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Sam Wilson

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

The first 100 Genre Stories

I’ve just passed the 100 mark! To celebrate, here they are: 100 of the Genre Stories originally published at I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoy pudding.

Fable: “Democracy is three wolves and a sheep arguing what’s for dinner,” said the crocodile to three sheep.

Infant mystery: Missing woman. Dame disappears right in front of me. Then, she’s back. No explanation, just the cryptic word “peekaboo.”

Sci-Fi: A giant butterfly stood on Dr. Mandel, who by chance had doctorates in time travel, chaos theory, and irony.

Advert: It’s hard to ignore where our food, clothes, and goods really come from. Time to disconnect. Conservol™ chemical guilt suppressant.

Arthurian: He swung Excalibur at the knight’s neck. It bounced off. Never use a sword that had been blunted by being shoved into a rock.

Khakipunk: They look like us, sound like us. There’s only one way to test for real humans. I play the sokkie. His feet don’t tap. Uitlander.

Boy’s Own Adventure: Wilderness holiday. Stumbled on gun-running operation. Almost shot. No playstation. Bitten by spider. Worst hol ever.

Homoerotic thriller: He was dragged upstairs and shown the body. He ground against it. Outrage. “Look, I’m not a cop, I’m the stripper.”

Dystopian Xmas Tale: The elves watched, listened, judged me naughty. They left me with sock full of coal. Coal, that used to be my foot.

Postmodern Seuss: “Last time I stole presents, what a mistake! A silly mistake for a big Grinch to make. This year I take the rhyme scheme.”

Electronic Voting Machine Instruction Manual: Press button. Walk away. Opening this machine and testing it for accuracy violates the patent.

Shakesperian Cyber-punk: There is neither good or bad, rich or poor, dream or real, me or you, but data makes it so.

Xmas story: Caucasian, 60-70 yrs, beard. Illegal immigrant. Breaking and entering, theft of milk and pies, “grooming” of minors with toys.

Postmodern Fast-food Romance: “I like men with red hair,” she said, frenching a fry and playing footsie under the table with his clown shoe.

Psychedelic Mills & Boon: The boudoir walls heaved like her bodice. Her eyes met all three of his, and she fell into his centipede arms.

Safari Sci-Fi: “This species of primate sits in metal boxes and watches the other species in the park. No one knows why.”

Dickensian Spy Thriller: “As you see, no one attends your funer- did that man just hand you a list of troop movements?” “No!” said Ebenezer.

Orwellian Romcom: It’s the same old story: State loves girl, girl commits ThoughtCrime, State wins girl back in Room 101. DoublePlus Good.

Retro 90′s Occult Fiction: The thing attacked, but got tangled in its own parachute pants. I hit it with my gavel. “Hammer Time!”

8-Bit: Mistakes are fatal. There is no save. You forgot to pick up a key on level 3. Games will be more life-like, but never more like life.

B-list celebrity tell-all: Fanfic Fandango! “Amy Winehouse hurted us! Bad influence! Filthy habitses!” says Gollum.

Slapstick bildungsroman: He saw the peel and leapt over it, no longer a clumsy child, but a Man: A Man who hadn’t noticed the low doorframe.

Self-help noir: She was an attractive broad. Now, she’s attracted six bullets to the heart. Negative thinking. Case closed.

Steampunk: Broken glass had fallen into the mechanism. The inspector sighed. What buffoon would install windows on a Thinking Engine?

Space Opera: “We have starships! We have AI and nanotech! So why do we still have a monarchy?” yelled a man holding a laser-pitchfork.

Beat: The Jazz sizzled out the radio and danced with the tap-tap-tapping of tires with stones caught like bad habits in the treads.

Enid Blighton: Jim, Julie and Jeff went to the beach and thwarted some human traffickers. The police said thank you, and they all had buns.

Cooking: WikiPancakes. You will need: Egos, flour, milk, oil. Mix ingredients together in any quantity (citation needed).

Fable: The peacock was extremely beautiful but could only squawk. Thanks to autotune and an aggressive MTV play cycle, he went platinum.

Grindhouse: “Show some backbone,” he taunts, so Kandi pulls out a whip made from the spines of the boys who’d treated her bad.

Sci-Fi: The AI spent its holiday on Windows XP contracting viruses and getting infested with spyware, and came back claiming enlightenment.

War: A shell goes off nearby, snapping him out of it. I was doing something, he thinks. There’s a pin in one hand, and something hard in th-

Spy: Agent V aimed his pen gun and fired. Nothing. Back at the QuikSpar someone tried to sign a receipt and shot a hole through the condoms.

Sci-Fi: 2037 – SETI discovers an interstellar data network. 2038 – Mankind posts its opinions in all caps. 2039 – Mankind gets unfriended.

