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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.

In the Days of King Aris

Martin lives in Birmingham, England. He is an older persons' development worker, which means he gets to encourage people his own age to do stuff like gardening, guitar playing, and pie eating. Martin writes fiction and poetry that range from the domestic to the futuristic. He has an understanding wife and exasperated son.
Aris was not used to being anything other than the center of attention. Being the King meant he was usually the most important person in any room but today he had been bustled into a corner with a glass of wine
Men and women in white coats sat around the control room reading dials and making notes on clipboards. Communication was being carried on in calm low murmurs. When Aris did catch a few words he heard a mix of scientific terms and acronyms that left him no wiser. But that was all right; he did not need to know how things worked. It was enough to know that it did and that the scientists had developed a cheap, clean power source that would put his kingdom ahead of its neighbors by decades, perhaps even centuries. After all, those guys were still playing around with bronze.
He was glad to take the opportunity to put the finishing touches to his speech. He would have to make a suitably portentous speech at the opening of the new power station. Stuff about history, no, epochs being made (that was good, he'd definitely put that in,) er, new bright futures, progress, security, blah blah blah!
But what he really wanted to say was brief: "Nuclear power. This will really put Atlantis on the map!"
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, November 7th, 2019

This story started life as a punchline and then grew from that. I liked the idea that the brink of discovery might be the brink of disaster at the same time.

- Martin Harrison-Smith
We hope you're enjoying In the Days of King Aris by Martin Harrison-Smith.

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