I ran into Writever on Twitter a while ago, mostly via @Uneheuredepeine (who writes in French). Writever was created by @k_tastrof, and is hosted by @WriteverB in French and @WriteverJ in English. They run a list of prompts every month with the concept “1 day – 1 word – 1 story : science fiction, fantastic or fantasy”.
June’s theme was around family, and I decided to partake in the fun 😉 I didn’t really *decide* to write in English, but, while I’m a bit more self-conscious about my command of the language, 90% of what I read is also in English, and English became my default language for fiction. Hence, when I started thinking about the project, English came more naturally to me.
We’re now at the end of the month, and I thought I’d keep my work for last month on this blog too, for posterity, and for people who don’t follow me on Twitter. I took the opportunity to add a few links and references, because even for micro-fiction, there’s a bit of research 😉
I don’t expect to participate to the July round (you can find the list for that round here, or here in French), around beginnings and births, because I don’t think I’ll be able to write on that topic these days. But the overall June experiment was, for me, a success – I had a lot of fun, and it felt like a good stretch of my creative muscles – so there may be a repeat in another month 🙂
Without further ado: 30 pieces of micro-fiction!
June 1st – Parents
− Parents are the ones who give you life and take care of you while you learn to do so yourself.
− You are my parents, then?
− We prefer the term programmers.”
June 2nd – Giving birth
− Gestation, giving birth, lactation, the whole thing?
− Huh. I wouldn’t have expected that kind of ordeal to be compatible with advanced civilization, to be honest.”
June 3rd – Wedding
🎶 Then put your little hand in mine – There ain’t no hill or mountain we can’t climb… 🎶
“Nope, yesterday was still not the perfect wedding day. Here we go… again!“
June 4th – Hereditary
“I can chalk off the yellow eyes of our newborn as the consequence of a hereditary accident; genetics can be weird, I can allow for that. But the horns, really, it’s a bit much.”
June 5th – Meal
“What do you miss the most?
− Food, I think.
− Right… Cheese is better enjoyed with taste buds.
− Yeah. The social aspect of it too: gathering friends around a home-made meal doesn’t have the same appeal without bodies to be able to seat and eat.”
June 6th – Home
Home, they say, is where the heart is… Whoever “they” were clearly didn’t take von Neumann probes into account. Either I’m very confused, or my home is shattered over the whole galaxy – and expanding.
June 7th – Species
Defining species boundaries around the notion of fertile offspring production had never been perfect, but it had been a useful model. The biotech advances that made litters of puppittens possible also made that model more and more brittle.
June 8th – Son
I just find it unfair that computer people have talked about child processes, child nodes, and child objects for the longest time and, now that we’re vaguely humanoid, I’m your robot son?? That doesn’t make any sense. I’m claiming “robot child” for myself.
June 9th – Portrait
“And, on this portrait by Vermeer, painted in the late 17th century…
− Waiiiit a minute−they already had neck implants in the 17th century? Also, that one is HUGE!
− What? No! That’s a pearl!”
June 10th – Suburbia
“If there’s a bright center of the universe, we’re on the planet that it’s farthest from.
− Don’t be so overly dramatic! I know you’re not happy we moved to suburbia, and you’d have preferred staying in the galactic center, but this is not the Outer Rim!”
June 11th – Resemblance
“Shouldn’t there be more resemblance?
− That’s a common misconception. The cloning is only the beginning. Then we have some tweaking, and more importantly epigenetics, in utero and later in life. At best, older clones look like siblings, not twins.”
June 12th – Tragedy
The tragic character an event scales with its number of victims, and with how avoidable it could have been. The collision of the orbital station with the ship that was supposed to resupply it had been one of the most devastating tragedy in human history.
June 13th – Father
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned…
− Luke, I already told you that I find your abundance of faith disturbing.”
June 14th – Belief
“What’s your most deeply held belief?
− That the aliens are a government conspiracy.
− So… how do you explain the presence of our allies and their ships?
− Skin suits and holograms to keep the population’s despair under control.”
June 15th – Ancestor
As they were filling in their tax forms, Zblorg child of Tuv child of Myrn child of Zblorg child of Exth child of Myrn regretted the low number of approved names, which made everyone’s legal identity involve a significant number of their ancestors.
June 16th – Secret
“Your young do need to learn how to talk, and when to keep things for themselves too, right?
− Then why is it that you assume that, because we’re telepaths, we’re unable to keep a secret?”
June 17th – Youngest
“What do you want for your birthday?
− A little brother or a little sister!”
Yes, aged 13, I am a bit old for that request. But traditionally, the youngest sibling of the family goes to war, and I really want to study magic. And I am running out of time.
June 18th – Reunion
Granted, a quarter my class got eaten by Snake Mayor And His Vampire Minions at graduation, and the high school itself got destroyed twice, including once with the rest of the city. Still, I kind of miss having high school reunions. It’d be nice, you know?
June 19th – Incest
“On today’s The Talk, our guests will debate on a very heated topic! Clones, sex, what is acceptable, what is not – you decide! Our title today is ‘The Moving Lines of Adultery, Incest, and the Relevance of It All in Our Post-Reproductive Society’!”
June 20th – Funeral
“Our Funeral Home reserves the right to charge a surplus for heavily modded bodies to compensate for the recycling hazards, costs and weight of the implants and cyborg parts. Thank you for your understanding.”
June 21st – Mother
“Now kids, that’s enough! Go and tidy your CO2, or only desert for you!”
The whole humanity got startled by the booming voice coming from the ground.
“What, you thought Mother Earth was a metaphor?”
June 22nd – House
The end of cookie-cutter neighborhoods: offer architectural variability to your customers thanks to DesAIgn, the first smart algorithm for house customization*!
* 88% of our generated house designs are guaranteed to be habitable. Noncontractual percentage.
June 23rd – Certificate
Certificate of Life
I, Dr Roberta Smith, hereby certify that, on June 23 2072 at 9:47, Josephine Martin was considered alive and corporeal, and that her body, including her brain, showed no sign of hijacking or tampering.
June 24th – Surrogate
I get that you’re tired and that decisions are getting harder and harder, really, I get it. But maybe the choice of toppings of the pizza is not crucial enough to pay for a surrogate for that decision? Maybe?
June 25th – Bio-logical
Adding real neurons to bio-logical chips instead of trying to mimic their behaviour had seemed like a good idea, initially. But combining wetware serotonin issues with hardware bugs yielded a whole new class of headaches for their manufacturers.
June 26th – Tree
Communication with the aliens took years to be established. The decisive discovery happened when we realized that their language’s grammar was not mapping to a parse tree, but to a parse multigraph. It was a mess – but linguists got very excited.
June 27th – Cousins
George-388 felt nostalgic. Not for parents – the Growth Center was providing for her every need. Not for siblings – she had hundreds of them at the center. But for cousins, to go on adventures with like in the old books.
June 28th – DNA
“You can’t prove it was me!
− We have your DNA on the scene. It’s all we need.
− But… clones!
− We don’t care. One of your clones being guilty proves that your line is able to act that way, and that you need to be removed from society.”
June 29th – Roommates
“See, Daneel” Baley mused, puffing on his pipe, “that ancient concept broke down very differently depending on the context. On Earth, the common areas make us all roommates, in a way. On Solaria, the repugnance to contact makes the concept unthinkable.”
June 30th – Divorce
“What do you mean, the rings of Saturn disappeared overnight?
− Look for yourself… Saturn, no ring.
− But but… it can’t be! Why? How?
− We don’t know. But we there’s reports that Titan disappeared too.
− … Maybe they got fed up and got a divorce?”