Issue 72 – Scoundrels

Bold selfish villain…
Aggregate Humanity,
a scoundrel defined.

By David Edwards

honour among thieves?
ask them to watch your treasure…
too soon it is gone!

By DJ Tyrer

merry Robin Hood
relieves you of your burden
bag of heavy gold

By Aeronwy Dafies


Sheriff of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and the Royal Forests
By Cardinal Cox

Foris – outside, as in laws of the land
And I am placed, by royal will, in charge
Mine then is the appointed heavy hand
That directs the lowly yeomen at large

Yet I am defied by rogues and outlaws
Who lurk and ambush amongst Sherwood’s trees
Claiming they busy steal for they are so poor
If I catch them they will no more be free

Nottingham Castle and a short rough rope
Awaits the whole unkempt and motley gang
There will be no mercy for them, no hope
Remorse? Regrets? I will feel no such pang

The Hood? No one will remember his name
As liege to the crown I deserve the fame


Nighttime Excursion
By K. A. Williams

Candles alight the hallways
Shadows dance on walls
Grand rooms await my presence

Flasks lay beside sleeping guards
Secret gifts from me
Witch’s potion worth the price

Glittering jewelry calls
Swag wrapped up in sheet
I slip out the castle doors

By DJ Tyrer

Magical horns are worth a fortune, which is why we’d braved the hordes of rabid goblins and savage elves, plus customs agents, to bring back our quarry, to the city, alive.

Here,” I said, unveiling the beast.

That’s not a unicorn,” said the Dwarven ambassador, “that’s a rhino. Kill them!”



Auto Graveyard
By Mark Hudson

I’m thinking about parking in the dark,
I’m thinking about cars from loan sharks.
I’m thinking about the used car salesman,
he is telling a lot of tall tales, man.
I’m thinking about the upholsteries,
I’m thinking about the ghost of these.
I’m seeing an auto graveyard,
I’m trying to be a brave heart.
The used car salesman is glowing,
the car he’s selling is towing.
Smoke is coming out of his ears,
his red face does not have cheer.
he says, “buy this car, now!”
but his offer I will not allow.
Headed for the streets, I walk,
I’m tired of the car salesman’s talk.
He dances over the river Styx,
and I’m not falling for his tricks.


Dashing smuggler ally/friend
Hides you in cargo
Sells you to some aliens

By DS Davidson

The Obnoxious Adventures of Skepp “Too Easy” Grafflin
By Harris Coverley

I stole a rocket
Just yesterday
From orphans who
Were in my way

I split Phobos
As I ran
Meteor storm?
Don’t give a damn!

Smashed a dam on Mars
And then I fled
Flooded canals
Across the Great Red

Robbed a Martian bank
With a laser gat —
I iced three clerks
And stomped a cat

Disguised myself
As a man of creed
Got on a shuttle
To Ganymede

A frozen swamp
I had to leave —
Hijacked a starship
To the Pleiades

Dumped the cargo
On far Pluto
The crew on Styx
Their oxygen low

The cosmic ballet —
A life of crime
Up freedom alley

Too Easy” yeah
That’s the name —
And if you were me
You’d live the same!

Try to catch me
If you bastards can
System to system —
High on the lam!


on ev’ry planet
same old story reoccurs
human treachery

By DJ Tyrer

Issue 71 – Lost Halls of Ancient Mountain Kings


Postfuture King
By Harris Coverley

atomic bunker
very core of the mountain
the walls all whisper:
our genius has survived!”
all hail the King of Nothing!”

New Myths
By Aeronwy Dafies

In hidden bunker
Men made of metal slumber
Awaiting the call
Like Arthur in his cavern
Turning old myths into new


By DJ Tyrer

Down damp corridors long devoid of light, deeper into the antiseptic fortress. Grey walls revealed by flickering torchlight, no guards from an elder age, no insects skittering, no strange monsters, just emptiness sealed for centuries.

Reach the vault, further heavy doors to prise open. Success. Strange white lights return to life, resume an unnatural, steady glow. Pause to marvel at the tomb.

Sword ready, yet still no threat, guards or demons, enter the vault, untouched by the ages, seeking treasure of such great value.

