Short Story: Do Eros Sevens Dream Of…

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Written by
Adam West


In the 36th century, travel is still important.


  • 481 Words
  • 60 Comments
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Shortbread Formula 500: Travel

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3rd Place!

The two hundred and fifty kilometres per hour station-to-station no-turbulence pipe came to a stop.

End of the line. Everyone off.

I stepped out the pipe onto a narrow walkway amongst a shoulder-to-shoulder throng six wide whose momentum funnelled me toward a down-ramp and into a square, where a girl with dreadlocks leaning against a 3-D sandwich-board bit through a foil wrapped protein bar - without first removing the foil.

Sodium glare from overhead down-lighters pooled around her bejewelled feet. When she looked up from the three hundred credit a go, all-in-one meal, silvery-white light flashed off her to-die-for self-cleaning teeth in titanium alloy.

No Crumbs. No unsightly residue. No substance too tough.

The Ad men aren't joshing us, I thought; those teeth are the business.

After the girl had swallowed the mint-flavoured bolus I asked about prices.

No off-peak travel permits till Thursday, she told me, at any cost.

I activated my Holo-I-Dent. Not even for Level Five workers, I said?

Nada.

Step lightly girl, I said, touching her…

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David Tombale said "An intriguing write that opened up a whole new world to me. I enjoyed it."
3 years ago
David Tombale replied saying "You're welcome."
3 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thank you David. Inventing future worlds any world makes me feel like being a child again, I suppose. Frees my mind to endless opportunities - all the best, Adam"
3 years ago
Tobias Haglund said "In abscence of your story in the circle challenge I decided to read an old one of yours. This was it. Anyway: Super interesting piece with such a rich atmosphere. I truly enjoyed this story. All the very best / Tobias"
3 years ago
Tobias Haglund replied saying "Well I don't know if you are interested but I enjoyed Erlend Loe and binge read (can you use binge in that sense?) four books on three days. It might have been two days, it was all done in blurry days and nights. Anyway Erlend Loe is a Norwegian. And I know what you're thinking, but Norwegians are people too. Doppler is a small novel or novella, I'm not sure about the English definitions. The book is very funny. It's about a man who is fed up with the middle class and decides to live in a tent just outside of the city. He befriends a moose, as one definitely would. The style is in my view a bit similar to Vonnegut. Not in the same writing caliber, but the humor. The only Finnish book I have ever read (except for children's books) is Arto Paasilinna and Doomsday's Sun. It is a riot! My sister, a big Murakami fan, gave it to me. The MCs decide to commit suicide but ends up talking. They figure out that they want to make a grander suicide and contacts others who want to commit suicide. It is hilarious, satirical and somewhat tender, in its moments. I googled the book. It seems hard to find. Arto Paasilinna has two books in English on amazon and it's not Doomsday's Sun Rising. Perhaps you'll be more fortunate than I when it comes to searching."
3 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Apart from The Worms Can Carry Me To Heaven (set in Spain) all of Warner's books are centred around 'the port' and characters from one book appear in others. Whilst there is no definite order to read them in - you could read The Sopranos as a stand alone book - I love the Gospel Girls BTW - wonderful - Morvern Callar is the best place to start. The next book These Demented Lands is arguably somewhat Murakami like. I look forward to your new recommendations, Tobias. At present I have Mankell's second Wallander book on my Christmas list The Dogs of Riga and a non-fiction book called The Almost Nearly Perfect People (The Truth About the Nordic Miracle), so any more Swedish recommendations are welcome thank you. And perhaps a Finnish writer to complete my Nordic adventures having recently got Denmark under my bely with Peter Hoeg! On the Amazon page for Alan Warner, under 'customers also bought items by' section is Haruki Murakami."
3 years ago
Tobias Haglund replied saying "I read Slaughter House Five (what a great novel) and I think two or three short stories by Vonnegut. I absolutely love him. I have not even heard of Alan Warner. I will check him out and you suggest I shouldn't start with The Sopranos but with Morvern Callar? I searched the net and Alan Warner is not available in Swedish... I was about to say but just found an obscure and possibly very untrustworthy website who has Morvern Callar, The Sopranos and the man who walks. The latter two have been renamed into Swedish to mean "The Gospel Girls" and "The Wanderer". I don't know why we can't translate correctly. Anyway I will check him out. I have a lot great advice from you. I am currently reading Swedish Novel, but should be done soon. All the very best /Tobias"
