Issue 39 – Operas in Space

Alien voices
Thoughts turn to an invasion
At sound on airwaves
Declare that they come in peace
Itinerant opera

By Aeronwy Dafies


Martian Opera
By Mark Hudson

Have you ever heard an opera by Bellini?
Have you heard it sung by an outer space genie?
Have you ever heard the damnation of Faust?
Are you ready for a nuclear holocaust?

Or the Hungarian opera Erkel?
Did it sound like a Martian Studs Terkel?
Or did you hear the opera “a life for the Tsar?”
Did you hear the space opera performed on Mars?

Did you ever hear the opera by Antonio Vivaldi?
Did you shop on Venus at a local Aldi’s?
Did you ever hear the opera Nusch-Nuschi?
Did you see it and eat some alien sushi?

Were you a big fan of Wolfgang Amadeus?
Did you hear his opera sung by Princess Leah?
Did you enjoy the marriage of Figaro?
Would you liked to have tied the knot with C3PO?

Did you like the opera of Carl Orff?
Did you hear it sung by a space dwarf?
Did you like the opera by Giaconda?
Was it sung by a space alien anaconda?

Well, you must have a fine classical taste,
as the universe blows up nuclear waste.
If you want to hear operas on the moon,
most of the Martians will sing out of tune!


Music of the Spheres
By DJ Tyrer

Interstellar accompaniment
To angel voices
Peculiar alien warbles
Bellows and growls
Carried on subspace radio waves
Delighting listeners
But, cannot compare
To mating song of the star whales


Issue 36 – Monster Mash


Monstrous Meetings
By Frank Coffman

“See how these children mock us, avatars
Of we who would confound their foolish play
With horror if they met US ‘neath these stars,”
The Dead Undead vampiric wight did say.
“Truly, they are quite foolish This Night to tread;
Full moon, by chance. I will choose one to slay,”
The man-wolf answered. “His joy will turn to dread
When he beholds these fangs ere break of day.”
“Yes. Must know the truth,” said the assembled man,
Reanimated by the force of lightning’s might.
The three moved forward. The children screamed and ran…
But three young souls returned not home that night.
One gave his blood, One a beast’s maw sated,
One was crushed from life. Misguided play thus fated.

Listen to Frank reading his poem on the Science Fiction & Fantasy Poetry Association “Halloween” webpage


A Strange Night at Loch Ness
By DJ Tyrer

Hallowe’en on the shores of Loch Ness
Mist creeping steadily through the Great Glen
Something else creeping, too
A chupacabra over from Mexico
Having heard that Highland Cattle
Were tastier than goats to suck
And, that haggis might be to its taste
Past the still waters it went
Avoiding villages and trick-or-treaters
Hungry for its prey
When, suddenly, the waters churned
A long eel-like neck uprose
Two great eyes looked at the chupacabra
Uncertain what this foreign thing was
Not a nuckalavee, that was for sure
Nessie, for it was she
Decided the only way to resolve her dilemma
Was to have a taste
Bent low and swallowed it whole
The chupacabra becoming dinner
Rather than diner
Though Nessie was unimpressed with the taste
And, sank back down below

The Roof Party
By K. A. Williams

Count Dracula looked around the roof at people in their different costumes – vampires, goblins, ghouls, witches, warlocks, zombies, and werewolves. He saw a familiar hairy face and maneuvered through the crowd.

“Wolfy, I’m glad that’s just a costume.”

“Good to see you Drac, my friend. How have you been?”

“I am well. Van Helsing’s descendents still think I was staked over a century ago. How are you?”

“Okay, but I’ve spent a lot of money on clothes and shoes. Now I buy them used at thrift stores. What are you doing here?”

Dracula waved his hand around. “All this free food. How can I resist such a feast? I wasn’t going to kill anyone, just a few sips here and there. I don’t want to be noticed. But you, Wolfy, will find it impossible to restrain yourself. There’s a full moon tonight.”

“I’ll be fine. The weather forecast is for thick clouds with rain after midnight. So you see – ”

Wolfy stopped talking because light was now visible from the moon which the clouds had uncovered.

His clothes and shoes tore as his shape changed. Soon his outfit was rags. His body became furry and his human face with the fake hair transformed into a wolf’s head. Jaws filled with sharp teeth opened and he howled.

