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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.

The Moon's Gone All Smooth

Josh Hagen recently set out to change his hobby of writing into something more. This is his first published short story. Josh's 9-5 job consists mainly of storyboarding for commercials, film, and television. Having been born and raised in rural North Dakota, there was not much to do but strengthen his imagination daily during any and all classes, hence, he was not an "A" student. Though his artwork may still exist on several school desks.

Panicked scientists stampeded every news network early morning, wailing about what was happening to the moon.
"The moon's gone all smooth!" shrieked one elderly astrophysicist in a wrinkled lab coat. The poor man looked to be in desperate need of sleep. He and many others were terrorized because the moon was literally being flattened out. Scientists across the world were confused and desperate for answers.
Mind you, it was indeed shocking. Anyone could see the process going on. You could take any good camera or store-bought telescope and see the features on the moon disappearing. Up there, right next door, someone or something took it upon themselves to iron out the features of the moon.
Not long after the news broke, closer images started to come in from observatories. That's when the world saw them. Robots! Millions of them working in perfect unison. From what we could see, they were bright red boxes with tiny metal legs flailing out in all directions. They worked like a swarm of alien ants cleaning up the place.
The military and politicians from across the world were in a tizzy. People dealt with it in every way conceivable. They looted, they prayed, they fled with their families to secluded areas, but most kept watching the moon.
It didn't take the little bots long to do their job. They were terrifyingly efficient. As they neared the end, most everyone was glued to their screen to see what would happen next. When the robots finished, they gathered together and stopped moving. For a little while anyway. Then, a few of them moved away from the group and turned white. Their little legs drew inward and they tumbled away from one another. They ended up equally spaced all across the perfectly smooth moon. The little cubes smeared themselves across the ground to make long white lines. When they completed their task, the moon was sectioned off with millions of parallel white lines.
No one could understand why they did this. Everyone was confused.
That's when one newscaster turned her head slightly, squinted, and said that ominous phrase.
"It looks like a parking lot."
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, August 15th, 2019

Author Comments

The idea for this story came from an interesting place. Last Christmas my wife gave me a 3D printed moon light. Holding it in my hand and feeling the topography of the moon in my hand was fascinating. As I ran my fingers across its surface, I imagined smoothing it out and that's where the idea of the little bots came from. The story was pretty easy to write from there. And the oddball ending was a fun little cherry on top.

- Josh Hagen
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