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Month: April 2023

A decade of microfiction

Today marks ten years from the first Micro SF/F post. I must confess I never expected to keep going for so long, or that I would have so many stories to tell. Actually, let’s do a tally. According to my records, I have written:

  • 2714 short tweet stories (max 140 characters)
  • 1214 long tweet stories (max 280 characters)
  • 79 multi-tweet serial stories, including seven Advent tales.

That is a lot. I must admit that my pace has slowed down – the first few years I averaged more than one story per day – and there are many reasons for that, but a big one is that often, when I get an idea and I mull it over in my head, I realise I have already written it. Thankfully, after a day or three, I can still find a new idea, or a new angle on an old idea.

I started writing a retrospective, but then I realised that would require far more words than I am able to put together. Instead, let me share the most popular (measured in retweets on Twitter) story from each year so far, as well as my first one.

Apr 24, 2013

God finally stopped the planet to let people off, but hardly anyone left. We watched the sun speed away and felt very silly.

The very first story written under the MicroSFF banner.

Jun 06, 2013

I pulled, to no avail. “You try?”
She pulled it out, easily.
“They wouldn’t let me.” She shoved the sword back into the stone.

My first “hit”, the first story that escaped my circle of friends and went low-key viral, As I recall, it got over 400 retweets in a few days, and won me hundreds new followers.

Sep 23, 2014

“Adding ‘with dinosaurs’ improves anything.”
“OK, but ‘in space’ always works.”
“So what would you add?”
“‘With you’.”

I still think this story is kind of clever.

Feb 09, 2015

“Dad, there’s a monster under my bed.”
“Yes. It’s small, and alone, and afraid nobody could like it.”
“Can you?”
“I’ll try.”

Not the first story with a monster under the bed, but a foreshadowing of how I would come to view them as less adversarial.

Sep 23, 2016

“You are reading a book,” the car said. It pulled over and stopped.
“This road is paid for by adverstising boards. Look at them to proceed.”

In my darker moments I think the only reason this hasn’t happened yet is that we don’t have fully autonomous cars.

Dec 31, 2017

“You’ve been chosen,” the spirit said.
“Save the world, make it kinder, cleaner, safer.”
“We chose everyone.”

Written and posted late at night the day before New Year’s Eve, looking back and looking forward.

Dec 06, 2018

“Welcome to Magic School. Here is your schedule.”
“Thanks! But…”
“This is just ‘Ethics’ and ‘Human rights’ and things like that.”
“Correct, that’s the first year curriculum.”
“Do we have to learn all this?”
“Of course! What do you think this is, software engineering?”

A lot of software engineers got upset about this one. A lot more agreed it would be useful. And a few said their education had included ethics, which made me happy.

Apr 27, 2019

“Yeah, so I found out my new house is haunted.”
“You know who you should call? Ghostbusters!”
“Oh? Do they have an email address?”
“Just call them!”
“Ah. Can I text them?”
“No, just call them.”
“Um. Never said I minded the ghost. It’s not that bad.”

When the telephone became common, I’m sure there were people wringing their hands saying nobody would write letters any more. Well, good news!

Sep 03, 2020

“As a knight,” the king said, “it is your duty to kill dragons.”
“Very well, my liege,” the knight said. “Um. May I ask why?”
“Because they hoard wealth without sharing, and people live in fear of their capricious moods.”
“Very well, my liege,” the knight said and drew his sword.


Aug 30, 2021

“These copper ingots,” the devil said, “are of sub-par quality.”
“You accepted them as payment,” the merchant said, “the deal is done.”
“Very well. I will uphold my end of the bargain,” the devil said. “Your name will live forever.”
“That is all I ask,” said Ea-nasir.

My most popular story of the whole year. It’s still circulating on Tumblr, where I regularly get notifications about it.
If you haven’t heard of Ea-nasir, he was a Sumerian copper merchant, who was the subject of the oldest existing customer complaint letter.

Oct 15, 2022

Once I was dead, it was curiously easy to accept it.
“Where are you taking me?” I asked.
Death extended a bony finger, pointing at a tall tower in the distance.
“What is that?”
“Your unread books. Unwatched films. Unplayed games. Etcetera.”
“Oh. How much time do I have?”

I wonder how far up the tower I would get before missing the friends I would want to discuss those books, show those films, share those games, and etcetera with.

Feb 09, 2023

I enter the Library of Books You Read As A Child.
“Do you have… er. It was green, and there was a girl and a dog, and…”
The librarian nods.
“Of course. Which version do you want?”
“The one you read, with all flaws you didn’t notice, or the one you remember loving?”

Most popular from the first quarter, at least. Shoutout to Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson, whose books I loved as a child and still enjoyed rereading as an adult.

Many thanks to you all – readers past, present, and hopefully future – for reading, sharing, liking, and commenting. It’s been an amazing decade. Thank you.