Stephen L. Thompson’s Published Works

Stephen L. Thompson’s
Published Short Stories


Hello. Here is a listing of all of my published short stories. (I consider short stories to be over 1000 words.) They are listed with the most recent publications on the top and I have the work’s title, when and where it was published, and a brief blurb or history of the story. Most of these stories are on the web and I have linked to them. I hope you enjoy.









Steve’s Homepage Main Publication Page




“Always With Us”

January 2016, Oneoveralpha's Writing Blog

What’s the deal with the flags?

Over the years, I’ve written two stories commemorating the astronauts who died during the Apollo 1 and Challenger accidents. They were on different sites, but I revised them and posted them on my blog. Maybe someday I’ll write stories to commemorate the other astronauts and cosmonauts who have died.

This story is for Apollo 1. You can click here to see what I originally wrote for this.

Click here to read the story.

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“The Kingdom of Beer”

July 2015, Oneoveralpha's Writing Blog

What’s the deal with the flags?


I was looking for a way to mark the New Horizon flyby of Pluto, and I remembered I had written a story set on Pluto years ago. The site that published it went defunct not long after my story was posted, but their website remained up for several years. But when I went to check on it, I found that it had disappeared. So I polished up the story, and posted it on my blog.

Click here to read the story.

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“You Always Forget Something”

June 22, 2015
QuarterReads

I forget exactly where the idea for this story came from. But I think it was the image of how the original version of the story ended. The original version started with the same bit with Ben and Deblina. However, instead of going to Todd we remained on Earth as there is a recap of how all attempts to find the hacker lead nowhere, and more images show the same feature. And then there was a line of how Deblina broke the internet when she announced the findings. The next robotic mission was still a few months from launching, but it is redirected to check out these rocks. And with the time until it launches, the flight to Mars, and then a few months roving to the area, it’s some eighteen months since the first photo before we get a closer look. And the rover finds a spacesuited figure half-buried in the Martian sand. There is a notebook where Todd tells his story. I liked the idea of that, but then I realized that the last two-thirds of the story was all exposition without any dialogue. So I dumped that and rewrote the section with Todd. Whether or not that is what eventually happens to him, depends on what kind of story you want.

This story is no longer online.

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“Thinking Ahead”

April 15, 2015
QuarterReads

A few years ago, they remade Conan the Barbarian. I eventually watched it, and the only thing I remember is the basis for this story. If you didn’t see it – and I wouldn’t blame you if you haven’t – there’s some mystical artifact that can take over the world was broken apart and hidden. The bad guy finds all the pieces and puts them back together. As I watched, I couldn’t help but think, You know, if someone had melted down one of the pieces, thrown it in a volcano, or dropped it in the ocean, this movie wouldn’t happen. And that’s where this story came from.

This story is no longer online.

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“Bitter Medicine”

January 5, 2015
QuarterReads

Several years ago, I came up with an idea for a scifi story. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers for this, so I won’t say what type of story. But after thinking about it, I realized there were several directions I could take it. So I ended up writing five or six stories based off the same idea. “Bitter Medicine” is just the latest version to be published. Have you read the other versions?

This story is no longer online.

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“Dust to Dust”

January 5, 2015 on my Patreon profile as part of my Solar System Stories

Several years ago, I wrote a story set on a rogue planet drifting through interstellar space. The humans that went there to mine the metals lived in tunnels. In trying to make a real place, I wrote that there were plants growing along all the tunnels to provide oxygen and so the people wouldn’t just see bare rock everywhere which, I’m sure, would get rather depressing rather soon. Great idea, but then I wondered where all the dirt would come from, since launching tons of dirt off Earth would be extremely expensive. I debated hydroponic stuff, but I think that works better in compact areas, not stretched out over several kilometers of tunnels. So they make the dirt there, using sewage and plant wastes. As well as corpses. Because why lock all that organic material away in a box when it could be used to grow flowers or trees?

