A Webzine of Astonishing Tales

Issue #10, Fall-Winter, 2010

Armstrong, Ashby, Byrne, Callaway, Goonan, Hendrix, Hogan, Kek, Laidlaw, Metzger, Newitz, Rucker, Saknussemm, Scholz, Shirley, Sterling, Watson!



Issue #10 Contents:

Jon Armstrong
A Peculiar Fashion Business
Six Days on the Road and I'm Gonna Make it Home Tonight
Adam Callaway
The Hidden Neosurrealism of the Early to Mid 21st Century
Rudy Rucker
The Skug
Madeline Ashby
Zombies, Condoms and Shenzhen

Ernest Hogan
Doctora Xilbalba's Datura Enema

Howard V. Hendrix
The End of Mirth
Th. Metzger
Sphincter and Sphinx
Marc Laidlaw
Brendan Byrne
Bruce Sterling
The Paranoid Critical Method
Kris Saknussemm
The Seduction of a Very Special Music Box
Annalee Newitz
The Gravity Fetishist
Carter Scholz
Ian Watson
Intelligent Design 2.0
Kathleen Ann Goonan
Buried in Time
John Shirley
Cumulative Contents
of Issues #1-#10

From the Editor

September 1, 2010

This is the tenth issue of Flurb and certainly one of the best.

The unifying theme of this issue is politics, sometimes expressed obliquely, but present in every story in one way or another.

The U.S. midterm elections are coming up. Don’t forget to vote. It matters more than ever.


Leading off the lineup for Flurb #10 is Jon Armstrong’s crackling, fiberpunk tale, “A Peculiar Fashion Business,” drawn from the first chapter of a forthcoming novel. I love the ending of the story, where a media star is wearing “radio panties.” Perfect.

The shadowy Kek is back in Flurb with “Six Days on the Road and I’m Gonna Make it Home Tonight,” a deliciously hip story involving virtual presidents and the troubadour Gram Parsons.

Adam Callaway, another great new Flurb writer, presents a gift-basket of madcap notions in the form of a survey article, “The Hidden Neosurrealism of the Early to Mid 21st Century.”

My story, “The Skug,” continues my extrapolation of what computer pioneer Alan Turing’s life might have been like had he escaped assassination by the British secret police. For one thing, he would have met up with a seventy-kilogram alien slug!

Madeline Ashby returns to Flurb with a profound and richly felt piece so closely rooted in reality that it barely feels like SF. “Zombies, Condoms and Shenzhen: The Surprising Link Between the Undead and the Unborn” more than makes good on the subtitle, and is an important story-essay on women’s rights.

I’m happy to have Ernest Hogan in Flurb, I’ve been corresponding with him for years, and met him in the flesh this summer at a con. “Doctora Xilbalba’s Datura Enema” he proposes a fresh solution to any border problems. I loved this line: “I could feel the God walking up and down my DNA.”

Howard V. Hendrix brings us “The End of Mirth,” a fresh take on the tale of the Pied Piper, a story which has intrigued me all my life. Has it ever occurred to you that hand-held computing devices are a punishment inflicted on our race by nearly divine beings?

The as yet non-institutionalized Th. Metzger attacks the Flurb readership with devilish abandon yet again. Behold “Sphincter and Sphinx,” a small Surrealist masterpiece. You’ll never need to read another private-eye story again.

It’s a pleasure to see founding Flurbist Marc Laidlaw in issue #10. “Deepscreen” is a vision of how deeply strange the videogame industry is fated to become. The story has a deeply human flavor that brings it to a higher level.

Brendan Byrne’s “Wasps/Spiders” is a beautifully written avant garde piece about the U.S.’s remote-control wars. The story is subtle, and fractured in a lovely way.

It’s a treat to lure my collaborator Bruce Sterling back to Flurb. “The Paranoid Critical Method” gives us an inside track to the mind of Salvador Dali.

Kris Saknussemm is here with “The Seduction of a Very Special Music Box,” a dreamy, hallucinatory and thoroughly wonderful tale of strange beings on a riverboat.

It’s always good to have some hard-core sex with deeper political meanings, and Annalee Newitz furnishes us with a pleasantly Golden-Age-tinged tale called “The Gravity Fetishist.” Einstein might dig a sex-club like this!

Carter Scholz’s “Rim” is a great bit of brute dada art, a found poem, complete with a portrait of the author as a young isopod. I love that part of the story is in Russian.

Do any people overseas think that American politics is dominated by ignorant know-nothings? Check out Ian Watson’s cheeky“Intelligent Design 2.0.” It’s an honor to have my friend the Brit SF icon in Flurb.

Anchoring the team is Kathleen Ann Goonan’s story, “Buried in Time,” which movingly dramatizes the heart-rending choices involved in leaving one’s home timestream. A deep and sensitive piece, wonderfully evoked.

And that's all---but wait! Here comes dark lord of cyberpunk John Shirley, bearing a hideous and catchy tale, "Bitters." I've always been proud of my brain-eating scene in my novel Software. But now Shirley's gone and pushed it a horripilating step further. Dig in!


Looking ahead, Flurb #11 is scheduled for March, 2011. For a change of pace, this issue will be guest-edited by one of my favorite writers and editors, Eileen Gunn. If you want to submit a piece for Flurb #11, send it to Eileen as an .rtf or .doc file attached to an email to her address and please send it only during the time period February 1 - 28, 2011. we’re generally looking for literary short stories of length one to five thousand words, with a strong SF or fantasy element, with realistic characters, and with a clear story arc. Flurb doesn't pay its authors, authors keep all rights, and Flurb leaves the stories online indefinitely, or until the author wants it taken down.


If you enjoy the stories in our current issue #10, please favor us with friendly notes at the comments links!

—Rudy Rucker                     

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Back Issues:

Issue #1, Fall, 2006
Issue #2, Winter, 2006
Issue #3, Spring, 2007

Issue #4, Fall, 2007

Issue #5, Spring, 2008

Issue #6, Fall, 2008

Issue #7, Spring, 2009

Issue #8, Fall, 2009

Issue #9, Spring, 2010

Issue #10, Fall, 2010

Cumulative Contents for all issues.

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