Link toShort Stories Samples Page for Gam

(Science Fiction)

 

book2-lg-carrolls-shorts.jpg

 

CARROLL'S SHORTS


An anthology of science fiction stories

 

Published in eBook format on Smashwords  

ISBN: 978-1-4523-4881-0

 

A chronicle of science fiction short stories with a bonus humor/satire at the end to leave the reader with a smile.  Though fiction, the science depicted in these stories never strays from the plausible and never fails to grip the reader with a sense of staring into the future.

 

REVIEWS

"Good stories: up past midnight reading them!"

"Grabs one's attention and refuses to let go."

"Easy to identify with the characters."

"Excellent use of descriptive language without being stuffy."

"Looking forward to reading more!"

Aphelion-WritersHood-Dementia-Steelcaves

 

Click here to sample Carroll’s Shorts

For eBooks, visit Smashwords, and select the book you wish to sample or download.

 

 

THE STORIES

 

SLIPPING AWAY: Published on four webzines: Aphelion, Dementia, The Outpost and WritersHood and in the magazine Lost Worlds. [Sample]

 

“I think it is a wonderful story. I found it engrossing and moving.”

“I hated that your astronaut played such a cruel trick on his comrades, but

it provides your story with a real kick in the end.”

Short Story Editor, Aphelion

 

 

THE GALAPAGOS INCIDENT: Published on Dementia webzine, WritersHood and Aphelion [Sample]

 

“I really liked your story, I would even say that it is my favorite in the issue.”

“I'm sure your talents would be appreciated in any of [our] genres.”

WritersHood

 

“A very good story, well plotted, and solidly told.”

Short Story Editor, Aphelion

 

 

SILENT OBSESSION: Semi-Finalist in Tom Howard’s Short Story Contest.  Published on WritersHood and Aphelion webzines, and on the British eZine, Steelcaves. [Sample]

 

 “You’ve maintained your high standard of quality.”

Science Fiction Editor, WritersHood

 

 “This is another enjoyable and thoughtful story by Noel Carroll may the 

husband and wife duo keep coming back with more cool tales.”

WritersHood

 

 “Silent Obsession is a real killer story.  You broke several rules, but the content 

is so appealing that the reader who is just looking for an enjoyable read 

is not going to complain. It works and it is highly original.”

Short Story Editor, Aphelion

 

 “I felt the authors did an excellent job on the whole of 

presenting the mind of a young girl.”

Aphelion

 

 

RECYCLED: Published on two U.S. webzines: WritersHood and Aphelion , and on the British e-zine, Steelcaves.[Sample]

 

“Noel Carroll did a good job: the ending surprises, but it is a fair ending. The reader has 

a sporting chance of figuring it out.  It is one of those [stories] that 

gets even better upon a second reading.”

Aphelion

 

“A story that is an exercise in irony.”

Short Story Editor, WritersHood

 

 

THE COLLECTIONPublished on two U.S. webzines: WritersHood and Aphelion , and on the British e-zine, Steelcaves.[Sample]

 

“Noel Carroll did an excellent job of building suspense and horror 

without revealing any antagonist.”

WritersHood

 

“The Collection is well done. I could easily visualize the protagonist on the glacier

and I could feel the horror of the trap he fell into.”

Short Story Editor, Aphelion

 

“The Collection is a well-written and haunting story, telling us how 

the greed of humanity seldom wins out over the raw power of nature.”

Aphelion

 

 

BUTTERFLIES: Published on the Aphelion webzine [Sample]

Also published in audiobook format by AudioRealms

 

....butterfliesCD.jpg

 

“I have to compliment Mr. Carroll on his vision.”

Aphelion

 

 

STAIRWAY THROUGH AGONY: Published on Aphelion [Sample]

 

“I loved the story. Very original and emotional. You are very good

at conveying the emotions of the people involved.”

Aphelion

 

 

BEYOND SAPIENS: Published on the Aphelion webzine(Selected as one of Aphelion’s “Best of 2004.”) [Sample]  

Courageous diary-like recounting of a classic "what goes around comes around.”

Good irony. Good tale.”

“You really get a sense of the personality of the character.”

Aphelion

 

 

THE END OF THE BEGINNING: Published on the Aphelion webzine [Sample]  

 

“Good story, … it made me think.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed the read.”

“That's some vision.”

“An intriguing read.”

