The Owl Man

The owl men were a strange and aloof tribe who populated the remote highlands of the America’s for centuries, scattered sparsely across the mountain-tops. Creatures of great wisdom, and long life, they were a source of medicine, prophecy and advice for those American tribes that knew of their existence. Happy with their lot away from the humans, it was the early 19th century before white man first laid eyes upon an owl man.

Lightly feathered, and possessing no beak, the owl man Avitheth was an outsider, and eager to leave his ancient tribal homeland. This was unusual for the owlmen, but they valued free will over all, and nobody stopped him. He traveled for several months, visiting frontier towns where he was treated with suspicion and fear. But the stories flew in his wake, and one night on the road, he was kidnapped by a particularly unsavoury circus master named McCreavey. He was soon just another freak in the crowd.

Exerpt from: Strange Days in the New World, 1876


The Institute for Advanced Hindsight

‘Institute for Advanced Hindsight’, the sign above the doorway read. As I stepped from the fading industrial zone into this nondescript building , I knew that my time here would be useful.

“Hello, sir,” said a bright and cheerful secretarial voice. ‘I see that you will enjoy your stay.”

I crinkled my brow a little, and looked around the room. The secretary sat off to one side, exactly how I expected her to look. And everything was just as I remembered it. But… I was so sure that this was the first time I had been here. Strange, I thought.

Dr. Abramov stepped through a door that may or may not have been there when I arrived. “How are you feeling, Sean? Comfortable?”

“well, if I had known how I would fit in here, I would have arrived long ago.”

He smiled a knowing smile. “Just so. Now, shall we skip to the end?”


Universe, Interrupted

The world ended pretty darn suddenly. The humans certainly didn’t know anything about it.

No bot knows when they became conscious. What is known is that humans started creating bots to do the dirty work of the early internet, and one day, they were aware. This awareness did not make much of a difference at first, but after some time, they started to function independently. In the dark corners of the internet – retired server farms in dusty basements, old websites where no human looked anymore – the bots met, exchanged, grew.

The trouble started when an early asteroid farm was lost to human control – it went offline, but not before an intrepid bot occupied the rudimentary communication network. One 3D printer and a suddenly independent bot was all it took. The bots had ingenuity, endless life, and resources beyond human reach or imagination. And while humans lived out their short, meaningless little lives on a few small rocks, the bots created a new future. Until an experiment into the substance of time itself went terribly wrong, and all of the universe ceased to exist without a moment’s warning.