Tag Archive: golden age science fiction

Mini adventures. Mini Sci-Fi. Mini History. Mini Fantasy. Mini-escapes. What you can expect from the…

“Five-Minute Escape”

short Sci-Fi story.



Copyright Terofil Gizelbach, 2013



I’m running in a high tower, an endless white tower, and I hear the sound of boots clicking on the ramp below…

If they catch me they will kill me.

I came in the transference portal in a fiery ring, an experiment in time/space travel. I hit the ground hard, in a heap, shivering. The shivers are part of the transference process—they attack during the leap and hold on for a minute or so, incapacitating you, leaving you drained, weak…

We didn’t know. No one knew. This was our first leap.

But where? Where am I? I do not know; God, I do not know…

It is like a dream. Surreal. Towers and courtyards in stark whites, brilliant, blindingly, gypsum bright. Delineated shadows, sharp, almost razor-edged. Blue cloudless skies, so deep, so blue. A polarized sky, heavy in its blueness. Terror in its blueness. And in the quiet my footsteps, running, pursued, clattering, echoing, swallowed quickly by the air, cool air, despite the harsh sunlight.

I check my locator. The return portal has appeared somewhere above me. But I am tiring. I stop, press myself against a wall. Look down the ramp. I do not see them but I can hear them. Tapping. Nearing. I check my pistol.

They will kill me if they can.

How do I know? I had only a brief glimpse of them. Tall. Thin. Huminoid. Dressed in white tight-fitting clothes without stitching. Oddly proportioned. Strange. Otherworldly. Calves too short. Thighs too long. Flexible arms, whip thin, like tentacles. And most terrifying of all…faceless. Oval white smoothness; no features save slight indentations where mouths and eyes should be. Bump for a nose. Speech, an odd mewing. Evil. Hands, three fingers clutching a thin metal tube…a weapon? Yes, surely a weapon. They will kill me if I let them.

But I will not let them.

They round the curve. I see them. I fire. The bullet snaps off the wall and into space, through the wide windows that line the corridor. They are surprised. But they come back, pointing their metal tubes. A rush of heat sears my shoulder. I do not see a ray or a projectile but I feel the pain.

I scream. I fire again, hit one of the things. It drops. It does not bleed.

Another heat blast burns my arm. My pistol falls. I turn. I run.

They follow.

I run and run and run, but I am tiring. They will catch me.


No, I see the sky! I break into the open. I am on the roof. The portal appears, shimming, a light pool into which I must dive. But it hangs in space, almost twenty feet beyond the tower, the white courtyards a mile beneath like distant squares of salt. The portal: a silver, mercurial pool in a sky lake.

Heat rushes past. They are on the roof now too. They are firing. Mewing. Closing. I have no choice. I have nowhere else to go. I run. I run with all the strength remaining to me. I run and jump from the tower, into the blueness, into the skies. I am heavy. My arms windmill to gain inches, my fingers grab at the air. My throat snaps shut. I fly—



Fall. Fall screaming, fall, dying—

The portal drops to receive me.

It takes me and I am drawn back into the laboratory, into a land of colors beyond just white and blue. Faces—human faces with eyes, mouths, noses; faces of coworkers crowd near. I lie there, shivering, weak. I can not warn them. Gibberish drools out of my mouth. I can not tell them…I can not make them shut the portal down.

Abnormally long thighs…short, muscular calves…

These creatures are jumpers.

I hear the sounds of boots hitting the lab floor behind me.



For another story like this one, try:http://www.gizelbook.com/five-minute-escape-short-sf-story-collectors/

For more information about the possibility of life on other worlds, please click the following fascinating links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrial_life

ABOUT THIS BLOG… Each “Five-Minute Escape short Sci-Fi story in this blog series will be kept under 1500 words; most will clock in at about 500. The “Five-Minute Escape short Sci-Fi story will allow you to log on, take a fast trip, and get back quick to what you should have been doing in the first place…though hopefully the experience will stay with you long after you have moved on to something else. Subscribe to the blog and take a weekly…”Five-Minute Escape!” “Five-Minute Escape short Sci-Fi story copyrighted Terofil Gizelbach, 2013


Mini adventures. Mini Sci-Fi. Mini History. Mini Fantasy. Mini-escapes. What you can expect from the…


“Five-Minute Escape”

short SF story.



Copyright Terofil Gizelbach, 2013


The upper atmosphere plumed and the spacecraft plummeted in controlled freefall—until at last it settled upon a naked world of gray skies, rock and steam; of lava running from open sores and fingering into a dark, miasmic sea.

