Concise Fiction

In Wired, a few science fiction and fantasy writers answer the challenge to come up with very short stories, six words or fewer!

We’ll be brief: Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words (“For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”) and is said to have called it his best work. So we asked sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers from the realms of books, TV, movies, and games to take a shot themselves.

Dozens of our favorite auteurs put their words to paper, and five master graphic designers took them to the drawing board. Sure, Arthur C. Clarke refused to trim his (“God said, ‘Cancel Program GENESIS.’ The universe ceased to exist.”), but the rest are concise masterpieces.

Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.- William Shatner

Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?- Eileen Gunn

Vacuum collision. Orbits diverge. Farewell, love.- David Brin

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.- Joss Whedon

Automobile warranty expires. So does engine.- Stan Lee

Machine. Unexpectedly, I’d invented a time- Alan Moore

Longed for him. Got him. Shit.- Margaret Atwood