Welcome to summer! Today we're bringing you a smorgasbord of tasty, sunny amusements. Specifically, a cat scifi story by boomer trujillo, photos from our Armadillocon 2018 culinary contest, and a selection of award winners from our more recent Armadillocon flash fiction contests...! Free scifi fun and humor... enjoy!
The Trans-Historical Correlation between the Technological and Felinological
An Abstract of a Manuscript Submitted in Partial Fulfilment for the Degree of Philosophiae Doctor, Taurus Excretum
by boomer trujillo, M.A.
Boston, USA - Year 2113
Werner Goldstein and Marie Milligan accepted the year’s Nobel for physics. Their paper “Macroscopic Extrapolations of Quantum Entanglement and Transcommunicative Phenomena” chronicled the first reproducible instances of teleportation. After sufficient adjustment of their machines, i.e., giddy tinkering under sleep deprivation, their lab teleported coffee, a copy of A Brief History of Time, and Quark, the lab cat, to Geneva, Switzerland.
News traveled faster than Quark, and the implications of the research caused social panic. The Peace Prize the following year went to Muhammad Smith, who championed a new economic and legal model for teleportation. He quelled the violence by arguing three things. First, the instantaneous transit of goods and people would undo the ecological harm of centuries of carbon-based vehicles. Second, Earth could achieve, for the first time, a universal, enlightened, and egalitarian democracy by justly distributing food, medical supplies, and education. Third, since teleportation reached all planets in the solar system, humans could colonize and terraform Mars and the Jovian satellites.
Teleportation became mundane. Humans combined hand-held teleporters and laser pointers to play with their own Quarks. They lured their felines into stalking alluring red photons. Mid-leap humans used the teleporters to move their cats back to their starting position to thwart them. Vicious human beings lured cats into sprinting after the lasers and then teleported them very near a wall to test how deftly they could rebound off of it. Apocryphal accounts exist of yet eviler humans, and those aged inept with their new-fangled techno-lo-whatchits, teleporting cats into walls to produce morbid, taxidermic displays of Quark half in the room and half-merged with the gypsum and pine of drywall and studs.
München, Teutonic Republic - Year 2351
Maximillian Çal?k revolutionized physics and philosophy. He finally produced empirical experiments that revealed the structure of space-time. The front page of Der Spiegel glistened, “Time Travel: Über Possible, Über Cool!” Within a week, half the world’s population read the pop précis of Çal?k’s work in Wired: "Time Travel and Temporal Tourism."
The Committee for the Ranke and Mommsen Prize for Historical Excellence awarded medals to the first modern explorers of Atlantis and the Library of Alexandria. Everyone was disappointed that ancient cities were filled with slums and slaves, and that the legendary library was full of superstitions and phallic marginalia. Of course, everyone was also secretly relieved that their bias toward the present had been somewhat vindicated. Nonetheless, translations of the ancient tomes and their bizarre tales of space travel inspired venture plutocrats to invest in tech to hop star systems and galaxies. Mars and Titan for brunch were soon passé.
Germans invent a new word, “unglaublichdoofmeinGottichkannnichtesglauben,” referring to the unique human stupidity that afflicted those who traveled back in time to murder their own grandparents, or to seduce them. As a result, all governments regulated time travel, and consumer-level devices could transport nothing over 10 kg.
Germans created a new Steckenkatze: transporting cats back in time. Bored technology students soon learned how to transport cats back in time so that they could chase themselves chasing a laser. This, of course, led to new cute mannerisms and new loops backward to give the owners enough time to grab the neighbors to come see what the cats were doing. Cats were, after all, the neu cute.
The consumer-level time travel devices also enabled humans to domesticate Paleogene felines.