Locate it. Seeds. Tiny repositories of life, with which to rebuild the ravaged world. Perfect. Priceless.


Originally published in Drabble Harvest issue 15 (February 2020)


The Hall of Mt. Rushmore King
By Mark Hudson

With America’ famous faces,
sculpted to the wall,
ghosts haunt these places,
the mountain king’s hall.

A gravelly road outside of Keystone,
leads to Mountain View Cemetery.
In a rotting grave of dead bones,
drift ghosts that are rather scary.

People see apparitions gliding at night,
ghostly workers rising from their graves.
The ghosts have given people a fright,
most people cannot be brave.

The mount was completed Halloween 1941,
and people stood there under a full moon.
Washington, Roosevelt, Lincoln, Jefferson,
their spirits guard over this ghostly ruin.

And although the spirits are tossing and turning,
The presidents spirits guard as if kings.
Will these spirits ever be returning?
It’s just among the world’s strangest things!


Hidden Depths
By DS Davidson

In the hall of human-originated
Mutant bloodline ruler, far below
The recovering world, aeons on
Short and stunted beings plot
In concert with their computer god
Resume the war! Resume the war!”

Through ancient, lost chambers crawl
Expeditions seeking the magic words
To resurrect weapons of the gods
Send forth a second rain of fire
Scour the surface clean of life
Begin the cycle over anew…

Computatrum Regem
By Harris Coverley

beneath the mountain
megacomputer awaits
the final soldier —
broken he at last arrives…
but he’s forgot the passcode

the best laid plans of
men and machines — in the hall
of the mountain king

Issue 68 – Dropship Troopers

The troops are ready
Long live our God emperor!
Let the anthem play

By Nieske den Heijer

terror out of space
not alien invaders
but human troopers

By Aeronwy Dafies


Drop From Orbit
By DS Davidson

We ride the atmosphere
Down from orbit
Dropships filled with troops
Buffeted by the thickening air
And retro-rockets’ blast
That slam into the ground
We debark still dazed from impact
Firing wildly at anything
That isn’t a friendly
Return fire batters our armour
Nigh as thick as a tank’s
Artificial servo-muscles tighten
Providing speed and strength
Overwhelming the enemy
In terms of morale and militarily
We stride across the surface
Personifications of our God
Emperor of all space
Deities of adamantium
Lacking compassion and the capacity
To fail in our appointed task


Mal Galeef
By Harris Coverley

The poet said:

colonial troop
man and alien alike
assigned enemy —
fighting for Old Earth’s empire
that drive for cosmic conquest

The soldier replied:

my name is Galeef
first name Malko — Phobos-born
and on Deimos raised —
my true battles internal
I am much still my own man

The poet replied:

you are empire’s tool
imperial policeman —
a blood-soaked unit
whether blood is red or green
you still take your pay and drink

The solider replied:

yes this soldier drinks
and so would you if you’d seen
the things that I’ve seen —
don’t ramble proudly poet
no gun but I have my fists!

The poet replied:

that is all you have:
the threat of force against those
who stand in your way —
distilled into the one beast:
xenocidal human race

The solider replied:

I obey orders
for that is my sworn duty
I am a rough man —
I am so on your behalf —
something you don’t understand!

rough and ready men
visit violence on the dark
so you can sleep sound


On A Far and Distant World
By DJ Tyrer

In the lantern-light of bioluminescent cells
And the glow of a raging firmament,
A hero locks and loads his weapon,
Closing his polished-silver visor:
A fusillade of fragmentation shells
Clears his way of opposition;
H.E. blasts an entranceway.

Black armour like a beetle learnt to walk upright
Gives humanity’s saviour an alien anonymity.

Scuttling horrors of unearthly physiology appear
From all directions at once, overpowering
The hero, despite his rapid fire
And deadly, whirling blades:
Inhuman ichors mix with all-too-human blood
Creating unsettling swirls
With a soundtrack of pain.

Still twitching, not quite lifeless, dragged off
To provide a host in the birthing chamber…

Originally published in Handshake

It is almost time.
Who are we fighting today?
Never mind, let’s go!

