"Social Services," a short story by Madeline Ashby

I want my own office,” Lena said. “My own space to work from.” Social Services paused for a while to think. Lena knew that it was thinking, because the woman in the magic mirror kept animating her eyes this way and that behind cat-eye horn-rims. She did so in perfect meter, making her look like one of those old clocks where the cat wagged its tail and looked to and fro, to and fro, all day and all night, forever and ever. Lena had only ever seen those clocks in media, so she had no idea if they really ticked. But she imagined they ticked terribly. The real function of clocks, it seemed to her, was not to tell time but to mark its passage. Ticktickticktick. Byebyebyebye.

SF vs SF

Illustration: Kurt Caesar (?)

Tell me the difference between these two pieces of text. Read the rest

Surfaces - a short story for a thesis on border security

The dilemma of how to reconcile the needs of security with the desire for humanity is the defining question of the twenty-first century.

This sentence opens my thesis, "Loss Prevention: Customer Service as Border Security," written for the strategic foresight and innovation program that I just graduated. I decided to write about the future of border security after my friend and fellow writers' workshop member Peter Watts was beaten, maced, and arrested at the Port Huron border crossing. I remember the decision very clearly. Peter was facing a prison sentence, and I was on the phone with David Nickle. I was in tears. But as we spoke, something overwhelmed my despair. Something hard and sharp enough to cut a path down the centre of my life. An idea. Read the rest