Here are some of the other entries – although they didn’t win the prize, we enjoyed them all.
Not to Be
By Elizabella Gold
The wind wafted Sebastian’s wavy brown hair, and Iuliana’s heart clenched to see him so beautiful and pristine. She longed to hold him, but it would be bittersweet. There wasn’t much time. She wrapped her arms around herself, not lessening the chill.
Sebastian’s boots thudded against the smooth rock as he came to her. He put one hand on her shoulder, and gently lifted her chin with the other. His fingers were warm against her cold skin.
Iuliana willed herself not to cry. She blinked hard. “What’s to become of me?”
He shook his head, his eyes tear-filled.
She trembled. The elders had decided to be rid of her. “You’re erasing me?”
He bowed his head. “I’m afraid so, dear friend.” He moved in closer, until Iuliana could feel his body heat, then smiled wryly. “You’re the only woman I’d ever do this for, you know.”
She shook as she gazed at him, wondering if he would grant her with one first, and last, kiss.
“Yes,” he whispered, and dipped down to press his lips to hers. She groaned in agony and elation as he kissed her, firm and sweet. All too soon, he slipped away.
“Sebastian,” she whispered, as he intoned the ancient words. She gazed at her hands, watching them fade. She desperately tried to trace each fiber of his body with her disappearing eyes. “I’m sorry.” The tears, gnashing of teeth, his horror at her confession, and yet she’d saved their world in the end, hadn’t she?
“Don’t be sorry, my valiant friend. Your honesty and bravery were boons to me, even if I found your words unnerving.” He caressed the air around her fading face. “Farewell, Iuliana. I won’t forget you.”
“Farewell, my love.” He’d never been hers. Sebastian loved Carlos.
One last gasp.
A New Beginning
By Jamie Lynn Miller
The blade of the energy weapon swung downward in a deadly arc. Trey ducked and thrust forward, his weapon finding its target. The reptilian Gorgon dropped heavily at Trey’s feet, dead. Before his enemy’s body hit the ground Trey was scanning the battlefield, desperately searching for…there. There was Zane, the man he had loved for more than a decade, running toward him.
Love. It was why this war started a year ago, when the Gorgons arrived on Janos Prime. They said they came in peace, wishing to trade goods with the Janosians. But when the Gorgons discovered that theirs was a society where men loved men, mated and reproduced with men, everything changed. They were called “abhorrent” and “unnatural”. And the killings began.
The Janosians were not warriors, unaccustomed to battle. But they were fighting for their lives and the lives of the ones they loved, for their society and way of life. They refused to be defeated. They used their vastly superior intelligence against the Gorgons…and they were winning. It had all come down to this, the final battle. If their strike team was successful the entire Gorgon headquarters would be wiped out in a massive explosion.
Zane raced up to Trey, pulled him close, his breathing harsh against Trey’s ear, but not loud enough to drown out the screams of their friends dying around them. Then the sound they’d been waiting for. The explosion lit up the sky, shook everything to a halt on the battlefield. The Gorgons turned and ran in defeat.
A joyous cry went up in celebration. Weapons were dropped, men embraced one another, crying and laughing.
Zane looked at Trey, his light blue skin streaked with dirt and blood. “Is it really the end?”
Trey smiled, kissed him softly. “It is a new beginning.”
By LV Lloyd
On the morning of his eighteenth birthday, Zak woke before dawn, his stomach already churning with a mixture of excitement and dread.
Today marked the end of his youth, and the start of his new life as an adult in Tiron’s House ‒ providing he passed the Test, of course.
Automatically, his hand reached for Andrey. For a moment he couldn’t find him and an icy lump formed in his chest. Was he too late? Had they already taken him away?
He scrabbled frantically at the bedclothes, sighing in relief when he saw that his companion was lying beside him as usual, his eyes closed, hands folded neatly over his chest.
“Andrey?” he whispered.
Andrey looked up at him with wide blue eyes, smiled and opened his arms. “Zak.” They made love under the blanket, fuelled by a desperate need for one final embrace. When it was over, they held each other close.
Zak couldn’t imagine a life without Andrey. He had been his companion and friend since he could remember, and ‒ more recently ‒ his lover. They had shared everything. But today was their last day together. When he moved up into the House as an adult, he would leave Andrey behind ‒ a symbol of everything he had outgrown.
