Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

First fiction publication of the year!


My flash fiction story ‘Brane Surgery’ is now available from Kazka Press.

Hope you enjoy it, and do look at the other authors in this issue of their web magazine! Many thanks to Kazka for publishing this, and especially for the rapid turn around from submission a bit over a month ago to publication today.

If you want to comment on the story, there is an open thread here. All comments and criticism very welcome.


Author: davecl

Astronomy, science, science fiction

7 thoughts on “First fiction publication of the year!

  1. Would buy if I could get it free of DRM.

    I must admit I’m a little confused by the ending. The Narrator’s been there for days (so is not just a parallel brane version who’s recognised by Gorski), but hasn’t killed Gorski. Then kills him as soon as he comes to the conclusion that they need to stop. It’s punishment after the rehabilitaion.

    • Interesting comment!

      Ending the story at that point was an editorial request, with the idea that the reader would be left with rather more uncertainty than the original ending.

      The original ending, starting with the current final sentence, is attached below. Let me know if you think this is better or worse. Guess this is my first ‘director’s cut’!


      “Too late for that,” I sighed. “They came for me while you were gone. That’s how they work. They showed me what we’ve done, and then made me an offer. I can join them, but killing you, and destroying this operation, is the price. After all, just as you said, we’re as bad as any of the Hitlers we’ve killed.”

      I fired.

      • Much better! Thank you.
        IMHO Ambiguity works best if there’s several plausible outcomes. I hadn’t seen any.
        Actually, I don’t think ambiguity is as desirable an ending as some people seem to think.

        As I said elsewhere recently:
        “A story with ambiguity and confusion at it’s heart can have ambiguous ending and work really well. Similarly a story where it makes go back and re-think everything you’ve read. But this story wasn’t structured like either of those.”

      • Ah! Yes, that makes more sense. The ending seemed a bit vague although I wasn’t quite sure why.

        I can see why the publisher preferred a shorter ending, even if cutting the explanation made it more confusing.

        In fact, I didn’t care exactly what happened at the end as much, what I really love is the notion of incremental exploration of a multiverse at all — most stories, if they have more than a few parallel worlds, just accept that the others are basically unchangeable because the idea of trying to shepherd an infinite number of worlds is just too much to imagine. But I like the way it’s written too, the characters and world make sense.

      • Many thanks for your comments!

        Feedback (including comments elsewhere) are now two to one against the editor’s ending, but I can’t say that the sample size is large.

        I found the worlds building aspects of the story the most fun to write. Given the limitations of length inherent to the flash fiction format how do you get certain ideas, thoughts, feelings over as efficiently as possible. The chance to make some comment on recent, and not so recent, politics was also fun.

        Flash fiction is tough to write, but when it works it has a particular rill of its own, lim eyeing slapped upside the head unexpectedly.

        Glad you enjoyed the story.

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