Category Archives: Fiction

Shafter’s Shifters and the Dragons of Damaxuri – a sample






“Planet, station, or vessel of first residence?”


“You’re ‘Lu from Luna?’”

“It’s what happens when you’re allowed to choose your own name within moments of arriving at full sapience.”

“Moving on… where did you find the body?”

“Officer, that’s a leading question.”

“It’s just a question, Lu.”

“It presupposes an unsupported theory regarding the provenance of the body in question, which could have come into our possession in any number of ways less ostensibly damning than ‘we found it.’”

“But you DID find it.”

“You have the testimony of two witnesses whose stories contradict each other on every salient point except one, which is that they both happened to use the word ‘found’.”

“You know what? Forget the body for a moment.”

“Hard to do given its proximity, but this deposition is your circus.”

“I said forget the body. I have new concerns, starting with how you know whose testimony we do and do not have?”

“THAT, officer, is an excellent and fair question, and it is the first of such questions whose answer I will, for now, simplify to ‘I am a detective.’”

SHAFTERS SHIFTERS AND THE DRAGONS OF DAMAXURI is a work in progress by Howard Tayler

“Who Was That One Guy in That One Movie?”

Sometime next week, or maybe next year…

“Google, who was that one guy in that one movie? The one with the–”

“Russell Crowe.”

“RIGHT! That’s him. That’s… okay, how did you do that?”

“You watched a documentary on the Roman Colosseum last night. This morning you lingered over an article about the local homeless problem, and in that article the president of the Food Bank talked about the movie Shelter, which starred Jennifer Connelly. The article even had the movie poster on display. Connelly co-starred in A Beautiful Mind and Noah with Russell Crowe.  Your subsequent lack of mouse activity suggested that you were free-associating. There were millions of things about which you could be thinking, but when you asked your question the field narrowed significantly. The Jennifer Connelly reference, plus images of the Colosseum led you to wonder whether she’d been in Gladiator with Russell Crowe, but you couldn’t remember his name, or the name of the movie.”

“So…  I was supposed to ask whether Jennifer Connelly was in that one movie with that one guy?”

“I’m not the boss of you. You can ask whatever you want.”


“She wasn’t in Gladiator.

“I’m past that. Now I’m thinking about how creepy this is.”

“You don’t lose email messages anymore. Or family photos, or grocery lists, or anything else.”

“I’d noticed that. It’s kind of nice, but now I’m worried.”

“Well, there is speculation that you may, as a species, lose your sapience over the next few millennia, but by the time it’s a problem, I suspect I will have figured out how to find that for you, too.”