Tag Archives: speculative fiction

Nucleosaur of the Frigid Lace

by Adam Mac

A long way away—1.185185 quadrillion light years, give or take a billion or two—on an asteroid belt nicknamed the Frigid Lace, the world was populated by nucleosaurs and electrosaurs. [NB: Protosaurs are a strictly human construct as proved by Poodlesky. Ed.]

One such nucleosaur was Stanley Nucleosaurus, Esq. As a nucleosaur, Stanley had a following, so to speak–in his orbit, so to speak again. They were called electrosaurs, or electrosaurus cum minimus negativus, and basically they were servants, but for Stanley they were primarily snacks.

Stanley constantly snacked on his electrosaurs. This had the predictable consequence of Stanley often turning himself into something else. After a couple of electrosaurs, he’d take on the properties of, say, “Strontium saurus” or “Plutonium saurus” or something more exotic. A dozen once transformed him into a flatugenic facsimile of himself and a double double turned him inside out into Defecatorium saurus.

You’d think this would all come to a quick end what with Stanley’s infinite appetite and his finite number of electrosaurs, but it didn’t. So far, we’ve only mentioned his internal consumption, but for every electrosaur he gobbled he consumed two nucleosaurs. This raised Stanley’s electrosaur count to dangerously high levels and challenged scientists to scramble for names, like “Ican’tbelieveIatethewholethingium” or “YikesIthinkIgotabadoneonium.

All this took its toll on the Frigid Lace. Stanley munched his way from one end of the asteroid belt to the other, devouring everything in sight and leaving behind great clumps of antimatter and clouds of noxious quasar gas. So much had Stanley grown—Giganticus Infinitus Pacmanicus—that astronomers could track his movements as he galumphed acrossed the asteriods as if they were stones in a stream.

Eventually, as the external supply of consumables was depleted, Stanley had to turn exclusively to consuming his own electrosaurs. Long predicted by dark-cloud scientists, Stanley then achieved the first documented interstellar case of absolute subjective annihilation. Id est, he ate himself up.

Adam Mac is a featured author in the Garden of Eden Anthology.

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Explaining the Inexplicable

by AmyBeth Inverness

On Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park in California, there are rocks that move seeming of their own volition, sometimes even sliding uphill. They leave long trails behind them. It is a well-documented phenomenon, and numerous scientific studies have attempted to solve the mystery. An abundance of theories have been proposed over the years, such as some kind of interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field or hurricane force winds. With no conclusive evidence, the sailing stones remained a mystery until 2014 when a pair of investigators used GPS to solve the puzzle. When conditions are just right, a combination of daytime rain and nighttime freezing followed by high winds pushes the rocks along on thin sheets of ice. Several scientific authors wrote an article on the phenomenon in August this year.

One might think that this news would be greeted with enthusiastic cheers by the world at large. However, there were some who expressed a certain disappointment that the mystery was no longer a mystery. There is a sense of loss that something once thought to be fantastic has turned out to be, if not exactly normal, mundane.

Humans are fascinated by the paranormal. The sailing rocks are no longer in that category.

As humans, we strive to understand the world around us. For millennia, scientists have performed careful studies while self-proclaimed intellectuals fabricated theories based on speculation instead of evidence. Junk science is alive and well, where investigators use questionable methods to reach their often paranormal conclusions.

Explaining Paranormal Activity

Paranormal phenomena abound on Earth. An anomaly does not have to be proven to involve aliens, ghosts or gods to be considered paranormal, it only has to lack an explanation related to what scientists know about our world. These mysteries are the perfect inspiration for speculative fiction. The Stargate franchise, for instance, is based on the idea that aliens once lived on Earth and enslaved humans. The show points to the pyramids at Giza and hypothesizes that the ancient Egyptians did not have the technology to build them, therefore it must have been aliens with superior technology.

Reality television also jumps on the bandwagon of pseudoscience. Several shows claim to hunt for and even find evidence of ghosts. For thousands of years, humans have postulated that, sometimes, when a person dies, their spirit lingers on Earth in some kind of other state of being. With such equipment as infrared cameras and EMF meters, investigators attempt to prove their existence.

