Bite Size Sci-Fi’s

With added cheese…
My earliest attempts at writing stories were imitations of the kind of fiction I was then reading. As a result, my earliest output was pretty much exclusively HORROR.
I was familiar with, and loved, the stories of Ray Bradbury, and that was about my total connection with anything that could be termed ‘Science Fiction’ (with sci-fi purists often pointing out there’s little science in Bradbury’s rocket ship and Mars adventures). When I picked up a volume of Philip K Dick’s collected short stories I decided I wanted to have a go at writing my own ‘Sci Fi’ stories. I wasn’t versed in the genre, had read extremely little of what it had to offer, but enjoyed playing with the endless possibilities the genre offered (now increasingly included under the umbrella term of ‘Speculative Fiction’ so as not to fall foul of those accusations of ‘No science!’).
I filed the stories as “SciFiles” (a name I’ve since discovered is a trademarked Trivia game) and pretty much forgot about those earlier efforts.
However, as a follow up to the Illustrated/Multi Media series of shorts I’ve been posting, I thought it would be fun to revisit these old attempts: stories of wonky science, well-worn tropes, and with more excruciating melodrama than a whole season of tele-novellas.
Here they are then: tidied up, edited, but essentially the same cheesy fun they were when I first wrote them.
What follows are a few notes about the stories and the tropes they use.
James Livermore,
May 2015

“Invasion 101”: HG Wells’s War of the Worlds is still the standard by which all alien invasion stories are either judged, or the format they follow. After seeing one version too many (it was the Tom Cruise one, actually) I decided to write what became, essentially, an essay on the art of successful invasion. 🙂

“Five and a half million”: HG Wells gave us The Time Machine, a book–suitably–way ahead of its time. I’ve written a few time-travel stories and on each occasion explored the personal reasons why someone would want to travel backwards or forwards in time. The chance to stop Hitler, the Second World War from happening, is a commonly expressed desire…

“Invaderer”: This story started in the spirit of the X-Files… and was tied off with a far more logical explanation for the protagonist’s obsession with finding messages from beyond the stars…

“The Exploiter”: Although the noble aim of discovery and extending our current knowledge might well be responsible for throwing us out there into the great unknown, financial gain is far more likely to keep the whole process going…

“Goodly Faithfully”: Religion/Faith, like most things, will evolve and experience its own fashion revivals…

“Nellie and Ronald”: Not exactly “Alien”, but what MIGHT have happened…

“Blue Mary”: Probably guessable from the outset, sure. When re-reading it, I worried I’d possibly lifted it from an episode of Star Trek (it had that kind of ring to it). There was an episode along those lines, but from the animated series. On, and a nod to the great Richard Matheson, of course.

“Reformatted”: With the European Union and United Nations as our guide, it’s difficult to see how an entire confederation of galaxies would operate smoothly.

“Forty-five”: The story was written in the time stated. You can’t have a group of speculative fiction stories without destroying the world at least once…

“Touting Karmen”: The half-worked pun on the title also explains the inspiration for the story…

And there we end our series of SciFi Bitesize. It’s been fun revisiting some old stories. So much so, in fact, we’ll do it again sometime…


James Livermore

Madrid, June 2015


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