“Dust to Dust” – SPOILERS – takes that idea on sets it on Mercury. Also, they sometimes use the process as a way to give a kick to juvenile delinquents.

Click here to read it, if you’re a patron.

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“Exodus”

December 20, 2014
My
Writedge profile

What’s the deal with the flags?

Over the past five years, this story has been rejected a dozen times. Since I had submitted it to all the places I could think of, I decided to just post it myself.

Since it has been so long since I first wrote this, I’m unsure of what the original spark for it was. But I think it is the part about how – when spacetravel becomes possible – groups of people will leave Earth for political/religious/social/cultural/whatever reasons. Will that exodus be good for those left on Earth?

Click here to read the story.

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“Double Trouble”

October 28, 2014
QuarterReads

I can’t remember where the idea for this story came from. It was probably from thinking about people being replaced by an android double, and I just went from there.

This story is no longer online.

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“Cleansing Fire”

November 24, 2014 on my Patreon profile as part of my Solar System Stories

When I came up with twelve locations around the solar system to write stories about, I figured one could be near the sun. At first, I was going to do a story set on some research station, but that seemed boring unless I had some solar lifeform invade them. But I wanted these stories to be more grounded.

So instead of a research station, I thought about someone flying closer to the sun than anyone before. An interesting idea, but what would the story be about? At first, it was just going to be how everyone is excited for him, but he found the experience rather boring. I expanded that into something I hope makes a few people think.

Click here to read it.

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“It's Harder Than It Looks”

October 14, 2014
QuarterReads

Years ago I was in a writing group that met at a bookstore. I believe at one meeting someone said something along the lines of writing compelling stories is harder than it looks. So I took that obvious statement, and somehow turned it into this.

This story is no longer online.

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“The Reluctant Host”

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dog Did What?

At a meeting of one of the writing groups I’m in, one member passed out a list of upcoming themes for the Chicken Soup books. I’d never really thought of them since I write fiction and they only want non-fiction, but they pay $200 so I gave the list a lookover. One of the upcoming themes was about dogs, and I did have an amusing, real-life dog story, so I wrote it up and submitted it. And since I’m talking about it on my publications page, you can probably guess that it was accepted and published.

It’s not online, but here’s where you can buy the paperback.

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“The Erd Hunter”

Beginning October 2013 on my Bubblews profile

This is a YA fantasy Choose Your Adventure story I started writing on my Bubblews profile.

This story is no longer online.

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“Rediscovery”

Beginning August 2013 on my Bubblews profile

This is a story I’m writing in parts on my Bubblews profile about an author who had her memory erased by a terrorist bombing.

This story is no longer online.

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“The Buzzing of Flies”

June 2013 30 Stories in 30 Days

Several years ago, I had the idea of aliens coming to the solar system and strip mining the asteroids and there was nothing we could do to stop them. As with all my old ideas, it was something I always meant to go back to.

Recently, there are companies looking to mine asteroids, such as Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries. So I figured the time was right to write this story. But instead of the aliens strip mining our asteroids, I just had them stopping for supplies and ignoring us.

Click here to read the story.

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“Motherhood”

April 2012 30 Stories in 30 Days
A revised version appeared in my ebook “The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories

I have an idea for a short story about parasites. Unfortunately, I’d need to do a lot of research for it. While trying to write thirty stories in as many days, I try to avoid stories where I need to do a lot of research. But I came across the idea in my idea notebook, and I wondered if I could do a story about some other parasite. My first thought was to have it be some alien, but then I came up with the idea of an AI “baby” being carried to “adulthood” in a human brain. It’s a really interesting idea, one I will have to come back to.

Click here to read the story.

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“The Sophias”

April 2012 30 Stories in 30 Days

Over the years I’ve had several story ideas set in writing groups. And I think one day I just thought, What if the spouses of the writers had their own group? This was what I came up with. The biggest problem I had with this story was finding an ending. I wrote up to the explanation of the name, but that seemed too short of a story so I kept going. And then I couldn’t think of how to end it. Normally that isn’t so bad, but when you’re trying to write thirty stories in as many days, it pays to have nice, short stories. But I’m glad I was able to finally find an ending.

Click here to read the story.

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“Black Market Books”

April 2012 30 Stories in 30 Days
A revised version appeared in my ebook “The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories

Several years ago the idea of a book poacher came to my mind, someone who steals books now because they are rare in the future. It was an idea that sat around for years, but one of the points of my 30 Stories in 30 Days Challenge was to take these long forgotten ideas and turn them into stories. I think it worked pretty well with this one.

Click here to read the story.

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“Unforgettable”

April 2012 30 Stories in 30 Days

I fully believe that some day we will detect an alien signal. It will be a normal day with people going to work, some getting into car accidents, and some people will be on a date. The original idea was for this to be a bad date with long, awkward silences with them just looking at the table, but it didn’t quite come out that way.

Click here to read the story.

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“Whore”

Issue 3, October 2010 Bastards and Whores

I can’t remember where the idea for this story came from. It’s something I first wrote years ago and have revised several times. But I’m glad I wrote it because when I found out there was a magazine titled Bastards and Whores, I knew the perfect story to submit.

This story is no longer online.

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“Deadworld”

June 2010 30 Stories in 30 Days
A revised version appeared in my ebook “The Most Powerful Man in the World and other stories

I’ve never read the Riverworld books by Philip José Farmer, I just hope they’re better than the Syfy movie. I started watching it, but it got to the point where checking my email was more entertaining. Anyway, since “Great artists steal,” the idea of a different world where people go when they die was planted in my head. I hadn’t considered this for my 30 Stories in 30 Days Challenge because I pictured a much longer story. But I kept thinking about it and I figured I could shave a few bits off so I could finish it in a couple days.

Click here to read the story.

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“Options”

June 2009 30 Stories in 30 Days

What’s the deal with the flags?

My Human Republic Universe began with an idea for a TV series, Never Surrender. I see it as a combination of Band of Brothers and Babylon 5. It followers the crew of the Human Republic Heavy Cruiser George S. Patton, Jr. in a war against the Whistlers. I have a basic outline for the series, some of the characters figured out, and some specific things I want to do. If I had to pick five scenes as to what the series is about, the scene in “Options” would be one of them. For years I’ve thought about writing it up, and with my 30 Stories in 30 Days challenge and the 65th anniversary of D-Day, I figured I had the perfect time to write. Unfortunately, as I wrote it I realized that there are several plot elements that only make sense if you are familiar with the universe. If I ever do get to do Never Surrender, this scene would take place early in the second season, so the viewers would already know what was going on. But hopefully this piqued your curiosity enough for you to read my other stories.

Click here to read the story.

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“The Return”

2008 Reader’s Choice

I think this story started several years ago when I heard about the Artemis Project, which “is a private venture to establish a permanent, self-supporting community on the Moon.” I wanted to help, by writing a story about the first astronauts to return to the moon. Making them associated with NASA probably isn’t what the Artemis folks wanted, but I figured that NASA would get there before private companies and I wanted the story to be the return to the moon. So I started this story of an astronaut answering questions and I had the ending. That was as far as I got. Other things came up, I put my energies elsewhere and this was left behind.

Then NASA came out with their Constellation Program. My crew capsule wasn’t like the Orion capsule, and I thought I should try to change it in keeping with the new program. But my idea of a base at the Lunar South Pole doesn’t fit in with NASA’s plans. So I became frustrated, and put it aside once more. But I liked the idea of the first mission to return to the moon too much. So I dug it out, said to hell with NASA, I’m returning to the moon my way.

The biggest problem I had finishing this story was that while I had the first several pages done, I just had a general idea for the rest of it. So I would write and write and realize I still needed to explain stuff. So I’d write and write and there would still be stuff that needed explaining. For awhile I wondered if I would actually finish the damn thing. But as you can see, I did manage, although I’ll admit there are still some rough spots. But as the saying goes, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

The other big problem I had was making it … good. If you watch the Eagle’s landing or the landing of a shuttle, they’re not … well written I guess you can say. Even though I’ve seen it a hundred times, I still get choked up watching the Eagle land. That is such an important moment in history and for me. (Can I say it was an important moment in my life when it happened seven years before I was born?) Trying to duplicate such an event in writing is extremely difficult, but I did my best.

Click here to read the story.

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“Senseless Violence”

November 2008, oneoveralpha MySpace profile

I recently came across this story when I was reorganizing all my stories. This is something I wrote back in college. I had a plan for more Simon stories, but I can’t remember writing any more, but I do know that the second story was to be titled “Dynamite is Your Friend.” I didn’t make any major changes, just polished it up a little. My writing – I firmly believe – has gotten better over the years, but I thought it would be cool to put this out as an example of where I was.

This is no longer online.

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“Ticket to the Future”

September 2008 30 Stories in 30 Days

I think this started when I was wondering if aliens are here secretly, what are they doing? One possibility was that they wanted to mature humanity before we go out onto the galactic stage. But how can you help mature humanity? Since I’m a fan of scifi, some of which deals with humanity trying to come to terms with vast, incomprehensible aspects of the universe, I made a connection. So I wrote down in my idea notebook, “Aliens use sf to mature humanity.” After floating around in my mind for a few months, “Ticket to the Future” is the result.

Click here to read the story.

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“Amongst Us”

September 2008 30 Stories in 30 Days

Several years ago, I went to a used book store not far from where I lived and I found this art book of scifi paintings. I had the idea of writing a story for each one, but it was $50 and I didn’t have the money. But after a couple of weeks of thinking about it, I told myself I had to buy it. I went back, but someone else had beaten me to it. I only remember one of the paintings – involving astronauts on the moon – but after six or seven years, I still haven’t thought of a story for it.

I was recently reminded of this, so I decided I should write a story about a writer who was inspired to write a story based on a painting, but that was rather boring. Hopefully, I managed to spice things up enough to make it interesting.

Click here to read the story.

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“Collateral Damage”

September 2008 30 Stories in 30 Days

What’s the deal with the flags?

One of the main “historical” events on my Human Republic Universe is the Conflagration. This is a period of civil wars, insurrections, revolts, coups, and terrorist attacks. The biggest impact this had on my universe is that as World War I led to the League of Nations and World War II led to the United Nations, the Conflagration led to the Human Republic. (I didn’t go for World War III because that has been overused and has certain connotations that don’t fit with my view of the events.) This story started because I went through the various stories I had and realized that none of them were set during this period, so I set out to fix that and “Collateral Damage” was the result.

Click here to read the story.

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“War Against Time”

September 2008 30 Stories in 30 Days

A few months ago some friends were bugging me about not having a cell phone, and I started to wonder if one day they would hold an intervention for me. Sometimes it takes very little to get a story idea.

Click here to read the story.

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“So Little Time”

September 2008 30 Stories in 30 Days

I was going through my writing notebooks, looking for story ideas I could use for my 30 Stories in 30 Days Challenge, and I couldn’t help but wonder how many of them I would never finish. This idea was born, and I thought it was the perfect story to begin with.

Click here to read the story.

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“Spoiler”

Week of July 20, 2008
Stephen L. Thompson’s Weekly Stories

This is a Tom and Jeremy story.

I had the idea for this story, had it worked out, and was about to write it, when I heard that George Carlin had died. So instead of writing this story, I wrote “Hand Me That Piano.” But I finally got around to writing this story.

I am working on a novel, but it’s been slow going. Some time ago I realized that part of why I’m having trouble is that I know how it ends. I think I enjoy coming up with ideas far more than I enjoy producing words. In fact, after working out the outline for Jeremy’s trilogy, I now want to write it.

Click here to read the story.

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“History Will Forget”

Week of June 8, 2008
Stephen L. Thompson’s Weekly Stories
A revised version appeared in my book Political Pies

This story was republished as part of My Patriotic Duty. It was first published as my November 5, 2006 Weekly Story. I thought it fitting to finish out My Patriotic Duty.

I despise politicians. In large part because I feel they don’t have their priorities straight. To me it seems they put their reelection first, their party second, the people who gave them money third, and everyone else last. I think America should come first, second, third, and fourth. America has many serious problems, and I believe that these require long-term solutions to be fixed. But as long as the politicians only care about winning the next election, or seeing their party in control in Washington, then these long-term solutions will not be put into place. While politicians squabble, America staggers along as best it can, despite whoever is in Washington.

Click here to read the story.

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“Empty Calories for the Soul”

Issue 2, 10X10X10 (Defunct)
A revised version appeared in my book
The All-You-Can-Read Buffet

This is the first Felix story.

I first wrote this story six or seven years ago. In that time it became my most rejected story. It has been rejected by, or lost, a total of 13 magazines and contests. So it feels good to know it has finally been published.

The main point of the story is my believe that people desire meaning in their lives and they will latch onto anything or anyone who promise it. (Look at the popularity of cults.) I’m sure if someone put The Meaning of Life in a box on a supermarket shelf, there would be fistfights over the last one.

Click here to read the story.

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“Beetis”

This is a story I wrote for Preston & Steve Online Marquee Madness. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s your fault for not listing to Preston & Steve.

Click here to read the story.

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“Hallelujah”

Week of February 3, 2008
Stephen L. Thompson’s Weekly Stories

This story began a few weeks ago when a friend sent me this YouTube clip. It made me think I should write a story about Scientology. My first thought was to parody it, have somebody start their own religion and show how kooky that was. So I started wondering why people would start their own religion and I immediately though of money. This started me down the road to “Hallelujah” which is more about televangelist than Scientology, but it’s still a good story.

Click here to read the story.

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“Always With Us”

Week of January 27, 2008
Stephen L. Thompson’s Weekly Stories

What’s the deal with the flags?

I wanted to write a story honoring all the astronauts and cosmonauts that have died in the exploration of space, but the idea I had was too unwieldy so I changed it to just the astronauts of Apollo 1. They’ll always be with us.

Click here to read the story.

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“The Witch of Duh”

This is a story I wrote for Preston & Steve Online Marquee Madness. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s your fault for not listing to Preston & Steve.

Click here to read the story.

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“The Kingdom of Beer”

October 2007, Written Word

What’s the deal with the flags?


“We have all heard of stars down on their luck trying to make a new name for themselves. But what about former planets? What will the people who eventually colonize Pluto do to save their home from obscurity?”

That was how I described “The Kingdom of Beer” in my cover letter when I submitted it to Written Word. When Pluto was demoted last summer I knew I had to write a story about it. But what to write? I started wondering what people in the future would think of the matter. Will future colonists commemorate that day?

I am a fan of Bill Geist, so when I decided to have a reporter in my story, it just seemed natural to have a cheap imitation of him. As to the other aspects of the story I don’t remember how I came up with them.

This version is no longer online.

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“Decisions, Decisions”

Week of June 3, 2007
Stephen L. Thompson’s Weekly Stories

This is a Tom and Jeremy story.

This story started after I saw Bill O’Reilly’s “white, Christian, male, power structure” comment. For several days I was unsure of how to respond to it, but then I started wondering if I should blast him for the comment or if I should just, as Jeremy calls it, “Let-your-enemies-look-stupid-so-you-look-better.” That was the original idea and where the title came from, but as I wrote the story it turned into something else, something better. It’s a story that made me face some things, and also asked questions that I haven’t been able to answer yet. I think if a story does that to its author, then there is definitely something there.

Click here to read the story.

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“I Don’t Like Spam!”

Week of May 13, 2007
Stephen L. Thompson’s Weekly Stories

This is a Tom and Jeremy story.

The title of this, of course, comes from the infamous Monty Python Spam sketch. As I started thinking out the story, it occurred to me that I could just use the characters I had created for “Politically Cynical.” I figured it would be easier to write with established characters, and it was, somewhat.

PS. I hate to say this, but I did not make up the Damsel in Africa story. I wanted to print it out, because it was just so bad, but the next day when I went to print it I found out that her profile had been deleted. And that was the only woman that has wanted to marry me.

Click here to read the story.

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Politically Cynical”

Week of January 21, 2007
Stephen L. Thompson’s Weekly Stories

This is the first Tom and Jeremy story.

I have to admit, I’m very PC. This story came about because I thought I should do a story about The State of the Union address. And I was all set to do some version of The State of Mis-Union, but then I started thinking that maybe I was just giving in to the urge to rant. So I challenged myself to come up with something positive about politics; and that was like running into a brick wall. In the end, I came up with “Politically Cynical.” Is it positive or negative? I don’t think it matters, because there is some truth in the story.

Click here to read the story.

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“History will Forget”

Week of November 5, 2006
Stephen L. Thompson’s Weekly Stories

I despise politicians. In large part because I feel they don’t have their priorities straight. To me it seems they put their reelection first, their party second, the people who gave them money third, and everyone else last. I think America should come first, second, third, and fourth. America has many serious problems, and I believe that these require long-term solutions to be fixed. But as long as the politicians only care about winning the next election, or seeing their party in control in Washington, then these long-term solutions will not be put into place. While politicians squabble, America staggers along as best it can, despite whoever is in Washington.

Click here to read the story.

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“What Kind of Bliss is Ignorance?”

Fall 2003, Mountainland Magazine
A revised version appeared in my book
The All-You-Can-Read Buffet

This was my first professionally published work. It won the Mountainland Award for Short Fantasy/SciFi Fiction.

There is a long, confusing, complicated, and painful story behind this story. The simplest way I can explain it is that I was interested in a woman, a friend of mine, and that this story was my prediction of what would happen when I finally worked up the courage to ask her out. It was sadly prophetic.


(Since it isn’t online anywhere, I’ve set it up on a page of its own.)

Click here to read the story.

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“Fallen Soufflé” (as ST)

Spring 1998, Iconoclast

The Iconoclast was the publication of The English Club, an organization at West Chester University, in which I held several positions. ST was my penname back then.

Not to give too much away, I consider this to be a realistic alien invasion story, in that humanity looses. It is kinda sad that it has been so long since I wrote this I no longer remember where the idea came from. I do remember that some of the people who read it at the time described it as an outline for a novel. So I started writing it as a novel. I didn’t get to far, because I was biting off more than I could chew at the time. Whether or not I’ll be able to finish it someday, I don’t know. But I’ll keep you informed.


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“Battle to the Death” (as ST)

Spring 1998, Iconoclast

The Iconoclast was the publication of The English Club, an organization at West Chester University, in which I held several positions. ST was my penname back then.

This story was pretty much an experiment. An experiment on what you ask? If I told you that, it would pretty much give everything away.


(Since it isn’t online anywhere, I’ve set it up on a page of its own.)

Click here to read the story.
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“How to Gut a German” (as ST)

Spring 1997, Iconoclast

The Iconoclast was the publication of The English Club, an organization at West Chester University, in which I held several positions. ST was my penname back then.

In all that I have written, the line I’ve enjoyed writing the most is in this story. I don’t know what disturbed state of mind I was in to come up with Swedish Meatballs, made from real Swedes, but it’s a state I’ve visited far too infrequently.

This story started when one of my high school English teachers assigned a writing project to the class. Each student was to go home and come up with a list of a noun, a verb, an adjective, and an adverb. The next day the class combined all of our words into a massive list. The assignment was to write a story using all of those words. I think I struggled with it for a couple days, and then I just went nuts and started having fun. That’s how I ended up with a story about a space pirate named Adolf Hitler, cannibals (hence the meatballs, and the title) murder, marriage, and revenge, along with a mime who gets run over by a truck.


(Since it isn’t online anywhere, I’ve set it up on a page of its own.)

Click here to read the story.


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