Writing Prompt 4

Near the end of World War II, the Nazis established a base on the dark side of Earth’s moon. Their intention was to bide their time and increase their numbers so they could eventually return to Earth and reclaim power. Things did not go according to plan. by 2016, their population is dwindling and their government has crumbled. The decision is made to disband and return to Earth. Where and how do they attempt this?

Writing Prompt 3

The American Civil War is nearing its end. A highly advanced race of extraterrestrials come to Earth and begin providing advanced technology and the necessary training to both sides on the condition the war continues indefinitely. How does each side respond? What about the other nations of the Earth, all of which have had no contact with these aliens?

Review of Open Source

Review by Ty Black

Ryker Morris has been living on the streets of Dallas since he lost his job for refusing to be implanted with an ID chip. His free will is soon at stake after he finds an old friend’s corpse in an alleyway and witnesses a mysterious white van appear to steal his friend’s a brain implant.

Cyberpunk thriller Open Source, by Anna L. Davis, takes place in a future where implantable chips are common and a subset of the population has chosen to augment their brains with net-connected NeuroChips, which (not incidentally) leave a bit to be desired in terms of security. The story follows a would-be reporter through the streets of Dallas as he gets sucked into a cult-leader’s conspiracy to hack into the brains of NeuroChip-implanted citizens in order to control their minds and give them a form of digital immortality.

Open Source starts out strong, I got through the first fifty pages or so in less than an hour, but after that I found the story sagged a bit. There were also a lot of unfulfilled promises. For example, the author spent a lot of time making zombies of her characters, and talking about zombies via a Vodouist character (whose dialogue reminded me strongly of Jar Jar Binks), and she referenced both 28 Days Later and Word War Z, but despite having a cult full of cyborg zombies handy she never unleashes a cyborg zombie apocalypse upon the unsuspecting citizens of Dallas. The ending we get wasn’t bad, mind you, but it wasn’t what we were set up for and I found it felt out-of-the-blue. I give Open Source two out of five stars.

Anna L. Davis is an associate editor at Henery Press, a publisher of mysteries and women’s fiction. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology, and was a technical editor of Biological Psychiatry from 2001-2002. She was recently interviewed here for NaNoWriMo. Open Source is Davis’ debut novel.

Open Source.
330 pp. Anna L. Davis. $15.95

Big News

For those of you who are not familiar with the Preditors & Editors Readers’ Poll, it’s an annual poll where people vote across many categories for some of their favorite releases from the past year and the people who made them happen. This year is the 18th annual of this poll, and the first time Dark Futures has been nominated in any way. The categories where we appear (and links to where you can vote for that category) are:

Fiction Magazine/e-zines for Phase 2 Magazine.
Magazine/e-zine Cover Art for the cover of Phase 2 Magazine Issue 2.
Magazine/e-zine Editors for our Editor-In-Chief, David Stegora.
Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Stories for The Despot of Space Station 37-G by Roy C. Booth, which appeared in the first issue of Phase 2 Magazine. You will also find Roy nominated in several other categories.
And not directly related to Dark Futures is Writers’ Discussion Forum where you will find a Facebook group called Cyberpunk Writers nominated. Cyberpunk Writers is was founded and is still moderated by our Editor-In-Chief, David Stegora and several past contributors to Phase 2 Magazine are members.

If you could take the time to give us your vote in any or all of these categories, it would be appreciated. Voting closes on Thursday, so there’s not much time.

Finally, in celebration of the above mentioned nominations, we have made the first issue of Phase 2 Magazine free until the end of the poll.

Delta Sector Prompt 1

Within the Delta Sector, there are several separate star systems. This month’s prompt is to describe one such system. What is the name most commonly used for the system? What color is the star? Is it a binary system? How many planets are there? How many moons do they have? Are there any notable comets, debris belts, or artificial satellites?

You can be as detailed or as vague as you like. You may name each planet and their continents, or simply describe the type of planets. This does not have to be a scientifically accurate system (though those are welcome), only something which can maintain verisimilitude within a soft speculative setting.

Your submission based on this prompt may be sent to submissions (at) darkfuturesfiction (dot) net. Be sure DELTA SECTOR is included in the subject line. You may also post your submission to the Facebook group or subreddit.