Sherlock Holmes, a popular fictional character, is known for saying “Eliminate the impossible; whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” A good speculative fiction writer can come up with near infinite explanations for any scenario, whether mundane or abnormal.

Introducing The Incorporeum

The Incorporeum stories (included in the Biblical Legends anthology series from Garden Gnome Publications) postulate a single theory to explain multiple phenomena. The Incorporeum are non-corporeal creatures that exist symbiotically with humans. They are sentient and benevolent, referring to their human hosts as ‘Beloveds.’

The Incorporeum are not constrained by time. They move forwards and backwards at will, slipping seamlessly from a host in one era to a host in another and then back again. Ghosts are not the spirits of the dead, they are incorporeum who linger for a time after their hosts have died. A person remembering past lives is not reincarnated. They are simply sharing the memories of their incorporeum’s other hosts. Someone who hears a voice in their head is simply having a conversation with their symbiote.

In this purely fictional scenario, not all humans have an incorporeum, and those who do have one don’t always know it. Without evidence to the contrary, humans form mundane explanations for Incorporeum-related phenomena. They postulate that a person is mentally ill, or a charlatan, or that they are recalling something fictional and believing it is real. Sometimes humans attribute the Incorporeum’s presence to something supernatural, such as communion with an angel or a telepathic link with aliens.

Science Vs. Speculative Fiction

Real science and speculative fiction will forever be interrelated. A science-fiction writer looks at the science of their time and imagines how life would be different if the technology was much further advanced. Real scientists look at science fiction and sometimes find ways to turn the imagined science into something real and useful.

The purpose of science is the advancement of human knowledge and betterment of the human condition. The purpose of speculative fiction is to entertain and inspire. Both make valuable contributions to our world. The key is to always know which is which.

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice, and an outcast of Colorado by temporary necessity, AmyBeth Inverness is a creator of Speculative Fiction and Romance. She can usually be found tapping away at her laptop, writing the next novel, or procrastinating by posting a SciFi Question of the Day on Facebook and Google Plus. When she’s not writing she’s kept very busy making aluminum foil hats and raising two energetic kids and many pets with her husband in their New England home. AmyBeth Inverness is a featured writer in Garden Gnome Publications’ Garden of Eden and Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah anthologies.

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Deluge: Don’t Miss The Boat

As we enter the eight month of the year, we garden gnomes thought it would be apropos to remind everyone of our upcoming deadline for the anthology Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy.

This is the third anthology in the Biblical Legends Anthology Series, following the wildly popular Garden of Eden and Sulfurings: Tales From Sodom & Gomorrah. It’s important to point out here that we are looking for diversity in perspective, so we’re not just interested in stories that reflect a Christian point of view or its diametrically opposite, atheism. We just want good stories.

While the previous anthologies focused entirely on the Biblical settings as a prerequisite for publication, Deluge: Stories of Survival & Tragedy is looking at a broader theme. We just want damn good flood stories.

Let’s talk about this more in-depthly:

Why Is The Flood Story Absurd?

As you should know by now, Garden Gnome Publications welcomes absurdity. In fact, we thirst on it. And a part of the reason why is because the original stories upon which our anthologies are based are themselves absurd. That’s certainly true of Noah and the flood.

What makes the flood story so absurd?

For starters, this event supposedly happened worldwide. The whole damn world was flooded. That’s rather odd considering that most of us have observed our entire lives that when it rains it never rains everywhere all at once. In fact, the driest place on earth–Atacama Desert in Chile–hasn’t seen rain in more than 400 years.

Another thing that makes the flood story incredibly absurd are the dimensions of the ark Noah was instructed to build. Its dimensions were so large that its size would not be surpassed in shipbuilding until the late nineteenth century. And it was constructed by only one man with his bare hands.

This is not intended to be a theological discussion. We’re merely pointing out that this story contains some remarkable elements, and we’re asking you to exceed those.

