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"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.

Rocket Time

There's no way to avoid things ending up in the trash. Even writers like Peter Schaefer. Even though he's written and developed for the World of Darkness, Exalted, and Dungeons & Dragons. Now he lives in a trash can being carried around the world by a perpetual tornado. Perhaps you haven't heard of it because there's no danger. It avoids all habitable locations, guided by Peter's compatriots from their secret lair beneath Alcatraz. Experience more of his 200-word concoctions at http://catachresis.shoelesspetegames.com/

"The tankfiller's finished!" Kelsie yelled. "It's rocket time!" My hoe fell on the dusty soil, and our excited cheers echoed off the canyon walls as we ran home to get ready for the trip to the rocketpad.
Everybody went. Kids like us walked fast. Adults walked slow. Only the ones patching a fuelpipe, burst during the tank filling, didn't come. I could see them in the distance when we reached the overlook. The crowd was already there, blankets laid out with food and everything. From up there we could see the rocket, surrounded by the machines that had built it over the last ten years, a safe distance back from the launch.
We got in line with kids our age and the countdowner asked if we were thirteen years or up. Kelsie said yes and I lied and said yes, and he typed our names on a screen.
When all the kids were done, the voice picked kids. Kelsie was third, but it never called me.
Watching the blastoff with my parents, I thought of Kelsie riding that tiny sun into the sky. "Where do they go, Mom?"
She held me tight for some reason, and said, "I don't know."
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, June 18th, 2015

Author Comments

This story came out of the obvious question, "What if a small society labors to free their children from the dying planet while civilization collapses around them, and then they forget the meaning of what they're doing while the nearly-automated machines carry on?"

It sat for a while on my back burner, as many of my short-short stories do, while I found what felt like the best way to express the tale in exactly 200 words.

- Peter A Schaefer
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