He shook his head angrily. Why was he bothering to lie to himself? He wouldn’t be leaving Andrey behind. To pass the test, he would have to kill him.
He remembered the horrified disbelief he had felt, when Tiron explained what the manhood ceremony involved. “Today you become a man. You must cut your ties to childish things.”
The patronising smile, as Tiron reminded him, “It’s not a real person, Zak, it’s only an android. You have to terminate it. The House will provide you with companionship now.”
Queer Robot Sci Fi
By Randall Brock
Note: this next story was submitted in ascii… below are the ascii and converted versions.
01001000 01100101 01101100 01101100 01101111 00101110 00100000 01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01100001 00100000 01010010 01101111 01100010 01101111 01110100 00001010 01001001 00100000 01100001 01101101 00100000 01100001 00100000 01010010 01101111 01100010 01101111 01110100 00100000 01100001 01110011 00100000 01110111 01100101 01101100 01101100 00001010 01010100 01101000 01101111 01110011 01100101 00100000 01100001 01110010 01100101 00100000 01110011 01101111 01101101 01100101 00100000 01101110 01101001 01100011 01100101 00100000 01100100 01110010 01101001 01110110 01100101 01110011 00101110 00001010 01001101 01111001 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110010 01100100 00100000 01100100 01110010 01101001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110011 00100000 01110000 01101100 01100101 01101110 01110100 01111001 00100000 01101111 01100110 00100000 01010010 01000001 01001101 00101110 00001010 01010010 01101111 01100010 01101111 01110100 01110011 00100000 01101110 01100101 01100101 01100100 00100000 01101100 01101111 01110110 01100101 00100000 01110100 01101111 01101111 00101110 00001010 01000100 01101111 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01100001 00100000 01010100 01110010 01101111 01101010 01100001 01101110 00111111 00001010 01000010 01100101 01100101 01110000 00100000 01000010 01101111 01101111 01110000 00100000 01000010 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01010000 00100000 01000010 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01010000 00001010 01000010 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01000101 01100101 01100101 01100101 01100101 01110000 00100000 01000010 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01001111 01101111 01101111 01101111 01101111 01110000 00001010 01000010 01100001 01100010 01111001 00101110 00100000 01010011 01110101 01110010 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01100011 01100001 01101110 00100000 01101000 01100001 01110110 01100101 00100000 01101101 01111001 00100000 01001001 01010000 00100000 01100001 01100100 01100100 01110010 01100101 01110011 01110011 00100000 01101001 01110100 00100000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01100100 01111001 01101110 01100001 01101101 01101001 01100011 00101100 00100000 01110011 01101111 00100000 00100000 01101101 01100001 01111001 01100010 01100101 00100000 01111001 01101111 01110101 00100000 01110011 01101000 01101111 01110101 01101100 01100100 00100000 01100111 01101001 01110110 01100101
Hello. I am a Robot.
I am a Robot as well.
Those are some nice drives
My hard drive has plenty of RAM
Robots need love too
Do you have a Trojan
Beep Boop BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP
Baby. Sure you can have my IP address it is dynamic, so maybe you should give me yours. I always interface with my robot partners post networking. It seems my fux capacitor is fritzing so I cannot stay. Good bye
By Theo Fenraven
What’s it like out there?” Nelson Chadrick the Third asked John Sebastian Michaels over the phone.
“Bad. The bodies are piling up, and half the people who still live have barricaded themselves in their houses while the rest are looting and pillaging. Consider yourself lucky not to be part of that.”
“Tell me again how this had to be done? How we had to get rid of at least half the world population so the rest of us would survive?”
Nelson sounded upset. John didn’t blame him. When it had been decided to let lose a specially created virus in the general population, everyone involved had had second thoughts, but there was simply no getting it around it: there wasn’t enough to go around any longer, and so they’d had to take steps.
“Just stay inside for a few months, let this thing run its course, and you’ll be fine.”
Those members of their group who had been part of making this decision had prepared well in advance, stockpiling enough supplies to last six months or more. It had been no hardship, as they were all, to the last person, wealthy beyond belief. The fabled 1 percent.
Someone knocked at the study door, and John quickly said goodbye and put down the phone. “Who is it?”
Riley was one of his guards. He patrolled the perimeter of the gated property with many others, all of them loaded to the teeth to stop anyone from entering the compound. “Come in.”