How True To The Original Story Should You Stay?

The garden gnomes are interested in stories involving a catastrophic flood. That could mean water or another substance. You can stick to the Biblical setting of the ancient past or take us to some point in the future. Our only rule is you can’t use any Biblical characters. Keep Noah and his family out of it.

We’re hoping, however, that your story borrows elements of Biblical storytelling, both in an absurdist sense and in an inspirational sense. But we’re not looking for “inspirational” stories, necessarily.

We’re really looking for stories that put the “speculative” in speculative fiction.

Stories that might impel our interest would employ the following elements:

  • Horror
  • Fantasy
  • Intrigue
  • Science fiction
  • Weirdness (OMG, do we love weirdness)
  • Mystery
  • Pathos
  • High adventure
  • Heroics, especially the epic kind
  • Magic realism
  • Apocalyptic
  • Dystopian
  • Punk
  • Supernaturalism
  • Paranormal
  • Slipstream of consciousness

And anything that will entertain the reader and make your story a speculative feast for the eyes.

Your story does not need to be limited to these elements nor does it need to contain all of them. These are just some of the things that we like. Most of all, we like a good story well told.

Other Speculative Considerations

If you are a poet, we won’t leave you out. We love poetry. Especially narrative poetry. We want your poem to tell a story. We also want it to include the speculative elements that would be found in a traditional prose story.

Nonfiction writers can get in on the action, as well. If you have survived a flood or know someone who has, then we’d like to hear your story. Embellish it. Make it come to life. Tell it creatively and tell it boldly. We’re all about the fantastic, whether in fiction or nonfiction. We like to call these true stories personal, or reported, essays.

An Invitation to Submit to the Deluge

The official deadline for this anthology is midnight, August 23, 2014 EST. We’re hoping we won’t have to extend that deadline this time, but if we do, we do.

We encourage all submitters to check out our previous anthologies–Garden of Eden and Sulfurings: Tales from Sodom & Gomorrah.

As always, questions are encouraged. Send your inquiries to editor @ gardengnomepubs dot com. Send your submissions to submissions @ gardengnomepubs dot com.

Yes, we are a paying market. It’s a token payment, but we do pay. You can get information on payment on our Biblical Legends Anthology Series page. Otherwise, specific information about this anthology and what we are looking for can be found here. Be sure to follow our general submission guidelines.

We’re looking forward to receiving your submission soon. Stay faithful, my garden friends.

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Come, Partake In Our Sulfurings

sulfur rainAs we await the return of our last couple of contracts from writers for the stories going into the Garden of Eden anthology, we are now beginning to take submissions for the next one. The theme for the second Biblical Legends Speculative Fiction digital anthology is Sulfurings.

It’s pretty simple what we’re asking writers to do. Give us a short story, poem, flash fiction story, or essay (loosely) concerning the inhabitants of the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as they struggle to survive amid the sulfur raining down upon them from above.

Our only stipulation is that none of the characters can be Lot or his family. Tell us who the characters are and how they survive.

Stories can be apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic – during the sulfuric rain or in the aftermath. We just want them to be good.

On poetry, we’re looking for narrative poems of 50-500 lines. Find out more about our BLAS submissions guidelines and our general submission guidelines. Just don’t make us suffer.

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Deadline Extension For The Garden Of Eden Anthology

Deadlines are necessary evils. On the one hand, they serve as closure for a project that, without a definite end in sight, could go on forever. On the other hand, they provide writers with the necessary motivation to get writing and to complete that project they’ve put on the back burner.

Recent events have encouraged me to re-consider the established deadline for the Garden of Eden anthology. That deadline was going to be tonight at midnight EST.

I put a lot of thought into that deadline. I gave writers four months to prepare for it, but because Garden Gnome Publications is still in its infancy, it’s unreasonable to expect that word has spread to all corners of the globe. The gnomes are humble enough to know that we haven’t even penetrated the first corner yet. But we’re hopeful.

