A couple of days ago my good buddy and renowned astronomy author John Gribbin suggested he might right a science fiction short that was very short. I think he might at least 140 words, but I thought: 140 characters and instigated a little Twitter meme.
Write a SciFi (SF) short story, and add the hashtag #SciFiShorts in fewer than the Twitter limit (including the tag). Needless to say the responses were fast and furious:
Martin Ince kicked it off, albeit on Facebook: Alien eats all humans. The end.
I jumped in with: One human survives, destroys aliens.
drskyskull offered: Man predicts end of world when LHC turns on. LHC turns on. World doesn’t end.
Followed by this one from blakestacey: She goes with the hero because she wants to live. Explosions ensue.
I tweeted the #scifishorts hashtag again and the literal web kicked in with some amusing responses that were precis versions of SF movie plotlines:
JonSatriani kicked off with an apely planet allusion: “It’s Earth all along.”
“Alien gets left behind by negligent parents, gets drunk, phones home, they come and get him” from ely_peddler and “Message from aliens with machine instructions using prime numbers, travel through wormhole, nobody on Earth believes” from dfmooreqqq and “Monolith inspires Apes. People Dig up monolith on moon. Visit Jupiter. Computer goes bonkers. “Oh my God it’s full of stars” from beardymcnerd and lots of others of a similar, but amusing ilk.
This from andrewspong was rather poetic, although he’ll have to forgive my ignorance if I missed the allusion to Sarah P, Michael P, or palindromes: “The stars winked out like shutting eyes. A time of ending. She scanned, her palingenetic hope vying with cold, universal death”
russswan picked on a timeless conundrum: “Man invents time travel, creates a paradox preventing his own existence so also the invention. Repeat. Print on Moebius strip.”
There was the oddly Twilight Zone infested: “You awake on an alien world. The experiment is over; you have never actually been human. You’d cry, but have no eyes” from oocscience and rpg7twit take on a Wellsian classic: “Killer tripods from Mars defeated through inferior sanitation” and suthers variation on the theme: No one would have believed. But -“zap” – oh no, it’s true. Martians! Hang on, they’ve caught a sniffle. We’re saved!
seanbamforth chipped in with several entries, but I particularly liked this one: For sale: “Schroedinger’s Box. Never opened”
Shockwave: Bill Gates launches his Starship to intercept incoming asteroid, landing cycle engaged, OH NO it’s BSOD, Goodbye earth.
Perhaps the most unrealistic was a contribution from Tim Hoffman: Apple iOS goes “open source”.
But, it was this doom-laden tale of the end of everything that brought me out in goose bumps (at the thought of no more twitter: “One day, one last tweet and the universe stood still in heat death” (Imaginascience)
If you can tell a scifi tale, there’s plenty of room, just keep it short and don’t forget to use the hashtag: #SciFiShorts