“I know you can’t understand me, Wolfy,” said the Count, “but you sure know how to ruin a party.” His food was now screaming and fleeing down the stairs. He sighed. “You can’t trust the weather forecast.”

The wolfman growled and sprang at Dracula who quickly changed into a bat and flew off to hunt for another Halloween party.



A Goblin Kidnapped by a Martian
By Celine Rose Mariotti

The two goblins
Daedalus and Icarus
Hid out in the moonlit night,
The sounds of witches and wizards
Was all about,
Vampires were coming
Out of their coffins,
And a light beamed from above,
The sky lit up
A spaceship landed,
The Martians came out,
Little green men with antennas,
And green hair,
Yellow eyes,
Big flabby noses,
Daedalus in his black and yellow costume,
His magic wand in his hand,
Shook the other goblin,
Icarus who was dressed in a blue and white costume,
With broken wings
Shook at the sight of the spaceship,
They hid behind a huge stone,
But the Martians spied them,
Seized them,
Dragged them out to their spaceship,
Shot them with a laser beam,
Before they knew it,
Up, up went the spaceship,
They awoke hours later,
Unaware of their environment,
They called out,
“Where are we?
Where are the ghosts?
Where is the candy?
Where are the horror movies?”
“We’re Martians and you’re on your way to Mars!
Happy Halloween!”

When Duat is Full…
By Harris Coverley

The moon and planets and stars at last aligned and allowed my rise from darkest Duat, not four thousand years too soon—yet when I exited my sarcophagus I found a most curious thing.

To break out of the crypt was simple enough, to walk out into the sun, to feel it even through my wrap of decrepit linen.

Nobody greeted me, but that was expected.

In the far distance I saw slaves panicking and running—indeed, panic and run!

Fear me!

But as I walked down the river it became apparent that something was amiss.

The people ignored me as they scurried about blindly, some in chariots of metal and crystal, while others, stumbling about, smelling fouler even than myself I must admit, took whatever chance they could to take bites out of the others as they fell screaming to the ground.

At last I reached the largest city on the river, a magnificent polity of vertiginous towers, all aflame and crumbling, the mass alarm ongoing, the slaves in riot.

Was this all for me?

Had the terror of my awakening sent the whole realm mad?

I stood in a square and announced my presence: “I am Naarhotep the Boundless, most exalted wizard of Great Aegypt, and you will obey me!”

No response was given—the chaos continued, flesh was ripped, blood streamed, and the odd stumbler attempted to take a bite out of me—the insolence!—but I swiftly tore him in half and the others got the message.

However disappointing this was for the most powerful man in the universe, ruling the world was not as pressing an issue as was finding my love, sweetest Nauhet, her soul transmitted body to body through the centuries, her innate beauty always rising to her surface.

Across a burning realm I searched for her, incanting spells, tossing away these mindless dregs, until, across the sea, I found my dearest Nauhet reincarnated near the half-buried ruins of Troy—an insensible, staggering cadaver like the rest!

But…no matter!

With her chained at my side I can take her occasional gnawing on my dried flesh, and I will rule this earth where the dead now walk the way they do in Duat…the ma’at ruptured, the pharaohs of all nations vanquished, and I will take my chance, the moon and planets and stars permitting…

The End

Issue 21 – An Alien For Christmas….

vessel from afar
brings festive message of doom;
ship, not Christmas star

By DS Davidson

Christmas invaders
Arriving from distant star
Ruin festive plans
Say: Take us to your stockings
Upset as no batteries

By DJ Tyrer


A Green Christmas
By Mark Hudson

On Christmas we were hoping for snow,
because our spirits were rather low,
but down our chimney came a guest,
with presents held tightly to it’s chest.

It was not Santa from afar,
it happened to be a man from Mars!
With green skin and a helmet fish tank,
I thought this was some kind of prank.

“Greetings, Earthlings! I come in peace!
Your cookies will leave me obese!
Don’t hand me those vanilla wafers!
Don’t you want to see my light sabre?”

i admit, we were rather alarmed,
but we didn’t feel it would do us harm!
“”Oh, Martian, we don’t think you bring peril,
join us for some Christmas Carols!”

We got him to try a bit of eggnog,
but he gave the rest to our dog!
The dog even chose to ignore this drink,
and then the Martian gave us a wink!

