Go Back John Clare's Personal Website Sunday, June 23, 2024
Short Stories

Remember the question, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And remember the suburban answers? -- Fireman, Ball Player, Rock Star, or "an Engineer, like my Daddy!" (In that my father was an Optical Engineer, rather than of the "Choo Choo" variety, that wasn't exactly my personal goal.) For myself, I wanted to be a Lumberjack, and not for any great love of the Big Outdoors - I just liked chopping things.

Later, somewhere around age 9, I latched onto a real goal, in as much as a 9 year old can have career ambitions. Lumberjack be damned, I wanted to be a writer! More to the point, I wanted to be a novelist.

It all started with Edgar Rice Burroughs, and his 1914 novel, "A Princess of Mars", which moved me to tears. (Remember, I was nine.) After that, Robert E. Heinlein's "Have Space Suit, Will Travel." Over the next few years, I devoured most every novel each of those respective authors had written; which is saying quite a bit given the 90 or so novels that Burroughs wrote. After branching out to other authors, I remember, at the age of 10, giving a book report on the complete "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

Simply put, books were cool. Science Fiction & Fantasy... well, that was beyond cool.

When I was 12, my parents brought home an electric typewriter. It was intended for my older sister, Barb, but I was the one completely fascinated by it. Suddenly I could lay down on paper something that looked quite a bit like the books I was reading. And so, with my sister's Typing-Tutor manual in hand, I taught myself how to touch-type.

At first all my "stories" were stream-of-thought dumps, with little if any punctuation. Eventually, they started to take form, and I began writing all kinds of short stories, mostly of the SF and Fantasy variety. I started my first novel when I was 14, but bailed after 100 pages or so. I started and completed my second novel when I was 16, followed up with another uncompleted novel. Believe me, I was quite fixated on the idea of becoming a writer. By my 18th birthday I'd accumulated a whole drawer full of rejection slips from various publishing companies, turning down countless short story submissions. Although not indicative of any success, it does show how hard I tried.

Sadly, I published not a single piece of fiction. Not one thing my entire life. Other than software, the only thing of mine that ever made it to "production" was a letter to the editor of Cars Illustrated Magazine. (And they called me "Eraserhead", for some reason I choose to forget.)

Enter the 1990's and the World Wide Web, where I "publish" my website. OK, I'm playing way loose with the terminology, but here on my website I can "publish" anything I want to. Therefore, here are a couple of my old short stories. One is titled "Slow Motion" - it was written in 1991, and is a somewhat complicated & depressing little story about a temporal distortion drug. The other I wrote as a teenager; titled "Divine Interface", it's a very light story about 2 kids and an old computer.

So go ahead, give them a read and enjoy!

"Slow Motion", 1991

"Divine Interface", 1982