Flash Showcase: Bullseye by CB Droege

“Are you hustling me, Harrison?”

Adaqaros turned away from the dartboard, his hand still on the final dart, which rested just to the right of center in the tiny treble twenty crescent. He stared at Jimmy through narrowed eyes, and accessed Harrison’s memories for the meaning of the term. It took several moments. Harrison had not put money on games of skill very often.

“No,” Adaqaros said. “My sudden increase in skill is a natural artifact. This is my second venture at darts only.”

“Wait,” Jimmy said. “That last game was the first time you’ve ever played darts?”

This made Adaqaros pause. He studied Harrison’s memories again, thoroughly. He had played a skill game similar to this at a fair when he was twelve years old, not nearly enough to have developed any muscle memory which Adaqaros could rely on. Several years earlier, Harrison had played with something called lawn-darts, which he had found in the garage of his paternal grandfather, but it was not truly a comparable activity. Adaqaros himself had never played this specific game of skill, and had had little opportunity to test the dexterity and depth perception of Harrison’s body. He decided that the statement was true enough to be spoken, and required no retraction. “Yes,” he said simply, and removed the final dart from the board.

Continue reading “Flash Showcase: Bullseye by CB Droege”

Source Material by Jake Williams

I found a new vein. I think it runs deep. I imagine it running from the black jagged wall all the way to the core. The pickaxe sank into something soft and red pulp burst out. I checked over my shoulder three times before I pocketed a wet clump to take home to Mary. Ten years and some buried part of me is still moved by the texture, how it reflects the glimmer of the lantern, the congealed malleable batter that fills the folds in your hand.

Bob barks his orders from where the light gets in until a new discovery is announced and he scurries in. He makes notes for head office and focuses our combined efforts to where the newest batch is unearthed. Each glob I bring home, the worry builds and simmers. Mary says I’ve been talking in my sleep. In that brief window of rest where my thoughts give up I murmur about Gary. Slow Gary who tried to trade it at the company store and hasn’t been seen since. We’ve been careful, the secret nest egg in the faded plastic cooler, nestled in the shed.

Continue reading “Source Material by Jake Williams”

Submissions are Open!

Following the success of our first anthology, we are pleased to announce our second. Abyss: Stories of Depth, Time and Infinity will feature the very best fiction we can find on these metaphysical themes. We’re looking for high-impact experimental pieces, unique voices, streams of consciousness and fictional accounts of altered states. We’re looking for extrapolations and interpretations of reality as we know it, or visions of drastic changes. We’re looking for boundary-pushing, genre-bending, literary and speculative fiction. The entertaining will be juxtaposed – or combined – with the philosophical in this volume of big unknowns.

If you’d like to be part of it, please visit our submissions page for full details.


Open for Submissions

Vast: Stories of mind, soul and consciousness in a technological age.

Exciting news! Orchid’s Lantern is about to open its doors for the first time. Vast is to be the very first anthology published by our independent press. We’re seeking stories that explore the relationship between technological development and human ontology.

To give an idea of scope, here are a few things to think about:

  • Could machines ever fill the god-shaped hole in man, and what might religions of the future look like?
  • How might developments in electronics, computing or medical procedure aid (or hinder) the transcendence of our mental faculties?
  • What new forms of non-physical communication could emerge, and what effect would this have on the way we live?
  • What can artificial intelligence teach us about the nature of mind, soul and consciousness? Are these qualities only present in living things?
  • How have smart phones, the Internet, crypto currencies and automation already changed the way we think?
  • How might mental illness be helped or hindered by technology?
  • Will mind and matter always be considered distinct?
  • How might the exploration of altered states of consciousness, natural and otherwise, be changed in light of fast-developing scientific approaches?
  • What paths could quantum physics take us down when coupled with future technology, and how might it solve the hard problem of consciousness?
  • How might unconscious desires or biases impact our future?
  • Will the kind of dreams we have, or the way we perceive them, evolve?
  • What direction might the disciplines of philosophy and psychology take in the future?

These are intended to give you an idea of the feel we are going for, and should act as inspiration only. They are not necessarily jumping off points, and they are not the only angles on the theme we will accept.

We want high impact experimental pieces, streams of consciousness, unusual perspectives and fictional accounts of altered states. We want extrapolations and interpretations of our present reality, or visions of drastic changes. The playful and colourful will be juxtaposed with dystopia. We do not want highly fantastical settings unless they explicitly link back to the theme. We want complete stories, not chapters of something bigger.

Please do not send us:

  • Stories of a racist, sexist or bigoted nature (though careful exploration of such themes may be considered)
  • Stories promoting particular religions or political stances
  • Vampires, werewolves, superheroes or magic
  • Erotica

We like: Maniac, Russian Doll, OA, Black Mirror, The Matrix, Philip K Dick, William Gibson, Jeff Vandermeer, Kurt Vonnegut, Cixin Liu, Robert Anton Wilson, Aldous Huxley, Alan Watts and Terence McKenna.

 

Particulars

All submissions should be less than 7,500 words. There is no lower limit because we are fans of flash fiction, so long as it is strong and impactful. However we aim to have a variety of lengths in the finished publication.

The initial deadline is 10th September 2019, but we reserve the right to extend this should we not receive enough quality submissions by this date.

We will acknowledge receipt of all submissions, and later respond with an accept, decline, or request for discussion. If you have not received the second email within a month of submission, your piece is being considered and we will be in touch by 10th October. Please do not send follow-up emails unless you wish to withdraw your submission.

Simultaneous submissions to other publishers are allowed, but please let us know straight away if you receive an acceptance so we can remove you from our list.

Each author may submit only one piece for consideration.

Submissions may have been previously published online, but must be removed prior to the publication of this anthology.

We expect to publish the anthology mid 2020.

Contributors will be compensated with a small one-off sterling payment of 0.5p per word (£5 per 1000 words) and two paperback copies of the anthology.

All stories will be checked for grammatical consistency (using British English as we are a UK publisher) and proofread prior to publishing, but we ask that all submissions are in a polished, complete state when you send them to us. Excessive errors or poor form will result in your submission being declined.

A 50 word bio will be required for inclusion in the final anthology. It is not a requirement to send this with your initial submission, but you may do so if you wish.

We are committed to diversity in literature, and as long as they follow our guidelines, we will give all submissions equal consideration. Whether you’re a new or established writer, we welcome your submissions.

Vast will be edited by C.R. Dudley, author of metaphysical collections Fragments of Perception and Mind in the Gap.

Submissions should be emailed to submissions@orchidslantern.com with ‘Vast’ as the subject line. Documents should be clearly marked with the author or pen name and story title on each page. By submitting, you accept our guidelines detailed above and assert yourself as the copyright holder.

 

We look forward to reading your stories!

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Still have questions? Ask us in the comments below.

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