Featured Story
Recent Stories
Stories by Topic
News
Make the universe a better place! Support DSF with a donation:
small-go-arrowdonate
Take me to a...
Random story
top-rated stories only
Enter any portion of the author name or story title:
small-go-arrowsearch
Sign up for free daily sci-fi!
your email will be kept private

Breaking News
Get a copy of Not Just Rockets and Robots: Daily Science Fiction Year One. 260 adventures into new worlds, fantastical and science fictional. Rocket Dragons Ignite: the anthology for year two, is also available!
Kindle Edition
Kindle Edition
DSF stories are available in monthly digests for Kindle!
DSF for Kindle
Publish your stories or art on Daily Science Fiction:
Submit your story
Check story status
Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.
close






art by Shothot Designs

Chaos theory

Shannon Ryan is a Brisbane based writer and editor. He studied at the Australian National University before traipsing off to South America in a blatant attempt to avoid further study. After several years of floating he ended up at Stockholm University, Sweden finishing off his degree before having to flee the country after accidentally poisoning his girlfriend’s mother. Since returning to Australia he has launched a startlingly dull publishing career in the areas of local history and children’s educational books.
Deep in the tropical rainforests of far north Queensland, two tiny cocoons hung from a thick purple fungus. The cocoon on the left began to twitch and shudder, moments later so did the other.
A split appeared in the left cocoon, and two bright yellow wings could be seen as a little butterfly slowly emerged and took a perch on the spongy purple mushroom. It was joined less than a minute later by another, as the second cocoon split and disgorged a larger red and green winged butterfly.
They stood side by side in the silent forest, totally still. Then the larger butterfly fluttered its wings and rose into the air. With a sudden effort it beat its wings heavily once, then settled back on the fungus. The air displaced by the flapping wings produced a series of minute eddies that expanded exponentially, lifting warm air high into the atmosphere until the ice cold jet streams of the stratosphere were disturbed. Off the coast of north Queensland the warm air collapsed a low-pressure cell and a cyclone began to form. That cyclone hit the coast of Australia and wiped out the banana industry. The red and green butterfly just sat on the fungus, preening its wings and looking very satisfied with itself.
Next to it the little yellow butterfly flapped its wings twice and resettled on the fungus, looking about expectantly. Nothing happened. The air displaced by its wings had dissipated harmlessly. The yellow butterfly looked across at its companion who was fluttering like mad and sending typhoons to Taiwan and hurricanes to Haiti. Again the yellow wings flapped and again nothing happened.
In a fit of frustration the yellow butterfly stamped its foot. Minuscule reverberations flowed through the mushroom and into the earth's mantle. As each second passed the reverberations grew in magnitude. Eventually they hit a tectonic fault line far to the north. In a complete surprise to the inhabitants of North America, California collapsed into the Pacific.
With a self-satisfied flutter, the yellow butterfly looked at its larger companion and flew away into the forest.
The End
This story was first published on Tuesday, November 9th, 2010


This story came about after a rather heated philosophical debate about the nature of chaos. I’m not usually one for heated debates about anything, but I was three pints in and feeling gnarky. After successfully shooting down every argument that came my way I was then challenged to explain chaos theory within a single page of text. I failed of course, but I did write a story about butterflies with cool abilities.

- Shannon Luke Ryan

RATE THIS STORY
Please click to rate this story from 1 (ho-hum) to 7 (excellent!):

Please don't read too much into these ratings. For many reasons, a superior story may not get a superior score.

4.8 Rocket Dragons Average

SHARE THIS STORY

JOIN MAILING LIST
Please join our mailing list and receive free daily sci-fi (your email address will be kept 100% private):
 
Copyright Info
Tell a Friend
Send Feedback
About Us