“Obviously tons of work and thought went into this.”

 “ I rate this story as one of the best.”

Aphelion

 

“Very original and interesting plot.”

Zeotrope Stories

 

 

BY INVITATION ONLY: Published on the Aphelion webzine [Sample]

 

“Very descriptive, and very idyllic.”

“Excellent research is evident.  A fun read, indeed.”

“Loved the richness of the language and descriptions.”

“This is one that will stay with me.”

Aphelion




THE ELITE:

REVIEWS

(Not yet reviewed)

Sample

THE ELITE  By Noel Carroll



The giant star Betelgeuse explodes into supernova, its close proximity to Earth making it both an attraction and a source of apprehension. Not to worry, the scientists say. But are they correct?


Sample

I'm a louse!  I think I knew that all along, even as I tried to convince myself otherwise, pretending there was nobility attached to what I did. My name is Gilbert Carter, and I write this knowing I must hasten to get it done or my poor Nicole will never come to know how I felt as disaster closed in on us. But then, maybe that would be some kind of justice, the gods saying I don’t deserve either understanding or relief.

God, how quickly things can change!  As little as one year ago, I had everything going for me. I had just graduated with a degree in aeronautical engineering and was ready to set the world on fire—not the best way to put that as you’ll soon see. I had the woman of my dreams, soul mates she and I, a pretty dark-haired thing about five inches below my six feet. Nicole and I lived together for all of our college years with the idea that we would marry as soon as I landed a job. We swore unending mutual fidelity, even imaging ourselves dying in each other’s arms in some kind of elderly-lovers’ suicide pact.

When the surprise explosion happened, Nicole and I regarded it as spectacular, a cosmic event that we knew would occur some day, even as we expected it to be in someone elses lifetime. On a moonless night, the sky suddenly radiated a flash of light from horizon to horizon, leaving in its wake a brilliant star about a quarter the size of our moon. Surprised and just a little apprehensive, the two of us watched with fascination, the event a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Our apprehension soon faded as a panel of scientists appeared on TV and explained to the world that what we were seeing was the huge star Betelgeuse going supernova. The excitement they radiated was contagious, even as much of what they said went over our heads. Betelgeuse, they told us, was huge, reaching 100,000 times the size of our sun. Earth was but a pimple on its butt in normal times, but now, with the explosion pushing that giant star well out into the cosmos, we would be to it as an atom is to the moon. They said Betelgeuse had actually gone supernova some 640 light years ago, that it took all that time for the light of the explosion to reach us. 640 light years is considered by those in the know to be close to Earth, but not dangerously close, thus the citizens of the world could regard it as nothing worse than an unusually bright light in the heavens.

Nicole and I joined the rest of the world in fixating on the sky, even during daylight hours and even while crossing busy streets—accidents were common during this time. Betelgeuse was a magnet that drew everyones attention no matter where on the planet they were. No one had ever seen a star so bright, so...close!  TV screens became filled with romantic (and often exaggerated) descriptions and pictures, what it was, how long the effect would last, when it would go back to being just another star. Nicole and I ate it all up and asked for more.

It was Nicole who first noticed a shift in the way the “experts” were covering the phenomenon. The confident faces we viewed earlier began to fade toward the side of uncertainty. At first we considered that these scientists were tiring of the subject, but when uncertainty turned to something bordering on fear, I joined Nicole in doubt. Looking back, I count that as the moment when we both awakened to the possibility that our future might not be entirely ours to decide. It was just a feeling, but I could see in her eyes that it was shared. It was as if we could no longer be sure of anything.

No explanation was given other than that the scientists at NASA and at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, were seeing anomalies and needed time to interpret them. Hardly reassuring, at least not to Nicole and me, and it did not help to see a mirroring of fear on the faces of TV anchors. Their words turned hesitant and cautious and often ended in a question mark. Clearly something had gone wrong. And contributing to our growing unease was the fact that no one was willing to say what that something was.

We divided our time between the TV and the sky, the latter only adding to Nicole’s anxiety. To her Betelgeuse seemed still to be growing, and if true, it would mean it was coming our way, maybe heading for a collusion with Earth. I reminded her that the experts claimed that to be impossible, but there was a notable lack of conviction in my voice as I said it.