3 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Cheers Tobias - I was aiming for a rich atmosphere I guess and concentrating on achieving a strong visualisation in the reader's mind. Further to our talk about writers in the Murakami ilk and how there isn't anyone quite like him - two writers I did not mention at the time who might interest you - one of whom you may well have read - the other less likely. The late Kurt Vonnegut (I am currently enjoying reading his God Bless You Mr. Rosewater) and from the west coast of Scotland - the other side from Shortbread! - Alan Warner. If you read Warner begin at the beginning with Morvern Callar (also adapted into a film) then the peerless These Demented Lands - truly a strange book as is The Man Who Walks. Given your love of humorous fiction his third book, the very earthy, The Sopranos, about a bunch of Catholic school girls on a day out in Edinburgh at a singing competition should be just right for you. Thanks again for reading and commenting - ATB - Adam"
3 years ago
Kelsey Mills said "I adored the descriptions of the futuristic world! This was the first story that I read on shortbread, and it's absolutely gorgeous."
3 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Hi Kelsey - thank you so much. It is wonderful to know that people still read stories I wrote some time ago and to receive such a generous comment remains a real thrill. Sorry BTW it took till today to get back to you - I have been away for a week. If you want to read more if these characters there are three more - Love On An Alphane Moon - Sex, Life & Death on An Alphane Moon and Educated Fishwives - thanks again - Adam"
3 years ago
Hugh Cron said "Hi Adam, was it a Johnny-Cab? I don't read much Science Fiction but when I do I am always amazed at the writers imagination. I have enough trouble writing about what I have experienced never mind what I can't imagine. A very polished and descriptive piece of work. All the very best my friend. Hugh"
4 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "It might have been (if I knew what one was that is :-)), Hugh, thanks for reading and commenting as always - light-bulb moment just as he is about to press 'submit reply' Johnny- Cab Ha! - ATB Sir Adam"
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor said "I saw Educated Fishwives popping up in the recent activity and realised that while I had read this piece as well as EF it was back in the scary newbie days on Shortbread where I didn't always comment. Great to have an excuse to revisit the whole series. This is a cracker. The writing is crisp and paints a very vivid picture of the setting. For me futuristic tales work best when the crux of it is a "human" story and this is where the strength lies in this piece. An excellent story that stands up there with the best of your work in my opinion Adam. Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
Kevin Thomson said "I really enjoyed this trip to a very scary, de-humanised (aye, an "s" there I think) future. I thought the image of biting through a foil wrapped protein bar with the foil still on was a real cracker and the self-cleaning teeth will stay in my mind for a long time. The two Spanish words were a nice touch. Congratulations on this fine piece of work Adam!"
4 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks for reading and commenting, Kevin - I hope PKD would have been proud of my fan fiction - I mean, tribute act? Nada and plaza - had to read it again to dig those out - if you are stuck for a short read I wrote 3 sequels to it - thanks again for the positive feedback - ATB - Adam"
4 years ago
Piyali Mukherjee said "A brilliant piece. I loved the way you've gradually let the reader into your atmosphere of the Fourth City. I also like the way the scope moves from just a person to the cosmos. Thank you!"
4 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Cheers Piyali - glad this worked for you - it was a competition entry, 500 world limit, about travel, and I thought, why not space travel? I am way behind on my reading at the moment but hope to catch up with your writing soon - many thanks again for reading and commenting - Adam"
4 years ago
John Ward said "Good fun here, Adam. Enjoyable. The comments already posted say it all."
4 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks for reading, John - it was fun to write, too, especially as it was a mere 500 word limit - ATB - Adam"
4 years ago
Steven Mace said "I like the style- a conscious or unconscious homage to Philip K.Dick (one of my favourite writers too!) with your own original nuances. Great piece."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Many thanks, Steven, for reading and commenting - I hope PKD would not have thought too dimly of his fan's tribute - best wishes, Adam"
6 years ago
Charlie Wiseman said "Enjoyed the great shift in to another cosmos or dimension of space. It s bold and that's what makes it fun the Eros Seven name and the girl biting without taking off the wrapping great details. Keep your courage"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks for reading and commenting, Charlie - I will try to be brave, it is after all what I admire most in writers. Just picked up The Unbearable Lightness of Being - a great example of writing courage - all the best Adam"
6 years ago