By Nieske den Heijer

Issue 63 – Space Cruise

Space Cruise
By DS Davidson

Going where no man has gone before
In such luxurious accommodation
Discovering strange new worlds
Filled with tourist traps
Roaming the galaxy
Without danger or daring
Bringing home crates
Of tacky souvenirs

Ex-X Prize Experience
By Cardinal Cox

There’s only ten thousand things to go wrong
Tons of high explosive fuel underneath
Earth far below will cue the caged bird’s song
Grip your jaw to stop chattering teeth

Then you’re too busy to think about fear
On flame you climb into vacuum of space
If you go up to orbit twice a year
Still think about wreckage scattered round place

That mere moments ago you were launched from
Once you’re up and passengers get their thrills
You have to turn around this flying bomb
Re-entry scrabbling to add to its kills

At any time you’re one inch from dying
Yet fools are queuing up to go flying


Squawking Goose
By K. A. Williams

Did you hear the rumours that there are space pirates in this sector?” the woman with the sparkling diamond necklace asked me in the dining room while I was filling my plate with choice items from the buffet table.

I’m sure the captain and crew know how to deal with space pirates. This isn’t their first cruise; they travel this area all the time,” I said just before the ship rocked and we heard a loud boom.

This is the captain,” said a voice on the intercom. “Everything is fine. But it might be better if everyone would go to their rooms and stay for just a little while.”

Belay that order, me fine passengers,” said a different voice. “This is Captain Tanbeard. I humbly request ye presence in the dining room for a wee chat.”

The woman with the diamond necklace took it off quickly and hid it under the coffee pot. Other people started hiding their jewelry out of sight as well.

Captain Tanbeard swept into the room and bowed to the ladies. He was dressed like pirates of olden days, sword and all. I laughed until he pointed his sword at me. “If you don’t find me some treasure lad, I’ll be taking ye with me as a cabin boy, even if you’re a bit too old.”

I didn’t need any more persuasion and quickly pointed out all the jewelry that the women and men had hidden.

Much obliged,” he said to me while the other passengers glared.


A week later the Squawking Goose docked at the space station. I was glad to get off the ship. Everyone blamed me for the loss of their jewelry, but I knew the items were insured because I’d overheard some of them talking about it.

The bar closest to the docks had rough customers that stared at me when I entered but only for a second before they turned back to their conversations.

A hand clapped my shoulder and I turned to see Captain Tanbeard, sans pirate disguise. He handed me my share and a ticket. “See you in two weeks, son.”

The End


The Neptune Adventure
By DJ Tyrer

Spaceship in Neptunian orbit
Capsized by solar storm
Flipped upside down
Thanks to artificial gravity
Nobody notices nor cares

Originally published on Grievous Angel


Planetary Unsanitary
By Mark Hudson

From Dawn till Dusk,
climb aboard with Elon Musk.
Play a little backgammon,
with James Cameron.

Come aboard with William Shatner,
in search of the ghost of Gilda Radner.
We might even find John Belushi,
sitting on Mars eating some Sushi.

It’s your intergalactic celebrity cruise,
All you have to do is pay your dues.
Do it before you get too old,
outer space never been so cold!

Are you enjoying shuffleboard?
Oh wait, passenger overboard!
Your wife just slipped away into space!
We got tired of seeing her face!

We are starting to go into orbit,
reading books by Scott Corbett.
We get attacked by asteroids,
the captain has bad hemorrhoids.

We might not make it back to earth,
we won’t be pulling into our berth.
Hope you can hold on for a minute,
you are going into space infinite!

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 57 – Uncaring Universe

size of universe
self-importance of mankind
just about the same

By DS Davidson

At Event Horizon
By David Edwards

Contemplate Black Holes:
those ghosts of dead suns…
the darkness therein…
that ubiquitous nothing…
their nihilistic nature
beyond Event Horizon.


By Harris Coverley

It takes nine months to grow a man
And less than a second to destroy him

How is the growing of the leaf
To the rotting of the tree

How is the brewing of the beer
To the swilling of the ends

Bitter in delivery
Bitterer in reflection

After We Landed
By Goran Lowie

we would find many mysteries
discover things truly alien
evidence of other civilizations
other ways of being.

we would unravel worlds
investigate without fear
come to understand
other ways of being.

some things are too mysterious
so alien as to be meaningless
unintelligible, incomprehensible
other ways of being.

