Story list (best first).I was forced to split this post into 3 parts due to Blogger label length constraints. This is part 1 (stories ranked #1 to #8, all A-rated); go to part 2 (stories #9 to #13, all B-rated), or part 3 (stories #14 to #20, all C-rated).
- Greg Wickenhofer & Rick Wickenhofer's "Orbiter's Reward" (A); download; self-ref; science fiction: Beware of "cute" & very useful robots; they can be very dangerous! Added to my best of the year 2008 list.
- Brendan D Carson's "Spawnotrim!!!" (A); download; self-ref; science fiction, humor: "Spawnotrim" is the magical weight loss drug on the market, imported from the alien world "Beta VIIa". The capsules contain seeds of alien life that live inside you by slowly eating your innards! And they manipulate your nervous system to make you feel happy, & ready to welcome your new alien masters - while you quickly move towards death! Story has the feel of late night TV advertising in India - the kind selling cheap appliances over phone, with ads that last hours at a stretch on major channels (must be very profitable business)!
- Bren MacDibble's "Taku Kinu" (A); download; self-ref; science fiction, humor: Tale of a stupid law enforcement officer.
- Simon Petrie's "Field Dynamics" (A); download; self-ref; science fiction, humor: An alien scoutship is exploring earth for possible conquest. Only, the potential conquerers are so tiny - a human takes the ship for a kids toy! Some bafflement, & he finds it's too much trouble, & carelessly crushes it under his tractor tires! But aliens have not given up. Next scout ship is on its way...
- David Conyers' "Redemption Slot Machine" (A); download; self-ref; science fiction: An AI psychiatrist cum memory surgeon, in return for $10, gives a man reason to live & find fulfillment rather than commit suicide.
- Matthew Nicholls' "Turing Test" (A); download; self-ref; science fiction: An android indistinguishable from humans except in one test.
- David McVeigh's "Man In Grey" (A); download; self-ref; non-genre: This is a political story about a current issue. An alien "Executioner" is meting out justice on earth. In the story, we see part of the hearing & then execution of the President of a rich country.
- "You ordered complex maneuvers to evade international law in order to transport political prisoners to places of torture".
- "Even now, you prosecute a war in a backward country on a very ... transparent pretext!"
- "your coercion of other, more moderate nations to your way of thinking."
Accused's defense that didn't cut with the judge/Executioner includes:
- "We are a sovereign power protecting our security against terrorism."
- "We're world leaders. We brought peace. We raised backward nations to prosperity. We're strong. We protect the good nations... No one can survive without our democracy. The terrorists want to hurt our economy."
- Charles Richard Laing's "The First Heartbreak" (A); download; self-ref; science fiction: An unconventional love story - from the time when sea animals were just getting out to land.
Related: All stories from AntipodeanSF magazine.
Note: Links labeled "self-ref" are for my own administrative use - to let me link to a specific story from elsewhere when needed.