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

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Bomba had worked for years on an entirely new kind of computer. He was done with silicon and microchips and the quibits that were all the rage. Rather, Bomba figured that the world had an oversupply of certain items -- why not employ them in the infrastructure of calculation so necessary to the functioning of modern civilization? His great invention was prestidigitation, computing with buttons. It was quickly snapped up by IBM, who sewed it down.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Someday soon all our chocolate fetishes will be satisfied when the orogenic processes is completed, allowing physicians and bakers to insert the DNA sequences for oreos into the human genome. Then we will all be sweetmeat with creamy filling!


Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Once upon a time in the faraway land of Belay lived the Belayites, a people who left off everything they ever tried to do. Not procrastinators, but abandinators. Crops rotted in the fields. Prayers were left half-said to float to Heaven like stale breadcrusts. Children learned to add but not to divide because teachers gave up. One day a prophet came among them, known as "The Completist," preaching a doctrine of, well, completion. The Belayites resolved to stone him for his blasphemy, but never really got past tossing a few pebbles at his cottage door. Eventually The Completist gave up and moved to Mitteleurop to found Prussia, but that's another tale that, well...

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Every race and kind has its heroes. Lice have perilous, the louse who is unafraid of danger and can't spell! His other superpowers include Mega-Action Scalp Bite(tm), TinyClaw, and Disease-Bearing. Be alert for Perilous fighting crime and delousing wherever he goes!

Monday, December 08, 2003

Teeny tiny dust is called fines. Fines comes from fine mines. Fine mines are built by design. The design of fine mines is a hobby of thine. Thy well-designed fine mines always appear in trine -- triple fine.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Esperance was a person, an idea, a philosophy with feet and mouth that was rarely opened. She walked the world clothed in white cotton and long dark hair and sometimes, when in the mood or presented with a small child, told stories about things could be, or should be, or would be. No one was ever sure which of the three she meant, but she carried little packets of hope in her words the way most peoples' eyes carried tears.

When the Mayor of Frost Junction had her burned for heresy, she smiled through the flames and blessed him, though the town was ever after a plague city.

  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.