We continued this pattern of confusion laced with worry, each passing day seeing our imaginations outrace our eyes in a willingness to see an approaching apocalypse, an end of time slowly but inexorably working its way toward us. Events proved that many, if not most, of the world’s 12 billion souls were as caught up in this as we. Already some had gone beyond fear to panic. Not knowing where to go or what to do, people were beginning to protest, sometimes allowing this to lead to riot. Few doubted that things would get worse unless somebody finally told us what the hell was going on!

It was another anxiety-filled day and a half before that earlier group of scientists again came together, this time to put out a brief opinion, one that came across as so hesitant and so ambiguous that it made matters worse!  One after the other, they preached to the world that we were over-reacting to a natural phenomena, that we should calm down until more is known.

Their expressions and rhetoric, however, said they did not believe a word they were saying. Their red-lined eyes and poorly-shaved faces told us they had had little sleep since the event began, and throughout the conference no one offered anything even closely resembling a smile. Nicole and I nearly flipped when they added in their closing statement, an insincere expression on the speakers face, “So you see, there is nothing to worry about—at the moment.” 

Nicole put our thinking to words, “At the moment”?!

The riots worsened, bringing with them injuries and an occasional death. We who were out of the loop, which included just about everyone on Earth, were frightened and we needed answers!  Now!

Nailed down and intimidated enough to start spouting truth, the panel of scientists again reassembled, this time to admit what at first offered more confusion than relief. “When a star as large as Betelgeuse explodes,” they said, “the resulting release of energy often includes a powerful gamma ray burst that would be fatal to anything in its path. All life on any planet in the way of this burst would be exterminated.” 

This was not news to Nicole and me, but since the axis of this giant sun was pointed away from Earth, we supposedly had nothing to fear from its gamma ray burst. “So whats the big deal?” we asked. “Why the gloomy faces?  Why put us through all this anxiety?”  Well,” they said, “Betelgeuse went into supernova, as expected, but its remnants were not acting as expected.”

The damn thing was wobbling!

We shrugged our shoulders and again asked, “Okay, so what?”  Maybe a disappointment to scientists but of little consequences to those of us who simply admire the night sky. It was not until one of the more astute reporters in the room asked what effect that “wobble” would have on the cosmic burst, that we got another of those answers offered without either a smile or a hint of sincerity. “Not to worry,” they said. “There is almost no chance that it will affect us.”

“Almost?”

The poignant stares and obvious hesitation of panel members told us more than their words, and when they again began to speak, not in one voice but many, they sought to assure everyone that, though the remnants of Betelgeuse could be considered close to Earth, its axis was still pointed away from us. The deadly gamma ray bursts, which admittedly were sure to follow, were not likely to come our way.

“Not “likely”?!  What the hell did that mean?  And what would we do if “not likely” began inching toward “likely”?  The panel of “experts” did not seem to realize that they were only making matters worse in their attempts to explain the Betelgeuse wobble.

The cries of “apocalypse” grew louder, with many claiming “the vengeance of God was soon to be upon us!”

Not sure where the “vengeance of God” people were coming from, other than to put words to what many had been fearing for some time. Our planet, as mentioned previously, now housed some 12 billion souls, which was getting to be more than Earth could handle. We all knew something had to change, though we were realistic enough (pessimistic is more honest) to accept that nothing would, that humanity being what it is, we were unlikely to agree on any solution that failed to take into account the highly divergent views of all 12 billion of us. Some, and that included Nicole and me, feared we were nearing the point where we had no choice, that if we did not in some way cull ourselves, nature would do it for us. Already our air was bordering on dangerous, our water was risky at best, and food, even synthetic food, was becoming more and more difficult to produce (not to mention its increasingly poor taste). Worse, the 12 billion showed no sign of being a final number. Few doubted it would soon be 13 billion, and so on.

So it was hard to argue down those who saw a message in Betelgeuse and its wobble. To them, God saw a problem and decided to maneuver that wobble into a tool to “cure” Earths overpopulation. Only problem was they could not explain how this would do humanity any good.

As we feared, things got worse.

It took a while for scientists and those employed to reveal the best and worst of a cosmic event to admit that Betelgeuses wobble was proving to be unstable, that it would continue to swing its deadly gamma ray emissions toward Earth, that Earths population was not to be culled, but exterminated. Not only we overpopulating humans, but every living thing on the planet. In a flash, we went from “dont worry” to “get your affairs in order!” ……….




 

 

- Top -

 

 

 

Comments