Horror: “You used to love this before the accident. Now open wide,” said his daughter patiently, holding up a spoonful of crushed eyeballs.

Drug Fantasy: Red powder. Street name: “Skep”. It was only addictive because it made you sceptical. You didn’t believe it was bad for you.

Crime: So many tourists. That guy. Young. Nervous. Backpack. Perfect. Grab and ru- Shit! Let go! What’s in here? Pipes? Is that a deton-

Post Apocalyptic: Dan loved it. Free from civilisation. Raiding the camps, crushing the efforts of the rebuilders. Then the toothache came.

Cringe: On the cake were three figures. Bride. Groom. And the baker herself, holding a tiny model cake, so proud to be part of the ceremony.

Superhero: “Tommy” stood a hundred feet tall. Tin helmet the size of a ship. His nemesis strode at him through the mustard gas: “Fritz”.

Dark comedy: The passengers were tense. The pilots wouldn’t stop giggling. “We’re having unexpected… Hehehe… Engine issues…”

Dan Brown RipOff: Dr Sanders, the noted sociologist, examined the 10 rand note. There it was. The rhino. The secret mark of the Broederbond.

Barbarian: “Say your prayers,” said Ord the Avenger. “I was trying to!” said the Snake Cultist, sulkily pointing at the sacrificial virgin.

Kitchen Sink Drama: She couldn’t sleep. There were crumbs in the bed. Insignificant but irritating, like everything about him.

Vampire: “Be alert,” said Mayor Otto. “They suck the goodness out of things.” “Really?” said the hunter, hiding a worm-ridden apple.

Cyberpunk: “Can’t talk, going through a tunnel.” “Whaddaya mean? I’m right next to you.” “Yeah, but without net access, I can’t think prop-”

Love letter: You are the words “This Way Up” printed upside-down on the side of my life. I must turn it right, even if everything falls out.

Cyberpunk: “Call me 404,” says the man in the invisibility suit. “404 Not Found.” The general sighs. Tech always turns hard men into geeks.

Modern Fairy Tale: A Gnungl is a lesser imp, summoned by the sigil ” @ “. Althgh mstly hrmlss, it steals vwls frm yr sentencs.

Steampunk: The cylinder came through the pneumatic tubes. Hidden in a side compartment was a small wax recording disc. Blasted spyware!

Psychological Horror: She stroked his cat. A seam burst, and sawdust poured out. “I can’t let go of anything I love,” he said.

Philosophical:The bottom of the tyre couldn’t understand why the top curves upwards. Tyres need to curve down, to grip the road! No levity!

Romance: They stood outside the speed dating hall, scared to go in. “It never works for me,” he said. “Yeah,” she said. “Wanna get coffee?”

Dramedy: Her ex came in. Her friends didn’t recognize him. They whooped and tore off his velcro stripper-pants. Worst Hen Night Ever.

Sci-fi: Replicators could copy anything perfectly; gas, food, even other replicators. To keep control, the government copyrighted it all.

Western: “Looking for the man who killed ya paw? Dun’t think ya knew who ya paw was. Ya ma sure dun’t,” said the biggest mouth in the West.

Fantasy: He taps my head, and his memories flood me. And the memories of the one who tapped him, too. All the way back. Am I immortal?

Superhero Fantasy: Dr Z spat out a mouthful of coffee. It was luke warm. TOO luke warm. It had to be the work of his nemesis, Moderato.

Tragedy: They sat, hand in wrinkled hand, and watched the wide screen HDTV bought with their son’s life insurance. It seemed so blurry.

Prehistoric Fantasy: Hrugh held up the stick, which had magic on the end. It glowed, flickered, spread to his beard, and hurt.

Comedy: Under pressure from the publishers to “sex things up a bit”, Leo Tolstoy adds a chase scene and shoot out to Anna Karenina.

Stream of Consciousness: The sun was a golden child. Olden child. Wrinkled hands. And old chill followed him home.

Legal fiction: The jury had been rigged. They all had ties to the Family. Every one of them a murderer. A jury of his peers.

Barbarian: “Not that way,” said Xanthia. “It’s blocked by Dark Priests.” A pile of them, actually, from when she had come in with an axe.

Clockpunk: A beast of copper and carved oak clawed out of the canal. The main spring on its back was twisted like Da Vinci’s fury.

Tragedy: He landed the helicopter on the lawn and got out. His daughter ran out to meet him. In joy, he held her over his head.

Fable: Narcissus lay on the glass, scared to move unless he cut himself. He finally understood the problem with literally loving a mirror.

Erotic Horror: Fingertips touched the nape of her neck, stroked her shoulder, and brushed down her body, envious of its completeness.

