Monthly Archives: November 2018

First Contact, an Original Flash Fiction

It’s been awhile since I posted much original fiction, save for the poetry contest last month, so I thought I’d share this little story that’s been taking up space on my desktop.  This is just a strange idea I had- what if humanity’s first encounter with extra-terrestrials didn’t go quite like we expected? Enjoy!

Are we actually alone? Photo by fabiogis50 on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA

First Contact, by Amy Caudill

When the visitors came they did not appear in front of the U.N. or another world center.  The sleek, ovoid craft, which NASA sensors determined was made of materials originating from outside our solar system, was first recorded as visible on June 21st, 2023, in the forests of Maine. The craft sat down in a clearing at 9:23pm EST.

It would only become obvious much later that this was in fact their intended destination, and not a navigational error as officials would initially speculate.

Quickly the governments of the world began jockeying with personages from various media outlets for position to witness this most historic occasion.  Numerous military units took up position, ready to control crowds or wipe out invaders, as needed, if signaled from a command center positioned a safe distance away.

When the ship opened along a hidden seam and lowered a ramp to permit egress, the representatives of world governments, military components, research scientists, and members of the press, were naturally shocked at the appearance of the extra-terrestrial visitors, but in a manner that was completely unexpected.

The other-worldly visitors who descended from the vessel did not resemble any fanciful or movie variation of alien life forms. In fact, the group appeared as nothing more or less than creatures of earthly origins, but those popularly dismissed as figments of myth and legend.

One member of the alien delegation, of unknown gender, was over seven feet tall and covered with brown fur; another appeared to be female, stood at most two feet high, and had pointed ears and transparent wings that fluttered as she walked down the ramp.  The third member of the alien party, apparently male, was nearly as short as the second, squat, and possessed a long, red beard that nearly touched the ground.

“We have traveled from a distant system to treat with the leaders of this planet,” the fairy-like being said, in a recognizable form of Standard English.  “We wish an exchange of knowledge and perhaps raw materials.”

A U.N. official replied, “We welcome you in peace.  We would be glad to introduce you to our governments, and discuss terms of exchange with you that could benefit us all.”

“We thank you for your words but are uncertain why you are approaching us.  We assumed these forms to honor the most advanced species native to this planet,” the furry alien delegate claimed.

“We expected to meet with the caretakers of this world.  We have long observed your planet and are aware of the damage your race has caused, more so than any other indigenous population,” the bearded delegate added.  “We were uncertain as to your function, but inferred you to be an encroaching species.  May we ask where the beings are who are responsible for the welfare and security of this planet?”

As the representatives of government struggled to voice an answer to the aliens’ query, the billions watching live via satellite feeds were already assigning blame, none of which they claimed for themselves.

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Amy Caudill’s Reviews : Prince of Fools

Prince of Fools by Mark  Lawrence
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  Amy Caudill‘s review

Prince Jalan Kendeth is a pampered, self-centered rogue, a scoundrel, a womanizer.  He’s hardly hero material, which he will tell you himself, except that when trying to escape one battle he accidentally led a charge into another one, a feat that made his people call him hero and his enemies call him devil.

When Jal tries to escape an enchantment the mysterious “Silent Sister” has placed over an opera house full of patrons, he literally runs into a fierce Norse warrior named Snorri Snagason.  Both men are impacted by the failed curse, which causes them harm either if they part ways or make direct contact with each other.  Effectively bound together until they find a way to reverse the curse, Jal joins Snorri on a mission to rescue his kidnapped family.  The fact that he’s wanted by the local crime lord has nothing to do with it.

Jal and Snorri begin a quest that leads through wilderness, barbarian towns, mountains filled with undead soldiers, and ruins of “ancient”civilizations as they draw ever closer to a fortress planted on the edge of a glacier, the “Bitter Ice.”  What they find there, and what they are willing to sacrifice, may determine the fate of the world.

This story is told mostly through the point of view of Jal, who paints a picture of a dark, unforgiving world, where the value of a man can be measured by the sharpness of his steel or the gold in his pocket.  The narration is occasionally broken up by the storytelling efforts of Snorri, whose flashbacks reveal hints into the larger plot.

This latest installment into the author’s Broken Empire universe started off a little slow, but picked up momentum about a third of the way in.  The suspense kept me practically on the edge of my seat towards the end of the story, and I was still guessing all the way up to the final chapter.

Though this book is the first of a trilogy, and is part of a larger universe, it still had enough resolution to be read as stand alone, which is a plus to me.  For all of these reasons, I award this book 4.5 stars, and recommend it to anyone interested in the fantasy genre, as well as fans of paranormal and dystopian stories.