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

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Clothes sizing is such a difficult art, especially when dealing with clones, that I have invented the pantograph!

Friday, September 12, 2003

Stoma was the drug that would change the world. Make the fat thin, plump out the anorexic, cure baldness, angina and the heartbreak of psoriasis. Until I took it.

> Doc, I said on the IMPhone. > This Stoma's... ;-(

> RU following the lable???

I hate a doctor who can't even type, especially when she's a faux-Turing expert system.

> I am following the label. It makes me see visions.

> WoodU like to see an ophthalmologist?

> Not that kind of visions.

> What kind of visions?

> Angels. Stoma gives me angels. Their getting in my way.

Oops. Now I was doing it.

> WoodU like a priest?

> I WOOD like to get off Stoma.

Minutes later, the Strength through Conformity squad knocked on my door. "I understand you're having a problem with your Stoma, sir," said the lantern-jawed Homeland Security trooper in the lead. A little gold-winged angel not much bigger than a dinner roll flew about over his head.

"I..I can't take it."

"Stoma insures good citizenship, sir." He glanced down at his wristcomp, then back at the three thugs crowding the hall behind him. "I'll have to watch you take today's pill."

Angels crowded in around me, whispering of free will and responsibility and the rights of man, as I swallowed everything my government told me.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Having trouble with your fibrills? Relax, everyone has fibrills. Some people are lucky enough to hide theirs among ordinarily concealed body parts. But don't despair! If you're one of those poor unfortunates whose fibrills erupt from their nose, or elbows, or, shall we say, intimate regions, you may be a candidate for Defibrillate(tm) from the DeFibCorp of Lunakhov! Manufactured in low, low lunar gravity to the most exacting pharmaceutical tolerances (Beijing Standards of 2054), Defibrillate will expunge your most embarassing fibrills with a minimum of pain and suffering! Don't delay, send in your dollar today.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Of all the great brands of 22nd century commerce, Thermidor stands out in the mind of even the most casual observer. Who can forget their introduction of the retrograde entropy cabinet? The great AtomicLiners that plied the Outer System, at least until the Althea Incident? Their corporate-sponsored art on Deimos and Mercury, and most especially, the gas-sculpting efforts on Saturn? Yes, Thermidor contributed more to human culture and progress in the span of a century than most people do in their entire lives. Even now, Thermidor memorabilia is hot on the trade market, and Thermidor veterans are assured of dining out for centuries to come on tales of commercial derring-do and crass exploitation.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Shining path

The world is full of stars. Planets crunch beneath my feet. Civilizations rise and fall in the span of my breath. I am the shining path spinning in your sky. Come walk with me.

Monday, September 08, 2003

We march en masse, we march en toute, we march for glory, we march for loot, but when we get there we know we're lost, because we marched in enfilade.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

It took six generations and bankrupted three successive monarchies. Slaves and craftsmen were brought in from across the horizons of empire. Entire new arts had to be founded to create the materials required. But eventually the Irenicon was built -- a tower of peace, a fortress so impregnable that none would ever make war against it. A guarantee of civil tranquility in the world.

Until King Felbo of Equitania lost the key.

("Irenicon" courtesy of AnnaH)

  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.