Snuffed Out
By DJ Tyrer

Here at the universe’s ending
What for?
Last stars are snuffed out
An energy-free eternity
Or, maybe something will happen
Too late to mean a thing


Probing in this Endless Night
By Harris Coverley

Across the immeasurable gulfs; down the boundless depths; amongst the infinitely spaced points of coldest light. Eyes that look, and hands that feel, that search and never find on an empty trail through the vastness of the nothing. The winds of aether rushing through the eldritch dark that not even the most malevolent spirits would dare to hide within. The rotations of the wanderers against unthinking suns as careless as the gravity pits that will inevitably crush them, and from amongst the icicles hanging from long dead stars like the tears of forsaken gods, the whisper comes, but no one is left to hear. So indeed, the great breaking clock of the universe keeps turning, until the coil twists out, unravelled, and turns no more… and final and true serenity is reached forevermore.


By Cardinal Cox

The Universe may not care
When galaxies collide
Or about pulsars burning
As hot as it’s own birth
Or that dark matter
Is all that holds itself together
Or that you cry
When a kitten hurts its paw
But I care
And you are
My Universe
To me

Issue 52 – Recycled Futures

By David Edwards

When Time reaches its
pivot, and falls back
upon itself, History
becomes Prophecy… that which
was will be again.
Future Recycled.

garbage of old Earth
recycled into new myths
heroes made of junk

By DJ Tyrer


The Plague of Plagiarism
By Mark Hudson

By the time the Sumerians
developed writing in cuneiform,
they were being robbed by librarians
who poisoned them with chloroform.

The Phoenicians did better yet,
they created a new alphabet.
But the Greeks became demonic,
that’s why were all hooked on phonics.

Greek drama evolved in Athens,
and they also had many laugh-ins.
Each writer borrowed from the other,
these brothers from another mother.

Switching to the Medieval,
the times were mostly evil.
King Arthur and the Round Table,
can now be seen on your cable.

Gutenberg created the printing press,
and books became a success.
He was a thief from overseas,
he stole the idea from the Chinese.

And ever since the early days,
writers have stolen in many ways.
In the golden age of science fiction,
plagiarism became an affliction.

No one penned more than Asimov,
but everybody rips him off.
Who can write like Bradbury?
His tales once seemed so scary.

What used to be just fantasy
is now becoming reality.
Nothing new under the sun,
as life on earth isn’t much fun.

Recycle till there is nothing left,
like a sad, musical cleft.
Till the scorecard begins to read zero,
and the villain is now the new hero.

But new writers will come soon,
with brand new outlooks on the moon.
Right now, they may be in their womb,
I hope the world will leave them some room.


God of Sea
By Clive Donovan

It was as if the God of sea himself rose up
Streaming from his shoulders, weed and attendant fish;

Commanding, with stiff trident, waves and foam and tide.
We always knew he was down in there somewhere deep,

Receiving shoals, directing whales and dolphins,
Dealing with plastic chemical gifts from land.

But now he’d had enough and in his wrath divine,
Roaring with the force of a tsunami, he wept:

Great salt tears plopped wetly on the seaside towns
And the people died, scrabbling, in scum of sea.

World of Waste
By Mark Hudson

In the not too distant future, the Earth was a mess,
a dumpster world full of trash and stress.
The ozone layer left people breathless and dead,
they decided to live on the Moon instead.

The first people to go were the elite,
the one percent reserved their seat.
They had garbage and recycling bins,
where the poor dug from once again.

They built the first MacDonalds on the Moon,
and one was coming to Jupiter soon.
In order to compete, Burger king,
built a bigger restaurant with bling.

But vegans wanted to just eat plants,
but gardens were destroyed by space ants.
There were roaches left from a nuclear war,
they put them in a missile, and sent them to Thor.

An insect free universe, was the hope,
but without French fries, no one could cope.
Some of the pioneers just ate capsules,
that might’ve tasted like pears and apples.

But the astronauts said, “Are you ready?
We’re going to the moon, ain’t no spaghetti!
There ain’t going to be pizza either,
nor any aspirin for a pain reliever!”