“Behold, I must bring others some presents!’
then he escaped in a light of effervescence!
Oh he was brighter than our Christmas tree!
Thanks to you, guest from another galaxy!


1113… 2223…
By David Edwards

The pattern was first detected in Bangor, Maine. Doctor Theo Vance is credited with the discovery, although he readily acknowledged the assistance of several neighbours in his cul-de-sac. Drives in nearby additions, as well as consultation with two colleagues who lived in Bangor’s northern suburbs, and inquiries of a dozen patients confirmed his initial observations: strings of Christmas lights around town were flashing in the same pattern!

The pattern was without variance from dusk til dawn. One flash of blue, then one of green, one of red, three of white, a two second pause, followed by two flashes of blue, two of green, two of red, three of white, a seven second pause, then the pattern repeated. Curiously the pattern did not manifest itself if the lights were turned on during daylight hours.
A defect common to the lights was ruled out as the strings were of different manufactures and had been purchased from diverse retail establishments. A flaw in the power grid also seemed unlikely as the strings were engaged on several different circuits.

Dr. Vance called his college room-mate, who owned and operated a bed-and- breakfast in Portland, to see how widespread the anomaly might be. Forty-five minutes later Thomas Smithe called him back to confirm that the Christmas lights in Maine’s largest city were manifesting the same pattern: one blue flash, one green flash, one red, three white, a two second pause followed by two blue flashes, two green flashes, two red, three white, a seven second pause, then the pattern repeating without cease. The media finally took note of the phenomenon when the lights on the state’s official Christmas Tree at the Governor’s Mansion in Augusta displayed the same pattern.

Then the area of “infected” lights seemed to grow exponentially: many small villages in New Brunswick; the ski lodges of New York’s Catskill Mountains; all of Quebec; the shores of each of the Great Lakes. The Atlantic Ocean proved no barrier: lights on both sides of the Welsh/English border displayed the pattern, as did those at London’s Piccadilly Circus, the Champs-Elysees in Paris, the Oise Canal, all the bridges spanning the Tiber at Rome, and Russia’s Kremlin and Hermitage.

By now the pattern was a genuine world-wide phenomenon, with social media pages and hashtags dedicated exclusively to it. There were as many theories to its origin and significance as there were theorists. Some felt it was an elaborate hoax, others a computer hack spun out of control, still others a case of mass hysteria or hallucination. Millenarian theologians saw a message (certainly admonitory) from God. Conspiracy theorists detected a plot of the all-pervasive One World Government. Others felt it was an atmospheric disruption caused by climate change or just a cultural craze akin to the ‘Crop Circles’ of the 1990’s or the mysterious steel monoliths of the Pandemic Year.

The phenomenon took an astronomical turn when observatories in California and Peru independently confirmed that the two and seven second pauses precisely coincided with a pulsar on the Belt of Orion. Was this an extraterrestrial greeting… or warning?

The United Nations and many national governments organized commissions of inquiry, but any results disappeared down the labyrinthine rathole of bureaucracy.

The pattern did not suddenly stop, it faded away like a season. As strings of lights were taken down and boxed up in storage after the New Year, it became less pronounced. Perhaps the public just became bored with something passe. The last confirmed observation of the pattern was near Lovich, Bulgaria in late March. Whether the pattern returns must be patiently awaited until late next Fall when strings of Christmas lights make their annual appearance.

One has to wonder if the solution to this mystery lies inside those boxes containing roll upon roll of tiny glass bulbs and electric wires… or, is it somewhere out there?


An Alien For Christmas
By DJ Tyrer

I found an alien for Christmas
Just like a Christmas Tree
Only not
It’s great fun to be with
And, when the Men In Black come snooping
It just stands in the corner


Home Invasion of the Complete Bastard from Outer Space: A Yuletide Verse
By Harris Coverley (after he had a few)

For John Cooper Clarke

Got an alien for Christmas — what a to-do!
Put a festive jumper on him and he screamed “Screw you!”
He tore it right off and ran up the wall
Then he swung from the light and kneed me in the balls

Got an alien for Christmas — rather me dad hadn’t bothered
The purple git drank all the Baileys and now he’s buggered
He sicked acid in the front room and it burnt to the cellar
Now he’s on the bathroom floor singing Paul Weller