He entered, rifle slung over his back, a small bundle in his arms. “Someone left it at the gate,” he said. It mewled softly, and John crossed the room to look. He liked cats.
It wasn’t a cat though. It was a baby, and he saw at once it was very sick. Filled with panic, he stumbled back. “Get rid of it! You imbecile.”
The next morning, when he woke up, there was pressure in his chest and his eyes burned with fever.
He coughed, spraying blood across the hand he raised to cover his mouth.
There’s The Door
Thomas Smythe-Sayer, the youngest of six brothers and sisters, had always known there was something a little… strange about his family.
When he was thirteen, he woke from what he thought was a nightmare and learned exactly what that was.
He felt himself turn pale as he stared at the older man who’d been in his life for as long as he could remember.
“Pere, you’re telling me we’re… we’re werewolves?”
“Your parents and siblings… Yes.”
“And… and me?”
“I’m afraid not. You see, young Thom, while you carry the gene, you, yourself will never change.” Pere observed him through his one good eye—he’d lost the other in the Great War, more than eighty years before. “I’m sorry, you won’t be able to remain here.”
“Please, Pere! Please don’t send me away from here!” Almeria Hall was the only home he’d ever known.
“This will be for the best, you’ll see, my dear boy. And of course the family will still be in touch.”
Yeah, sure. “Where am I to go?”
“There’s a family of Romi in Walachia. They’ll take you in and see you have a trade.”
“What kind of trade?” The Romi no longer used horses to draw their caravans. What could they train him in?
“That will be determined when you arrive there.”
“How… how long before I have to leave?” Before he was sent away.
“A quick break will be easiest.”
He forced a smile and kissed the old man’s cheek. “In that case, I’d better pack.”
Pere put his hand on Thomas’s shoulder. “You’ll be fine, I promise you. Things have a way of working out.”
Saul Kisses the Golem
By Danielle Summers
Saul got dressed for his sister’s 75th birthday sure of at least one thing. It was time to tell his nephew Jacob about his birthright. He saw the shadow in his vision, the shadow that had been there for fifty years, just a little beyond the corner of his eye. It was time to pass it on. Jacob’s birthright, just like Saul’s and their ancestors’, was the family Golem, a giant man made out of clay and dirt that could be called upon when they were in danger.
And their family Golem was gay.
Saul first called on the Golem one night in 1964. No one was gay then. There were a few homophiles, but, for the most part, that night he was cruising in a local park for the love that dared not speak its name.
That was the night he met Roger in the dark bushes, and they were attacked. There was something about being jumped by a gang of thugs, being saved by a giant clay man and then having sex with him that bonded them until Roger’s death five years ago. He still said Kaddish, the Jewish mourning prayer for him every day.
He barely knew his nephew Jacob, but he was pretty sure he was gay too. He had a “roommate” with whom he was awfully chummy. Roger had been his roommate, too.
Saul looked in the mirror as he straightened his tie and slicked back what was left of his hair. There was a photo of him and Roger tucked into the frame, and the Golem seemed to be inching into his vision. It was almost like he knew that the time was near for him to protect someone else.
Saul blew a kiss into the mirror. “Soon, Golem. Soon.”
By John Allenson
The Shadeem live in vacant houses. They drink from empty beer bottles, gnaw the meat from denuded chicken wings and watching long cancelled shows on broken televisions.
When you walk through a deserted lot, late in the dark, and feel the touch of hostile eyes upon your back, you spin around and no one is there, hating you. Wanting you dead. Hurry away.
You sometimes see them, but not quite. You see the boy you first fell in love with, or the man you never gained the nerve to talk to, or a porn star – you remember that they have all died of AIDS or fag-bashing or suicides or drug overdoses. You look again and they are gone into the emptiness.
They dance in the abandoned amusements outside Chernobyl. They whisper in the static of your telephone and read by the dark of burnt out light bulbs.
They wear socks that vanished from washing machines. And the out of fashion clothes that you loved, that you’re sure are around here somewhere, weren’t they?
They speak in languages long forgotten. The recite poems and perform plays when the last copy has long since been destroyed.
Whenever we are alone they are with us. Hating us. Envying us. We see them from the corner of our eyes or when the lights are out. We hear their footsteps right outside our door when no one is there.
They were here before us. They have nothing that was not ours. They wait for the world to be empty again. The desert where all the birds are dead, they sing in human voices.