August’s Pictonaut Challenge

It’s August now. This is a fact which I am having a great deal of trouble comprehending. How can it conceivably be August? Already? Come on, you’re having a laugh! Seriously? August? Already? Fucking hell…

That means that I’ve been snuggled away in my little one bedroom flat for nearly 10 months. It also means I’ve been down in the deepest, darkest and most hideously depraved outlands of southern England for 2 years. Time is relentless in its surging forwards. The future is always rushing straight at us waving a big sign, which in large black capitals reads “LOOK AT ME!” It’s also my little brother’s birthday. A person who in my mind’s eye will always remain about 11 years old, is now edging ever further into his 20s. That’s not even remotely terrifying. But such is life. It is relentless. It is without mercy. It is unfathomable. It is cruel and it is cold.

In those respects it’s just like space (Tenuous segue ahoy!) Space is cool. Space is out future and it is our salvation. Space is absolutely fucking everywhere. So take your protein pills, put your helmet on and prepare for a Voyage to the Planets.

Aug 2013 - Voyage to the Planets - Daren Horley

This month’s mouth’s glorious image and all its mouth-watering detail is the work of Daren Horely (the signature was a dead give away wasn’t it?) As far as my research tells me, it was a piece of concept art for the 2004 speculative documentary “Space Odyssey: Voyage to the Planets” by the good old BBC. I thought it’d been a while since we’d done some proper, straight-up, good old-fashioned, hard sci-fi. The last image which really screamed “I AM SCI-FI! PUT ME IN YOUR FRAGILE JELLY EYES, PUNY HUMAN MEAT-BAG!” was last November. That’s 8 whole months. Just the thought of leaving sci-fi alone for that long is making me feel guilty. On top of this, space is something I feel very passionate about. While at the same time being utterly and irrevocably, pant-shittingly terrified by the awe of its endless majesty. Which in my books just means that I still have some micro-thin shred of sanity left.

For the uninitiated, the Pictonaut Challenge is almost deceptively simple. That big old picture? Yeah the one up there. It is to be the inspiration, basis and foundation for a short story or “wordascope” of approximately 1,000 words in length. For the writing of this wordascope you have the balance of one Terran standard month; 31 solar days according to the reckoning of Sol-3, aka Earth. Then you send me a link to it (by tachyon pulse, photon burst, heliograph or carrier pigeon) and then everyone has a good read of it. It’s jolly good fun. Unless you have crippling self confidence problems. Then I suspect the sharing bit might be more akin to explosive decompression in the cold vacuum of space.

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About The Rogue Verbumancer

A chemistry graduate consumed by the demons of apathy and disinterest. Likes tea and cheese. Sleeps less than he should. View all posts by The Rogue Verbumancer

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