Short Story: Love On An Alphane Moon?

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About this Short Story

Written by
Adam West


In the 36th century, the question, Love is? continues to confound.


  • 470 Words
  • 43 Comments
  • 92% Community Rating
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Rishka let go of my hand. The sweat left behind on my skin was the physical product of a finely tuned autonomic system; fake of course - but what did I care about that?

Were we not both programmed in our own special ways to feel anxious?

To feel?

I looked at Rishka.

Love was a habit, I felt.

Rishka needed me. I loved her. She loved me?

Was there, in fact, any difference between us when reciprocity endured?

I saw it like this - the fact that I, a bona fide human being, was an Eros Seven's ticket out of a life of sexual servitude, a de facto guardian, who would, if the State deemed it mutually beneficial, be permitted to escort her to one of the newly colonised lesser Alphane moons, had not entered her thoughts.

After all, Rishka did not, in the accepted sense, think.

Neither did she blink when she chose not to because blinking meant she could in theory miss something.

Something vital.

Her eyes were…

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Hugh Cron said "Hi Adam, how ironic that I have been using the time machine thingy and it landed me on a science fiction story. It has already given me romance so I am now well out of my comfort zone. The story of prejudices has been taken to a new level. (Practicalities...I won't ask about!!) My only experience with this type of story was 'Robert's Robots' and I would have found it very difficult to fancy Katey. (Only works if you have seen it...1970s kids TV) All joking aside, your writing is clever and thought provoking. The question of love being the only thing that matters is always a lesson that we still need to learn. There is no doubt in your skill as a writer!!! All the very best my friend. Hugh."
4 years ago
Hugh Cron replied saying "Hi Adam, I really don't think you ever miss the mark. Like a lot of writers in here you are more than capable of making a career out of your writing...Unfortunately you need that one roll of the dice to be in the right place at the right time. Read Jordan's books. Actually read some Sherlock Holmes, read anything that is recommended in many magazines and think that your writing is unworthy...Bollocks!! You are as good as many out there but you have not had the rub of the green. I hope someday that this will happen!! Sorry I am not being sycophantic just having a**** them all moment..!! All the very best my friend. Hugh"
4 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Cheers Hugh - I keep aiming for fluffiness in my writing and end up missing the mark every time and get stuck with 'trying to say something' - I'm off to Bob-Off and go look up Robert's Robots - did you see what I did there? - many thanks for reading and commenting - ATVB - Adam"
4 years ago
Nik Eveleigh Guest Editor said "There's a real warmth to this piece Adam which is some trick to pull off given that fifty percent of the characters are not strictly human. The line ~~~No doubt he loved his wife and kids I thought to myself as I grasped Rishka's hand, raised it up and onto the desk; where I kept it prisoner for a time~~~ was brilliantly written and I enjoyed the notion that the MC wished to display his affection so publicly. A truly satisfying and scientifically reasoned ending as well I thought. Cheers, Nik"
4 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Nik for reading as always - pleased that you felt the warmth - that scene felt quite real to me - indignation and anger in the face of prejudice. I had an idea I would edit all the pieces one day and marry them into one story but I abandoned that a wile ago - might revisit that now that you have rekindled my faith in the series - ATB - Adam"
4 years ago
Charlie Wiseman said "I have tried to write reviews of some of the huge stories, although now I think coming back to this one is better as it has a great simplicity. I will try others later What is love in 36 Century?"
5 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thank you again, Charlie, for reading and commenting. 500 word limit presents a challenge to distill what might be an unwieldy notion down to a concentrate - for once I was quite pleased with my effort - ATB - Adam"
5 years ago
Steven Mace said "I really enjoyed this story, its themes are ones that concern me as a writer as well, and I would also define it as a short and sweet piece."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks once again, Steven - the 500 word limit I find a very useful challenge - familiar themes here of course, which PKD often returned to, and yet, he resisted the temptation to write sequels - so I thought I give Deckard another crack - I've a bit of catching up to do on SB but I shall read your two stories first. I try to read as many new writers on here as time allows but because sometimes I don't have the time, I prioritise those who are reading and commenting on other stories - I think that is why I bypassed yours at the time they were published (of course I realise some writers don't have the time to read much on here). Anyway, I'll put that right today - best wishes, Adam."
6 years ago
