Category Archives: Phabulous Phiction

All things fantastic, surreal, and sublime.

Rods from God

At 02:47 fireballs erupted into the sky from central London. Eighty sequential sonic booms, less than three seconds apart, shattered glass from Guy’s Hospital to City Hall. Enormous balls of flame leapt from the top of the Shard into the sky at a nearly vertical seventy-five degree angle.

The phenomenon resulted only in noise and broken glass, no injuries. The military rushed around in jeeps and the media (naturally) posited terrorism. Yet several days passed without any definitive explanation.

Answers came at last in the form of a weak repeating FM radio broadcast, of all things.

“Hello, citizens of Great Britain. This is Commodore Schmidlap of the Sealand Royal Navy, broadcasting from twelve kilometers off the coast of Suffolk.

Several nights ago, Sealand launched a series of projectiles at Mach 30 into low Earth orbit, using the structural girders of the Shard as railguns.

Sealand is now capable of rapid orbital kinetic bombardment anywhere in the world.

For years, Great Britain has laughed at HRH Prince Michael and Sealand’s sovereignty. Consult your records on Project Thor if you have any doubts about our new, one hundred percent legal kinetic defensive capability.

Stay away from our micronation. You have been warned.”

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200 words. For this week’s Sunday Photo Fiction prompt.

[Don’t worry, no one can yet reach LEO with a railgun…you need about 10km/sec of delta v, roughly Mach 30. Current rail guns can get to Mach 7 (plus or minus).

Now the SpaceX guys could probably put a Thor system up…legally. Hmmmm.]



“Captain, we’ve got a real problem.”

“What problem?”

“They’re trying to cross the border again, thousands of them. Fleeing oppression, asking for sanctuary, lined up for miles on the Interstate. But shall we close the border?”

The captain climbed the observation tower and scanned the horizon. He gasped at the sheer mass of SUVs headed south. “Do we have any idea what they’re fleeing from, Corporal?”

“Best guess is the election, sir. You know how ridiculous the rhetoric became, near the end—really scary shit—intolerant, xenophobic, bigoted, and hateful.”

“So what happened?”

“According to the polls, he’s actually winning.”

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100 words. Inspired by this week’s 100WGCU prompt.

See also: Trumped Again.



The Python Project

One of the things I’m toying with is getting back into coding on a more serious basis. It’s been at least 15 years since I last earned a living slinging code (did earn some beer-and-pretzels money more recently that that), and that was in a language that’s now pretty much extinct (that’s a blog-story for a rainy day, maybe).

Anyway,  have just begun tinkering with Python (3.4.2), which means I’m fighting with syntax differences, how do I tell this interpreter/compiler I want to do that (function I’ve coded before)?

Just baby-steps so far, but it does look like a satisfyingly powerful tool (an a modern one!). Should get easier with practice.

Will I get any practice? Several other new balls I’ve tossed up in the air to juggle recently, and each makes a good excuse to not-do the others. We’ll have to see.

“Every year is getting shorter,
Never seem to find the time.”

(To explore: does WP grok em-spaces? en-dashes?)