Sleight of Hand: A short story

Bowman Press

After a cosy meal, our protagonist retires to his host's workshop for an after-dinner drink ... and becomes the unwitting subject of an experiment. If you like a humorous mad scientist tale, you'll love this one.

A free science fiction short story by Simon Haynes.

Winner of the Aurealis Award, Australia's premier speculative fiction award.

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About the author

Simon Haynes is the british-born, australian author of the Hal Spacejock, Harriet Walsh, Robot vs Dragons and Hal Junior series, as well as a number of short stories. His work typically features an underdog fighting for survival against far stronger opponents.

Simon is a huge fan of Isaac Asimov's work, in particular the robot novels and the Foundation series. He also enjoys dry, witty comedy, and loves satire.

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3 total

Additional Information

Bowman Press
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Published on
May 3, 2018
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Fiction / Horror
Fiction / Science Fiction / General
Fiction / Science Fiction / Humorous
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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When weapons technology advances faster than empathy there is only one destination, a barrier event. Live or die. 

The Final War is coming.

Elaine McGee is the science teacher at Krauss Junior High School. She’s been going through a bad patch recently and is trying to make changes to turn her life around. She broke up with her lying, cheating, good-for-nothing boyfriend this morning. A couple of hours ago she smoked her last ever cigarette. She’s in a tent away from town, a quiet place to think it all through, and add to her list. She’s good at making lists, not so good at finishing them. 

Then the spaceship arrived. Elaine is about to get some unexpected help from the largest mathematical concept, infinity. 

Welcome to the Final War, Elaine McGee.

Chiro is First Minister of the Goodness Empire, an alliance of empires that rule eighty percent of the universe. He’s ruthless, crafty and sadistic. As the leader of the largest of five factions, former enemies come together after centuries of warfare, Chiro navigates the bumpy landscape of cooperation. The factions all share one trait. They are authoritarian regimes, that ugly, dangerous blend of industry, government, media and military where the only disagreement allowed is over who agrees the most. Chiro believes he finally has the means to crush the rebel areas of the outer spiral arms. 

Professor Lawrence Chu is a math professor at the University of Bilcor-Anders in the outer spiral arm of the Milky Way Galaxy. Professor Chu may have solved an unsolvable problem. If true, the rebels will have a formidable new weapon. And it all started with an argument about a kiss.

Bueller is a navigator second class, after a recent demotion. She just can’t avoid the wrath of her commander. See, Bueller keeps having these ideas that sound really good until they go wrong. Before you can recite the first one hundred prime numbers, crops get destroyed, marriages ruined, and Pluto gets a suppository. Can Pluto survive Bueller? 

Before the History Department at the University of Centrum Kath there was the Math Department and the Numeracy Committee. Find out how it started with this prequel. No experience necessary. 

Read IMPROBABLES: a satire about very large numbers now before your planet self-destructs (currently a 63.82% probability).

Words your mother won't like? Definitely.

Imaginary Sex? Of course.

Satirical Viewpoints? Overwhelmingly.

This book description conforms to the exception made for FACTION (Facts Told as Fiction) in accordance with Section 183.17 of the Charter of the History Department at the University of Centrum Kath, the largest repository of knowledge and learning in the universe.

What if weapon technology advances so fast that a military science fiction universe would be a death sentence?

Simply put, we'd create a weapon that can destroy everything and some idiot would use it. 

Welcome to the universe after we finally conquer the urge to blow up everything. 
Think of it like this, 'Out there' the grownups are in charge, by necessity.

But even a universe at peace, is still a very dangerous place.

22 years ago, a spaceship crashed on Earth Seven, a primitive 3 rated planet under contact quarantine. The boy who found the wreckage is now the man who will unite the planet under his rule. Allor heals the sick with alien technology. Allor will end the cult wars. His sister runs an informant network and collects the heads of his rivals. His mother has created a religion to worship him. Oh, dear!

All planets in contact quarantine are called Earth and given a numerical designation. For example, you are on Earth Five. What? Don't act surprised. Look around. War, famine, poverty, ecological disasters, murderous mythologies, Trump? And no one comes to visit, not a single tourist? You’ve had plenty of clues.

The History Department sends Koven Modi, a rookie Field Historian, to Earth Seven to investigate the use of comms technology on a planet with a medieval civilization. Koven is not the best person for the job, he's the only one left. Everyone else is out looking for missing Physics Professor Klept and his dog, who might just cause the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies to collide. Koven's goals are simple. He wants to avoid getting killed, avoid work as much as possible, and avoid getting dumped by Tanit, his girlfriend. 

Earth Seven is a story that challenges basic sci-fi assumptions and offers new alternatives. What started as simple thoughts, 'Why do they always ..., what if …,' resulted in Earth Seven, a small book of slightly larger ideas. 

An example? OK.

How would you like to be the most popular pizza topping in the galaxy? Yea, I didn't think so. Out among the stars, we're all vegetarians. What? Ohhhh, you believe pizza was invented on Earth Five? Well that's delicious, but incorrect. 

Read Earth Seven now BEFORE your planet self-destructs (currently a 63.82% probability).

Science Fiction Satire, because you've earned it.

Words your mother won't like? Definitely.
Imaginary Sex? Of course.
Satirical Viewpoints? Overwhelmingly.
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