SF stories in 200 characters or fewer

My favourite source of very-short SF stories – the back page of Nature magazine (aka “Futures”) – is holding a competition.  This involves writing

“…a sci-fi tale that is just 200 characters long (including spaces and punctuation). The microFutures story must be your own work and not previously published, and should be science fiction rather than, say, outright fantasy, slipstream or horror.”

I already screwed up by entering more than one – and more than 200 characters long, because I neglected to take spaces into account – so I am just going to put all of mine here.  Enjoy!

Borg morning
Seen on the inside of your eyes, upon waking: “Resistance was futile. You were assimilated by the Borg. Reality simulation terminates in 1000 seconds.  Welcome to glorious servitude!”

 Henry’s cunning plan
…so Henry’ll just tag them all together into an avant-garde stream-of-someone-else’s-consciousness SF novel, and win a prize?

Wow! signal
The Wow! Signal is finally decoded.  It says: “Is your xvvvdrt4hator running?  Well, you’d better run after it then”. Other interpretations are still being explored.

The Overlords’ plan
The Futures competition turned out to be an exercise by the Planetary Overlords in gauging the depth of knowledge of their existence, with the minimum of text. All winners were duly executed.

After losing their wives, Ed and Russell discovered Manspace. An infinity of shops, packed with all the gadgets, tools, and electronic toys in the multiverse. However, they soon died of malnutrition.

The problem with inventing time travel
The problem with time travel is that no budding inventor of it ever gets past saying “Now that’s a brilliant idea!” before suddenly and mysteriously dying. Except for the first one, of course.

Marking the Universe project
Novel in concept, but dark energy was a bad miscalculation. Incorporating your initials into the hologram was also cheeky. Creating everything from one element was novel. Overall mark: 60%

The multiverse’s revenge
The multiverse considered the problem of the Futures competition at some length. It decided it didn’t like it. Henry Gee suddenly ceased to exist in every universe simultaneously.


About Ed Rybicki

Ed is a 60-ish virologist and biotechnologist, formerly a Zambian and presently a South African. He is into family, virology, biotechnology, science in general, science fiction in particular, photography, red wine, wearing loud shirts, 70s rock, blues and smooth jazz...and telling stories. Sometimes, interesting ones. And writing for his own amusement.
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