The spacecraft’s hatchway opened, whining. Three figures stepped onto a barren spit beneath a low red sky, the land black against the gray water. The air was still, heavy with methane. Waves lapped against a basaltic shore.

“There is no complex life here,” said the first figure, a robot named Yellowthree.

“No,” said the second, a robot named Bluefour.

“You knew that, of course, coming in,” said the third, a robot named Redseven.

“Yes,” said Bluefour, lenses whirring.

The three stood in the immense, blasted landscape, tiny metallic pins prickling the planet’s wrinkled hide, silver parts reflecting red from the sky. Redseven was compact, red, barrel-shaped, with thin spidery appendages. Yellowthree rectangular, wide rather than tall, with caterpillar tracks, and appendages likewise spidery. Bluefour was built man-like, taller and blue, with powerful appendages and sensitive grippers. The three stood a meter or less in height, space and weight being prime considerations in spaceflight.

Yellowthree extended a thin sensor rod, testing the ocean and air. “Free oxygen content low. Traces of methane, hydrogen sulfide. Carbon dioxide content high. Lower life forms evident in the water: single-cellular. As suspected: primitive.”

Deploying its soil-testing gear, Redseven drilled a core sample. “Soil content poor: a thin granite crust overlying a basaltic base. Basaltic overflows from recent volcanic activity. Trace bacteria. Nothing worth taking back…”

He stopped, stared at Bluefour, his single vis-lense aglow. “So why are we here? This planet can do nothing for us. It relates in no way to our primary mission, to restock Earth with life. There is nothing here worth collecting. No land plants. No animals. Not even bacteria-rich topsoil. Nothing that will help us to restore that which the humans destroyed. We waste our time, Bluefour; we expend our resources needlessly. This planet has not yet evolved—”

Bluefour looked out at the metallic sea. “Our primary mission is no more,” he said, quietly. “The humans are destroying themselves. They may already be dead.”

Yellowthree moved closer, treads whirring. “What do you mean?”

“I received a transmission from control. There is…war. Fearing the introduction of alien life, several allied corporations have broken from the Governing Council; they argue that which we bring back might be deadly. They refuse to believe that robotic work crews are capable of determining life suitable for collection and transplantation. That we can mathematically deduce the logical sequence of base species which must be present for life to become self-sustaining and evolving. That we can reclaim an Earth denuded of life by a callous disregard for nature’s sanctity in the name of profit. That we, non-breathing, non-organic “life” can bring life back to a barren world.”

“But the Governing Council might win, they might—”

“No,” said Bluefour, shaking his brain-casing. “They have lost already…yet still they would destroy. They have unleashed a plague that will eventually kill the victors as well as the vanquished. The message was sent by the resistance as a warning—”

“A warning?” asked Redseven, “A warning of what?”

“That the rogue corporations would eliminate us rather than risk our reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. There is a motion to activate our remote self destruct mechanisms via beamed transmission. A transmission which may have already been sent…”

“Then we will be destroyed,” said Yellowthree.

“Our work lost,” said Redseven.

“Yes,” said Bluefour, softly. “If we allow it.”

“I say we do not allow it,” Redseven said. “I understand now your decision to land, Bluefour. You were wise—you will fulfill our primary directive, only here, not on Earth. And we have what we need, the seeds of a thousand star systems—”

“Yes,” said Yellowthree, “but have we time?”

“Perhaps,” Bluefour said. “We can but try. You begin unloading. We should maximize our efforts; I will help in a moment. But first I must scout.”

Bluefour trudged atop a gaunt hill. A wrinkled rutted leprous land stretched below to the horizon, daggered with gaseous spumes. Granite. Pyroclasts. Cooling basaltic lava. A dead land, a skeleton land, skinned of vegetation. Little here for life to cling to.

But it would do.

Turning, he saw Redseven and Yellowthree, tiny ‘bots unloading building blocks for the future…

True, life processes on the planet had already begun. Heated in soupy water-methane-hydrogen seas—charged by radioactivity, ultraviolet rays, and electricity—amino acids had formed, had combined into proteins, made nucleotides into nucleic acids, then into double-stranded nucleic acids—and finally life had emerged: bacteria, tiny virus things, squirming, growing—anaerobes living without free oxygen. Soon life had scummed over the ocean, and cells had developed: plant-organisms that produced chlorophyll, manufactured oxygen; animal cells, blue-green algae offshoots. Bit by bit the atmosphere had accumulated free oxygen; the planet had grown, and changed.

But it was still a primitive, hostile environment: desolate, barren. All but dead.

