Victor Ludi (4): Microfiction

By: Patrick Cates
April 29, 2010

After pressing their fingertips against their temples, scrunching up their faces and engaging in a silent and lengthy transcontinental debate about the merits of the many stories submitted to HILOBROW’s third microfiction contest, which was announced on April 12, the judges have reached consensus on a winner and three almost-wons.

The theme of the contest, which ended this past Sunday, was telepathy. That was all; there were no other stipulations. You weren’t required to write Radium Age science fiction. You weren’t even required to write science fiction. As you might expect, this loosening of constraints led to some fascinating interpretations of the theme, some conventional, some unconventional and some downright anti-conventional. Our winning story fits comfortably into this last category. Penned by Rachel Ellis Adams, of Minneapolis, Minn., it deals with a failed attempt at telepathy. We have given it the title “Fatima, Can You Hear Me?” and we will publish it tomorrow. Congratulations, Rachel. You may enwreath your torso proudly in your soon-to-be-mailed HiLobrow t-shirt.

The other finalists — Joseph Coen, Joe Lyons, and Matt Zandstra — will see their stories published on next week. Congratulations to all three of them. And many thanks to everyone who took part. We have an enormous amount of fun reading your stories; we hope that you have as much fun writing them.

Stay tuned, telepathically or visually. We will be announcing a fourth microfiction contest in the not too distant future. In the meantime, consider entangling yourself in a web of fiendish, HiLobrow anagrams.

PS: On May 7, we’ll record Ms. Ellis Adams’ story as part of the fourth episode of “Parallel Universe: Pazzo,” our Radium Age science fiction podcast. HiLobrow readers are invited to the recording session. It will take place at 6:45pm at: PAZZO BOOKS, 1898 Centre St., West Roxbury (Boston), Mass. In addition to recording Ms. Ellis Adams’ story, we will present excerpts from Otis Adelbert Kline’s Planet of Peril, Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, A. Merritt’s The Face in the Abyss, Edwin Lester Arnold’s Lieut. Gullivar Jones: His Vacation, Garrett P. Serviss’ A Columbus of Space, Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars, and Olaf Stapledon’s Last Men in London. As always, Peggy Nelson will accompany the readings with an original theremin score. Beer and wine will be served.