Chapter 39


By Jenae Janzen

39 and since the beginning there have been memos
                                  the occasional solar autograph-signing
  cosmic drafts,
              universe-sized, half-sketched, half-created.
    then crumpled and discarded
                              in a blueprint wasteland larger than heaven
                  the angels  thrown out,
                               humans next
2 and since the first day, copy-editors and
                                    trans-material architects:
                                    scheming deities
                                   and the critics of their works.
3 whose Great Voice is that?
              the sky is creasing, crinkling,
                          the bare first sign of a different timeline.

To Infinity and Beyond: Imagining Liba College Futures and Other Science Fictions

Short Stories

By Ami Regier


The new entrepreneurial president was desperate. What small colleges do that no other form of higher education can do, he thought, is create a world. It is a very special, intense world, characterized by full-body, full-mind, live time scenarios 24-7, involving arduous journeys through the rugged terrains of, among others, liberal arts, technology, music, undergraduate research, and athletics. With much creativity, small colleges create their own educational structures and intercollegiate competitions. While musing about this, the president was multitasking along with the first-year students, having occasional google hangouts while reading the community-wide text Reamde, by Neal Stephenson. Reamde imagines that videogame realities are starting to intersect with real-world economies and power-brokers. In Reamde, students in China hack into Russian mafia financial data in order to make college tuition money. The data sets get imported into the game and held for ransom. Students problem-solve how to win access to the data sets in gaming logic (by winning in the game construct) but end up resolving real-world conflicts. When the president read the line about how people were tracing each other’s locations in two realities, the president turned to the webcam and shouted “Brilliant—that’s it!” Before long, the college had shifted the location of classroom learning into narrative worlds. A new major combining gaming, programming, international business, and writing was developed. Students developed problem-solving methods in the narrative context of multiplayer games, writing the next plot event after each problem was solved. As in Reamde, tuition money could be sited in the game, with portals for payment and collection based on student research, labs, logic proofs, performances, and creative activities built into the game. Soon, students world-wide were enrolling in the narrative world of Liba College. Residential inhabitation was optional, but students tended to choose it, because they could live as their game avatars and written selves during the duration of each class segment. Invented lives of mathematicians, economists, scientists, computer programmers, musicians, innovators, and super-athletes became real lives.

The Green Jacket

Short Stories

By Jenae Janzen


I work on a hunch. I’m always working on hunches. I have a hunch that if I follow a man in a green jacket into a corner store I’ll find a solution. I used the colors only in order. I colored only on the right-hand pages.

Today I realize I don’t love you. Today I realize love is only an illusion, and that I only wished to love you. Today I realize that you are only an illusion and I only wished to love you. I wanted to tell you this in person, but I had forgotten. I was too in love with the idea of love to admit this.

We’re taking the interstate. You’re driving. I’m sitting in the passenger seat, reclining, I’m holding a magazine and the directions that we printed off have slid onto the floor and gotten lost amongst the fast food wrappers and discarded clothes. I flip a page and read you advice on pleasing girls. You ask me to read you the exit you need to take instead. I put my sunglasses on.

You miss the exit. I just shrug because I don’t really care where we’re going. You yell at me to find the GPS and I hand you your backpack. You don’t like this. I don’t care.

I read you another article, and this one’s on “sex cravings,” whatever that means.

You turn on the radio, so I start talking louder. You turn up the radio. I start talking even louder. This goes on for several minutes before you nearly run off the road and that shuts us up. After too long of a silence, you see a sign for a hotel and we pull off into the parking lot.

My Friend, The Tree


By Rebecca Epp


Sitting by my dear old friend;

Her feet planted firm, toes reaching out

For water, burying themselves in the

Creekbed slate, crumbling beneath

Her gentle weight. She’s so strong

My friend, strong and still;

An ancient relic upon the hill.

Surrounded by others who look

At her with curious eyes; their heads

Tilted with the wind as if saying

How long has she been here?

So long she’s become one with the

Earth, one with the sky, one with

Me. Lucky I am to sit in the shade

Of her attentive gaze; like a shepherdess

Lovingly watching her sheep graze.

A rod in hand and a clear eye;

She walks with grace and purpose

In the low sunlight. Always rooted

In the same spot on the hill, yet

Travelling where her heart would will

Her to go; roaming free among

The mossy puddles, all that remain

Of the flood. I nestle into her bark

So soft and wait for her to speak

Her wisdom. But, she only sits

Basking in the sun, soaking up the

Last of the heat waves; for the frost

Will soon be on its way home.


The Crying Sky- Prologue: Deuteronomy

Short Stories

By Ben Preheim 

Not many alive today know how to listen, but for the few who do, they would know that even the trees were nervous.  The shaggy bushes and neatly trimmed hedges stood on edge; their leaves were silent.  The air was still, the animals quiet. A figure in a flowing black cloak strode like a ghost down a narrow rubbish-strewn street. He had been overwhelmed by the noise and chaos of the main streets.  These people were insane in their love of bright lights that burned without wood or oil, and their noisy vehicles. He chuckled, they called this progress, but they were barbaric than they had been hundreds years before.  The air was so laced with pollutants that it nearly made him choke.

He made his way to what the locals called Seraphim Abbey.  He could see it now, plainly visible in the pallid light of the possessed lamps that illuminated it.  The abbey was a large gothic church with a majestic rose window at the front, flanked by two square stone towers.  One tower held the bells, sweet bronze bells that rang on festival days.  The other tower had an enormous clock face on the front side; its hands read five minutes from midnight.

Tension started to build in his chest, and he shivered with excitement.  Oh, how long he had waited for this moment.  After years of preparation, plots, and counterplots, he had come to this moment.  He could barely contain himself.  Finally, after so many years, he’d be able to complete his mission.

Lunch Upon a Time


By Kyle Doesken


This isn’t a story of heroes or fairies,

the kind that you’d find on the shelves in libraries.

You’ve heard those before, so I’ll tell you instead

of a story neglected: the heel of the bread.


Our story begins with an average loaf,

purchased by some unremarkable oaf.

An average loaf of whole grain wheat

for an average guy wanting something to eat.


This may sound bizarre, but it’s perfectly true,

that slices of bread are like people like you.

They share but one goal. They have but one dream.

They want to be eaten, as strange as that seems.

They’d find that they’d met with a wonderful fate

If they’re grabbed from the bread bag and put on a plate.


Through Cupped Hands


By Jacob Brubaker

Switch:  flick.

Marvel at the concept,
let normalcy impress you.
The fruit of your eyes allows a skewed
Trust me, set your life upon my shoulders.
I will never betray you,
only you do that.

Gear:  click.

I fumble with a compass,
perched by my hand;
Can you fathom?
But you winked at me, felt
that you understood.

Cog:  clank.

Ring around the rosey.
Flit about with me, friends.
Without fail, the circle will break.
Gone, simple whisper
lost in rushing gale.

Clock:  tick.

You tried to hold on,
tiny fingers clasped water,
and failed.
Needn’t fret,
it was inevitable.