The orderly hands me a paper cup holding a pill — the pill that will make me forget about Talking Chicken. It’s one of those long, capsule-style horse pills. The doctors didn’t take the time to read my medical history; I have a narrow esophagus. I rotate the pill with my tongue, so it goes down sideways, then show the orderly that my mouth is empty. If I don’t drink any water, the pill won’t dissolve for 15 or 20 minutes, giving me plenty of time to hack it up. I’ll take my meds every day, I won’t say a word about talking chickens, and I’ll be out on the street, and then back on the force, in no time.
reBirth by Katharine Gripp. At first, it seemed like this story might have an interesting plot about over-reliance on virtual reality. Then, it got silly as the main character’s consciousness was hijacked and placed into the body of a crippled homeless man.
The Pondering Pacifist by John Kaniecki. There was barely a story to this. It was more of a lecture than entertainment.
Walk by Gunnar De Winter. A creature overcomes its instincts, possibly a first step in the creation of a new species.
They Shall Be As Gods by John Rovito. Thousands of brilliant people use technology to link their brains together, in an attempt to create an intelligence capable of communicating with God. Result = Tower of Babel, the sequel.
Places Where the Roads Don’t Go by Michael Flynn. A ponderous first chapter about development of an AI, and some personal-life details about characters I had no reason to care about.
Beyond the Mist by Ben Zwycky. A man, who doesn’t know why his memories were wiped, begins to regain some of them. This wasn’t as slow-paced as the other serial, but its ending wasn’t enough of a cliff-hanger to make me want the next chapter.
Leave me a comment if you’ve read a good serial lately. Is it a dead art form? There are a lot of “how to write” books that tell authors they have a single paragraph (or even a single sentence, which I think is extreme) to hook their reader, whether that reader’s an editor at a publishing house or a consumer of self-published e-books. If this is true, why am I getting serials that can’t hook me after an entire chapter?
This was apparently the last issue of Sci Phi Journal in magazine format. New stories will be published on their site, www.sciphijournal.com, with a mix of free and subscriber-only content.
In other news, the line between fiction and non-fiction may be fading. After writing this post’s lead-in story, I ended up in the ER with an esophagus problem. Maybe I should keep an eye out for talking chickens…