Hey, Rob here. I just read an article in The New Yorker titled “Did the Oscars Just Prove That We’re Living in a Computer Simulation?” about the recent spate of odd or unlikely occurrences, and it was full of awesome “what if?” questions about the nature of our strange-and-getting-stranger reality, so I decided to answer them with this story. Enjoy!
This story was originally the pilot for a new low-budget sci-fi TV series called Quick Fix – sort of a mashup of Quantum Leap, Star Trek, and little bit of Where the Hell is Tesla? thrown in. What happens when two routine, simultaneous repairs aboard a starship go haywire? The TV script is in a temporary limbo right now, so I figured I’d turn it into a short story. If you like it, let me know if this is a story you’d like to see with more episodes.
I think it’s easy in the 2016 election to get obsessed with the news, and all the ups and downs, the role that technology and the media play now – and I have for sure. So I guess it’s seeping into my subconscious, because one morning I woke up with this story pretty much fully formed in my head. I don’t know if you’d even call it science fiction, but I’d say it still fits under the term “speculative fiction.” Anyway, I hope you enjoy it.
The phone felt heavy in Mark’s hand. Laden with possibility. Packed with enough distractions to get him through the weekend at his in-laws’ lake house up in Fleming. It would provide his escape from their incessant growling at each other, and their insistence that everything’s just wonderful, despite the swarm of invisible daggers flying through the air at all times. He loved being with Kate, of course – they were literally still in their honeymoon phase – but her folks?…
Before the short story, I have to give you the setup: I was so excited to be invited to the Queens Library Sci-Fi/Fantasy Author’s Evening (reading from my novel Where the Hell is Tesla?) that I decided to write a short story just for the night. Maybe a time travel story. Sounded good. But what could I do to ratchet it up, make it something a bit more special?