Voices/Future Tense

An Orions’ Arm E-zine


Voices/Future Tense is interested in your voice.

We are looking for fiction, nonfictional articles, and art submissions for our e-zine. Guidelines are as set forth below:


V/FT seeks literate, strongly plotted science fiction stories between 1,000 and 10,000 words, set at any time within the ten thousdand year span of the Orion’s Arm universe. Successful submissions will have original ideas, strong characterization, fidelity to the OA canon (as set forth at http://www.orionsarm.com), and appeal to the sense of wonder. Stories must be clear and understandable. Longer submissions will be considered for serialization.

As befits our participation in the Orion’s Arm project, V/FT encourages non-traditional forms of storytelling. Comics, manga, Flash animations, hypertext, poetry, music… all such submissions will be considered. Please bear in mind that technical dazzle is fun… but story is essential.


V/FT is looking for reviews of fictional works and media science fiction which might be of interest to the OA audience, as well as articles on the sciences and technologies which underpin the Orion’s Arm project. These articles will ideally be from 500-1000 words.

Features should provide both context and breadth of information. You are writing for a wide range of readers. Subjects should be of interest to the OA community — transhumanist, extrapolationist, “hard science fiction” readers, whom are interested in how we might get from here to 10,000 AT.

Reviews can be outspoken and vigorous. However, V:FT will not publish libellous or offensive statements, and insists that it’s contributors behave as professionals. We are neither a shill for the entertainment industry, nor are we a home for petty personality sniping. Be fair; be honest; be professional.

Reviews are just that. Synposizing a work is not a review, and we probably won’t accept such submissions.

Reviews should contain the following information:

    Genre(s) (e.g., science fiction, fantasy, horror, superhero, etc.)
    Format (book, CD-ROM, VHS, DVD, film, etc.)
    Rating (MPAA, ESRB, etc., where applicable)
    Date of Release/Publication
    Date of Review
    ISBN numbers, where applicable


All submissions, regardless of genre, are subject to the following editorial policies:

Format: Submissions will be accepted by email; they should be sent to dedoc at mac(dot)com, with “Submissions” in the header, and with the article itself as an attachment in DOC or RTF format. The submission should include title, author’s full name, address, contact information, and word count at the top of the story. Avoid the use of unusual fonts. Please include a brief bio and credits, if any, in the body of your email. Queries are welcome.

Comic, manga and animation submissions must be complete and web-ready upon submission. Where applicable, such submissions should NOT rely upon browser-specific tags or plugins; V/FT is meant to be read on a
variety of browsers, including current versions of Netscape and Internet Explorer, older versions of those browsers, Mozilla, Opera, Safari and others.

Audio files must have contact information (similar to the instructions above) in the body of the email. Submit files in standard MP3 format on a disk or CD.

We look to respond within five to eight weeks after receiving a submission. Depending on numerous variables, however, it may take longer. Please give us ample time before inquiring about a submission’s status. All submissions, whether fiction or nonfiction, are subject to spelling and grammar editing as well as to review for content. V/FT retains the right to act as any other publication and decline submissions for either artistic or technical reasons.


Articles published on V/FT are published by permission of the authors. For original submssions, we require exclusive electronic rights, meaning the same article cannot be published elsewhere online or in electronic form. The only exception will be if the board of directors for the Orion’s Arm Worldbuilding Group considers a story to be of such merit that they invite the author to have it featured on the main Orion’s Arm website, on the Stories page; V/FT articles will always be allowed to be published in such a case. Articles which have appeared in other venues will be considered for V/FT, in accordance with the rights of the author and all prior publishers. Any article published on V/FT will be removed on request of the owner, at which time electronic rights revert to the owner.

All articles based on the Orion’s Arm canon are subject to the following copyright terms:

All unsolicited Orion’s Arm Content added to the main website(s) prior to January 1, 2008 is protected by the Creative Commons Limited Rights Reserved license. You may go to the Creative Commons Home Page to learn more.

The OAUP previously used this attribution, non-commercial, share-alike license. What this means is that you are completely free to publish or distribute a copy, or modify, the relevant Content, without asking for permission from us, as long as:

    you attribute the original to us
    you do not use the work for commercial purposes
    you include the same Creative Commons license on the copied or derived work

If however you do wish to use the Content for commercial purposes, or don’t wish to give it a Creative Commons license, an arrangement must be agreed upon beforehand by either the original Contributor(s) in question and / or the Board.

