Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint about rewiring things and punching people, I'm on a weekly gaming podcast called The Crate & Crowbar, I wrote these two short stories in the Machine of Death collections, and I used to write articles like these for PC Gamer. I'm now prototyping two new games, Heat Signature and one about grappling hooks.
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My second piece of published fiction will be out in July this year, as part of This Is How You Die: the second collection of stories about a machine that can predict your death. (My first was a story in the original collection, and you can read it here).
But! Editor David Malki is also Kickstarting a card game based on the same concept, and since it’s blown its funding goal by over 1000%, they’re releasing a few stories from the anthology to say thanks.
One of them is mine! You can read it now! Here it is!
It’s about a supervillain’s henchman tasked with the job of having their enemies killed in a way that doesn’t contradict their predicted deaths. It is called: LAZARUS REACTOR FISSION SEQUENCE!
If you can’t read it, go here.
My first thought on the plane was “Oh man, Club Class on this flight looks just like the lowly World Traveller Plus.” Then, “Oh, that was World Traveller Plus. This is Club Class.” Continued
Club World isn’t first class, but it makes it hard to imagine what is. Do their seats go beyond horizontal, into back-breaking reflex angles? Do they face out into the open air, to guarantee three miles of leg room? After the champagne, three course meal and brandy you get in Club World, is there a heroin course? Continued
I think stand up comics do a lot of plane food material because they travel a lot for their work, and travel is boring, and boredom gets you thinking. This is how I’ve come back from a trip with 3,000 words about my seat. I’ll put it up in parts, and since I don’t have any photos of most of it, I’m going to illustrate it with pictures from an unrelated adventure. Continued
I look bad, I smell bad and I feel bad, but I’m back. I was taken to Texas by a guy named Pete, but alas not Texas Pete from Superted. There I:
a) chinwagged with cigar-chomping bigwigs, immediately accepting their offer of a cigar and necessary ‘cutter’, despite having no idea how to cut a cigar, no memory of how to correctly smoke one and a physical reaction to tobacco that borders on allergy. Continued
“The simultaneous ambush and galaxy-wide hangar theft inflicted financial damage upwards of 30 billion ISK – $16,500 US dollars at IGE.com’s prices. The value of the stolen assets utterly dwarfed the original fee for the job. And yet the only item the Guiding Hand’s anonymous client requested for himself was the cold, dead body of the target. It’s safe to say this was personal.” Continued
It came from the den. Later I’d learn that it had followed a much quieter, “Oh fuck. Oh-”
My first thought was that it had broken. I was going to spend a lot of time, over the next five years, wishing that I’d been right about that.
He burst into the room, crunching the door hinges and smacking the handle deep into the plaster. He nearly fell over trying to stop. I didn’t say anything, just stared.
“391! He was on the train this morning! He was one of the victims!” He stared too. We just stared. “Look it up!”
I didn’t have to. I didn’t have all our test cases memorised yet, but 391 I did know: EXPLODED. Continued
Somewhere between the recording someone made of AOL refusing to let them cancel their service and the story about the woman whose father AOL insisted on billing for nine months after his death – once telling his daughter to “shut up” when she protested – I missed the part where AOL released all thirty-six million search queries that five hundred thousand of their users made over the course of three months. Continued