Tuesday, 10 February 2015


Bruce Wenham

'Come on Ethan!' the bigger boy said. 'We can't wait here all day. I'm hungry!'

'Just a little longer said the little one. Any moment now and it'll come back.'

'Too late. I'm going.' Daniel trudged off through the puddles, kicking mud and water as he went.

'Wait! look - it's shifting again!'

Daniel spun round. The ad on the billboard was shimmering, changing.

Golden fields of rye filled the screen.

'That's it!  Run now! Quick!'

They both ran and reach out their fingers towards the sunlit field.

'Ethan!' screamed Daniel, as his friend was sucked upwards and disappeared into the landscape.

The field started to fade. the old ad reappeared.

He hadn't made it, if only he hadn't given up at the last moment. been too far away.

He cried under the gloomy light. Still trapped in the gloomy urban wasteland.

'Ethan!, remember me!'

Sobbing, he walked back home alone.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

The sky was becoming crowded with drones as of late

Bruce Wenham
Norm was picking his morning paper up from the front lawn when he heard that familiar whirring, buzzing sound. Another Amazon drone delivery for the neighbors next door. Like some prehistoric dragonfly, it dropped the small package then darted back up into the clear sky.

Norm frowned. The sky was becoming crowded with drones as of late. Swarms of them doing their daily rounds. But he couldn't get rid of the feeling that he was being watched by miniature cameras from above. Hovering, watching his every move.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014


Bruce Wenham

The lead scientist brushed the surrounding sand away grain by grain, revealing the fossilized hand. The delicate fingers still curled around some kind of tool.

His assistant gasped. Looking on in awe, eyes glinting like that of a madman.

‘I knew we would eventually find them! The nanotech swarms devoured everything on the surface, we just had to dig deeper’.

Both wore bulky, strong spacesuits to protect themselves from the poisonous gases and intense gamma rays all around them.

‘Observe its opposable digit, the key to advanced tool design’ remarked the scientist.

‘Can you make it out what it’s holding?’

‘Likely some primitive communication device. Made of a colourful plastic, still intact after millions of years’.

‘Is that a symbol on one side?’

‘Hmm, resembles a fruit that would have grown here before the poisons were unleashed. See the little leaf?'

‘Is that a bite taken out of it? Touching. But sad when I look around now’ the assistant signed.

‘Well, don’t get too emotional now. Anyway, won’t be long before we resurrect this species from their trace DNA’.

The two intergalactic explorers walked back to their ship to break the news to the rest of the crew.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Life in a post-apocalyptic high-rise

Bruce Wenham
We still get beautiful views of dawn and dusk like before the apocalypse. But the myriad city lights blinked out when our city lost all power. People light their apartments with candles now, and you will get brief voyeuristic glances of surviving souls standing in the faint glow of their windows. Now and then we observe strange light formations in the sky from shared rooftop viewings. The roar of airplanes has gone though, along with the city lights and car horns. Just the howling wind remains. 

Last night I dreamed of my wife, now lost somewhere out there in the dark. She was sitting in the blue glow from her laptop, surfing the long dead web. Sitting in mid-air, across from the lighted apartments of our many neighbors. 

Monday, 25 March 2013

they both gazed at the giant, arcological dome

Bruce Wenham

He put his arm around Belle's shoulder and they both gazed at the giant, arcological dome in the distance. It emanated a warmth they had seen nowhere in this dark, dead world.

'Who lives there?' Belle asked. 'Are they really monsters like Amber said?'

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

The neuroscientists looked in awe

Bruce Wenham

The neuroscientists looked in awe at the flashes detonating across the human brain activity map. They had found the way to map human thoughts, and one day build a mind.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Escape to greener grass

Bruce Wenham

At the vertical farm the alien mother cooed to her swarming brood, her bio-luminescent tentacles seeming to float in space, stroking their faces. Bill imagined ripping those feelers off. The nerve she had to speak so loudly here in her weird, clicking tongue.

