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science fiction

Designate - Short Story

This is a short story I wrote in 2005. Haven't looked at it in a while, thought I'd give this web site a try and see what everyone thinks of it.

By Ross Payton

The plane collapsed in the flame’s embrace. The wind carried particles of burning fat, skin and hair across the field, lighting up like fireflies in the dusk. Five columns of drones, semi-autonomous mounds of grey flesh and hardware marched across, laying down heavy suppressive fire. Explosions, gunfire, and the other roars of machines at war reverberated throughout the battleground but no screams of pain or triumph or hatred.

At the beginning of it all

I have been developing an idea for a story for about a week now. It is still very rough and with many uncertainties.

For the Love of a Woman

'For the Love of a Woman' is pretty close to final draft. I am opening it up for commentary here before doing the final polish rewrite.

. . .

He barged into my office without even knocking, the door bouncing off a bookcase and rebounding hard enough to send him staggering for a second. Startled, I jumped out of my seat and spun to face skinny, balding little Michael Swanson, as angry as I have ever seen a man get.

“You did it to Joseph! Didn’t you?”

The Seed

'The Seed' is a short story I wrote a long time ago and published on the web last year, basically to serve as commentary in a blog discussion of God and the Singularity.

. . .

April showers bring May flowers; sometimes they bring darker things as well...

Some of my science fiction

A chapter from my story about the end of the world (again).

Glimpses of Infinity

The destruction of the Earth was a high price to pay for proving Einstein Wrong. I know because I saw it happen. Two hours ago I witnessed the end of my world. How?

How could they destroy an entire planet just to prove a theory? And could I yet prevent it from happening? I will find out in the next two hours.

Tomas' Transition

Following, please find a little piece of fiction I concocted.


Tomas woke up with a smile.
“Ah,” he said with some not small degree of delight as he felt the warm sun on his face, shining in through the plexiglass window. “It certainly is wonderful to be alive!” he said. Tomas closed his eyes and stretched in his bed. He contemplated as he wiggled his toes the day before him: it was Tuesday the 26th of June, and he had probably 37.59 minutes before he had to even leave the house.

Rock and Roll! Your Friend in the Trenches

A few thoughts:

One: Great idea! I'm glad you thought of it and not me, because I have too many damn website projects as it is. Nice clean format, too.

Paul B. Hartzog's picture

Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom


Doctorow, C.


Tor, New York, p.208 p. (2003)





Cory Doctorow.22 cm."A Tom Doherty Associates book."

Eric Flint on science fiction and electronic publishing

We plan to make a serious contribution to the debate about the future of science fiction and electronic publishing, but we aren’t the first to consider what may lie ahead, and we want to give credit to those who have already weighed in on some of the issues.

Eric Flint wrote a series of thought-provoking columns while he was the editor of Jim Baen’s Universe, and they shed light on at least one publisher’s perspective on electronic publishing, copyright, fair use, and digital rights management.

Paul B. Hartzog's picture



Simmons, D.


Doubleday, New York, p.481 p. (1989)