Tag Archives: Science fiction

BOOK REVIEW: The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway

I read almost exclusively on my Kindle. This is mostly be cause I do the majority of my reading while commuting. Since my office move last year I don’t have a long commute but it’s long enough to get through a few dozen pages each day and it’s a lot easier to carry around my Kindle than a book. I do have one exception though. I also like to read in the bath. And although I have seen this as an option from preventing yourself from destroying your Kindle, I am still not keen on taking it in the bath with me. Plus I have a cupboard full of books that I appropriated from various flat mates that left them behind and Mr O’s pre-Kindle collection. Read more…

The Muse

Flash 20
Prompt: An idea that a friend of mine shared with me.
Characters: The Muse
Timeline: Somewhere far in the future on an alien planet.
Author’s comments: I wrote this a little while ago for something a friend of mine asked me to work on with him. He rejected it for that concept but I still like it… so here goes.

To whom it may concern:

That’s kind of ironic. Starting a letter with to whom it may concern. I don’t think anyone is particularly concerned that I’m stuck on this prison planet. I suppose one can hold out hope.

This is my last chance to communicate with the outside world, while I can still remember the outside world. I can’t imagine I have enough energy left to project this piece of paper very far. They give us drugs to slow down our psychic abilities and I was never very good anyway. In fact, that’s what got me in here. If I was a half decent sorcerer (I hate that word but that’s what they call us), they never would have caught me. I would have disappeared in an explosion of flames or something else equally exciting. Unfortunately I was never very good at flames. I only ever had the one talent. Love spells. I was doing a good trade making wealthy water merchants fall in love with space traffic controllers.

I can’t deny I knew it was illegal. I just never thought I’d get caught. Guppies like me don’t get caught. The Bureau rarely bothers to follow up some little spell merchant making a couple of credits out of their pod. I can only imagine that it was someone important that turned me in. Maybe it was that girl who handed out merchant licenses at the bureau. I told her that there were consequences when it came to using the spells on someone who was already taken. She never forgave me.

It doesn’t matter what the severity of the crime is. Sorcery is sorcery and when they found out about my grandmother, well it was all over. I didn’t have a chance. Arrested, tried and sentenced in one day. I wonder what my grandmother would think if she could see me now. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Her granddaughter on death row on a far-flung satellite, forgotten by the world.

That’s right, I said it. I’m on death row. The punishment for sorcery is always capital. It’s like having a chain around my neck, constantly being pulled tighter, until there are moments where I find it so hard to breathe that I feel like I might just stop and save them the trouble of gassing me.

I’m not sure what I fear most, not knowing what death holds for me or having to wait for it. These days, weeks, months and years stretched before me… empty… caged… only The Bureau knows when my final moments will come. I don’t envy them that power. Life and death. It must weigh heavy on your soul choosing who lives and who dies and when. I think the when might even be worse than the who.

I’ll take the chance sending this. If they catch me, what more can they do to me. Kill me quicker? I think I might prefer that.

Whoever you are, you hold what might be my last words in your hands. How do I sign this? As bold as I am in taking the chance to send this, I’d rather not lead them right to my cell. My grandmother used to say I was her muse. That might work.

Yours in the spirit of freedom
The Muse