Thursday, August 10, 2017

Replay Value

"Replay Value" -- a story about MMORPGs as crime scenes -- is out now at Aurora Wolf (Volume 8, Issue 8).

He paused the recording, and the leeches attached to the game’s server ceased throbbing, fell off.

Every movement and action, no matter how minute, of the past year of each player of the game, he held in a file on his computer, and he watched as that full year’s worth of data replicated itself to redundancy and scattered across his memory sticks, self-encrypting with each step.

Fingers stilled above the keyword, waiting for a shiver of excitement to pass, then he set to work, extracting actions into re-runnable modules, chatter into parsable output, morphing teamwork and group-think and player socialization into snippets which could be reused, rewound and replayed.

He had a gigantic pile of playtime data; now, he’d make it come alive.

(Continue reading.)

Monday, August 7, 2017

Wintering Ground

My post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story "Wintering Ground" is out at Aphelion Webzine, in the August issue.

I watched my father sleep. My sore eyes were on the verge of popping out, like too much air had gotten behind the eyeballs, the lids sliding down every so often before I could catch myself and shake my head, forcing both body and mind to remain awake.

I knew his turn was up. I was supposed to stir him, get a wink of rest on the cold ground myself while he kept watch, but I couldn't bring myself to drag him out from sleep and into this colorless world.

His belly quivered as he breathed.

Later, the horizon began to lighten from black to dusty gray, and he woke up.

Years of living under dead heavens had taught him to recognize daylight, poking its soiled fingers into his eyes, even in sleep. He sat up. Stared at me. “I overslept.” Smacking his lips, brushing dirt off his beard. “Why didn't you wake me up?”

My shoulders slumped as I watched smears of white appear on the horizon, a sun seething behind clouds. Another dawn, another day.

(Continue reading.)