The rotating troughs opposite held animals and plants from her distant world. Strange creatures inside translucent containers, still alive, making gurgling noises and pulsing purple, green and blue. The alien could still eat her childhood delights, but missed the weather back home. Earth was so hot and unpredictable.

Leaving the farm, Bill saw the faint shapes of gargantuan hives through the haze, built to accommodate the crawling masses. Several miles high. Teeming ant hills with them all sitting in their isolated cocooned worlds. Cosmic multiculturalism. Chattering in their alien tongues, or sending telepathic brain waves through the walls. They screwed his touch wall picture. He could hear no sounds from his telepathic neighbors in the adjoining apartment, but still screamed at them in frustration. They did not have sexual intercourse like humans. No physical contact, but a frenzied series of brain waves would erupt at times, setting off an eruption in the female of their species. Copulation at a distance. Conception of another brood of 10, or 15, or 20...

He cruelly imagined them being sent back to their home galaxies, wailing on their star ships. Squabbling among themselves again. Butchered by their old enemies, engulfed in searing supernovas or shivering under a dying sun.

Bill was an unemployed native Terran, had been for about a week now. Not long. Later that afternoon at the employment center he made his food and shelter subsidy application. The human apparition opposite asked him to confirm his gender and ethnic origin, in the interests of diversity and equal opportunities.

'Human, AI, alien, cyborg, synthetic hybrid, female, male or hermaphrodite? Please select appropriate description'.

His anger pulsed within him. He could just smash that fellow human’s pretty face in. But she wasn't real, just an intelligent array of lights floating in space. He would still get punished for threatening behavior towards an AI though. His emotional brakes kicked in, he wasn't a psycho - yet. Not far off though.

‘Do you have the right to work on Earth?’ the fake woman continued.

‘I’m human for Christ’s sake!’ Are you blind? Have I got fucking tentacles! Do AIs like yourself sweat like I am right now?'

‘But we cannot be sure of that Sir. For all we know you could be from the other side of the galaxy where convergent evolution has produced uncannily human-like features. Or be wearing one of those new cloaking devices adopted by the more challenging to us aliens’.

‘Don’t you mean freaking repulsive and stinking?’

‘Sir, let me remind you that any racist behavior will not be tolerated’.

… Several hours had passed. Bill was back at home, scanning the vacancies. But there was no work for him. Alien micro-fusion reactor engineers with eyes on stalks that could peer into any dark and damp nook and cranny, how could he compete with them?

The following day he had a medical appointment, connected with his long-running application to leave Earth and start a new life on a recently discovered world in a distant galaxy. A world with fearsome predators, but untouched, unpolluted and most important of all, devoid of intelligent life. He made his way to the medical center and stood in front of the annoying registration point, showing Earth and various distant planets recently admitted into the federation. He stabbed Earth, and yet another attractive human AI materialized before him, ready to communicate with him in his native tongue. Bill was nervous, this was a make or break situation. Please for the love of God he prayed inwardly.

He had to escape from his overcrowded home planet, swamped by interstellar economic migrants from distant star systems. It had all happened so quickly, within his lifetime. Smiling, Bill remembered the quiet country lanes where he grew up, when he only saw a few passing cars each day. Then came AI, at first fearsome and caged. But which was soon set free and with its superior brain power invented the interstellar hyper-drive. The end of Earth alone in the Universe. Things would never be the same again.

The robot doctor smiled at Bill.

‘Looks like you’ll be going through the wormhole in the very near future, Mr Sampson’.

Bill gulped. He felt dizzy, needed to lie down again.

A week later Bill, his wife and daughter were waiting near the wormhole platform, in a shuttle far above Earth.

He turned back to his home world, tears in his eyes, looking down at the atmospheric curvature below. His family’s ship approached the gaping portal. They readied themselves for the pull. Bill felt a weird shiver go through his body.

Sadness washed over him. For he knew, in the deep of his heart, when they arrived at that desolate but dangerous paradise at the edge of the Universe, those worlds with their virgin continents and indigenous populations, that he himself would be... just another migrant...