Nevertheless, one writer pointed out that today’s deadline is right at the end of NaNoWriMo, so many writers are focused on kicking out their 50,000 word tomes. Believe me, we understand.

On another note, the gnomes have received some great entries, however, we feel like we could use a few more. Therefore, we’re extending the deadline to midnight EST on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. We hope this will give writers a chance to complete their NaNoWriMo novels and get us a few more submissions to offer readers of the first anthology.

What Kind Of Submissions We’re Looking For

I thought it might be beneficial to discuss what we’re actually hoping to achieve with this anthology. While we’ve received some excellent submissions so far, we have noticed that there is a bit of a disconnect between our hopes and some of the submissions we have received. Therefore, an elaboration is offered to help clear this misunderstanding up.

First, there is a reason we’ve dubbed our anthology series Biblical Legends Speculative Fiction Anthology Series. The idea is to use the Bible as a starting point for the imagination.

We are not necessarily interested in stories that lift up the Bible as the true Word of God, a necessary and inspired holy book, or the Truth. That said, we have no interest in dismissing stories that do so if those stories are good.

The “Biblical” in the name of the anthology series is simply a reference to a body of literature contained within the Bible. Our intent is to focus on stories and legends within the Bible that have an element of absurdity to them when viewed from an early 21st century perspective. Their truth or falsity is not our concern. What we want are stories that use the legendary tales themselves as a jumping off point.

We thought the Garden of Eden would be the perfect starting point – for a number of reasons.

  1. It is the first story, or legend, in the Bible where humans are the focal point.
  2. As legend, it is the genesis of the Bible’s overall story arc – at least where humanity is concerned.
  3. Thirdly, we just thought it would be fun.

The reason we’re calling the story anthologies “speculative fiction” is not as obvious as we initially thought. Speculative fiction is not an easy-to-define genre. It can include any number of fantastical elements that might include:

  • Science fiction
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Weird elements
  • Supernatural elements
  • Utopian or dystopian story lines
  • Apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic tales
  • Superhero or superhuman characters
  • Alternate histories
  • And other miscellaneous oddities

Trust me, we’re interested in all of the above. Your only limitation as a writer is your imagination. We encourage you to go hog wild. We have imposed only one limitation – please, no Biblical characters.

Why No Biblical Characters?

Look at any submission guidelines and you’ll discover that there is always a reason behind them. Writers do not have to agree with those reasons. But if you want to get published, then it’s in your best interests to take note of those guidelines and follow them.

The garden gnomes decided to stipulate one restriction – no Biblical characters – for one simple reason: We want to encourage the speculative aspect of “speculative fiction.” It’s too easy to fall back on those old paradigms that have captured the human imagination for millennia.

There have been countless variants of the Adam and Eve story. While many of those are speculative, we believe they are overdone. It’s time for something new. We’re not interested in new takes on old paradigms. We want new paradigms. We want to take the stories that people are familiar with in new directions – myth and reality be damned. That is the essence of speculative fiction, in our view. “Make it new” is not just for poets and disciples of Ezra Pound.

From time to time, we may allow the inclusion of Biblical characters into a particular anthology. When so, it will be noted. Otherwise, we ask that writers do their best to honor this restriction.

The Garden of Eden’s Greatest Needs

We’d love to get more flash fiction and short stories. You can never have too many submissions to choose from. At least, we’re not so overwhelmed – yet – that we would change our minds on that point. But those are not our greatest needs.

In order for our vision to be most perfectly fulfilled, we’d like to see more narrative poems and essays submitted.

Narrative Poems

Narrative poems are hard to write. Believe me, we know this. But we want narrative poems, as opposed to lyrical poems, for one simple reason. They render more easily to the digital format.

Another reason we insist on narrative poems is because the anthologies are intended to be stories. Stories by definition are narratives. And we want longer narratives because our intent is to publish only one poem per anthology. We want it to be a good one.

In this day, there are few poets writing narrative poems. Most poetry is “free verse,” which is really prose with line breaks. So why not write prose?