So eventually, they recruited cooks,
and recruited woman for their looks.
And casinos and whorehouses were brought,
not a single church had been sought.

Pretty soon the moon was a waste,
just like earth, a din of bad taste.
When would the moon be destroyed as well?
Why did it so quickly become a hell?

Well the politicians came, promising lots,
but people just stood around, smoking pot.
The protests were useless, everybody died,
the Moon was an embarrassment to hide!

So they started to send people to Jupiter,
and of course it made people stupider.
But it wasn’t anybody’s fault at all,
we are all descendants of the Neanderthal!


Colosseum 2.0; or, Amphitheatrum Futurium
By Harris Coverley

Tyrrhenian Sea
dried into a salt desert —
yet in the middle
gladiators fight again
for the last of Man’s glory

Issue 50 – Ghosts in Space

ghosts of dead stars shine
illuminating way home
planet long since dead

By DJ Tyrer

Coming Through on Channel Two
By Cardinal Cox

Voskhod Three – monitored at Kettering
Grammar School – heating failed
cosmonaut froze – N1 rocket
that should have taken
it round the Moon instead
dropped the capsule into
L4 orbit – where energetic
particles in the gravity well
flood the spacesuit – find
fresh home in deceased’s
nervous system – becomes
a super conductor – re–awakening
some spectral functions
broadcasting numbers – coming
through on channel two


Cal Rogers and the ghost plane in space
By Mark Hudson

Cal Rogers was one of the first American pilots,
after the Wright Brothers created flying.
Flying from New York over California islets,
in the process of flying he began dying.

On his first flight, a race for a money prize,
he crashed into a chicken, coop, busted his skull.
The following day crows attacked him in the skies,
the next day lightning downed him with gravity pull.

In Arizona, Rodgers crashed and broke a leg.
He flew, an exploded cylinder put shrapnel in his face.
Never to give up, his fans would always brag,
but his final destination would be space.

He was flying to the Pacific Shore,
he chased seagulls when one got stuck in the rudder.
With a neck broken, he was no more,
there were no final words to mutter.

But now his ghost plane rides through space,
Captain Cal Buck Rogers is his nickname.
He fights Martian ships like an ace,
sending the Martian shapes down in flames.

American hero, resurrected from the dead,
his ghost plane flies through the universe.
Outer space is his final homestead,
sending the Martians home in a hearse.

Forever he is a planet protector,
with particles of atomic dust destroying foes.
He haunts space as a permanent spectre,
a ghost plane wandering in space to and fro.


Distress Call
By K. A. Williams

“Captain,” said Aldis. “There’s something out here besides us.”

“Can you be more specific?”

“Negative. It’s up ahead and broadcasting a distress call.”

“Play me the message.”

“We’re only getting audio. It’s alien, and the computer is translating it. Okay, it’s ready now, I’ll play it.”

“Please help us. Radiation leak. Can’t fix. Need to leave ship, but only shuttle damaged. Please help…”

“Message keeps repeating,” Aldis said.

“Okay, let’s help, we’ve got plenty of room on this freighter for passengers. Let’s gear up in radiation suits and–”

“Captain, I’ve analyzed the message further. It’s over two hundred years old.”


Starship Spectre
By Harris Coverley

ghost in the machine —
pity it’s navigation
stuck between the stars
going where the ghost wants to —
a dead star – captain’s vengeance

Light Years Ago
By David Edwards

Are not
the stars we see
really nothing but ghosts?
A visible remnant of what used
to be?

Issue 48 – New Worlds

Never honour men
too weak to suppress the urge
to create new worlds

By David Edwards


Jon Carver of Barzoon, You Misunderstood
By Graham J. Darling

Jon Carver of Barzoon, you misunderstood.

The True Love whom you met in dreams was the goddess of this planet: pluripotent relict of a vanished race, marooned here eons before you ever were (do not doubt her love; she was made for love). Your crash-landing awakened her to purpose. The honeyed tongue she thrust between your lips divided to sample your every cell; while she cradled your broken body, you and she populated an empty world.

