Flash Fiction: Elements of a Successful Exit Broadcast


by Stewart C Baker

Stewart C Baker is an academic librarian, haikuist, and writer of speculative fiction.  His work has appeared in Flash Fiction Online, Nature, Galaxy’s Edge, and is forthcoming in Writers of the Future volume 32, among other places.  Stewart was born near London, England, has lived in South Carolina, Japan, and Los Angeles, and now makes his home with his wife and two children in Oregon—although if anyone asks, he’ll says he’s from the Internet.  His website is http://infomancy.net.
I. Ambiance

Your surroundings affect how your audience perceives you.  Record in a clean bunk, away from the burning, rancid horror of the bridge.

II. Clarity

In speaking of your situation, omit nothing.  State what happened, and at what point during the hyperdrive transit.  State why.  If you do not know, say so.  List the names of the living and the names of the dead.  If you do not know, say so.  Take deep breaths to steady yourself.

III. Awareness

If possible, angle the camera so that your wounds cannot be seen.  

IV. Restraint

Do not speak of your sister, her plans for her infant son.  Do not speak of your longing for cool rain against your skin.

V. Rhythm

Speak wistfully and logically in turn, but do not lose sight of objectivity.

VI. Conciseness

Do not ramble, cry, scream, or rail against the outstretched void of space.

VII. A Sense of Posterity

By the time your message reaches home, everyone you knew will long be dead and buried.  You are speaking for the future, from the past.  Make eye contact.  Do not stutter.  

VIII. Afterwards

Try, if you can, to be happy, thinking of times gone by.  The end won’t be long in coming.

If you enjoyed this story, check out the rest of the November-December issue of FSI!


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