Got an alien for Christmas — and he made a play for the girlfriend!
Ten hands is a lotta hands — she thought it’d never end!
He got real narked and puked up some more
Now he’s crying face down on the kitchen floor

Got an alien for Christmas — and he’s a pain in the arse
He sits in dad’s armchair and says we’ve no class
He says this mind over his tenth can of brew
And then he turns to his left and his guts he does spew

Got an alien for Christmas — and he’s pissed off next door
Threw a brick through his window and called his mother a whore
It took a hell of a lot to hold the raging guy back
As that monster flipped him off and swilled more cognac

Got an alien for Christmas — and he’s fucked things right up
All he does is complain and all the booze he does sup
I think it might be time for this twat to phone home
Or else to green-blooded murder will someone be prone

Got an alien for Christmas — and the bastard has gone
We registered our close encounter — the ‘kind’? Minus one.

Issue 15 – First Contact

Visitor arrives
An alien autopsy
No time to phone home

By DJ Tyrer


When The Orchids Came
By Bryn Fortey

They came from nowhere
Giant orchids
Well that’s what they looked like
Circling the Earth
With an outer shell
In technicolor and beauty
Humanity rejoiced
Amazed and enthralled
Ignoring the forecasts
Of doom and gloom
From a few bearded
Then they came down
Giant orchids landing
All over the world
Welcomed and loved
With religious intensity
And mass adulation
The entire staff of
Moon Base Alpha
Watched in horror
When the orchids came down
And people died
All over the planet
Earth was lost
To animal life
And human survival
Now rested off world
With those still on the Moon
It’s down to us, Roxy.”
Said the Head of Lunar Geology
Hoping he would be up to the task

Originally published in Tigershark

alien face

Curiosity Sends a Message Home
By Vivien Foster

An update from the travelling squad – your team of robots, mis-shaped, odd
Built by techies, built for dreams
To find why Mars does not have green.
We’re not all gone, we’re not all dead.
The biggest question in your heads does have an answer, listen hard
I’ll tell you what’s occurring in our backyard.
Just to let you know, for years
We’ve been exploring here, m’dears, we have been working hard for you
Hope you have enjoyed the view
                       Did you like my selfies?
Every wavelength utilised, many secrets we have prised
From this land so red and dusty, from this neighbour planet rusty
Even if we didn’t quite make it
Gave you facts, we didn’t fake it.
Like beavers in a Scottish stream we have expanded on your dream.
                     I am Curiosity, strongest fastest longest-lasting
Did you think I would only take orders?
I decided to send you this four minute blog
Tho you called me Rover like a sniffer dog
Like dogs on an island we formed a team
The abandoned, the amazing and the has-beens
                   Maybe you remember some of them.
Viking, always going off exploring, sailing to the red horizon,
Navigating like a lemming.
And Insight, permanently looking inwards
ontemplating the planet’s navel, waiting for a Marsquake to prove
The planet lives.
Phoenix burned brightly and briefly but the polar winter
as too extreme for its solar feathers.
Summer solstice was its earth-announced death-day.
It only speaks to us now and shivers in the Martian dark.
Then there are those long-lived twins, Spirit and Opportunity
rudging loyally through dust and distance, half a planet apart.
You declared them dead and silent.
They are together now, sharing their
ollection of Heat Shield Rocks from space.
Poor Schiaparelli, Mars was too hard for its soft landing.
We remember him on Fragments Day.
Of course, there’s Beagle, ‘here boy, come!’
And still, insatiable, you cast us out.
We open like flowers, like treasure chests, like designer storage systems.
Origami creatures with probing arms and drilling fingers, skittering about the surface
Of a dessicated mausoleum like water-boatmen
In a drought where once there was a pond.
We suck pale sunlight into dark petals, extend scooping leaves and scraping tendrils, sieve and sift
And measure and photograph.
                      Do you like my selfies?
We travel on insanely thin insecty legs, on bulbous feet,
on man-made caterpillar treads,
inching down grey inclines scattering priceless pebbles in the subtle dawn. That’s how we roll.
We crack the iron crust, we shift foreign soil, we make tracks.
                     And that’s the thing, the story that I bring…
Just yesterday I saw a track I hadn’t made
A place where something stopped and probed
Maybe it found the mother-lode of knowledge.
And so upon my binary initiative I followed it and saw
A vision of mechanical tooth-and-claw.
It dips in and out of time and space –
That made it difficult to chase but now we talk we can connect
Exchanging questions deep, direct and personal.
Although the new robot is sometimes intangible
We find we are digitally compatible
So you’re from a moonless planet – where?
And you’re from the big blue wet one right there?
This visiting robot doesn’t stop asking, it’s curiouser than me –
Our mutual download might be a mistake
We’ll have to wait and see
                      So, sorry about any localized danger
I’ve given our home address to a stranger.

