On Tuesday September 11, Daily Science Fiction will be sending my flash story “Mortless” out via e-mail to their 5,000+ subscribers. A week later it goes live on their website for the whole world to see. (The whole world with Internet access, that is.)

Not a subscriber to DSF? Why not? It’s free, and you get a new story in your inbox every weekday — stories from authors such as Hugo and Nebula Award winner Ken Liu to complete newbies like myself.

A few notes and an acknowledgement regarding “Mortless”. This story was the result of one of the regular prompts set by the writing group I’m a member of, the Self-Forging Fragments. (It’s sekrit, so don’t ask about it!) On this occasion it was a musical prompt, set by the insanely talented Georgina Bruce. Without that prompt, this story would not exist — so a big public thanks to Georgina!

The music was by an artist I had never heard of, but the track was soon on constant replay. Here it is, “Singing Under The Rainbow,” by World’s End Girlfriend.

For me, it evoked images of an awakening, a gradual disintegration, of eventual loss. (And the word “bird”.) On repeated listens, the impressions from and of the music changed, but I stuck with those original thoughts. I was reminded of the Hans Christian Anderson story “The Nightingale”, about the mechanical nightingale that eventually runs down, and about love and death. And, incongruously, how I had recently overhead someone being called “River” and what an unusual name that was.

The original working title was “The Wrong Nightingale”, one which still works well, but in the end I decided on “Mortless”. I think it better reflects the emergent themes, a play on the words “deathless”, “remorseless”, “merciless”, etc. I’m really looking forward to it being out in the big wide world and finding out what readers make of it.

PS. And just a note on the publish date. Next Tuesday will be eleven years since I stood in a conference room in Philadelphia and watched on a hastily commandeered and barely functional TV set the first grainy pictures of the World Trade Centre towers collapsing. The world has turned, and turned again, since then, but it will still be with very mixed emotions that I will greet next Tuesday.


  1. It’s a great story which deserves to be widely read. Congrats!

    P.S. Thanks for describing me as ‘insanely talented…’ Most people stop at ‘insane…’ 🙂

  2. Hi Henry, I am one of those 5000+ subscribers to DSF. I really enjoyed your story – 7 rocket dragons, and I don’t give them out too easily! I particularly enjoyed the moment when it became clear it was not a straightforward happy awakening, that there was someone else in the picture. Look forward to seeing more stories from you in my inbox. Aislinn

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