Featured December 1, 2017 Science Fiction

Elements of a Successful Exit Broadcast

By Stewart C Baker
Sep 18, 2017 · 223 words · 1 minute


From the editor:

This week’s featured story may be short, but it packs a punch. I love “Elements of a Successful Exit Broadcast” for its almost eerie rhythmic qualities (and I may be crazy, but reminds me of Radiohead every time). Stewart C Baker, now residing in Oregon (by way of England, South Carolina, Japan, and California), is academic librarian by trade, and has written many fine short stories, several of which can be found right here on Curious Fictions. Give them a read!

I. Ambiance

Your surroundings affect how your audience perceives you.  Record in a clean bunk, away from the burning, rancid horror of the bridge.

II. Clarity

In speaking of your situation, omit nothing.  State what happened, and at what point during the hyperdrive transit.  State why.  If you do not know, say so.  List the names of the living and the names of the dead.  If you do not know, say so.  Take deep breaths to steady yourself.

III. Awareness

If possible, angle the camera so that your wounds cannot be seen.  

IV. Restraint

Do not speak of your sister, her plans for her infant son.  Do not speak of your longing for cool rain against your skin.

V. Rhythm

Speak wistfully and logically in turn, but do not lose sight of objectivity.

VI. Conciseness

Do not ramble, cry, scream, or rail against the outstretched void of space.

VII. A Sense of Posterity

By the time your message reaches home, everyone you knew will long be dead and buried.  You are speaking for the future, from the past.  Make eye contact.  Do not stutter.  

VIII. Afterwards

Try, if you can, to be happy, thinking of times gone by.  The end won’t be long in coming.

This story originally appeared in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination.