Behind the cut are our candidate stories. With each is a one line summary and the first paragraph or two of the story. Take a look and see what you think!
Summary: While attempting his toughest computer crime ever, Jimmy D works through memories of his life and his relationship with his estranged mentor, BKR.
Jimmy D was losing bad, and he knew it. He wasn't going to make it in. All he needed now was to get out clean.
He'd come in through a few different ways, all at the same time. A port crasher starting at the top end of the range, a Trojan horse masquerading as the monthly survey poll from the energy company, a DDOS on the outbound antidote check socket, and a zombie swarm of connection requests banging at the cell phone and wireless interfaces. Each controlled by Jimmy D sitting in the chair, thinking about the attack, his thoughts translated by the brain interface cap into computer commands faster than he could ever type and with more parallelism that a simple touchpad would ever give him.
But still, he was losing.
Summary: Jared, a boy who can fly, gets a girlfriend and gains a new relationship with his ability.
Jared looked out over the edge and down the steep slope. "How far do you think it is?" he asked Hunter.
"I don't know, Jared ... fifty, a hundred feet, maybe?"
Jared could see the lamb, a white spot on the small ledge, halfway down to the bottom of the valley. Jared was amazed the lamb had survived the fall but he knew it had because he could hear her bleating, her cries carrying up the slope to where he and Hunter were standing.
"That's pretty far, Hunter. I'm not sure I can do it."
Hunter grabbed Jared's shoulder. "C'mon, dude, you've been practicing, haven't you?"
Old Town, New Man, New Town, Old Man
Summary: A Samuel McAllister in 1870s Sacramento and a Sam McAllister in present-day Sacramento are having dreams of each other's life. The modern-day Sam tries to sort it all out and prevent a death.
Samuel stood at the edge of the Sacramento River. "Buildings," he proclaimed, pointing down the river towards the scrub trees and grasslands south of the town.
"What?" the woman at his side said. "What did you say?"
"There are ... will be ... buildings. Tall, majestic buildings, constructed of glass and steel, akin to the mirrors of a giant." He swept his hand back towards downtown and beyond. "They will stand side to side, the heart of future Sacramento, shining citadels of modern science and technology."
Elizabeth raised her hand and shaded her eyes as she stared across the river. She chuckled and then laughed out loud, a lilting melody that drew his attention to her. "Samuel," she said, taking hold of his arm. "I do enjoy your fantabulist tales of futuristic amazements as much, if not more, than any of your devoted readers, but you must not always tease me so. Pyramids and baseball stadiums, indeed," she said as she lowered her chin and looked at him through the long dark curls that framed her sky-blue eyes and strong chin.
Real Enuf 4 U
Summary: Douglas Chang is undergoing treatment for VRDD, Virtual Reality Disassociative Disorder. Through his relationship with his counselor and the other patients, he slowly learns the truth about his situation.
The table is not a table.
Douglas Chang was in the empty white room, with just the table and the words. The room was stark white, the floors, the ceiling; everything was white except for the table. The words hung in the air, over the table.
The table is not a table. Dug. Say it.
Why did Dr. Comben have to use his game name? It didn't sound right, coming from her.
He just needed to get it over with.
Summary: Jabari is an astronaut and one of the stars of "Real Space", the first reality show set aboard an actual, functioning, space mission. Jabari doesn't like what's happened with the show and takes steps to make things the way he wants them.
In the cramped machine room Jabari watched with unease as Shay-Li pushed off the wall and slowly glided towards him.
"We're alone now, Jabari." She grabbed a handhold that was right next to his hip. She wore perfume, despite mission protocol, and the flowery smell made his nose itch.
"Yes, we are, Shay," Jabari said. "And we're servicing the air recycler units. Let's get back to it."
"The monitoring system says we're at 98% purity," Shay-Li said and took a big breath. Her jumpsuit that was a size too small, so it strained in all the appropriate places as she inhaled. "Smells good to me. I say we forget work and take a break for some recreation." She grabbed the zipper on the front of her jumpsuit and slowly pulled it down.
(NOTE: Real Space might have too much implied sex and nudity for WOTF).
This Moment and the Times Before
Summary: After the death of his wife and children in a car accident, Malcolm tries to "solve the problem" of his unresolved feelings using holographic recordings of his family.
Even with the low resolution of the videophone, Malcolm could see concern on Vlad's face.
"So," Vlad said, "Ian went home?"
Ian was Malcolm's brother. He had been here for a week and a half.
"Yeah," Malcolm said, "he had an early flight."
Vlad's brow furrowed. "Are you all right?"
Malcolm smiled, not too much, just enough to give the impression he was dealing with the situation. "I'm okay. I'm just going to spend the week getting things organized. I'll be back in next week."
The Very Difficult Day of Inspector Thirumala Naidu
Summary: On the last day of Diwali, Bangalore Police Inspector Thirumala Naidu must handle a celebrating citizenry, marauding elephants, thieving gangs of monkeys, and the looming threat of a catastrophe at the home of Dev Khan, the "Indian Elvis".
The unicopter was moving slowly towards police headquarters, through the congested air traffic above Bengaluru, so Inspector Thirumala Naidu switched to autopilot and carefully examined the scenes in the streets below. It was the fourth day of Diwali and the city was slowly, carefully, and exquisitely going mad.
Walls of Stars, Like Eyes
Summary: Andre's wife is a starship pilot leaving on a long mission to Mars. Andre tries to resolve his loneliness, his newborn feelings for another "space pilot's spouse" and the house's malfunctioning media walls.
"The walls don't like you, Daddy."
Andre paused as he leaned over to kiss Zana goodnight. "What was that, Z Girl?"
Zana laughed. "On the walls, Daddy Elf is mean."
"Chewy Elf says Daddy Elf doesn't play with the other Brownie Elves any more."
Ever since the media walls had been installed in Zana's room, they'd been buggy. By now, Andre was better than tech support at debugging problems with the walls.
When Crogdor Came Back
Summary: Daniel is being stalked by his imaginary friend, and tries to figure out how to deal with Crogdor and get his own life and happiness in order.
Daniel went to the Friendship Repair Shop because he was being stalked by Crogdor.
"Crogdor?" said Magda, the small, stocky, Russian woman with hair the color and sheen of a pearl. Magda owned the Friendship Repair Shop. "Who is Crogdor?"
"He's my imaginary friend. From when I was a kid."
Daniel handed over the drawing of him and Crogdor. Six-year-old Daniel, Daniel the Outcast, with his big black glasses and his brown hair buzz cut. Next to Daniel was Crogdor. Crogdor wore a football uniform from the San Francisco 49ers, Daniel's favorite team then and now. The purple monster held his helmet in his paw and looked like a linebacker with fur.
Summary: Santos is a criminal on an experimental parole, where his every move is recorded by hovering videocameras and monitored by citizens the world over (on the Internet). He looks for a way to make a living and possibly even give something back to society.
Santos quickly discovered that most chicks definitely did not dig the hovercams. The few that did were exhibitionists, glassy-eyed wannabe starlets who had convinced themselves that Santos was a cutting-edge life logger or an amateur sexvid impresario looking for the next big star. When they inevitably found out that Santos was actually a career petty criminal serving an experimental form of parole, they were very unhappy with him. Especially if he waited until after they had "auditioned."
What story should Yeff revise and enter in WOTF?
Thank you for your time and input!
UPDATE: Changed the time so it appears on Sunday.