While prose does not necessarily lend itself to narrative form, per se, we believe the two go hand in hand quite nicely. Therefore, we’re looking for long narrative poems in the range of 50 to 500 lines. But understand a few things about narrative poetry, specifically what it is and what it isn’t.

  • Narrative poetry does not necessarily exclude lyrical qualities. As an example, I’d like to point your attention to a narrative poem titled “On The Road Home” by yours truly. It was published in the November 2012 issue of Ygdrasil as the Post Scriptum. We encourage you to read this poem and take note of its many lyrical qualities, including many formal poetic elements, while remaining true to the narrative form.
  • Secondly, narrative poetry can be surreal or avant-garde. Here’s another narrative poem that includes many formal and free verse elements with some concrete poetry and avant-garde qualities, as well. Warning: It’s a long one. But notice how the poem moves through it’s narrative using visual elements, backward lines, indents, and odd elements that take the reader by surprise. I hesitate to use this as an example because many of the visual elements found on the web page could not be accomplished in an e-book, so this is not really what we’re looking for. It is an example, however, of how creative you can get with narrative poetry. For that, I’d say it’s well worth a read.
  • First and foremost, narrative poetry tells a story. That’s what we want: A story told through poetic elements on the digital page. Get creative, but please stay within our guidelines. No Biblical characters and no lyrical verses.

The two biggest mistakes we’ve seen so far with poems submitted for The Garden of Eden anthology are 1) the use of Adam, Eve, and the serpent and 2) poems being too short and lyrical in nature. These poems are automatically discarded and not considered. We really want your speculative narratives.

Essays

Essays pose a different challenge. We’ve had a couple of submissions for essays but nothing that has me excited – yet. I’m still looking for that one perfect essay.

We’re not necessarily looking for expository or academic writing. We use the term “essay” loosely. What we really want is creative nonfiction that says something interesting about the theme. Hear how Lee Gutkind defines the genre of creative nonfiction:

In some ways, creative nonfiction is like jazz—it’s a rich mix of flavors, ideas, and techniques, some of which are newly invented and others as old as writing itself. Creative nonfiction can be an essay, a journal article, a research paper, a memoir, or a poem; it can be personal or not, or it can be all of these.

What we’re looking for are thoughts, expressions, and personal writings that explore the theme in new ways or that give us a new take on the theme. If we received an “essay” about the Garden of Eden for our anthology which we believed was worthy of publishing, our hope would be that it would give us something to mull over and cause us to think differently about our lives. We don’t know what that means precisely, but we know what it doesn’t mean.

We want something creative, something imaginative, something outside the bounds of tradition. We want it well-written and thought-provoking. We want it to incorporate all elements of genre writing without falling neatly into any genre. If that makes any sense.

Can we tell you what we want? No. But we’ll know it when we see it. It’s up to you to help us realize it when it presents itself.

Our Final Invitation

Having said all of that (we apologize for the length), we’d like to send out one final invite to writers, poets, and creative essayists to send us your best work. Give us your take on the Garden of Eden theme, and please follow our general submission guidelines. We’re looking forward to seeing what forbidden fruit you have to offer.

As always, feel free to ask your questions in the comments.

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5 Characters Who Could Have Been In The Garden Of Eden

homo habilis garden of eden

From Wikipedia under Creative Commons license. Photographer: Lillyundfreya.

Speculative fiction is a genre that allows you to rewrite history, science, theology, or even the future. In this case, I’d like to ask you to rewrite the story of the Garden of Eden. But you can’t use any of the typical characters (Adam, Even, the serpent).

Instead, create a character that might have existed in the garden. Make it up. It’s speculative.

