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As previously reported, science magazine Nature has been running a regular series of short science fiction stories in its pages. Typically these stories are short (about 1,000 words or a single page of the magazine) one idea pieces based around a particular scientific conceit. They have also been only accessible to paid subscribers (which only seems unreasonable).

I happened to check their website today and found that the latest two stories are accessible, and was delighted to see that one of them was by Charles Stross. His story, MAXO signals, is one of the better very short pieces I’ve read all year. Recognising the limitations of the format, Stross doesn’t attempt to build character or unwind plot, rather he chooses an apparently universal characteristic and lets it play out until the reader either smiles or groans (or both). To tell anymore about the story would be to remove any point in reading it. Suffice it to say, it’s well worth clicking on the link.

Stross seems to be making something of a habit of getting published in science magazines. He also has a short story, “Remade”, in the September issue of Australian science magazine Cosmos. The story isn’t online so you’ll either have to buy the issue, or wait for a new story collection. I haven’t read the story yet, but will report later.

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