Wednesday, October 27, 2010

"The Failure" by Roger Bourke White Jr.


Mankind is on the verge of creating new species of many kinds. It will ultimately create a successor species, and most likely, many successor species. Some will be created by large and deliberate efforts. But some... may be created a different way.

Chapter One

"Well, we screwed up."

"What?" Associate Professor Waterford Carrol Jones, called Jones by one and all, carefully looked over his Wall Street Journal, noting his place with his finger.

"We screwed up." It was Sam Robinson, dressed in slacks and a sweatshirt, hands in his pockets and leaning against the doorjamb of Jones' office.

Carefully Jones folded up the paper, straightened his tie, and motioned Sam into one of the chairs in front of his desk. "But how? Mother has already passed her basic performance tests. She's in good order and has been working on the problem for weeks. We've been getting satisfactory progress reports. How could we have screwed up now?

"This run was the final test before we publish. Sure, you've told me about problems, but nothing you couldn't handle. Was there something you didn't tell me about?" Jones stared at Sam. Sam showed no signs of hiding anything. He just slumped a little more in the chair and stared blankly at the ceiling.
Jones and Sam had been working together on this project for two years now. Sam would be getting his PhD next year; Jones had his. Jones was counting on their grant-supported work to launch him back into a high-paying industry position. Later in the day he'd be heading for his second interview with a Fortune 100 company, which is why he had on the tie and was perusing the paper. At forty-three, he wasn't taking any chances.

To read more, head for

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Poem-Slip Stream Dreams-Michael Tanner -edited by Stephanie Osborne

Slip Stream Dreams....
By Michael James Tanner

Drive high between the seams,
They tighten as velocity pulls at the wings of
The sub-orbital dream-making machine.

Counting down, and folding back,
Fuel, pressure, and angle of glide attack.

Hands get heavy, suit constricts legs.
Eyes blur computer, dials;
Vocalize, “Two gees, Mach one,”
This, a memory, fades
As others measure centigrade,
Sound barrier breached, as the ionosphere breaks.
Alarms, klaxons, sound; hull integrity worrisome.

I am sorry, my Mother, Father;
I must go faster now.
Fear will not stop me.
My Heart is in my ears;
Sweat pours down, salting my eyes.
The ground calls to me, “Set condition two;”
The count renews.
Telemetry failures icing in my wake.

“I trained for this; die I might
But failure is not an option.”
My nerve is resolved.
She twists and tries to break
Free from my control;
If we separate now, we break together.
The roll begins as this bird on a wire
Climbs into the black place.

It was worth it; do not miss me.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Tell Me A Story About A Real Witch-ep 3

I never thought there was ever an upside to being Sandy Chase, twenty something.

...OK! An over-25-less-than-30 something, and a ghosted and ghost-sighted woman living in a run down, rust-belted Detroit. I live in an old Catholic church, I wear a wedding ring that belongs to a ghost that is my best friend's body guard, and my social life assassin.

Jake is, well, a cop. He never has stopped being a cop even after he died. I don't leave my doors unlocked at night, or the windows open on purpose, but Jake does a perimeter check every half hour or so, and makes sure that everything is locked.

"What if some maniac tries to break into the place? You are a single woman that lives alone, you can never be too careful." Jake would say. My silent answer to that is, well if some nut job did get in here, Jake has my back. I don't know worry too much about it and maybe that is part of my problem. Jake is there for me. He always has been and always will be.

Jake is great, but he needs a hobby. He never really sleeps, he is always, ALWAYS around. He doesn't peep in the shower or anything that I have been able to tell. I also happen to be the ONLY one he can talk to.

Well that was up to a year or two ago.  I was going shopping at the local Convenience store where I pick up my groceries and a pound of coffee and a pack of Marlboro's. (I don't smoke and I don't drink coffee but that has to do more with Jake and a ritual I do for him, but that's another story.) And when I was looking for new light bulbs I noticed a little girl in a private school uniform looking at some candy on the shelf.

I also noticed that the Korean counter monkey, Lee, wasn't looking at her. He seems to look at me plenty but when kids come into the store he is like white and rice, he thinks they are all out to rob him.

It's a bad neighborhood, and all, but give me a break. Another thing that tipped me off was she was alone. Eight years old in your neighborhood alone might be alright, but you don't let your dog out with out watching it here.

When ever I go anywhere, Jake is there, and he took a look around saw me with the girl and walked through the beer refrigerator into the back room. Moments later the audible sounds of bottles breaking.

"Shit lady! Every time you come in here something happens. I don't need this shit." Lee spat the words through his teeth as he slammed his magazine on the counter and went into the back through swinging doors. Jake walked back through the wall of cold drinks, and nodded to me.

I kneeled down to her level, "Hey sweetie, do you want some candy?" I said to her.

"You can talk to me?" she asked me, and began to cry a bit.

"Yes sweetie, we should go find your mommy ok?" I said.

"You know where she is?" she asked me.

"No, but let's call someone to come pick you up, ok?" I said.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Witch of Devil's Rock by Roger Bourke White Jr.


Once again the sun was setting towards the dry plains to the west. Once again the merchants halted their line of camels, tethered and fed them, and made camp for themselves. They lit fires, pitched tents, prepared food, and settled in to pass the lengthening autumn night. They had just crossed the high pass. In two days they would reach the verdant valleys to the east and in two more the first of their trading cities. This was the last time they would cross the high pass this year and they were relieved to be blessed with good weather for the passage. In years previous, many had spent days or weeks waiting for this pass to open.

The merchants huddled in the tent, ate and joked, and finally called for a story from the stranger traveling with them. “You have traveled as far as we,” they said, “but over different roads. Tell us of the strange things you’ve seen.”

“It’s true,” the stranger answered, “I’ve traveled many roads, and seen many strange things. But now that we’re over the pass I’ll tell you about one of the strangest things ever to befall me. Strangest, even though I’ve lived long and traveled far. Strangest, even though it happened when I was just a youth growing up not far from here. It’s a tale that will chill you even more than the night wind howling outside. But in the morning the wind will pass and so will your chill from my tale, for that is the way of life.”

To read more, head for Witch of Devil's Rock in the Technofiction section on my web site.