Santiago, Chiletinaguay - Year 2491
Esteban Comal de la Garza and Ines María Anaïs Walowitz led a group of interspecies psychology post-docs on an excursion to the new Pontifical Laboratory for Psychic Discovery in the Andes. A combination of coffee, MDMA, and Cola-infused pulque induced telepathy, at first mistaken for hallucinogenic veisalgia. Within weeks, the students perfected the exact ratio of drinks and chemicals, and the Psychic Age began as humans, Cetians, and Womwoks finally understood each other in more than broken phrases and exaggerated mannerisms. Politicians began to cooperate globally and interstellarly, finally realizing that cooperation might have been a better plan for civilization than competition.
After the publication of Telepathy in 10 Steps and The Womwok’s Guide to Far-Feeling, the known universe's cognitively complex beings were able to share consciousness with each other. Not only humans and Cetians, but also cephalopods, elephants, and ravens. With cognitively brute beings, like ticks, squirrels, politicians, and sales reps, they could even implant desires and beliefs, though those of good conscience never implanted them deeper than short-term memory.
During breaks at Pontifical Lab, students implanted desires into the mind of Paca la Gata, the lab’s feline mascot. They made her believe her tail was actually the dot of a laser pointer and reinforced the insatiable desire to stalk and hunt. Once the students were sufficiently filled with glee, both from feeling the thrill of the chase with Paca and feeling clever enough to trick her, they yielded. Paca returned to normal and most others to work. A few students remained to hang with Paca as she sunbathed and primped her fur. A few even stayed while she buried last night’s dinner in a basin of gravel and groomed her nethers with her tongue.
Y?zhòu - Year 2588
Nanotechnology and fluent matter-information interfaces merged the minds of the universe into a collective. All animals and aliens understood reached complete understanding of each other. The lower-orders understood the delight their guardians took in them. The guardians finally understood why chasing lasers was so compelling.
Life in this sector finally transcended its biological form. Upon discovering a giant consciousness hidden in voids and folded in dark energy, we merged with it. We finally understand that the universe is consciousness. And that consciousness is . . . look, a laser!
Culinary Contest Photos
Back when people could eat food together in small, indoor rooms, the erstwhile founders of Space Squid decided it would be fun to make Armadillocon writers create flash fiction stories in five minutes and then judge these creations in a frenzy of shame and laughter. We've got some award-winning examples in the next section. But there's more! Said founders also decided that the chaos was not complete enough with the flash fiction. We needed also to force Dillocon attendees to compete for culinary supremacy using only the ingredients available to them in the con's hospitality suite. Edible creations (using the adjective loosely) would be crafted in a five-minute timeframe and subjected to the scrutiny of Melissa Tolliver, the hospitality suite impresario and visionary. We present here a collection of photos from the 2018 contest, in which Melissa shows an astonishing range of emotions as she is subjected to the cruelties of the contest: shock, puzzlement, wonderment, disgust, surprise, and even enjoyment. Photos by culinary contest overlord Matthew "Michael Bay" Bey.
An Odd Assortment of Award-Winning Flash Fiction
Lastly we'd like to share with you this collection of award-winning and/or highly-ranked entries from the aforementioned Space Squid flash fiction contests at Armadillocon.
Oh Frock! (first place 2019, writing cue: frock) by Cecilia Bugbee
My friend was chasing me through the open field, when my sandal slipped off my foot. My foot that continued to move forward straight into a rock.
“Augh! This fuc- this frock!” I shouted in pain.
My friend stopped, her little sister running up to see what I was screaming about.
“Frock?” my friend asked, trying to figure out why I was talking about old dresses.
“Look, I hit my toe on the frock.”
“That’s a rock. Not a frock?” she informed me.
“Look, there is a six year old here. I can’t say the word I want to say,” I angrily yelled, considering if it would be wise to kick the rock as revenge.
“I don’t understand,” my friend said, clueless as always.
“Frick but stronger! I can’t say that with this child around. So it’s a frock.”
Julie (2019, writing cue: frock) by Ethan Lee Ewing
"Julie, what are you wearing?" Freddey said.