Any Content covered by the Creative Commons license is free to use including any or all concepts or ideas or events or characters or entities unique to the OAUP setting, including all the details, in any project of your own, assuming the above condition is met.

All of the above conditions do not apply to generic transhuman or hard SF concepts like nanotech, superhuman AI, megascale engineering, traversable wormholes, personality uploading, animal or other uplifts, human-animal splices or hybrids, orbital habitats, terraforming, gengineering, posthumans, the singularity, etc, etc, all of which are already part of the current SF framework, and in any case predate the OAUP in some form or another. Orion’s Arm in no way owns, or claims to own, these concepts. Nor does Orion’s Arm own the idea of a shared world employing transhumanist or other hard SF themes or tropes. So you may freely write a story, create a game, a shared world, or anything else, bringing together all these themes, in any way, as long as it doesn’t specifically copy Orion’s Arm.

All unsolicited Content added to the Site(s) after January 1, 2008, and all solicited Content, is protected by United States copyright law, international conventions and other applicable laws. Copyright is maintained by the original Contributor(s). The OAUP shall include a copyright notice on the Content as it appears on the Site(s). Copyright registration, if any, is the responsibility of the Contributor.

In the event that negotiations for commercial rights to an author’s work occur after publication by V/FT, the Editorial Board of the Orion’s Arm Worldbuilding Group is the point of contact for permission to use Orion’s Arm material for commercial purposes.

Save as set forth above, all other rights are retained by the author.

One Response to “Submissions”

  • Mark Ryherd says:

    Traveler’s Tale –Conver Ky
    Mark Ryherd

    My pilgrimage has come to its inevitable end. Although it took longer than I had initially expected, at last I am here. The final leg of the journey was delayed until I could obtain passage on a beamrider that would be making a relatively close approach to my intended destination. The Deepers I had contracted with steadfastly refused to come within a thousand AUs of the primary. I can’t blame them for their hesitancy, in light of the rumors circulating on the Known Web about what still remains here after all of these eons.

    I was brought out of nanostasis while the primary was just barely distinguishable from the tapestry of background of stars. I spent most of my time reviewing all the preparations I had made. Once I left this ship there would be no turning back, no one to rescue me if events didn’t unfold as planned. The only distractions aboard were some fellow passengers, who couldn’t be considered by any stretch of the imagination to be great conversationalist. It was a disappointment that after countless stimulating discussions with great philosophers and scientists that I was reduced to engaging in such an insipid alternative.

    The day before I left a chance event happened while I monitored the ships progress on external monitors. I was alerted that an occultation of the primary was taking place. Immediately I linked with the ship’s visual array, I have been told these can’t truly be appreciated until seen in deep ultraviolet wavelengths. Following this I spent hours dwelling on if it was considered a bad omen to leave on.

    I was still undecided on its significance as I detached my spaceplane the following day while still well within the oort belt. For weeks I meditated in solitude with no interruption. Ever since the moment I had gazed into the heart of Sacred Geminga I knew what my destiny would be, and couldn’t allow the virtue of self-preservation to deter me from my fate. I had to ensure my will was strong now that I was so close. The first time I saw my destination on the ships monitors, just an ochre spec against a stark black backdrop, I was elated. Days passed until even without the use of augmentation I could easily distinguish geographical features. The deceleration drive separated from the spaceplane having served its purpose, and the spaceplane itself prepared for atmospheric entry.

    Usually I prefer to take manual control when performing a descent. The chance to feel the ship strain against the forces of nature as the craft reacts to my every command never lost its allure for me. It has always been a point of pride for me that I was a self-taught pilot, no tachydidaxy short cuts for that task. However, this descent was different. Maybe I was losing my nerve, and the reality of it all was finally catching up with me. The turbulence was enough to knock me unconscious briefly. The autopilot system began operating before my overconfidence in my abilities had any real chance to do bodily harm to either the ship or myself.

    The spaceplane acted as a shelter against the intense wind on the surface, allowing me to wait in relative comfort until the sandstorm outside abated. Despite this as hours turned into days with the storm showing no signs of letting up, I was overwhelmed by curiosity and took a short walk outside to inspect the external surface of the craft.