Please be aware if you submit anything by email, to the Facebook group, or to the subreddit, you are granting permission for it to be used, published, and distributed by Dark Futures Literature LLC as part of the Delta Sector Project or anything related to it. You will be given appropriate credit for any such submission which is used by the project. Also be aware anything you submit which is accepted may later be modified or expanded upon by other participants in the project.

The Delta Sector Project

Throughout the explored galaxy and, it is theorized, beyond there are ley lines of pure, invisible energy. All known, sufficiently advanced species have learned how to build vessels which allow them to use these ley lines for superluminal transport. The energy of the ley lines flows in a specific direction but many of these species have developed means of using them to travel either way (though traveling downline is significantly faster) and have even built a loose galactic community.

Traveling via a ley line, or more specifically exiting in the correct place, requires complicated calculations. Many have mastered this and most use computers to make the calculations for them. Even so, miscalculations can be made and accidents can occur. In these cases, the travelers often arrive in the wrong place or are never heard from again, most likely having emerged into a solid mass or star. Some, however, are shot all the way to the to a place in the galactic northwest where all ley lines come together and open to space. This area is called the Delta Sector and is named after river deltas, where sediment and debris are deposited at the mouth of a river.

From the Delta Sector, it is nearly impossible to reenter a ley line and so nearly anyone or anything which arrives there remains there forever. Vessels from all known species and places have found their way to the Delta Sector, along with those from previously unknown species beyond explored space and more.

What, exactly, is found in the Delta Sector? You’re going to tell us. The Delta Sector Project is to be an exercise in collaborative world building and storytelling within a shared universe, sponsored and curated by Dark Futures.

The first Sunday writing prompt of each month will be for the Delta Sector Project. We’ve also created a Facebook group and subreddit for discussion of this project, so it is possible to contribute in ways outside of the monthly prompts. Other Delta Sector pitches may be sent to submissions (at) darkfuturesfiction (dot) net, with DELTA SECTOR included in the subject line.

Once the Delta Sector begins to take shape, all information on it will be gathered in a central location, possibly in a wiki.

Please be aware if you submit anything by email, to the Facebook group, or to the subreddit, you are granting permission for it to be used, published, and distributed by Dark Futures Literature LLC as part of the Delta Sector Project or anything related to. You will be given appropriate credit for such submission which is used by the project.

Happy New Year

As we enter 2016, I find myself looking back on the calendar year we leave behind. 2015 was a big year for Dark Futures.

We launched Phase 2 Magazine and successfully released the four planned, quarterly issues. They didn’t always release as early as I would have liked, but they all fell within their designated window. I also feel like their internal content was all quality and something we can be proud to look back on again and again. All of this, of course, behind some truly fantastic covers by our artist, Jason Miller.

All of this was done with the aid of our dedicated submissions editors, including Ty Black who also pulls double duty as our main reviewer. None of this would have been possible without them.

We increased posting on our site with more reviews and interviews than ever before. We really appreciate the writers who took the time to let us interview them, both for NaNoWriMo and otherwise.
Traffic to the website increased and we had increased interactivity on social media from our followers who are now taking notice to a greater extent than ever before. We love hearing from you.

2015 was a good year for us. That said, we plan to make 2016 great.

We will be continuing Phase 2 Magazine as a quarterly publication and we will be releasing the first Phase 2 omnibus, which will contain all the stories from the first for issues and more.

As we are aware many of our followers are writers themselves, we will begin posting a writing prompt to the site every Sunday. You will be free to do what you want with the prompt but many of them will have themes appropriate for submission to Phase 2. We are also accepting suggestions of prompts to use. If you would like to suggest a prompt, email it to submissions (at) darkfuturesfiction (dot) net and include PROMPT in the subject line. If we use your suggested prompt, you will be credited by name and with a single link you provide (if so desired).

We will also be launching a collaborative world building and writing project called the Delta Sector Project. Details on that will be posted tomorrow.

All in all, we had a great year and we have a lot to look forward to in the coming year. We’d like to thank you all for making this possible and hope you stick around to see what it to come.

David Stegora
Editor-In-Chief