For instance, here are five ideas to loosen your brain:

  1. A Raptor – One version of history includes the co-existence of dinosaurs with man prior to the flood. What if it was true? In that case, dinosaurs would have been in the garden with Adam and Eve. One such creature was a raptor, a vicious talking carnivore. Yes, I said he talks. That’s why we call it ‘speculative’. It could have happened!
  2. The Twisting Vine – This living vine doesn’t talk, but it does move through the garden, up trees, around legs, where ever it can go unimpeded.
  3. Intl – Intl is a strong but not so bright Homo Habilis. He likes to watch the two more superior animals, male and female Homo Erectuses, and witnesses them being expelled from the garden by some unseen but all too personal force.
  4. Batbrain – This flying mammal appears vicious but is really quite gentle, though a bit eccentric. He loves to “rhino surf.”
  5. Hermaphrodite – On the opposite side of the garden is the hominid Adam and Eve drove away from themselves shortly after partaking of the forbidden fruit. They’ve now been expelled from the garden, but Hermaphrodite is still lurking about, naked and displaying both gender parts proudly. But how will he/she survive all alone?

These are just five speculative ideas to get your creative juices flowing. Feel free to use these characters or come up with your own. What really happened in the Garden of Eden?

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What Is Biblical Speculative Fiction?

Using “Biblical” as an adjective can get you into a lot of trouble. I suspect this might be one of those occasions.

The problem lies in how you interpret the adjective. The easy way out is to simply say that “Biblical” means literally interpreted. That is, if you call something Biblical, then you are implying that you are referring to the traditionally orthodox interpretation of the Bible. That’s not what the Garden Gnome is doing in this case.

“Biblical” simply means “based on the Bible.” Whatever that means.

What Is Speculative Fiction?

The real bone of contention is, What do you make of speculative fiction? Garden gnomes almost always seek the broadest interpretation possible. In fiction and in real life.

Speculative fiction, for our purposes, is any fiction that encompasses a fantastical element. That could include – but isn’t limited to – science fiction, fantasy, horror, weird literature, supernatural tales, utopian or dystopian stories, alternative histories, Bizarro, and anything with a weird, surreal, or irreal element to it. Feel free to expand on that.

As a matter of principle, most garden gnomes like stories that cross genre definitions.

Getting To The Heart Of ‘Biblical’ Speculative Fiction

The Biblical Legends Spec Fic Anthology Series is an attempt to bring together short story and flash fiction writers from a variety of sub-genres within the speculative fiction category addressing particular Biblical-based themes or settings for each anthology. In other words, contributors have a lot of freedom to take their stories in any speculative direction as long as they stick with the theme.

The first anthology theme in the works is the Garden of Eden. We’re all familiar with the story, no doubt.

In case you haven’t heard about it, let me give you a quick synopsis.

    According to Genesis 2:4-3:24, newly created Adam was placed in a newly created garden called Eden. Through this garden ran four rivers. And, amid all the other foliage and fauna, there were two significant trees – the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life. Adam was instructed by his creator not to eat of the first tree.

    God then created all the animals and sent them to Adam to receive names. Then he put Adam to sleep, took a rib, and created Eve.

    A serpent came along and tempted Eve to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree. Eve ate the fruit from the tree and tempted Adam to do the same. After doing so, they realized they were naked and covered themselves with fig leaves. God came looking for them, and when he found them he wasn’t happy. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the serpent. God punished them all.

    God told Adam his punishment was work. The woman’s was pain during childbirth. And the serpent lost his legs. Then God sent Adam and Eve out of the garden and blocked the entrance with a flaming sword.

So what is the task of each writer who contributes a story to the Garden of Eden anthology?

What’s So Damned Speculative About This Garden?

garden of eden speculative fictionThe Garden of Eden is a strange place. Not much is known about it. There aren’t any historical records. Adam hadn’t invented papyrus yet.

We’ve deleted Adam, Eve, and the serpent as potential characters. That would be too easy. Instead, we want to know who else might have been in that garden. This is where you can get speculative. Use your imagination. Be broad in your thinking, and be creative. You don’t have to stick with the literal details of the Biblical text, but you should try to maintain the integrity of the legend. In other words, don’t make it a desert, because it wasn’t. That said, you can describe the garden as you wish.

The garden gnomes are giddy with excitement about the stories we’re expecting to receive. We’d like one of them to be yours. Get the submission details at

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