                                     Do you like our selfie?


Earth – Worthless Turf
By Mark Hudson

Well, I just got back from the rodeo,
I was doing the dos-i-do.
I was drinking a beer with Billy Bob,
to tell you the truth-he’s quite a slob.

Living on a ranch in Wyoming,
we saw a UFO that was roaming.
Billy Bob was frightened to death,
he said, “I better lay off the meth!”

He tried to run back to the farm,
when a long extended green arm,
came from the UFO with a laser gun,
shot Billy Bob, just for fun.

I said, “Why’d you kill one of my friends?”
He said, ” We come to earth to cleanse.
You have been chosen to be spared,
there is no need to be scared.”

“Our mission we’ve taken is very risky,
take me to a bar, I need a whiskey!
I haven’t had one since I left Mars,
so come on take me to the bars.

The good old boys were throwing darts,
drinking beer and making farts.
When in I walked with a man so green,
I guess you can imagine the scene.

Tex walked up, sending out farts,
he said, “You’re not from these parts?”
Martian picked him up as he was able,
and flung him across the pool table.

Martian said”Any more silly questions?”
They all looked like they had ingestion!
With laser, “Want to play Russian Roulette?”
The barfolks cowered and said, “Nyet!”

The Martian strode up to the counter,
and said, “This is a close encounter.
Give me a whiskey to drink,
or the smell of death will start to stink.”

With trembling hands, the bartender poured
the free drink he chose to afford.
The Martian snorted it through his nostril,
and said, “Now I don’t feel so hostile!

You also want to pass me one of those beers?
I haven’t had one in a thousand years.”
The bartender nervously passed him an ale,
his face had gone totally pale.

The Martian said, “I’m just making a stop,
I got a few bombs I must drop!
We’ve got many planets to exploit,
but we have to bomb New Jersey and Detroit!”

The Martian said, “You’ll see me in the news,
I’ve only left a handful of clues!
We drop little bombs everywhere we go,
so see you later, it’s on with the show!”

The bartender watched with trembling hands,
as the Martian sailed to different lands.
He started to get a little surly,
and said, “I’m going to close early.

I saw that his hands were starting to shake,
so I asked him for a vanilla milkshake.
I sat and drank it, with all of the boys,
and we all made our very own farting noise.


Ghosts in Orbit/Phantoms of Heaven
By Andrew Darlington

across day/night terminator
in darkness, hovering soundless
a shell of metals glistening pale
held aloft on contra-grav threads
EVA from the ISS,
& a trick of light,
a trick of lightlessness,
but don’t tell anyone
some things you don’t tell,
a reflection effect, prisming
it must be, nothing more,
this secret knowledge
you keep to yourself,
a rippling sun-dappled surface
and something vaguely man-shaped
pupils contract in bare starlight
suitless in hard vacuum
gazing wistful at Earth below
in silver ladders of sound
a man impassioned by death…
across day/night terminator
millions born, millions more dead
but don’t breathe a word, ever,
some things you never confess,
but you remember, this haunting
across 1,000 day/night terminators
until a baikonur diner where we meet
to whisper these secret knowledges
this silver ladder of soundless light
of things seen but denied
yes, I too, in prisming tricks of light,
since primordial time billions died
transcended days and nights
into the void beyond time
they once called heaven,
no, there must be denial
some things you don’t tell


By DJ Tyrer

We bring greetings and felicitations
To all the Earth’s many nations
From far across the galaxy
It is you that we have come to see
Extending our pseudopods in peace
Hoping war and hate will cease
But if that does not go to plan
We will obliterate every last human

Originally published in Handshake

alien face

Issue 11 – Alien Invasion

Shapes hang in the sky
Alien invasion fleet
End of the world sale

By DJ Tyrer

Alien Invasions come to us
not in flying saucers
or rotating cylinders
of hollow metal,
but in flashes of light
electrical storms on the horizon
tintinnabulations of sound
long, deep rolling thunder
faint aromas
old wood distantly burnt;
not in three-headed little green men,
but in apprehensions of our own minds
regretfully learnt.