Thomas Halve said "Nicely written Adam. I love sci-fi but it is so easy to make it unreadable (for my Gen. Y attention span anyway) by smothering the fun with pseudo-technical terms and definitions. You have kept this nice and breezy and let the story-telling gently introduce the reader into the world rather than beating them over the head with it."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "I hear you, Thomas, and thanks for reading/commenting - I'm not big into sci-fi apart from PK Dick and more recently Voneggut, so more into the philosophical nature of the writing than the battle stuff of the Star Wars-esque end of the genre. To be fair, this story is little more than a tribute act! Glad you liked it though..."
6 years ago
James Tate said "I like to read comments before reading the story - saves embarrassing duplication. Having done that here I was already equipped with the Philip Marlow-esque voice over and that worked for me. A great short Adam."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks James for reading another of my stories - and thank you for your praise - the 500 word limit competitions are a challenge I enjoy - I was raised on Bogart films and only recently read my only Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep - one of the cuts (Director's?) of Blade Runner has Deckard's Marlow-esque style commentary and somewhere into penning this I lapsed in that territory - which was quite fun really - cheers, Adam"
6 years ago
Ahmed-hamid Woody Bagala-alina said "An edge-of-the-seat slow tumble roll ride for me...very good interconnection between scenes and great progression, AW...keep em coming! Bless!"
6 years ago
Ahmed-hamid Woody Bagala-alina replied saying "I doubt that you are right doubting yourself because I feel your writing (though I admit we have different styles) is way better than mine, AW. Besides, I have improved as a direct result your help, together with the ever faithful girls always reading and feed backing on my page. Stop doubting and start over reaching! Bless!"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Like yourself, AW, I imagine, I try to pit myself against those writers I admire the most and try to be objective about where I fall short - it's the only way to progress - but thanks for the compliment because it is a counterbalance against the feeling sometimes I am never going to improve - take care my friend, AW."
6 years ago
Ahmed-hamid Woody Bagala-alina replied saying "You kidding me? Your writing is great thought I had never read a Sci Fi side of you I think. Keep at it, bro. Bless!"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Many thanks as always for reading, AW, and your take on my writing - much appreciated. I am glad you said good interconnection - as this is something I feel I could do better with, so maybe I ma improving? ATB AW"
6 years ago
Christine Human said "Tight, well paced and eminently readable, even by someone who professes not to enjoy sci -fi. Thank you Adam for this taster of life in the future. I wonder if your idea of credits as opposd to beneftis might work for the present generation! Those teeth biting through silver foil set mine on edge , brilliant. Great fun."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Many thanks, Christine, for reading and your kind remarks - I love paying tribute to the master of Sci-Fi, PK Dick, and would love to think that I perhaps make a convert or two along the way - best wishes, Adam"
6 years ago
The Cabinet said "I like the inspiration you have potentially drawn from Dick's 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep'. Transposing the concept of thought, the longing, the daydream of imagination and minds-eye, upon a robot, or other without-mind-like-ours construct. Great job. I like the brevity of this piece and your conclusion is powerful and provocative."
6 years ago
The Cabinet replied saying "Ah, therein lies Dick's quandry. As alas, the majority of his Human protagonists (Deckard, Alys and Horselover Fat - to name an obvious few) suffer the same delusion. Or perhaps it is not a delusion at all. Great to meet another enthusiast."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Many thanks for your comments, The Cabinet, which are iwell nformed in a truly Dickian sense - I did not set out to write a Dick tribute but found that I was powerless to subjugate my subconscious - which said makes me feel more like an android construct that a so-called free thinking human being."
6 years ago
Heidi-jo Swain said "Took me out of my comfort zone - just what I needed at the end of a largely unproductive Sunday! Not my usual choice but this was great which proves that we should all stretch ourselves when it comes to reading choices shouldn't we? Now...where did I put that Blade Runner dvd?"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "LOL :-)"
6 years ago
Heidi-jo Swain replied saying "Found it - as you suggested - at the back of the wardrobe wedged between Goodfellas and Predator...oh dear..."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Heidi for reading and commenting - ahh, the comfort zone - best not to dwell there too long, I agree - the DVD is probably in the cubby-hole under the stairs or failing that try that mysterious old wardrobe in the spare 'oom'? best wishes, Adam"
6 years ago
Linda Bond said "Adam, I enjoyed the way you plunged us into this all too human world, it reminded me of Asimov and Arthur Clarke in its ability to create a believable yet different world."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Linda - Asimov is on my to read one day list. I love the expression...'you plunged us...' I suppose I did - glad it worked for you - best wishes Adam."
