Issue 61 – Cybercity Rain

With souls dulled by rain
Wet people stopped noticing
Their own bright raincoats

By Nieske den Heijer

Lurching, drought to flood.
Man attempts Nature’s control.
Hubris and Folly.

By David Edwards


Memory of Water
By Cardinal Cox

Water doesn’t have memory
No recollection of plesiosaurs
Swimming in it – no wistful
Thoughts of lapping round Cnut’s
Ankles – no heroic tales of dousing
Flames caused by incendiaries

Instead each drop holds a hologram
Of jets flying through clouds
Every dawn etches images
Into the vapour – so that
Puddles that form on cracked
Concrete shine with previous
Rainbows not some toxic spill,

While robots shelter from the
Torrent people remember
Skipping in wellies – lightning
Plays around the pylons –
Neon flickers where broken
Drain pipes overflow

Cybercity Rain, with the Blues Again
By David Edwards

All life is online.
No one outside to listen
at raindrops falling…
count the puddles afterward…
anticipate them disturbed.

By F. J. Bergmann

Danger was the real addiction. As a child, Chaal had shown off
to his friends by darting into traffic with his cap pulled down
over his eyes. He often thought that drugs and sex would have
had no appeal if indulging safely in either had been possible.
Not so for Ruyp, who’d wept after Chaal’s diagnosis, lost
in morbid fear of the hab membrane dissolving early, alternately
assuring him of eternal love and questioning him furiously
about how the precautions could have failed. Chaal might have
caught Plague anywhere; once he had walked home too late
(after the night rain had begun) from another lover whom Ruyp
hadn’t known about (and spent the rest of the cycle in the airlock
because the doorman was afraid to let him in). Another time
he’d surreptitiously peeled back the safety membrane after dark
to step out on the balcony for the sheer rush of defiance, staring
at undulating clouds, feeling the rush of water and horrible wind
on his naked skin. Risk. It was why he’d volunteered, after all—
what could be less safe? Or more exciting. Not just the idea
of a new planet; the other colonists were also young, attractive
and non-gender-fixed, in much higher concentration than what
was available in the district where he’d grown up. But all that
had changed. Become dull. Settled, indeed. The wilderness had
devolved into mega-tiered habitat grids and spiraling skymalls
assembled only by drones, identical to those on Earth. Except for
the rain-borne Plague, of course. Poor Ruyp would return soon,
to hover, sulk and recriminate; nightfall was nearly upon them.
Chaal stroked the cutter in his pocket, waiting for dark, imagining
the slash, the rush of raw, damp atmo, Ruyp’s scream, the leap.


Grandmother, please tell us about the sun one more time?
Was it bigger than the lamp that now hangs above the city?
Did the sun turn on and off just like the lamp?
Was the sky really blue?
How did you talk to people without a chip in your arm?
Did you really not have to take those gross vitamin D supplements every day?
Was the sun hot?
What is snow?
Wait, if snow is cold and the sun is hot, how did that work?
What was the food like?
What is steak and chips? Was it anything like the purple standard rations?
Where did music come from if you had no ear implants?
Did you ever go to the beach in the sun? Do waves really sound like the recordings?

Who will tell us these stories after she is gone?
When the last human who remembers the blue sky passes on?

By Nieske den Heijer


By K. A. Williams

The man invaded my office with a broken umbrella and some foul words. Water dripped off him, making a wet stain on my carpet.

“Can I help you or did you just come in to dry off?”

“My name is Silas Fortescue and I want you to stop the rain.”

I laughed. “Really, is that all? Maybe you didn’t read the words on the door before you came in. It says ‘Private Investigator’ not ‘Miracle Worker’.”

“Does the name Mason Cornflower mean anything to you?”

“Sure. He’s a rich manufacturer.”

“Yes,” agreed my visitor. “And the reason he’s so rich is because he’s responsible for the rain.”

“Is he?” I took my feet off the desk and sat up straighter. “The scientists said that it was an equipment malfunction in the weather controller.”

“Do you suppose it was just a coincidence that on the day after the continuous rain started, Cornflower Corporation advertised their new product – the personal rain shield, which sold out in a matter of hours. He also manufactures different styles of umbrellas, raincoats, and galoshes for the old-fashioned and less rich citizens.”

“That’s all very interesting, but what do you want from me?”

“You can get proof and turn him into the authorities or blackmail him into fixing the weather machine. I’d prefer the latter. I’m tired of the rain and I could use the money.”

I nodded. “Me, too. I’ve got a friend who can hack into Cornflower’s mainframe computer and get the evidence. He always needs money because he buys a lot of those interactive dating simulation vids. We could split it three ways.”

“Okay. How much do you think we should ask for?”


My office door opened. Silas Fortescue stepped in and removed his sunglasses. He was wearing a tee shirt, shorts, and a big smile. “We’ve done it! The sun is shining and my share has been deposited into my bank account already.”

“Yes, same here. My friend got the info easily and I blackmailed Cornflower with it. He’ll never miss the money. Who do you think made your new outfit and sunglasses? Since Cornflower knew when the rain would end, he was able to start manufacturing his ‘Fun In The Sun’ items before anyone else.”

The End


Rain in Gang Land
By Mark Hudson

In Chicago, in future times,
there is still plenty of crime.
Corpses hidden in the drain,
as they have acid rain.

It’s a war between gangsters and cops;
and it’s fought under raindrops.
No time for an umbrella in a shootout,
burglars hide at their hideout.

Smoking crack in abandoned buildings,
it’s dry inside; like the drywall they’re dealing.
Deadly heroin cut with evil glass,
while toxic rain wilts all the grass.