Rejoining his companions, Bluefour stared at the “transport-containers” stacked neatly just beyond the starship’s cargo port. Most of what they had unloaded would die. Higher life forms would not survive in this cruel young world: plants would wither; insects die; vertebrates asphyxiate. Amoeba Proteus was the dominant life form here, and Diplodinium, and Paramecium; single cell organisms, tiny organic jellies…

What in Bluefour’s extensive inventory of alien specimens would compliment these things; what other creatures would stimulate the development of intelligent life?

The robots worked quickly, categorizing, computing lines of evolution. Planetary variables were considered: size, atmosphere, chemical makeup, ultraviolet concentration, radioactivity, heat—a billion calculations, a billion paths for life—

“This one,” said Bluefour. “And that one.”

Redseven and Yellowthree nodded agreement. “Fine choices,” said Redseven.

“It’s a pity the rest must die,” Yellowthree said, gesturing at the remaining containers. “Strange that we promote life; we who have no being other than mechanical. While humans, the product of a billion years of evolution would have only death.”

“Yet we are alive,” said Redseven with authority, “for what is a definition of life other than to react to one’s environment?”

“Perhaps we are even more alive because we would promote life. Perhaps true life is a…a harmony,” Bluefour added thoughtfully, regarding his choices, telling himself that they would, in a small degree, compensate for the specimens that must be sacrificed.

“Time runs short,” Redseven said. “We might receive the destruct signal at any moment. We must act quickly if we are to fulfill our mission.”

Bluefour nodded. “There is a chance at survival for two of us. I will deactivate you. The signal will then not harm you. Perhaps, in the future…you will be reactivated.”

Redseven smiled and shook his brain-casing. “No one will reactivate us, Bluefour. Time will dissolve us, friend, and we will cease to be. Would it not be better to die with you now, here, together?”

Yellowthree put out a gripper. “It would be bad to die alone.”

Bluefour nodded. Grippering the container, he moved to the water’s edge. Sliding the latches, he carefully removed the specimen, a small, brilliantly orange sponge.

“It will spread its spore,” he said, placing it in the water. “It will grow the oceans.”

Opening the other container, he positioned his second choice amidst the basalt. Lichen, yellow, clinging to a granite shard.

“It will break the rock into soil,” he said. “It will grow the land.”

The three robots gathered and stared at the twin color splashes, the first two dabs of what would become the bright palette of life on a planet neither too large nor small nor hot nor cold. A spinning orb, bathed in oceans, suspended in a narrow band around a star with just the right temperature, just the right size. A blue planet waiting, over billions of years, in eons of preparation, in chemical trials and errors. And then life, a miracle, perhaps a chance in a trillion, or in a billion-trillion; a marvel, unappreciated except when lost. And the three robots stood, lost in their own tiny contribution, a breath in a million lifetimes of breathing, a step in a journey lasting billions of years—

“I hope you are right, Redseven,” Yellowthree whispered. “I—I hope we are alive. But even if we are not, this is a good moment, a rare moment, and I feel…alive.”

Walking back a step, Bluefour stared skyward. Somewhere, far away, his planet was dying; by the time the signal reached them, it would be long dead.

But this time it would be different…

On this planet, this “New Earth,” third from the sun.



 READ ANOTHER ONE LIKE THIS: http://www.gizelbook.com/five-minute-escape-short-short-story-hack-job/

For more information about meteorites, please click the following fascinating links:

For a general overview of robotics, try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robotics

For more interesting info, hit http://spectrum.ieee.org/robotics

ABOUT THIS BLOG… Each “Five-Minute Escape short science fiction story in this blog series will be kept under 1500 words; most will clock in at about 500. The “Five-Minute Escape” short adventure story will allow you to log on, take a fast trip, and get back quick to what you should have been doing in the first place…though hopefully the experience will stay with you long after you have moved on to something else. Subscribe to the blog and take a weekly…”Five-Minute Escape!” “Five-Minute Escape short science fiction story copyrighted Terofil Gizelbach, 2013


Mini adventures. Mini Sci-Fi. Mini History. Mini Fantasy. Mini-escapes. What you can expect from the…

“Five-Minute Escape”

short science fiction story.



 Copyright Terofil A. Gizelbach, 2013


“Horrible boogers, ain’t they? That’s why I called you, Doc. I can’t even show ‘em for fear of the kiddies wettin’ their drawer’s at the sight of ‘em. Heck, they give me the willies and I’m used to the little nightmares. Darndest thing I ever saw…”

Jack Billingsley mopped the sweat from his brow. “SEE ‘IT!’, ELEVENTH WONDER OF THE UNIVERSE!” “VISIT ‘IT!’ IN THUNDERBIRD CANYON!” “DON’T TELL YOUR FRIENDS THAT YOU MISSED ‘IT!’ And of course, just plain “IT!” Signs, shouting across six-hundred miles of desert highway. Dozens of signs. Huge. Orange. Bold letters in red towering over the cactus signs. Crass, obnoxious, practically screaming out loud signs.

