Short Story: The Encounter

Sarah casually walks down the street, taking in the cool night air around her. She is whistling the song “Don’t worry be happy,” as she strolls, thankful it’s finally her weekend, and she won’t have to return to the resturant for two whole days. There’s no one on the roads, which isn’t that unusual, since it is 2am, but a little strange to see absolutely no one at all. No cars driving, no drunk man stumbling home from the nearest bar, not even that ugly, orange alley cat that usually sulks around begging for food.

 Only her, and the traffic lights slowly blinking orange like they always do after 9:30 in Casper. No one anywhere. All alone in the world. 

She shrugs, and continues to walk and whistle. She likes to be alone. She wouldnt talk to anyone anyway, so what’s it to her if there here or not. 

The road she usually takes is blocked off, so she turns down an unfamiliar sidestreet and began a walk down a long grey tunnel. She likes the tunnel, her song echoes and makes her feel less alone. Something makes her suddenly stop, her song ceasing and the whole world goes quiet with it.

 Everything seems strangely familiar, like she’s already done this. She looks around at the tunnel…Its the tunnel from her dream. She had been here before. More than once. She turns back to go a different way, out of the tunnel. This time she’ll escape. But when she looks back at the path she had taken to get to the tunnel, every single light, in the shops, in the street, and even the comforting blink of the orange caution lights, had gone dark. The only way forward is the tunnel. 

She doesn’t want to go in the tunnel. There has to be another way. This time she’ll figure it out.  She takes her phone out of her pocket and turns on the tiny flashlight, in an effort to navigate back through the darkness. In the beam of her flashlight she sees a 7-foot tall figure, bony, gaunt and utterly terrifying. It’s oversized head houses two gigantic black eyes and his pale grey skin reflects the beam of light back into her eyes. 

She screams and drops her phone, the world going dark as the being reaches out for her. 

There is a a loud feedback noise that comes from seemingly, the heavens, speaking in a horrible foreign tongue. “Begin the test again.”

Science Fiction Authors That Were(n’t) Ahead of Their Time

I love science fiction. Its why I play video games. Exploring new worlds, killing aliens, space travel, life on Mars, all the things that may or may not ever be possible to humankind right at my fingertips.

I ran the idea for my blog post of the day: “Sci-Fi Writers That Were Ahead of Their Time” past my husband this morning, and he told me that these authors weren’t AHEAD of their time, that they were ON time, and we wouldn’t have science fiction as it is today without them.

So here is my top four list of science fiction authors that were ON time, and we have sci-fi as we know it because of them:

Jules Verne: This popular author is most well-known for his stories “Journey to the Center of the Earth” and “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” If you haven’t read these books, you have undoubtedly seen one of the numerous movie adaptations. The thing that I think is the most amazing about Jules Verne is that he lived in the late 1800’s, before any of the technology for the ideas in his books would have ever been imagined. He was just curious about what was under the sea, and inside of the earth.

HG Wells: Author of “The Invisible Man,” “War of the Worlds,” and “The First Men in the Moon,” his titles are slightly spooky and I’m sure pretty alarming at the time, before people had ever heard of anything like this! Giant aliens attacking the earth? An invisible man?

George Orwell: I’m not exactly sure if Orwell should be on this list, as I would probably say that his books are more political commentary than actual Science-Fiction. However, his book “1984” is an amazing and terrifying classic. Perhaps not the first of its kind, but I believe it had an influence on Science-Fiction, as well as popular and political culture. Some movies that carry a similar tone to his book are: “12 Monkeys,” “Blade Runner,” and “Total Recall,” not to mention Ray Bradbury wrote his classic story, “Fahrenheit 451,” only four years after Orwell’s “1984” was published, so Bradbury may well have been influenced by Orwell’s writing also.

Ray Bradbury: “Fahrenheit 451” and “The Martian Chronicles” are amazing full length books, descriptive and imaginative. The “Martian Chronicles,” written in a journal-like format, is an interesting story about a family’s life on Mars. My all-time favorite book by Bradbury is “The Illustrated Man.” This is a short story collection, based on a man’s enchanted tattoos. The unique idea is intriguing, and every sci-fi story within is captivating. Many people don’t like short story collections because they’re not detailed enough to get pulled into, but each story in this collection is unique and captivating from beginning to end.

Thinking about these creative men being the first to have the science fiction idea is astounding to me. Thank you for your work gentlemen, and creating my favorite genre as it is today.

What do you think? Who are some other great authors that made science fiction what it is today?