The rain causes prisoners to escape,
leading to murder, thievery, and rape.
The police are now nothing but cowards,
in rain-soaked streets where they have showered.

A windshield wiper is high-tech technology,
as rain prevents cops and their ophthalmology.
They can’t see the suspects getting away,
in a Chicago winter, with skies so gray.

Buckets of rain, bullets of power,
on the grass, not a single flower.
The grass is all withered and yellow,
reminiscent of a book by Saul Bellow.

So kiddies, put your rubber boots on,
trudge through the puddles, fear atomic bombs!
Sleep with your teddy, have pleasant dreams,
the gang bangers are always up to their schemes.

Cybercity Rain
By DJ Tyrer

Constant rainfall
Like tears for a city
Devoid of freedom and truth
Corporate plaything
Cybernetic battleground
Nightmare home for the poor

The End Time
By F. J. Bergmann

All day on the street it seemed to him
that on every block a rumbling bus
was coasting up to a traffic light
or pulling away from a scheduled stop,
reflections of its headlights on wet asphalt
like long, gleaming fangs.

But once night fell, as if some giant
had dropped a charred wool coat
soaked in silence and rain, time stretched
and yawned, closed its yellow eyes
for a moment, and then much longer
than a moment.

That must be why the street is empty, why
the splash and growl of traffic has dwindled
to absence, why the sodium vapor lights
are darkening to red, why he is frozen still,
waiting, increasingly certain that the bus
will never come.


Ghost in the machine
Watches meat world going by
Filled with neon rain

By DS Davidson

Issue 18 – Chrome Futures

Adult Content Advisory

Broken mirror shades
Sky of analogue static
Today yesterday

By DJ Tyrer

By Harris Coverley



By Cardinal Cox

Something in bio-medical
Research / played in
Band / ran record
Label / had sickest
Sat at bar and sneered

man and machine

Flex chrome arm, rebirth
Death no longer the full stop
Rebuild, reload, live

By DJ Tyrer


By DS Davidson

The streets find a use for things, people
Repurposed, rebuilt
Commodified in unexpected ways
Surrender to the system
Give up in the gutter
Or, lock and load
Whatever it takes to survive
Break free, storm virtual heavens


By Cardinal Cox

If you closed your eyes
The data architecture
Was Angkor Wat
Jungle static/noise
Reach out – translucent sculpture
Client accounts / granite structures
Day-to-day routines
Maintaining the real world
Fountain with goldfish
Staff in scattered office space
Drop crumbs – a worker would
Pick up a phone somewhere


Satellite Hookup
By Mark Hudson

They’ve got a satellite hookup,
to screw all crooks up.
the eyeball is spying,
the government is lying.
They’ve got cameras in every town,
they see you as you act the clown.
they will make all of us frown,
from outer space they look down.
You think you can hide behind drapes,
they’ve got you on videotapes.
If you think you’re hiding from the press,
they’ll find out your life is a mess.
They have no way to prevent homicide,
when people have nowhere to hide.
They know when you’re not paying taxes,
they secretly read all of your faxes.
Gangs shoot people on the street,
but nobody will kill all the elite.
Innocent children are getting shot,
so their solution is to legalize pot.
Our country really is in trouble,
as our debt begins to double.
I’d leave but there is nowhere to go,
every country thinks I’m a foe.
So I’ll pretend to be patriotic,
and try not to act too psychotic.


By Cardinal Cox

Corporations asset-stripping ISS
/ don’t think about /
Trying to hotwire an old comsat
/ think about motion /
Africa drifts past window
/ about motion sickness /
Pan-Am Orion we came upstairs on
/ motion sickness /
Some accountant upside-down
/ sickness /
Planetoids are born


Social Butterfly Effect
By David M. Hoenig

Easy smiles, the new handshake,
repartee, the biz card give/take.
My clothes know who you are today;
algorithms in liquid crystal display
read kinesthesia, pitch and tones,
within my electrogenous zones.
Your data, contained by no condom,
splashes my blue dress like Kingdom
Come on, already! Got sensors for reasons:
don’t remember birthdays, seasons,
dates, times, names, or faces,
if we met in the usual places,
virtual or pheromonal. Smart clothing’s the real deal;
memory costs too much, but tech won’t make you feel.


Aluminium Lovers
By Harris Coverley

Fuck ’Em Suck ’Em Robots!
Want to get that thrill?!
No more need for all those pills!

The automatic copulate!
No need for social agitate!
They’ll always help you masturbate!
Avoid the horrors of the date!

Fuck ’Em Suck ’Em Robots!
With a sperm-proof grill!
(Do not display on a window sill)

Always horny—never late!
Set against a lonely fate!
Sprung with pseudo-flesh elasticate!
They’ll leave you in a ravaged state!

Fuck ’Em Suck ’Em Robots!
Settings from TENDER to DRILL!
You’ll always get your fill!

Throw open the fantasy gate!
They’ll forever be the perfect mate!
Order now—don’t you wait!
Overnight shipping in its crate!

Fuck ’Em Suck ’Em Robots!
Don’t you worry about the bill!
Just get fucked and chill…!


By Cardinal Cox

A shining example / literally /
Metal parts gleamed
Parade standard / combat requirement
Was dull, non-reflective /
Cyborg veteran of Middle East
Foreign Policy algorithms
Grand-daughter of S.D.I.
A star-warrior, one of Reagan’s Rangers

woman and car

By DJ Tyrer

It used to be
Now, it’s called
The Downtown Militarized Zone
The Free-Fire Zone
No more cops
But, National Guard
Tooled-up ready
Taking on the People’s Militia
For the regular
Friday Night Fire Fight
And, Saturday Shootout
Fast becoming ritual
Reasons forgotten
All that matters
Is the hate