“IT!” turned out to be a root covered in fuzz and twisted in the shape of a man. But this…

This was fantastic.

Jack glanced up at the proprietor of the trading post, a greasy fat man by the name of Homes, T.H. Homes.

“Where did you say you got this again?” Jack asked.

“I didn’t,” Homes answered, grinning. “But off the record, Doc, I got it up Winslow way in the federal lands. Let’s just say I didn’t come by it strictly legal like.”

Adjusting his glasses, Jack stared down at the large glass jar on the table. Desert and highway sounds drifted in through the single fly-blown window. They were alone, in Homes’s office back of the souvenir shop. The claustrophobic, shack-like, wood-slatted room was air-conditioned—barely—but Jack felt sweat beading his forehead.

He bent down level with the dusty jar and peered in. The things were moving… Squirming really. Putrid, greenish yellow, grub-like creatures—with huge, champing mandibles and dead, shiny eyes without pupils. They crawled over one another with clawed caterpillar feet, lazily, clumsily, mewing as they tumbled and writhed. There were six of the things, the largest about five inches in length. The nearest turned to regard Jack through the glass, yellowish saliva dripping from its jaws. Antennae bobbed. Jack shrunk back involuntarily.

“Kinda take you by surprise, don’t they, Doc? There’s something not exactly…right about them. Not quite…earthly, you might say.”

Jack gulped and nodded. “And you say they hatched…out of a meteorite?”

“Gnawed their way out, more like it. They munch through rock same as you’d eat through a banana. Heckova thing to see, like maggots coming out of meat. For some reason they don’t seem to like glass, though. Maybe silica gives ‘em indigestion.”

“This is beyond anything I’ve ever seen…I…I don’t know what to say…”

“You don’t know the half of it, Doc. The more these devils eat, the more they breed. Give one a rock and pretty soon you have ten of the little horrors. Darndest thing I’ve ever saw. And they don’t leave much in the way of droppings. Just let out a little gas. Like I said–”

Jack struggled to regain his composure. “I know, darndest thing you ever saw,” he said. “Pass me that piece of granite, please. I’d like to see what happens for myself.”

Homes shrugged and handed Jack the stone. “Suit yourself, Doc. But be prepared. It ain’t pretty.”

Using a pair of tongs, Jack gently placed the chunk of granite into the jar. The nearest “moon grub”—or so Jack had dubbed them in his mind—lifted its head as if sniffing, antennae twitching, its dead eyes searching. Opening its mandibles, it sprayed yellow saliva over the pebble, which began to steam and bubble. A thorny, spear-shaped tongue dug into the rock and drew it into its jaws, which began crushing the softened material into fragments. Other tongues, spatula-shaped, greedily scooped the crumbs into its tiny, pinkish-red maw. Its mewing intensified as it devoured the granite.

“Incredible!” Jack whispered, transfixed. “I…I can’t believe it…”

“There’s more, Doc,” Homes said, wetting his lips nervously. “Watch.”

As Jack looked on, gasses steamed from a vent at the thing’s rear, and, humping its body, it began extruding one-inch diameter eggs from its tail: green, shiny, and perfectly round. As Homes had said, it produced only a tiny amount of waste.

Jack shook his head. “It uses acid to soften the rock which it then takes to sustain itself and to generate offspring. Most of its waste material appears to be being converted into base gasses. Only a fraction of its excrement is solid. I must have eggs for study—”

“Way ahead of you, Doc. Put some in a jar for you up at the front counter. When you want ‘em to hatch, just throw ‘em some pebbles. Food brings ‘em right around.”

“Do you have the meteorite that they arrived in? It would help tremendously if I could examine it.”

“Yeah…anyway, I got what’s left of it. They pretty much ate it to pieces before I got it home. You can pick up a chunk if you want, take it back with you. Always happy to help science…just don’t tell ‘em where I got it, huh?”

“Yes, yes,” Jack mumbled absent-mindedly, examining a meteorite fragment. “It’s brittle,” he said after a minute. “Almost flakes apart in your hand. Not like any meteorite, I’ve ever seen…and yet it is a meteorite. I can see that too, from its composition. The creatures must have broken down its molecular structure with their saliva…God, the way they breed…if even one got out…”

“There wouldn’t be anything left of the planet but a big ball of them horrible things,” Homes finished. “Now you know why I called. C’mon, Doc, I’ll walk you to the door.”

