The Mermaids of the Darian Coast

By David Wesley Hill

Posted: Apr 15, 2014

A tale of the Drake circumnavigation ...

Just before dusk, after proceeding some miles into the vast bay of fresh water known as the Rio de la Plata, or Silver River, the Pelican anchored in the lee of a rocky island, which provided good protection against the southerly wind. After serving dinner, I joined the usual gang below on the gun deck among the cannon. The general mood continued to be as grim as it had been for the past week. Our course southward down the coast of Brazil proved to everyone that our destination could be only one of two places, and neither was a friendly harbor. Either we were headed around Africa to the Indies or else Drake was taking us through the Straits of Magellan into the Southern Ocean.

Read for Free on Smashwords

Calling the Children

By David Wesley Hill

Posted: Apr 15, 2014

Sent into the interstellar dark on a mission of mercy to cure an ancient plague ...

They sent him into the interstellar dark on a mission of mercy. They froze him and packed his living corpse into a ramscoop and pointed it toward Ophiuchi. They skimmed him across three hundred years of time and space because of the cry that had reached a receiver several astronomical units beyond Pluto. And so he forsook all that was known to him and all those to whom he was known and he went out into the beyond. It was his duty. His name was Harmon Gynt, and he was a doctor.

Read for Free on Smashwords

Moles

By David Wesley Hill

Posted: Apr 15, 2014

These undercover operatives were definitely not from Russia ...

My wife dug a finger into the skin of her neck and with a brisk upward motion stripped off her face and exposed her real self to me. The invasion was on. She didn't have to hide any longer.

Beneath the human mask her flesh was chalky and hard. Her eyes were bulbous, faceted, insectile. Small mandibles worked around her mouth.

Tossing her face into the kitchen garbage, she said, "You don't know how good it feels to finally be out of that get-up. Twenty-three years. God. I itch."

Read for Free on Smashwords

My Brother Tom

By David Wesley Hill

Posted: Apr 15, 2014

The frogs knew the secret ...

Mom and dad didn't love me. They said they did but I knew better. They loved Tom. Tom who was my brother but not really. Tom who had died before I was born.

Read for Free on Smashwords

On a Lazy Summer Afternoon

By David Wesley Hill and Felix Wesley Hill

Posted: Apr 15, 2014

Even zombies believe in God ...

Irv Greber sat on the cement steps leading onto the gravel driveway and scratched with a stick in the pile of bright yellow sand that his father had hauled in for the new barn floor. His dog, Flip, shook himself awake and ambled over, standing silently with rigid legs while Irv ran his fingers through the shaggy Irish Water Spaniel's thick, dusty coat. "Here's a big one," Irv said. Parting the fur, he uncovered a great wood tick as large as his thumb feeding at an angry spot of skin. He took a pliers from the back pocket of his jeans and placed the jaws carefully around the tick, worked the insect free, and held it out to Flip. The dog sniffed the tick and then ate it.

Read for Free on Smashwords

The Thinner Man

By David Wesley Hill

Posted: Apr 15, 2014

Sometimes dieting is not the answer ...

They stapled his stomach in half and wired his jaws shut but nothing worked. He just got fatter.

At the end Harry Oppenheimer weighed close to half a ton. This was only a good guess, however. He was much more than any scale could handle. Too big to leave the house. Too obese to get out of bed.

I remained with him not because it was my job to do so—I was his secretary, not his nurse—but because he was my friend. I ran his errands, ordered take-out for him, changed his clothes and bedpan, tended to the weeping red sores that erupted between his thighs and beneath the sagging billows of his chest.

The way he was going, I knew that it wouldn't—couldn't—be long.

Read for Free on Smashwords

My Two Sons

By David Wesley Hill

Posted: Apr 15, 2014

When a father must choose ...

Nag's Cove was a mile off but a chill fog carried the reek of the bay into town all the same. My hands were cold right down to the joints and they refused to warm up even after fifty minutes in the station house. Three hours remained until the arrival of what promised to be an ugly dawn. I finished a cup of coffee and was in a foul mood by the time Sheriff Henry Kelsoe settled behind his desk.

Read for Free on Smashwords

Here Be Demons

By David Wesley Hill

Posted: Apr 15, 2014

Sometimes even devils get bored ...

I went down to the basement and pulled Sam out of the dryer. He was giggling. He enjoys tumbling in that machine. I singed my fingers on his hair while dragging him through the small round window.

Read for Free on Smashwords

Revisiting the Future: Science Fiction and the Shape of Things to Come

This paper was originally presented by David Wesley Hill to the 2007 International Conference on Science Fiction and Fantasy, Chengdu, People's Republic of China

Posted: Apr 15, 2014

Ten years ago I delivered a paper to this conference on the future and science fiction. My thesis was that science fiction as a literature of ideas has a societal function separate from its role as entertainment. By creating a public dialogue around such topics as robotics, space flight, nanotechnology, and cloning, science fiction prepares readers for technological change. Some would argue that it actually encourages young people toward careers in the sciences. At the least, in a society battered by future shock, with the sum total of human knowledge doubling and redoubling with frenetic velocity, it could be that cultivating a "sense of wonder"—perhaps the defining characteristic of science fiction—is a prerequisite for success in our brave new world.

Read More