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When the Last Friend is Gone – Tris Matthews

Butler found Pebbles dead in the morning.

Each day, the moment Butler became active at 6 a.m. sharp, the little old dog’s stumpy legs would carry her over to seat herself royally in front of the enormous and rusty Cadillac-themed refrigerator to watch. Butler would ruffle the flops and folds of skin on the top of her head before serving up her breakfast and then turning to other chores. Today, Pebbles didn’t come. Butler washed her bowl—overly-large, red, ceramic, and with ‘Pebbles’ hand-painted around the edge in florid script—spooned out a tin of moist meat and placed it on the shabby green mat by the back door.

Butler was most efficient when routine was least disrupted. There was no such thing as perfect routine: any day’s unique haze caused variations in illumination; the birds sang a different song; even his own body performed differently depending upon the ambient temperature, and he was already aware his joints were less smooth than a year ago, when he was fresh out of the box. Beatrice also increasingly left things out of place around the house. Butler didn’t know whether this was solely a result of her age, or a gradual acceptance of her reliance on him. The latter was the more satisfying alternative. After all, caring for Beatrice was his purpose.

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About Tris Matthews

Tris Matthews lives in London with two ladies, one of whom is a beast. By day, he works in science fact publishing, while by night, or at least late evening, he masquerades as a science fiction writer, among other things. Upon arriving in London, he accidentally became an EFL English teacher, which sowed the seed and nurtured the tree of a love for language, particularly the pernickety bits. Now is nearing the end of his first year of ‘serious’ writing, in which he set the goal of writing one story in every genre—and failed., @tori_tris

Tris Matthews’s story “When the Last Friend is Gone” was
published on Friday, 16 November 2018.

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The Astronaut Tier – Jonathan Laidlow

Farren opened the door to the bailiffs and let them in. They pushed into the apartment wordlessly, and began to itemise her former life, ticking boxes on clipboards while they opened drawers and rifled shelves. The last to enter was a wiry middle-aged woman who, with a kind smile, invited Farren to sign, thus demonstrating her understanding that her possessions were now the property of Ares II’s creditors. She asked if the coffee in the …

It came from Sandi Leibowitz (again)

Sandi Leibowitz’s story “The Cypress and the Rose” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 20 April 2018. I envisioned this as a feminist re-telling of a certain familiar fairy tale, but I didn’t want that to be apparent early on. The hero’s name that came to me was Cyprus, who was a boy. Then I changed it to Cypress, and the tree and plant imagery came to me. That sounded like a girl’s name, so …

A question for Evan Marcroft

Q: Have you ever wondered whether ideas are thought waves directed at you by an AI supercomputer located in the distant future?

A: I can’t say I have, until now at least. Supposing that’s true, I can’t help but wonder if we’re a form of story-telling to them. If our brain activity is directed by intellects beyond our observation, if what we say and how we respond to it is all decided by some other entity, if what we dream and what we do to pursue those dreams is decided by any amount of authorities at least one less than our eight billion, then are we not like characters in some vast story called Earth Circa 2018? I imagine those supercomputers tuning in to some time-piercing TV program to see how this million-year narrative is progressing, what plot twists are unwinding in this eleventy-billionth episode of Mankind. I picture a fair number of fans writing the producers complaining about plot holes and melodrama beloved characters dying unfairly. If that’s the case then I guess I hope that I’ve got someone funny writing the character of me, because if I’m going to be just one mindless side character out of billions with no agency or free will of my own, then I at least want to have some good lines.

Evan Marcroft’s story “The Little G-d of Łódź” was
published on Friday, 2 November 2018.

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Even more about Filip Wiltgren

By day, Filip Wiltgren is a mild-mannered communication officer at Linköping University, where he also teaches communication and presentation skills at a post-graduate level.

But by night, he turns into a frenzied ten-fingered typist, clawing out jagged stories of fantasy and science fiction, which have found lairs in places such as Analog, Grimdark, Daily SF, and Nature Futures.

Filip roams the Swedish highlands, kept in check by his wife and kids. He can be found at

Filip Wiltgren’s story “A House on the Volga” was
published on Friday, 9 November 2018.

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