2020 minus 71: The art of fast fiction #1

Posted: 22 October 2019 in 2020 minus, fast fiction, fiction, writing
Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, I’m keeping with the fast fictions on a Tuesdays for a while, but something a bit different for the next couple (or longer) weeks.

When the estimable Si Spurrier took over Whitechapel (a now sadly long gone message board) from Warren Ellis, he and I came up with what we thought was a neat idea: The Art Of Fast Fiction

As you saw a couple of weeks ago, occasionally, someone – the wonderful Bevis Musson on that occasion – would want to turn the fast fictions into a comics page. Now, most of them – to put it mildly – weren’t written to be turned into comics. However, I was aware that some of them could be. And I was always happy to give my permission for them to do so, to use something I wrote to do so.

But this was different; I wrote these stories deliberately to provoke artwork.

So, as I say, for the next couple of weeks, I’ll put a story up, together with the art that resulted. For the first two, the art will be by the inimitable Ollie Redding, whose creations saw print in the Thought Bubble anthology programme.

If I can find the artwork for the other stories, I’ll put them up as well; if not, well, you’ll get the story, and you’ll have to imagine the art.

Oh, the idea was that I’d choose the ‘winning’ art, and that person got to issue the challenge for the following week’s story. Which I’d write, and then we’d ask for submissions, and start the whole process over again.

The challenge, of course, was the same as usual, with the same rules:

Give me a title of up to four words in length, together with a single word you want me to include in the tale, and I will write a story of exactly 200 words.

That’s it. The stories that resulted always included the word, they always fitted the title, but usually in ways the challenger hadn’t anticipated. And they were always exactly 200 words in length.

To start with, here’s a story, and Ollie’s art that resulted…

Title: The Immortality Drive
Word: tachyon
Length: 200 words exactly

The archivist held himself upright as a matter of pride. Lean by nature, mean by inclination, he was equally feared and detested by the authors who brought their works for inclusion in the vast archives.

The author who now held up her work in supplication was an actual human and the archivist restrained a shudder of contempt that aeons ago, his forebears had come from the same planet. Of course, his ancestors had shown a modicum of taste and left that dirtball as soon as they were able.

The tachyon dissemination drive was a marvel of technology, colours swirling around it; any item placed upon it was transmitted through all time and space, placed in every library through recorded history.

The archivist glanced at the work offered for inclusion. The cover offended him, as did the author , and no doubt the contents.

The archivist barely noticed the author running towards the drive and turned his head just in time to see the author place her hand upon the drive… and disappear.

It never worked, he knew. Another author who would never be read, never even be remembered. It was the work that survived, the archivist knew. Only the work.

© Lee Barnett, 2012

Something else tomorrow…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s