Its seas were modelled on your tears, and its bogs on your bile. The waving jungles you hacked through came from your hair; the vitreous plains you traversed, from your fingernails; the sluggoths you battled, from your own lymphocytes; the steeds you rode, from your heart. The warriors you led to blood and glory were your sons, working out their destiny; the princesses you rescued, your daughters; the Transfederation you built by the seat of your pants, already your family (have you not wondered why they all speak your tongue?).

The caecal dungeons in bone citadels you regularly woke in and escaped from, were hospital wards, where your eyes or limbs sliced in ivory swordplay were switched out; here they all are, mounted and healed, looking and waving at you, in the Museum of the Man.

The Darkened Lord against whom you strove is yourself, enthroned. We surrendered Brain-Priests are your own. Here is your crown. Please be seated. She’ll be with you in a minute.


Originally published in Sword & Mythos
(eds. Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles, Innsmouth Free Press, 2014)



an earlier world
dwells within the present one
two melding as one.

By David Edwards

Newer World
By Harris Coverley

I thought it was bad, very bad
To leave me here in the darkness
Where no one can see or hear me
Where the wind bites at my side

And now you come to take me out
Remove me to some newer world
A world I could not get used to
The future a scary place to be taken…

I guess it won’t be so bad after all
After so many years of solitude
To leave and never come back
And to see the light of day again

I will hear the birds sing in their trees
And see the children playing and crying
And be able to wrap my arms around
Some beautiful woman in a quiet room

Yes, please, break my chains off this rock!
And lift me out of this foul black pit!
I shall feel the salt water on my face
As I rush ahead in this newer world


To Build Anew
By DS Davidson

Abandon old world, start over
To build anew, no timidity
Embrace the best of humanity
Amassed knowledge, preserved skills
And those rediscovered through research
Each one necessary to success
Refuse to let past failures deter
Infinite possibilities in their new home
Careful not to repeat old mistakes
That doomed their birthplace, disaster
No, will not make those same mistakes again
Pray, no new mistakes waiting to be made…

By K. A. Williams

Terraform complete
Cryosleep is over now
Welcome to Terra

Humans unpack ship
History files corrupted
No blueprints for guide

Colonists build homes
Fossil fuels used for heating
And to power cars

Science facts report
Environment is hurting
Solar energy

By DJ Tyrer

Red sands riding wind
Scouring prefab plastic domes
Housing human life
Little piece of Earth off-world
New life on this long-dead world

Originally published in Red Planet magazine


The old world in the new,
for nothing ‘new’ exists.
Old tropes they will persist…
bloom from seed always grew.
No ‘tomorrows’ per se,
just extended ‘todays’.

By David Edwards

Discover new worlds
Seemingly unique – and yet
Echoes of old Earth

By Aeronwy Dafies


A New Egypt
By DJ Tyrer

On a distant world orbiting a distant sun
Humanity settles and shapes a destiny
Crafting a new life, civilisation
In partial mimicry of what has gone before
With them, their constant companions
Cats and dogs, utilitarian
But, as ever, the cats remain aloof
Unfazed by their new homeworld
Wandering the new-built cities
With all the dignity of elder lords
Adopted as emblems of that colony
Aping the architecture and ritual of ancient Khem
A New Egypt built amongst the stars
Renewed glory to the name of Bastet
Crafted in the image, desire of the cat
Humanity subordinated to their whimsical will
An experiment in survival
By exiles from a dying Earth


And Not To Yield
By Harris Coverley

Come my boy
And we shall sail the solar wind
Upon the transfer orbits
With the littlest push of rocket fire
Amongst the Apollo asteroids
And onto the Great Belt

We shall seek our riches far and wide
We shall hold Ceres on the edge of our thumbs
And dance around the torus
Tap Vesta, tap Pallas, and Hygiea too!
And all the rocks in-between!

And should the Belt not be that kind to us
We shall sail further on
Month after month
Year after year
Giving the engine some welly if need be
Past the outermost settlements
Through the Kuiper Belt
And breaking the Heliopause—

(Never be afraid of the interstellar!)

And there shall be that most beautiful realm:
The great crystal cloud of Oort’s discovery
An infinite plane of wonders and wealth

We may even swing around Nemesis
The forgotten dwarf twin of Old Sol
To see what we can find

Beating against the galactic tide!
The storm of comets!
The thunder of star dust!
The approaching glimmer of Great Centauri!

