Saturday, August 8, 2015

Notes from the Editor: "Only Disconnect"

Third Flatiron's summer edition calls upon Presentism as a theme: the pitfalls of distraction, overstimulation, and other attention thieves—too much to do, too little time. We asked: Are we becoming ADD? What are the advantages of being "in the present," or even bored?

      We open with Evan Henry's near-future detective thriller set in Shanghai, "Seventh Sense," a world where there are "too many people" and the State tightly monitors everyone. What would you do to have just three minutes to yourself?
      Arrest and interrogation with undisclosed charges is a common science fiction nightmare, but Steve Coate adds a new twist in his dark tale, "Jacked." ("But officer, I wasn't even there, I tell you.")
      We're so connected to our identity as human beings, it's interesting to contemplate what would happen if we had to take an alien perspective into account, as in Jonathan Shipley's "Aqua Equal," a fun tale about the first Earth student to attend college with our alien overlords. Evelyn Deshane takes us to the "Carnival of Colours," where aliens judge you by the color of your name.
      We're featuring a lot of game-related excitement in this issue. Stephanie Flood's adventure, "A House of Mirrors," and Jason Lairamore's "She Dies," show us that it's not always "just a game," but that's the fun of it, right?
      Though it saves us the trouble of dating, online romance can be risky, and it's even more so if the intelligent AI running the network doesn't like mushy stuff, as in E. E. King's "Just Visulate."
      We can't resist a bit of the steampunk, of course. In Matt Weinburg's "The Eyes in the Water," a young blogger gains a wide audience as he tracks the mystery of his deceased uncle's intelligent creation.
      Connect with the Earth rather than Bluetooth? Maybe going back to Nature is the solution to today's over-booked world. When a couple goes camping together in Adria Laycraft's "Killing the Green Man," we learn that's not always the case.
      It's just a gut feeling, but we think Robert Lowell Russell is onto something when he says "Super Bugs" are about to give us a nudge.
      Other humorous offerings for this round include Elliotte Rusty Harold's "Email Recovered from Genetech Debris, Lieutenant Jeffrey Abramowitz Investigating" and Wendy Nikel's "Life After Download." Whew, take a breath. And then call your mother.
      Finally, we close with Paul Barclay's luminous "Into the Light," where we learn that even though you can't hug a hologram, even a character who's not very likable or connected with people can still have the best of intentions that turn out to benefit humanity.
      "Only Disconnect" proudly showcases an international group of new and established speculative fiction authors, who help us decide whether it's time to disconnect—or instead to connect even further.
      It's available on Amazon and Smashwords.


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