The Sci-Fi Issue
MicroFiction Roundup #1
Fact and Fiction
Hello readers! It's been a while, and there are quite a few more of you than when we last talked! Whether you've been here a while or this is your first issue, let me just say thanks for sticking with me while I figure out where this newsletter is going. Burnout, COVID, and life, in general, have been tough opponents, but I'm finally at a point where I can start steering this ship back on course. Progress is being made behind the scenes, and changes will be rolling out slowly.
First change might be obvious from the issue title. I'm splitting Quick as a Flash into two parts: one dedicated to microfiction (welcome to the new issue #1!) and one for flash fiction stories. I'll be alternating them, so the next time you hear from me will be with a new flash fiction piece.
The reason for this change is that each type of fiction I write has its different challenges (if there's interest, I'll write briefly on this in another issue), and trying to juggle all of them every week is something I don't want to do anymore. Splitting it up still provides structure and lets me continue to deliver the variety I want, but it paces it in a way that doesn't strain my focus (it doesn't take much, folks).
For anyone interested, near the end of this issue are more changes and projects I hope to start before the end of the year.
Today the theme is simply sci-fi. Or, as I like to call it, "I don't have a theme, so let's just go with this generic one." Let's get started!
This wasn't teenage angst or hormones. Deep inside his chest, growing like ivy on hyped-up fertilizer, there was an urgency. Like nails scraping against his ribcage, the need rose and fell, trying to dominate his will. But eventually, he would fail.
And then he would feed.
You can feel when mind readers invade. They’re not like the subtle yegg who, with a few tools, can listen to a safe’s heartbeat and caress the dial until it opens.
No, they're amateur robbers, triggering mental alarms as they stuff thoughts into bags and attempt a quick getaway.
We Can Handle the Apocalypse... But Not the Grammar
Perry looked up at the ruined, human-built reactor walls from within the safety of his hazmat suit. "Human sux," read the graffitied words. The alien culprit lay dead next to it, spray can in hand. He pondered the being before picking up the can and shaking it.
Livestreaming Has Gotten a Little Weird
"Hey Internet! It's me, Dustin, aka BombDustXO. We've got quite the livestream for you!"
The view swapped to a canister with exposed wiring taped under a desk. “Isn’t she a beaut? This here is an anti-matter bomb. We suspect it’s a nonstandard Torogian model. Anywho, it’s time to take this baby apart! But first!” The camera zoomed further in. “Which wire do we cut first? Vote now!”
TrashNinja411: this isn’t colorblind-friendly
CyClone3: ableist terrorists suck
MonkeyPa: donates 2000 channel points for: “wear blindfold”
CyClone2: take off your shirt so it doesn’t get dirty ;)
Of Patience and Paradoxes
“Okay… explain it to me again.”
Arnold sighed. “I’m going to invent the stasis pod.”
"A pod that someone can just fall into and be preserved for as long as it's juiced."
Arnold cringed. “Could we not use the term ‘juiced’ when referring to an appliance people are expected to lie in?”
“Sure. But since you don’t want to wait to invent it, you’re going to go forward in time and steal it from your future self?”
“Using a time machine, which you would also have to invent.”
“Don’t say it like that, Paul. You make it sound stupid.”
If you're not aware, I was the lead organizer of The Great Substack Story Challenge, which will be concluding this week! Substack even featured us in the Stories section of their newsletter, which was very exciting. If you haven't already, now is a perfect time to start reading from Chapter 1 and catching up so that we can all look forward to its conclusion together! As I write this, I have zero idea how it will end. Also, as you read each chapter, don't forget to subscribe to any authors who make an impact on you! I was very fortunate to get to write with such a talented group!
Next is my personal list of things I’d like to get done for this newsletter before the end of the year:
• New schedule: I’ve fumbled with this a lot. It's important that my readers get some idea of when the next set of content will be delivered, even if it's "not anytime soon." Right now, it will continue to be "sporadic Tuesday updates" until I feel good about the pace I can match consistently. The final goal is to get this to be a weekly endeavor.
• New serial: That's right! I love micro and flash fiction, but there are ideas for serial fiction in my brain, and I want to grant you all access to it (the serial fiction… not my brain 😅)! I'm still in the planning stages, but more details will come.
• Re-branding: Quick as a Flash is about quick reads, which serial fiction does not (necessarily) fall under. So we'll be changing some stuff around to compensate for that. Don't worry! I will not be dropping anything. These changes will give a clearer message about what this newsletter is about and provide you, the reader, choices in what you get delivered to your inbox.
• Another microfiction collection: Yes, I'm working on another booklet of microfiction—this time with a fantasy theme. Subscribers will get it for free, so please look forward to that!
• … And more: Exactly what it says. Let's get the above done, and then we'll see if there's time in the year to spin yet another plate! 😜
The image in this issue was generated using Midjourney, an AI-powered text-to-image generator. I do want the majority of the visuals I use to be human-generated art and photography, but I will pull this out when it feels appropriate.
If you’re wondering whether this poll means there will be a sequel, the answer is “yeah, probably.”
The streaming one was my favorite, fake chat/social media stuff is something I usually like. While the first two didn't quite catch me (felt like I needed more to get it) all the other ones were fun. Based on my own limited experience with substack I find splitting into more specialized sections is generally a good idea, so I think it will help you with balancing things out.
This was so great, Anthony. I laughed out loud at the patience and paradoxes one. Really loving this format and what you can come up with!