Hugo Awards!

The Hugo Award nominees have been unveiled. What a fantastic lineup!


I wish they had a category for anthologies, but loving the nominations so far. Three cheers for three Doctor Who nominations!


Flash Science Fiction Week 1: Countdown



“Five minutes, sir.”

Tanaka nearly stopped breathing as the wires slipped through his now-sweaty fingers for the third time. Time. I don’t have time to panic, he reminded himself as he resorted the radar console’s wires into the correct sequence. His tech assistant wedged himself under the console to hold the wires into place, freeing Tanaka’s hands to begin connecting the system. He could hear the captain’s voice as she directed two other officers through the calculations that would determine their current-but-unknown distance from the star they were surveying, trying to establish how much time they had to rewire the radar console before slipping far enough into the star’s gravity well that the engines couldn’t pull them away from it.

The solar flare had stunned everyone on the command deck with its brilliance and extent. Not an unknown or unexpected phenomenon, but very different in signature and strength…and even more hazardous as this star’s unusual radiation pulse neatly evaded part of the ship’s shielding. The pulse had fried several integral systems, but most critical was the ship’s radar. They’d been flying between an inner planet and one of its small moons, and they couldn’t risk changing directions without knowing the positions of the star and its orbitals.

Two wires connected; 58 to go.

Captain Vargas called to the communications officer from where she sat at the command console. “See if you can get any sound signature off the star or its orbitals, and try to gauge distance. Our bearing was unchanged; speed was diminished by 100kps, and the star still should be directly ahead with the planet to starboard and the moon on our port side. Pearson, still waiting on the mass of that moon and the speed of its orbit.”

The tech assistant called out for a time check; another minute had elapsed since losing radar capabilities. Ten wires down; 50 to go. Tanaka could feel the deck vibrating beneath him as the crew responded to the various alerts, their feet and ministrations acting as drumsticks on the ship’s percussive surfaces. Fourteen wires down; 46 to go.

Intermittent bursts of static came from the communications console as Captain Vargas and Lieutenant Pearson continued to work out the position of the moon and Tanaka made the next few connections. “Captain, solar gravity has increased our speed by 70kps!” he heard Eliott call out, and Tanaka mentally cursed the engineer for bringing so much homebrew to his birthday lunch.

Twenty-one down; 39 to go.

©2012 Christine Clukey Reece

52-week Flash Science Fiction Challenge

Ever wonder how to get started on a story? Do you just sit there staring at a blank page or a blank word document with no idea how to fill all that space?

It’s a common problem for writers. Sometimes the words pour out so quickly that your fingers can’t keep up, and other times you feel as though you’d be more productive if you just slammed your hands in a drawer every two minutes. If you’re fed up with that feeling, here’s a suggestion for you: try out my 52-week flash science fiction challenge.

For this challenge, you start with a prompt. Go raid NASA’s archive or another source with tons of pictures or illustrations of objects in space, or use someone’s idea of a space ship or planetary environment as your jump point (as long as you remember to credit their picture). That picture sets your universe – look at it for a few minutes, study any individual features within the picture, and then start writing about what you see.

You can write this in any perspective: first, second, or third. You can write your own observations; you can create a character in your head and explain why that character is seeing this image, or you can give some background on why that image is important. You could use the image as a flashback from someone’s career in a space fleet. You could also simply use it as what someone sees through a telescope and dreams of visiting in the future. Whatever story line you choose to follow, write between 400 and 1,000 words and stop. You’re done!

Once you’ve hit that finish line, set your story aside for at least a couple of days before you go back to review it. See what works, what doesn’t, and whether there’s a clear plot line; if there’s no clear plot, at least make sure the story reflects some clear visual imagery. Congratulations! You’ve created a short story from a visual prompt, and hopefully it helped inspire your creative mind to get working on your other writing projects.

My goal is to do this once a week for an entire year, and I’ll post my stories here. I’ll also post the image I use as a start point or link to the site where you can find it. I hope you’ll try this out with me and use the visual prompt idea as a way to get those words flowing when you wind up with verbal constipation.