Lesa Clarke said "One of the things I've always liked about sci-fi is the way it often reflects moments of history on earth. This reminded me of settlers being sent out to colonise lands - like the Scots sent to Ireland, the homesteaders in America. It speaks to me about the cycles of life, we think we're making progress but are we? The fake sweat, the programming, the habit of love and the ability to screw it all up stood out to me. The site is going to turn me into a short story addict."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Fascinating reflections, Lesa, thank you - yes I had that sense of the pioneers in mind when composing this and wanted to use the sci-fi staple of what is real (this story was a follow-up to Do Eros Sevens...) to try and examine the imperfect nature of relationships - I had read very few short stories before I joined Shortbread but now appreciate them greatly and see their relevance alongside the novel - look forward to reading more of your stories soon I hope - all the best, Adam"
6 years ago
Melford Maderazo Guest Editor said "I very much like this piece, Adam. It recalls me the works of my favorite sci-fi writers, Heinlein and Pohl. It seems to me you're one of them. Thanks for the entertaining read. I've, once again, plunged into your imagination.(",)"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Cheers Melford - I would like to broaden my sci-fi beyond PKD, Bradbury and Vonnegut so I will look into Heinlein and Pohl - I just got an Atwood and a couple of cyber-punk books for my birthday - hope to see more of your writing on SB when you have the time - thanks as always for reading and your considered remarks - all the very best my friend, Adam."
6 years ago
Richard Ardus said "MMMMmmm...I liked the penultimate line Adam, '...crazy innate ability to screw it all up.' How very true!! But I still don't 'get' sci-fi. I've had PKD's Do Androids...on my shelves for 20 yrs, started it three times but just can't get into it. I do remember a sci-fi compilation we had at school titled 'Second Orbit', which had several memorable stories in it, which I'd be tempted to have a look out for. On another subject, you might enjoy Richard Brautigan's daughter's memoir 'You Can't Catch Death'. It gives a few details on the man's life that we wouldn't otherwise know about."
6 years ago
Richard Ardus replied saying "Yea, that's what I was remembering from some months back after reading Steve's atmospheric 'So Cold in Alaska' - I thought the both of you were Brautigan nuts!"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Richard - some lines you write really give you a buzz - I think I was keen about that one. I don't know Brautigan's work but I remember Steve Douglas (another PKD nut on here) telling me about him. As for PKD try Ubik or his alternate history novel - the Hugo award winner; The Man In The High Castle or one of Vonnegut's - maybe Cats Cradle? Anyway ATB for now, Adam."
6 years ago
Suzanne Mays Guest Editor said "Adam, congratulations on your Shortbreader Award ! Thanks for all your comments and reading. Looking for the next Alphane Moon installment."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thank you very much, Suzanne - like Diane I am chuffed to get a reward for something that is in fact, a labour of love - look forward to more of your distinctive brand of writing in two thousand and twelve. I will pop in on Rishka and her man, soon, and see what they're up to - best wishes, Adam."
6 years ago
Kate Smart Guest Editor said "Really interesting idea Adam - enjoyed this thoroughly and hope you make a longer piece from it as well, would look forward to reading it. Must get some PKD!"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Many thanks Kate - it is a follow on (of sorts) from Do Eros Sevens Dream of Jupiter and Mars? in the travel comp. I think I might find room for another depending on what the next competition is. BTW have you read Mr. Zimmerman Flies To Buenos Aires? This was inspired in part by your comment on your blog - all the best for now, Adam"
6 years ago
Daniel Murphy said "Nice work.. a pencil sketch of few lines creating a future Universe we can all recognise!"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Many thanks for reading and commenting, Daniel - I love the soundbite comment BTW - a pencil sketch... really nice, Adam"
6 years ago
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Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks for that snippet, David - I am not scholar as such but I am fascinated with history, particularly in 'modern' history, social history and family history. I think my subconscious must have translated the Homestead Act or something akin to it that I read once, buried, and subsequently returned it to my conscious mind!"
6 years ago
Steve Douglas said "As soon as I saw 'Alphane moon' of course I had to read this! I think it's very clever and sets up what could be a whole series. There is so much you could get out of this set-up! Maybe she becomes more human as he becomes less responsive? And on and on. In every dream home a heartache, to quote Mr Ferry! As David says, look forward to the next step. So many possibilities..."
6 years ago
Steve Douglas replied saying "A long time since I've read either, but I recall Eye in the sky and Galactic pot healer both giving me a chuckle. Keep the PKD flag flying!"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Goodbye Steve - I suspected the bait would work - easier, it could be said, than snaring a Wub. Thanks for reading and giving it a PKD seal of approval - till next time, Hello. (you probably guessed by now I just finished reading Counter Clock-World. I had thought Clans of the Alphane Moon was Dick's funniest book, now I am not sure) Adam."