    When I reentered the ship, I tried the best I could to maintain sterility in the compartment, but a few grains still managed to find their way in. Each particle looked harmless enough; but while I stared the granules aligned into geometric patterns and spread. The movement was so slow I was only convinced that my eyes were not deceiving me after reviewing the logs for the internal surveillance system. A primordial sound escaped my lips as I realized that these were not inert grains of silica but undeniably a most heinous creation. I hastily removed everything that was not essential to life-support from the interior of the ship. Even with this prudent course of action, I was certain the damage had already been done. The floor remained etched where the particles had come to rest, mocking me for my inquisitiveness.

    Waiting inside my now spartan quarters for the storm to end allowed me time to reflect on the planet that will soon be my grave. Conver Ky had once been the capital world of the Conver Ambi empire. It had surpassed all other worlds of the Inner Sphere in accumulated wealth, housing the treasure obtained from thousands of controlled systems. As has been the fate throughout history with all great empires, the Conver Ambi eventually found itself eclipsed by upstart rivals. However, proud Conver Ambi refused to simply step aside and become irrelevant. For their hubris to oppose the plans of the newly ascended AI gods, the Conver Ambi was struck down by infighting.

    Now six thousand years later, this entire system remains as a vast monument, a sign to those who dare to challenge the will of the gods. With a thought the archailects, could cleanse this entire system of the nanoweapon spores and drifting singularities that plague it. However that is not their will.

    They have seen fit to sear into the collective consciousness of all terragenkind a reminder of what befalls those who forget their place in the hierarchy of minds. I weep for the quadrillions of beings who now have access to more freedom than at any time in history, but are now confined by the will of the archailects. Restrained by providence of unknowable AIs, never again will anyone be in control of their own destiny.

    Now with the encompassing storm having died down I can make my trek. Each footstep I take is muffled in the crumbling remains of parched earth, but in this desolated environment each step reverberates with near deafening percussion. Long ago impactor weapons colliding at relativistic speeds boiled away the oceans and charred the ground down to the bedrock, turning the atmosphere into a toxic brew. Having never recovered from that ancient war, the entire planet remains enshrouded in a holocaust, beyond the scale of anything that came before it. My climbing remains bearable for now only by wearing an envirosuit, protecting me from these inhospitable conditions.

    The ground gives away beneath my feet, and my body has become an unwitting participant in a rockslide. Sky and ground alternate in quick succession until they become an unrecognizable ashen blur. When I finally come to rest I try to assess my condition. My ears detect a high pitch squeal. I can’t be sure if this is just a result of being struck on the head or if my suit was losing pressure, though I suspect the later. The enviro suit has basic self-repairing capacity, so either case the solution is to momentarily stay still. This time when I get back on my feet, I take a little more care to where I place my feet, I make my way up the hill side.

    On an outcropping I find a place to sit down and catch my breath. I honestly didn’t expect a short hike to be this exhausting. Summoning the final reserves of my strength I lift a head that now feels to have suddenly multiplied several times in weight. Looking to the horizon my eyes are greeted by the sight of a landscape turned to slag that stretches out in all directions. The primary is setting fast, and this close to the equator twilight will not last long. I have called too many stars to remember “Home” and it is so strange to know this alien sun is to be the last object I will ever see.

    I won’t be moving from this spot. I now know my envirosuit is rapidly losing integrity. I can smell the putrid gases now. Soon I will have to switch off portions of my sensory receptor signaling in my nervous system, unless I wish to be overwhelmed and risk passing out. But these impurities won’t be my ultimate undoing. Though I can’t feel their direct effects yet, I know the disassembler nanites are coursing through me, converting me into nanotech dust. The moment I stepped on to this planet I was exposed. My envirosuit is disintegrating by the second due to them. Having fought unwaveringly, buying me enough time to take this trek, the augments to my immune system are now devastated. Hours ago I silenced the incessant notifications of impending failure.

    So accepting the inevitability of my situation I turn my mind to what will be my last thoughts. I summon the words of Tacitus. Tacitus, who in a language now long dead couldn’t have written words more relevant to this dead world if he had tried; Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, they call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.

    Pax archaica. The archailects control all within their realm, and with no way to escape beyond their grasp I go now to the only place I know they can’t reach me. I do not dread this truth; I welcome the liberty of oblivion.

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