"You shouldn't be talking. You're basically wearing a frock," Julie said.
"It's a funeral. You're wearing yoga pants and a shirt that says HIGHWAY TO HELL!" Freddey yelled.
"It's... it... I can't respond to that," she said, feeling defeated.
"Good. Now make sure you change your ring tone," Freddey said with a smirk.
"What's wrong with that?" Julie said.
Freddey calls her and "Highway to Hell" plays.
Lost (2019, writing cue: frock) by D Chang
- I'm lost.
- Me too.
- Don't keep looking at me like that.
- I'm not looking at you.
- You're looking at my knees.
- No. I'm not a knee looker.
- You're looking at my butt.
- No. Keep walking.
- You're looking at my frock. You covet my frock.
- I do not. Cyborgs do not covet.
- You're a coveting cyborg. I can tell. You have that covetous module.
- Why on earth and heaven would I want that ridiculous garment from a dead civilization?
- For your collection. You are a coveter.
- Ok, ok...! I will carry you for a thousand meters for it.
- Ok, deal.
Aliens in Montana (writing cue: Montana) by J.J. Litke
You might not think the aliens would pick Montana for first contact. But there’s lots to recommend about the place, especially Mainville. Sure, we used to be a backwater with regular mule fights on Main Street, but there hasn’t been a mule fight around here in over two years now.
So those aliens showed up one day, looking a whole lot like aliens from the movies, kinda short, with fat heads and glassy gray eyes. They wanted to meet me, since I happen to be the mayor. "Take me to your leader" kinda thing.
Well I showed them 'round. They asked a lot of questions about the city, the cars, buildings. Then we got to Meg’s Cafe. I swear I thought this was going to be the good part. The food there is some great home cooking.
Me and Fred buried the bodies in the quarry and agreed never to talk about it again.
Airlock (writing cue: Montana) by A.R. Draeger
My finger hovered above the flashing red button of the airlock.
Catherine banged her fist against the window. “You can’t do this to me! I depart for Montana in TWO DAYS. I’ll be out of your hair, I’ll never be on this station again, I’ll be gone - forever.”
Scuttles whined at my feet, having finished up the treat trail I left to get him to drag Catherine this direction. A simple distraction, a simple push and she was right where I wanted her.
Tears began to streak down her face. “You can have the money.”
“I don’t need the money. I just want the dog, Catherine.”
Her mouth dropped open.
“You’re murdering me for THAT?” She pressed a pointed finger against the glass, aiming at Scuttles, now biting into his own tail.
“You did say that dual custody would hurt him.”
“They’ll get you for this.”
“I know,” I replied. “But it’ll be cheaper than divorce.”
I hit the button, and the vacuum sucked her out into the ether. I watched as Popsicle Catherine floated by. Scuttles barked, and then went back to licking himself, as completely content as his single owner.
About the Creator
World's Shortest Creator Interview
Please describe your favorite alternate universe in 10 words or less.
Creatives lead queer seed against greed at lightspeed.
If you had to sing the story of your life, what would the chorus be and what existing melody would you use?
The lows of my past make this an uphill climb
The fog of the future makes my footsteps blind
I keep climbing even though I’m not sure why
No, I’m never sure why, but I’ll get on by
-- Sung to Wes Montgomery’s “Polka Dots and Moonbeams”
About the Artists
Our very own D Chang is a designer and game writer from Austin, Texas. His short fiction has appeared in Avast, Ye Airships! and the Cryptopolis science fiction anthology, and you can get a free demo of his janky retro JRPG, which was formerly on Steam. He does the Space Squid illustrations, editing, and other squid stuff.
Our very own Matthew Bey is a sci-fi writer and occasional Squid editor living in Austin, Texas. He is the host of This Week in the Multiverse podcast, as well as the fishing podcast Last Cast Podcast. He is a creator of the free science fiction magazine Space Squid as well as the Helmut Finch mythos.