6 years ago
Andy Bottomley Guest Editor said "Hi Adam, Like a number of others who have commented, I don't really 'do' sci-fi, mainly because I can't seem to get my head around making it believable. You on the other hand seem to have no trouble. The world of the future is rarely depicted as being paradise more an enthropy of what we have now and yet in the midst of all that technology is always seen to be advancing and this again is something that you capture well. Keep writing it - i might even start to catch up one day!!! Thanks....Andy"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Andy for reading something outside your usual range - I kind of force myself from time to time to dip into genres I would not normally entertain and since being on SB and embracing the short story I have of course widened my reading material still further - one of the joys of writing sci-fi is the sense of freedom if affords - best wishes - Adam"
6 years ago
Patsy R Liles said "Hi,Adam, I had to read a little slowly since this is not usually my genre. But I got caught up and enjoyed it for the newness of something in my life. To contemplate sci-fi worlds is sort of scary for me. I want to go read this again and really get 'with it'. Nicely done. Patsy"
6 years ago
Patsy R Liles replied saying "Hi Adam, and thanks. At least I can now read a little. It is almost like a sty(e) but infection invades the entire duct. Painful as all get out --especially when the doctor messes around with it. Ah well, hope he doesn'thave to lance the darned thing. Such a pest to interrupt life. Eye drops help, but blind you behind a veil of water fall. Hah. And this too shall pass. I have managed to read a couple of stories, but could not last long enough to comment. The competition is going well. I hope I can submit one before closing. That is always fun. Miss you all. Patsy"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Sorry to hear you have problems with your eyes (I don't know what a chalison is) Patsy - I you will hope up to submitting stories soon - and commenting too - I always read yours and Jay and Diane's comments in particular - take care and hope all is well soon my friend, Adam"
6 years ago
Patsy R Liles replied saying "Well hello, Adam. Been away for awhile. Chalison on my right eye and I spend very short periods on the pc. Cannot see very well sometimes, but that's life. Have to deal with stuff as best we can. Have a couple stories to submit, as soon as I can make sure of the spellling and what I have written. Not into Kindle so far, but may have to join the crowd in order to learn all about it. Have a good week. See you. Patsy"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Hi Patsy - slow reading is good (sometimes) - not sure if my stuff stands that test, but anyway, I'm glad you caught up it, as you say. Thanks once more for taking the time to read and comment - All The Best - Adam"
6 years ago
Desmond Kelly said "Hi Adam, thankfully I'll never live to see the world you portray so effectively. I was/am a big fan of Blade Runner and this had all the hallmarks for a series of short burst stories. Good luck if you go that route. Very effective. Des"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Hi Des - thanks as always for reading and commenting positively. This was the Director's Cut I guess - with the Philip Marlow-esque voice over - thanks for the encouragement - I might just revisit my Man With No Name - I'm mixing up genres now - now there's a thought..."
6 years ago
Suzanne Mays Guest Editor said "Thanks, Adam. I don't know much about sci-fi, but I could really see this. Especially the girl biting through the foil wrapper and tubes to everywhere. Getting off at the wrong stop really bothers me now."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks for reading and commenting, Suzanne. The last bit of polish this story got (as I approached the 500 word limit) was the foil wrapper - glad I included it now :-)"
6 years ago
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks as always, Jay, for reading and commenting - much appreciated. The warning implied here, about inter-stellar travel is quite clear: BOOK EARLY :-)"
6 years ago
Bill Haddow-allen said "Enjoyed this, Adam. It is all horribly believable. A sinister, unsettling dream which might just be real one day. Some may actually look forward to it! Well done."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Bill for reading and commenting - I value your opinion - pleased you felt it believable and found it enjoyable - cheers, Adam"
6 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "You know what, I don't really read sci fi - I don't but you always manage to make it so very "reachable" if that's the right word and real and attractive. I enjoyed this very much and the last little sentence was so poignant and really rather sad. Super stuff - thanks for this - Diane"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Many thanks as always for commenting and your considered remarks, Diane - my mission to convert you to sci-fi goes on...best wishes, Adam"
6 years ago

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