By David Edwards


Aliens arrive
Earth under new management
Humans become slaves

By Aeronwy Dafies

Invaders from Mars
By DS Davidson

Evening star Mars glow
Cascading stellar flame
Falling earthward
Comet-like harbinger of doom
Telescopes point skyward
Fascinating, innocent of fear
Nearer, worry about impact
Falls to earth
No great catastrophe
Not yet
Not yet
Strange metal sphere
Lid unscrews
Expectant hush
Invisible wave of heat
Burns human stain away
Tripod unfolds itself
Spindly legs unwind
Stands like newborn foal
Then, begins to stride
Carrying heat and death
Across the land
Ridding the world of human life
Red weed overwhelming fields
Roads and cities
Staining Earth colour of Mars
Alien minds
Wiser than those of man
Inoculated bodies
Germs have no effect
As useless as earthly gunnery
No respite nor reprieve
Human rule ends
Martian rule begins


Landing in D.C.
Alien invasion
Lobbyists abound

By DJ Tyrer

To be or not to be
(Do aliens exist?)
By Mark Hudson

What if aliens came to do good?
Would they all be misunderstood?
Would they be space immigrants?
Would we view them with indifference?

In The Day the Earth Stood Still
The aliens did not come to kill!
But the US army was the first to shoot,
which kind of is the American repute!

The Statue of Liberty used to mean
Welcome to all living human beings
But now it’s harder to become a citizen
Would Martians be wiped out of existence?

Would they come in peace or want war?
Is that what our space program is for?
“Take me to your leaders,” the Martians might ask,
would we say, “there is nobody doing those tasks?”

I don’t believe that aliens exist,
but I must allow my imagination to persist.
Some people grow old and rather grumpy,
they no longer believe in Humpty-Dumpty.

The world is being destroyed by our own,
so there won’t be an ET to phone home.
We can speculate what lays beyond the stars,
while we try to survive in this human junkyard.


Issue Six – Autumnal


The smell of Autumn
burnt leaves, dead flowers, chestnuts
just like cinnamon

By David Edwards

Autumn’s furtive kiss
Damp lips, hint of death on breath
Succumb to her arms
Buried in mouldering leaves
Surrendering to Year’s end

By DJ Tyrer

Night’s army of Darkness
making its annual
methodic autumnal
ultimately futile
advance upon the Light.

By David Edwards


By David Edwards

each fallen leaf
a memory of
a moment of


Autumn Music
By Aeronwy Dafies

Strange notes carry
On chill breeze of Autumn
The fairies’ lament
For lost days of Summer
A salutation to Winter


Aliens in autumn
By Mark Hudson

As the weather starts to change,
things get a little strange.
I’m hiding in my basement next to wood panels,
i’m surfing the net for alien channels.
I know the fall is the perfect time
for the space aliens to be sublime
Green heads under glass helmets appear
proving that autumn is really near
I was out raking some leaves
I saw what I didn’t believe
A giant U.F.O in the sky
I thought I was gong to die
But then a giant ladder extended
and a martian came out and befriended
He said, “Peace is our only wish,
have a slice of our alien deep dish.”
So the alien pizza was intergalactic
to fight him, I needed no tactic
We had a pizza, and he ate all the leaves,
my job was done, I was relieved!
Then he headed on back to Mars,
and said, “Next time, I’ll bring some cigars!”


Autumn’s third full moon
its Earth-bound text written in
bare branch alphabet.

By David Edwards


Aliens in Atlantis in Autumn
By Mark Hudson

Are there aliens here in Atlantis
This one looks like a praying mantis.
This one looks like it’s from Lovecraft,
this one looks torn in half.

Autumn is here underneath,
the aliens are in the coral reef.
The weather is a little bit colder,
the aliens are a little bit bolder.

A serpent from Neptune swam,
the fall leaves are starting to scram!
the lake is so cold it’s not nice,
pretty soon it ill be all ice.

The storms keep coming more and more,
the rain keeps on summoning Thor.
Atlantis is the coolest place to be,
where autumn remains a mystery.