Fairytale: Mary didn’t chew her food enough, so maggots ate her head, or, in the modern version, she was told off and given ice-cream.

Dark Fantasy: The message on the steel was only visible after being stained with blood. “Those slain by this blade shall rise for revenge.”

Science Fantasy: The only thing between the Mollusc Men and the pastures of Azuria was Trevor of Venus, and a shotgun loaded with salt.

Martial Arts Fantasy: The invading soldiers fell. The temple had no floors, just ropes, and fighting monks who firmly believed in balance.

Afterlife Fantasy: There were harps. And clouds. The ghost of Richard Dawkins looked around, confused on many levels.

Gothic: “Do you really love me? Be honest,” said the inquisitor.

Biopunk: LEGA-C (TM) looks lovable, but inside, it’s so much more! Its mirror neurons let it love, mimic, and eventually, replace you!

Postmodern: This is the start of a story that you’re reading about a story that you’re reading that is coming to an end.

Poetry: If I could, I would express / The words that you could decompress / To infinite expressiveness / In 140 characters, or less.

Adventure: Red Dan watched the commodore’s ship being loaded. 500 rum barrels, each big enough to hold a pirate. Big enough to hold revenge.

Historical: The enemy was retreating west with his kidnapped daughter. “Don’t stop,” Ghengis said. “Kill them all till you find her.”

Children: The wizard stole all the laughter in the kingdom and put it in a bag. Tears of laughter poured out, and washed the wizard away.

Postcyberpunk: The WikiConstitution worked surprisingly well, despite griefing from hacker-lobbyists and obsolete politician trolls.

Creation Myth: The Creator made too much, so invented a Carver to whittle things away. Sadly, the Carver decided to start at the source.

Urban Fantasy: I stopped at the lights. A newspaper vendor walked up behind me, stepped in something, and swore. “Bloody centaurs.”

Cyberpunk: The billboard auto-hacked my brain interface and adjusted my neurotransmitters, making me drowsy. I hate coffee adverts.

Horror: The stone suit pinched his skin until he bled. It wouldn’t stop until he picked up the tools to carve more, for his family.

TechnoThriller: “WW1′s biggest secret was the A-bomb prototype on the Lusitania,” the General said. “Yesterday, Al Quaeda learned to scuba.”

Detective: When she walked in the room, I knew she’d done it. I’d ruled her out before because of the pretty smile and the wheelchair.

Comedy: Outside the trailer home was Deke, on the ground and moaning softly. He’d been trying to siphon the gas, but got the sceptic tank.

Fantasy: The Faerie Army were unstoppable. Arrows flew straight through them. In the end, we had to resort to our deadliest weapon: Doubt.

Fan Fiction: “Thank goodness you’re here, Sam,” said Han. “Take the controls, and let’s see what this baby can do.”

Ghost Story: Esther examined the exorcist she’d hired; stocky, grizzled, and in the moonlight, transparent.

Conspiracy Fiction: “And you haven’t told anyone else this?” said the human rights commissioner, closing the blinds.

Post Apocalypse: He paid for the water in iPod shuffles, which were so ubiquitous in the ruins that they’d become the local coinage.

Comic Fantasy: The Empire of the Cat-People, though formidable, was distracted by a very, very long piece of string.

Creative Nonfiction: Anne painted pictures inspired by the musician Ravel, who, like her, had a brain disease that manifested in creativity.

Magic Realism: Our house was a hut, its walls made from a single unbroken ring of bark from the tree my uncle spent his life chopping down.

Erotic: “Our order,” the Mother Superior confessed, “Has the most unusual habits.”

Alternate History: The border guard reluctantly accepted five million rands, and we escaped into Zimbabwe.

Crime: I regained consciousness lying in a circle of policemen, with the murder weapon in my hand and the shoe on the other foot.


Recent comments:

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    February 28th, 2010 @10:15 #

    Hours of fun here. Random sample: Enid Blighton: Jim, Julie and Jeff went to the beach and thwarted some human traffickers. The police said thank you, and they all had buns.

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Louis Greenberg</a>
    Louis Greenberg
    March 2nd, 2010 @13:15 #

    These are really clever - annoyingly so if you try to *homage* them.

  • Ben - Editor
    Ben - Editor
    March 2nd, 2010 @13:31 #

    I like to read 'em in pairs. Best pairing for me is "Magic Realism" and "Erotic".

  • <a href="" rel="nofollow">Helen</a>
    March 2nd, 2010 @18:34 #

    Just spotted this classic. Dramedy: Her ex came in. Her friends didn’t recognize him. They whooped and tore off his velcro stripper-pants. Worst Hen Night Ever.


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