Come my boy, come!
The journey will be long and cold
As hard as the ceramics of the old girl’s hull
But by God, to punch beyond the sun’s reach…
What a time to be alive!


Virgin territ’ry
Humanity starts over
Repeat same old mistakes

By DS Davidson

Issue 46 – Space Scum

nervous smuggler
bounty heavy on head
cargo: himself

By DJ Tyrer

remote colony
growing crops with simple tools
dreams of smuggler’s wealth

By Aeronwy Dafies


By Cardinal Cox

I mean, it was bad enough when they let them live in the slums round the space port but I saw one looking at the dome that’s for sale down the belt. I’ve nothing against carbon-based life forms in general but these are oxygen breathers – they’ll want it pumped into all the zones rather than them wearing their helmets. And their skeletons are on the inside and their brains are at the top and they’ve only got the two eyes and you just can’t tell them apart. And they call their home world Earth even though its surface is mostly water and they drink water and they don’t have roots!

And where would they get the credits to buy a nice dome like that? Selling drugs, I bet – potatoes probably.

I mean would you let one combot with one of you grimknurdles.


here on the frontier
galactic law has no reach
rule is: might makes right

By DS Davidson

No Atmosphere
By DJ Tyrer

Remote asteroid base
Home to miners, way-station for smugglers
Various malcontents, rebels, criminals on the lam
New arrival in sealed armour
Moves unobtrusively through vacc-suited crowds
Visits sleaziest bar on the rock
(Jokes about the lack of atmosphere
Long since grown stale, but still made)
Says nothing of why they are there
Just sits, inconspicuous, in a dark corner
(One of many)
Observes the clientele, helmet-puter comparing
Each face, human and alien, with the ones on file
Till, at last, it registers an alert
They leave their seat, approach target
Alert declares: Dead or Alive
(Dead is so much easier), opens fire
Smuggler’s expression envisages shock
A brief moment of excitement, murmurs
Then, the patrons go back to their drinks
Studiously unconcerned, not wanting trouble
Fine with them, all they want is the bounty


Al Capone’s Clone
By Mark Hudson

There were some criminals far away,
in a galaxy that mirrored the U.S.A.
The criminals were bootleggers,
they liked to throw parties-keggers.

They liked their hero, Al Capone,
so they created his clone.
They wanted him as the mastermind,
so a robotic clone was designed.

On a planet where liquor was illegal,
they were free as the American Eagle.
They carried sub-machine lasers,
which cut Martians flesh like razors.

On Valentine’s Day, they had a massacre,
and Al the Clone was the ambassador.
He convinced the intergalactic police,
he was mechanical, oiled with grease.

Then he went to jail, and got syphilis,
since he was robotic, it was ridiculous.
Just another clone that was horny,
singing love songs that were corny.

He composed love songs on his guitar,
in this galaxy, wishing on a star.
A fellow prisoner murdered the clone,
and that was the end of Al Capone.

But the gang didn’t let that hold them back,
this time they started selling crack.
Much more convenient to fit in your pocket,
they made enough money to buy a rocket.

They were the gang that didn’t give a dang,
not one of them ever had to hang.
Making clones was the thing they did,
up next, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid!


By DS Davidson

Most valuable commodity
In the entire universe
Traded here on this icy, godforsaken world
More valuable than slaves
Or world-killing weapons
Data: Secrets supposedly concealed
Knowledge someone wants kept hidden
And which others wish revealed
Stolen and brought here at great risk
Worth gambling with your life


By DJ Tyrer

You shapeshift to human form, least likely to attract attention, ubiquitous throughout Empire and Federation. Here on this world, where anything is available for a price, you’ll trade what you have for what you need.

Past slave pits and robot chop-shops to where the info-brokers can be found. A secret to sell, one sought in return, all whilst evading bounty hunters who know your name.

You give them a bargain: valuable current information in exchange for esoterica. Knowing the plans for the Emperor’s new wardrobe, they can invest appropriately, whilst you can visit the remains of lost Old Earth. Home.



worst of all humans
where aliens eat people
sell humans wholesale

By DS Davidson