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J.A. Taylor

Image public domain, modified from original.

“It’s the hardest thing in the world to let go of hope,” Dr. Martin said, studying the readout. “It’s bound up in the human heart.”

Jacob only stared, filling the room with his idiocy like a fart in an elevator.

“Not bound by ventricles and vessels, of course,” Dr. Martin continued, wagging his head. “No, no. Hope is bound by dreams.” He twirled his finger in the air, drawing attention to it as if he were about to say something profound. “Hopes and dreams!”

Jacob sat on the lab toolbox, declining the padded chair. He wiped his open mouth with…

Photo by Mathieu Stern on Unsplash

“What’s in your wallet?” the commercial asks.

“A bunch of plastic cards and thirty-seven cents,” I answer.

It’s the thirty-seven cents we are interested in this week. Your mission is to dig in your pockets, open your purse, or scour the center console of your SUV and find that spare change. Count it up and write a story with exactly that amount of words. Bonus claps if your story creatively employs that number.

Oh, and remember Centina Pentina only publishes microfiction up to 250 words. That means if you have more than two and half dollars in change, go buy…

Few words leave a lasting imprint on history. The people who came, saw and conquered, the people who took one small step… the people who had a dream. In the messy tapestry of human history, and the billions and billions of people to have existed, the number of thoughts and musings that have etched themselves into the very fabric of human culture wouldn’t fill a double-decker bus.

It may seem curious, then, that one such event occurred during a shoestring mining operation in the cold, dark depths of the outer solar system, in the smoggy haze of a frozen moon.

Years ago, a small group of scientists identified an overwhelming electromagnetic anomaly in the painted desert of Arizona. This alerted researchers to an unusual abnormality. Below the surface of a deep canyon, which had begun expanding at an unnatural rate, they uncovered a metal monolith which came to be known as the Beacon.

The Beacon was made of a strange alloy, a peculiar mix of hafnium, nitrogen, and carbon. Seemingly indestructible, it appeared to be a source of clean, perpetual energy. At first, the Beacon appeared impenetrable. …

In the distant future, the stars in the universe are dead or dying. A dull scattering of red giants are the only twinkling lights left in the empty expanse, and black holes lurk in the darkness.

In the far reaches of what was once the Milky Way, a binary pair of black holes silently orbit one another. Between them, in perfect geostatic orbit, Khronos floats with the warm orange glow of electric light. A completely man-made, enormous power station.

Setup to be almost completely automated, there was a minimal need for an actual people to inhabit this world. After initial…

Deep in the sector of Kalda-Finae lies the grey-green planet of Kasana’an. Two moons lie low in the sluggish sky, the bright blue Sitan and the barren Hukloban, one behind the other like one great eye. Beneath the baleful glare, the surface of Kasana’an sprawls in shadow and murk, soft light struggling through the thick, dank atmosphere. Solar amplifiers orbit the planet like jewels, slicing shafts of light through the gloom to the enclaves below. Patches of humanity that thrive in the radiance, but still huddle behind walls, dividing light from night.

The capital city, Luma-Na’a, bathes beneath a cluster…

In approximately 3020, a cataclysmic event modified the Earth’s atmosphere, altered its orbit, and slowed its rotation. Only 1/4 of the Earth remains habitable. For humanity to survive, world governments worked together to construct two massive rings which spin continuously around the planet. These rings help correct Earth’s spin and orbit. However, correcting a deviation can result in time and seasonal misalignments, as well as climate irregularities and natural disasters on Earth.

The rings are maintained by government programs. Each ring has two cruxes — High Crux and Low Crux — that remain stable enough for some people to reside…

There’s some exciting news coming your way from Sci-Fi Shorts. We’ve had five teams of writers from SFS Writers Collective working hard to build new worlds for you!

Each team has taken two weeks to craft a brand new world from scratch, covering everything from gravitational solar anomalies to prepackaged food (just add liquid methane).

Starting Monday, September 6th and going through Friday, September 10th, it will be a unique week for the publication. We will not publish any regular stories in Sci-Fi Shorts that week.

Instead, each day we will release a new world created by a team of…

J.A. Taylor

Creator of &, and coiner of Centinas and Pentinas. Newsletter at Write with him at

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