It’s time for another Collaborative Cliché! We all have subgenres we love, and they all have certain elements that endear them to us. And, sometimes, they use those elements just a liiittle too much.

We are going to start you off with anonymous villains, hidden asteroids, mysterious energy beams and gruff star ship captains. Yes, it’s our homage to Space Opera. Please bring out your most tired, over-used, predictable tropes, and use the Comments section to add to our interplanetary story. One random commenter with a USA address will win a book from our Stacks. And now we have liftoff:


In a secret installation deep in an asteroid, a villain we won’t name yet chortled with evil glee. “Sayonara, Steelshanks,” he sneered, getting ready to launch something nasty at the ship that filled the screen in front of him. ‘Sayonara’ wasn’t culturally accurate but he liked the alliteration. His expression changed to one of terror. “What is that?” A blinding blue light filled the room.


“What in the name of the Five Suns was that, Ensign?” barked Captain Jackson Steelshanks, his ruddy face becoming even more ruddy. Klaxons bells screamed the alarm throughout the bridge.

“N-n-not sure, Sir” stuttered Ensign Maddy McStammerly, frantically recalibrating her board so the blue lights flashed in sync with the yellow lights.

“Well get sure!” Captain Steelshanks barked. “You’re not in the Academy anymore Ensign.”

McStammerly chose not to point out that since their ship was called The Academy, she technically was in it.

“Some sort of energy wave, Sir. Trying to find its source now.” Her fingers flashed so that the green lights were now turning on and off in time with the white ones.

“Someone shut off those damn bells!” Captain Steelshanks barked. The bells stilled.

“That can’t be,” Ensign McStammerly muttered to herself.

“What can’t be?” the Captain barked. “Where in the name of the Six Asteroids did that beam come from?”

McStammerly shakily flicked off a purple light, then spun to face the Captain’s ruddy face. “It came from the Founding Forerunner’s Array, Sir.”


Now it’s your turn! Add to the story in the Comments. You can come back and add as many passages as you like. One commenter with a USA mailing address will get to choose a book from our Stacks.


  • Bill Capossere

    BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.

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