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

Saturday, March 20, 2004
Oppositional Defiance

You say tomato, I say tomato. You say potato, I say potato. You say hey, sailor, buy a girl a drink, I say who drinks anymore when there's hallucinogens in the trasgenic produce?

Friday, March 19, 2004

Very, very tiny little balls of wormcast turned out to be the secret to interstellar travel. Microfusion in worm guts turns out a few molecules of quantum vermispooge which can be laser-focused in a special chamber called a drilosphere to line a wormhole through space. So we flew to the stars behind the butts of earthworms.

("Drilosphere" courtesy of AnnaH)

Thursday, March 18, 2004

"I've elected to major in psephology, Dad."

"Go ask your mother."


"Look, Ellie, I don't get a vote around here. She's in charge."

"I tried to talk to her. She was out reviewing the troops."



"Another coup."

"That's why I'm majoring in psephology."


("Psephology" courtesy of A Word a Day)

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Afflatus is small and brown and lives in the woods. Afflatus is mighty with chrome-steel knives for fingers and death-ray eyes. Afflatus orbits the Earth at a safe distance, monitoring the atmospheric radiation. Afflatus swims amid the bleached bones of coral reefs. Afflatus counts the grains of sand upon the beaches of the world. Afflatus lifts its narrow head and sniffs the wind for the scent of predators. Afflatus lies down to sleep, hungry and tired, wondering if it will awaken tomorrow.

("Afflatus" courtesy of ChrisK)

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

We site the cities where the city sights will light the nights and the polis will glow like false dawn for miles.

Monday, March 15, 2004

We escheat when we grow up and get law degrees and don't need to do simple cheating any more because we can afford to buy our enemies into disgrace.

Sunday, March 14, 2004

When your laptop has a meltdown and your data streams into the aether, and much is stressful in that moment, remember that a brain meltdown is always far more serious than a silicon meltdown.

  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.