of the planets? Can astrology really present an alternative vision to the apparent certainties of science, politics, religion and celebrity culture? Or should its claims of determinism, fate, fortune and personality profiling perhaps be taken with a large pinch of salt? Here are fourteen brand new astrologically themed stories to delight and enthral, spanning the range of science fiction, fantasy and horror, with stories by Doug Blakeslee, Mark David Campbell, Storm Constantine, Adam Craig, Megan Kerr, Joel Lane, Bob Lock, Jet McDonald, David McGroarty, Ralph Robert Moore, Christine Morgan, David Turnbull, Neil Williamson and Stuart Young. What is the secret of the white bull and his labyrinthine ranch? Why should you never trust gifts you win at a funfair? And why are twins always apparently at war with each other? )
The old gods are dead … The older gods have returned! Before the American master of the macabre H. P. Lovecraft there was the Welsh wizard of the weird Arthur Machen, who filled his pages with tales of ancient evil. Now, completing the circle, comes a collection of original tales from the land of Machen following in the footsteps of Lovecraft and his uncanny creations. In What Others Hear by John Llewellyn Probert , a musician comes to rural Wales to convalesce in peace. But what terrible secrets hide behind the notes of the music he so loves? Adrian Chamberlin shows us that seemingly innocent old traditions can conceal sinister intentions when dark forces use them to deadly ends in Stranger Crossings. In Charles Black's tale, a brilliant Welsh scholar finds the price of knowledge can cost you everything when he discovers the true purpose of that dreaded tome The Necronomicon. And six more Lovecraftian tales of the otherworldly.
I have a few in anthologies coming out in 2014 - Ticketyboo Press's Malevolence will have two ghost stories of mine. I'm also hoping to have a SF short for their Space – Houston We Have a Problem antho.
Then Fringeworks should be publishing their mad 'Potato Anthology' in 2014 too and my story King Edward's Mines will be one of the weird tales in it. Regarding my novel writing *sigh* I must have snail DNA in me somewhere because the novels are progressing so slowly. However, they are moving, albeit lethargically and who knows? They might be finished this year! In the meantime:
I am one of a short-list of five writers in a competition set by the media group and publishers Start Publishing with a SF short of 500 words called The Shell Game. The brief was to write a story based on Neal Asher's Departure cover.
Start Media is the group that made The Europa Report and I'm hoping the prize is a trip to Europa :-P If you'd like a free read and if you think my story deserves a vote here are the links:
Facebook StartPublishing - Vote on their Facebook wall