6 years ago
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Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks David for your comment - I guess the notion of emigrating to a new world resonates particularly with US citizens, not that far removed from their pioneering ancestors. It must have felt to the earliest settlers almost as though they were venturing onto another planet? best wishes, Adam"
6 years ago
Suzanne Mays Guest Editor said "Adam, you're going to convert me to sci-fi. I want to know what happens to them in this story, how their life is with "1,000 hectares of virgin land." This seems a good intro into much more. Thanks, and best of luck."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "I never thought of myself as a prophet for sc-fi, Suzanne! But glad you are coming over to my side ;-) Des comented on Do Eros Sevens... and said something about he could see a series of shorts involving Rishka and her chap so when this competition came around I thought why not? Could not find a way to include them in the Burns comp though - LOL - thanks for reading and your kind remarks, Adam"
6 years ago
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Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks for reading, Jay - glad to have spiked your mind a little - got you thinking what if... best wishes, Adam"
6 years ago
Patsy R Liles said "Oh Adam, you got me with this one. I anticipated a future so unlike the present that I was a bit disappointed at the 'bureaucrat' that is still going after centuries. Didn't distract me, though, from enjoying the love and possessive bearing with the grip on the hand, and the way you set the scene without a lot of decription...thanks again. Patsy R Liles"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Hi Patsy - thank once again for reading and your thoughtful remarks - interesting comment on the bureaucrat - I think it highlights all the many choices we are faced with when writing/editing - what will excite/amuse/annoy/please etc etc. - in some ways it is one of the things that most appeals to me about writing - hope you have an ebtry in the competition coming soon? Adam"
6 years ago
Katy Hulme said "This is a fascinating piece of writing, Adam. Truly, the distinction between foreign and familiar is a fine line when it comes to matters of the heart. Human or Alien, who is to say what defines love? Very enjoyable."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Thanks Katy for reading and of course for commenting - always appreciated - old themes are usually the best IMO - hard to say anything new as such, it's just try and do it slightly differently I guess - best wishes, Adam"
6 years ago
Heidi-jo Swain said "As I have said before Adam, not my usual genre choice but so enjoyable! I hope you are planning to give us a follow up on this pair? Loved the way you to chose to set the piece - flowed beautifully. For such an alien setting it seemed very normal (in the best sense) and acceptable."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Many thanks yet again Heidi-Jo for reading - I am grateful for all comments received. In particular I appreciate that some readers, even though the sci-fi genre appears to them, as well, somewhat alien and as such unappealing, that they still give it a go. Apart from one Ray Bradbury and a couple of Vonnegut novels my experience of sci-fi has been PK Dick - and as I have said before, sci-fi is a rather inadequate label for his work."
6 years ago
Bill Haddow-allen said "The setting/landscape gives a sharp edge to a universal and persistent theme. Rishka is a user friendly Stepford wife. Is this his choice? The likely future choice? A bit negative. Surely, Adam, you might have written about the triumph of mutual passion and love? Or is this the future for us? Thought provoking - which must mean a successful piece of writing. Very enjoyable."
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Many thanks Bill, for reading and your insight. I was attempting to marry the old theme of what is it that makes us human with the eternal question what is love? Love rarely seems to be perfect, is often unrequited and rarely unconditional - these were the themes I had in mind when writing - glad I provoked your grey matter, Bill - best wishes Adam"
6 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "This made me think of so many things, Russian brides, Mail Order Brides, etc. I loved the idea of living over the brush, surely it would be living over the memory stick or maybe even the joy stick but that's a bit risque perhaps :-)) As always with your stories I found this intriguing and this one was actually rather heartwarming. I do wish them well. - Thanks - Diane"
6 years ago
Adam West Guest Editor replied saying "Aww thanks Diane, glad there was a spot of warmth in there, and LOL too - over the joystick indeed! I liked the idea that the phrase 'living over the brush' (referring to slaves in the US who could not marry but as part of a wedding ceremony jumped over a brush, I believe) would endure another fifteen centuries."
6 years ago

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