Story Words
Very short fiction, written on the fly, from words submitted by readers.
© 2002, 2003, 2004 Jay Lake

Saturday, April 12, 2003

When the moon is in the Seventh House, and the Scrabble tray has spilt across the floor
The pizza's stone cold in the box, and the bills are piled in front of the door
It is the dawning of the age of syzygy
The age of syzygy

And sometimes even my family goes syzygial...

Friday, April 11, 2003

Deep in the hexagonal combs of L-space, the books come together to dance. Even stately old Sam Johnson gets down and boogies with Anais Nin, while blind Homer declaims to his eternal audience of Dante and Joyce. Pages riff in time to the music, words twist with numbers, and the flow of literature never ends at the Borges Bibliothecque.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

The soldiers of the viceroy had marched across the burning sands for half a lifetime. Knuckles gleamed bright-white under thin-stretched skin. Men with rags tied across their guttered eyes clung to the packstraps of their fellows. Even the elephants were talking ghosts.

Then someone pulled down a statue. Someone else raised a flag. People shouted, threw candy.

The viceroy's soldiers fixed their bayonets, drew their ataghans. Victory was only another way of saying "on to the next battle."

Pax belli.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Can you hear the bells are ringing? It's time to pay, pay, pay for your freedom and your privilege. Ring, ring the bells, raise the money, march into the sand.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003
Peace in Our Time

In the ethereal country of Pacifica Imago, the prime minister, an hereditary officer known as "The Neville Chamberlain," has proclaimed that by ignoring evil wherever it is found, peace will triumph. In the chthonic country of Americo Soila, the prime minister, an hereditary officer known as "The George Bush," has proclaimed that by confronting evil wherever it is electorally advantageous, peace will triumph. In both cases, time weeps.

Monday, April 07, 2003

The recreation of childhood, specifically as practiced as Atlantean warrior-priestesses incarnated as bus drivers and toll booth attendants in the modern world. Requires specific potions, powders and creams only available from a tribe of crippled dwarves who dwell in the sewers of major cities and subcontract a large portion of the bicycle messenger business.

  I've been nominated for a Hugo Award for Best Novelette, and for the John W. Campbell, Jr. Award for Best New Writer!
Award info | Me

Read the Hugo-nominated story for free at

Q: What is this?
A: A fiction experiment. Every day, people email me words. At some random point in the day, I pick a word, write a quick story about it on the spot, and post it unedited (except for a quick typo patrol).

Q: What did that word mean?
A: Look it up:

Q: Can I send you a word?
A: You bet. Include a definition if the word is deeply obscure -- or not, if you prefer. Send it to

Q: I've got something to say about this.
A: Click over to the Story Words discussion topic.

Q: Who else is silly enough to do this? I think it's kind of neat.
A: David Jones, for one. Surf over there and check him out. Drop him an encouraging word, too. He's a brave man.
A: Jeremy Tolbert, for another, with his Microscopica project. Likewise show him some love.
A: Jason Erik Lundberg with his Mythologism blog.

Q: You're even cooler than KITT the Knight Rider car. Do you have a mailing list to announce your latest hijinks?
A: Of course I do. What kind of self-promoting, narcissistic writer would I be otherwise? Email me. Occasional mailings regarding stories appearing in print and online, weird stuff in general, and appearances of the Greek Chorus.