Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ten Tales for Tomorrow - Stuart Aken

This collection of speculative fiction, largely science fiction, is a broad selection covering many different themes. The ten stories vary in length, style and content but all are intended for an adult readership. Some have won prizes in international contests and some have been published. But most are new and published for the first time here. Enjoy, especially if you like your stories dark, though some are lighter. 

Bio: Writing since I could hold a pencil, I’ve always been fascinated by words and their power to transform, educate, illuminate, entertain and influence. Stories are so fundamental to human beings that they form an essential part of our psyche, and to be privileged to tell my own versions of tales that have abounded for millennia is an honour.
Born in Hull, England, in 1948, my first writing was published in the form of illustrated articles for the British photographic press when I was 19. My fiction started with a radio play, Hitch Hiker, produced and broadcast on national radio by BBC Radio 4. Several of my short stories have been published and others have been prize winners in competitions. I’ve published a romantic thriller, ‘Breaking Faith’ as both a printed book and an ebook.
I’m married to a charming and lovely lady who proof-reads my work for me. We have a daughter who, at the time of writing, is preparing for entry to university to take a photography degree.

Why did you self publish?
Anthologies are notoriously difficult to place with mainstream publishers. In any case, I wanted full control of the process.

What is your writing process?
Always the story first, finished and done, before I start the extensive and thorough editing process. If I try to edit as I create, I never finish the story.

A very short story from the collection:

'' a happy New Year.'
York sang with her, substituting, 'Century'.
Frenchie nodded agreement. 'They said we'd all be dead by now.'
He shook his greying head. 'Predictions were contradictory, hyped and inaccurate.'
'D'you s'pose they 'spected us to actually live up here?'
York glanced through the shielded port at the blue gem piercing deep black space. 'Funny; they look up, we look down, even tho we also look up. Yeah, it was always planned.'
'How d'you know?'
'I was there.'
'No way, man.'
'You're cute, Frenchie, but you ain't too bright. How old you think I am?' He'd unshelled, after fixing and restoring their water supply.
She scanned him. 'Mebbie sixty?'
He grinned. 'Hundred and twenty six.'
'No way!'
'It's why I stay while you lot come 'n' go. I'd die in months down there. Here I'm light and quick. My choice. You'll recycle me up here, if you stay.'
'I won't go back. It's chaos down there. Another war round the Med. That Mid-East Confed won't export no oil and they's after Israeli water. Europe's killin' any Africans what try to get in. India's gonna nuke China over Tibet. USA's shootin' Mexicans, an' Yosemite's fit to bust its gut and cause the biggest eruption ever seen. New York's under water. No; safer here now we's self-sustainin'.'
'I watch the broadcasts, Frenchie.'
'Not like bein' there tho, is it?'
He glanced again at the distant Earth and wondered if his folks back home would see it through. On Mars they were isolated, safe inside the craters, force fields shielding them and all they grew.
'Come on, ol' man. Celebration time.'
'No booze.'
She unshelled. 'Wasn't thinkin, drinkin', man.'
'And Roy?'
'Workin' solar power lines, Farside. '
He grinned and took her offered hand.


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