Curtis Collins

Other than being an occasional backpacker and a motivational speaker, Curtis Collins is a lifelong fan of books, films, and anything that involves pop culture. He regularly finds time during each trip to get to know locals and sees it as an opportunity to embrace a city’s culture. A couple of Curtis’ future plans are to visit every country and conquer his fear of wasps.

How Casinos Offer A Viable Setting For Modern Storytelling

By Curtis Collins


Casinos are fascinating establishments that are portals to different kinds of emotions and people. For better or worse, almost everyone who goes in comes out a changed man or woman with a definite story to tell. These are just some of the reasons why casinos offer suitable settings for an array of stories – spanning across fiction to non-fiction.

In Nevada, casinos are rather ubiquitous. As a matter of fact, reveals the state has 337 casinos in total that have more than 200,000 gaming machines and over 7000 table games. People see it everywhere, especially in Las Vegas where blinding lights and ear-piercing sounds are essentially part of everyday life.

On the other side of the coin, casinos have penetrated the realms of the worldwide web with various online companies featuring different motifs to attract new-age players. Gala Casino, a popular UK-based gaming platform, has themes such as leprechauns, explorers, and magicians, which – ironically – are also some of the central characters in a variety of classic tales.

In hindsight, casinos have been around the top milieus of many literary works of art. This is a simple testament of the cultural phenomenon of a city such as Las Vegas, as well as the people who contribute to the overall allure of it. These casino stories range from a typical love story to a visually stimulating alien invasion. However, the challenge still lies in the separation of fact from fiction.

The likes of Hunter S. Thompson, Robert Nathan, and Mario Puzo have used casinos as the main backdrops of their stories. Their respective works opened the eyes of viewers and readers to a different side of literature, one that offers a distinct take on the cookie-cutter protagonists and the evil antagonists. Though these characters feature the usual detectives and mobsters, they still epitomize fantastic storytelling that molds people’s view and interpretation of casinos.

The world of casinos goes through the ever-changing chronicles of modern evolution. Amidst the neon signs, in the middle of gaming machines, and surrounded by over-flowing enthusiasm, these establishments offer the potential to come up with compelling stories that define the boundaries of fact and fiction.

After Humanity Writing Challenge – Entries Reopened!

Due to limited response to the challenge within the initial entry window, we have chosen to reopen entries for our After Humanity writing challenge with guest judge Matthew X. Gomez.

In case you’ve forgotten the original post, here are the details:

For this writing challenge, our guest judge is going to be Matthew X. Gomez, author of the Burned Lands series we published on the Dark Futures website in 2014 and the story A Brief Flash In Darkness in the most recent issue of Phase 2 Magazine. As is our custom, the guest judge has chosen the theme for this challenge. Here it is, in his words:

The Earth is projected to be around for another seven and a half billion years. Barring outside influences (or humanity really mucking the place up), life is expected to continue on earth for another four and a half billion years.

Humanity has only been on the scene for about 200,000 years.

It isn’t outside the bounds of possibility that, should humanity become extinct, some other race will evolve intelligence. What will that look like? Will humanity’s successors be iterations of machines we’ve created? Will insects develop a more advanced hive mind than they possess now? Will sentient slime mold take over and wage a war of extermination on all species possessing a central nervous system?

For this contest, we are looking for compelling stories more than anything. The stories should contain a non-human element and feature that strongly.

The winner of this challenge will receive $10 (paid via PayPal) and have their story published both in the next issue of Phase 2 Magazine and on the Dark Futures website.

Stories should be under 5,000 words, with between 2,000 and 5,000 words preferred by the judge. The new deadline is May 31st.