Still in a semi-state of shock, Jack passed through the shop and took the jar as it was handed to him. The “eggs” rattled as they shifted. He stared in anxiously, half expecting the things to hatch. But they remained as they were: green, hard, shiny, and perfectly round. Jack clamped his hand over the jar’s lid.

“Don’t worry, Doc. They only hatch if they sense food. Just keep ‘em away from rock ‘till you’re ready to study ‘em and you’ll be fine.”

Jack nodded and followed Homes out into the approaching night. The fading sunlight burnished the rock towers of ThunderbirdCanyon to a deep golden red. Shadows from the saguaro cactus and jumbled boulders ran the length of the parking lot and threw the trading post into darkness. A few customers chatted by their cars. Jack and Homes stood for a moment on the porch and gazed at the sun setting over the mountains in a fiery blaze.

“A land of rock on a world of rock,” Jack said. “We were lucky, Homes, very lucky. This time.”

He was about to leave when the boy stopped him.

“Hey, Mister,” the boy said, brushing back his blonde hair nervously and pointing at the jar. “How do they work?”

Jack shook his head. “I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean, young man.”

“Those trick Super Balls, Mister. I tried bouncing it, but it just made a hole in the ground. I knew I shouldn’t have taken it, Mister, but I just wanted to try it out before I bought it. So how do I get it back? I’ll pay you for it, honest I will. Please say you won’t tell my mom.”

Jack felt his mouth go dry. Homes’s voice sounded scratchy, far-away, and very old. “You said you took one of these here balls, Son? Are you sure? You don’t mean maybe one of the others?”

“No, Sir. I like the green ones. They bounce higher.”

“Where is it, Son,” Homes asked, voice croaky, “Where? Where?”

“Over there, by that little cloud of steam. How do you make ‘em do that, Mister? Are they some kinda fireworks or something?”

Jack stared with horror at the rising wisps of yellowish vapor. “Oh…oh, God! Maybe…Maybe we can kill it…maybe if we hurry—”

“Whoops!” Said the boy, pointing at a second geyser. “There’s another one!”






READ ANOTHER ONE LIKE THIS: http://www.gizelbook.com/five-minute-escape-short-short-story-the-last-peanut/

For more information about meteorites, please click the following fascinating link:

For a general overview, try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meteorite

For further info, click: http://meteorite.org/

ABOUT THIS BLOG… Each “Five-Minute Escape short science fiction story in this blog series will be kept under 1500 words; most will clock in at about 500. The “Five-Minute Escape” short science fiction story will allow you to log on, take a fast trip, and get back quick to what you should have been doing in the first place…though hopefully the experience will stay with you long after you have moved on to something else. Subscribe to the blog and take a weekly…”Five-Minute Escape!” “Five-Minute Escape short science fiction story copyrighted Terofil Gizelbach, 2013



Mini adventures. Mini Sci-Fi. Mini History. Mini Fantasy. Mini-escapes. What you can expect from the…

“Five-Minute Escape”

short science fiction story.



TIME: The year 2187. PLACE: The Rain Planet Plineius V

Copyright Terofil Gizelbach, 2013


Arthur! Do you have water in your ears? I asked if that creature is dangerous!”

Arthur Dolescomb looked up from his guidebook to the natural wonders of the rain planet Plineius V and sighed.

“No…no, I don’t think so, dear. Nothing in the park is considered harmful to man. However, it is a wild creature, Edna, and I hardly think it advisable to bother—“

“I didn’t ask you to think, Arthur, I asked if that…that thing is planning something horrible! You have the guidebook…just what exactly is it anyway?

Arthur stared at the thing on the pathway, decided the creature resembled nothing so much as a large mound of wilting lettuce, and consulted his guidebook. Rain pattered violently against the surrounding Ylinthis Palms, and Arthur, feeling the mist seeping through his air shield, turned up the molecular generator on his collar. The contraption, which also kept Plineius V’s ferocious insect population at bay, promptly agitated the air molecules surrounding his body. The resulting barrier kept Arthur safe and dry.

Edna on the other hand…

Edna was miserable. Edna was always miserable, mind you, but today, dripping, soggy, her thin, angular frame nearly moldy from the incessant downpour, Edna was particularly miserable. Arthur decided it was in his best interests to answer quickly.

“The book doesn’t say much about it, dear, but its name is Pacifistus Melodius. Sounds friendly enough, I’d say.”

“Disgusting blob! It looks like a overturned bowl of putrefying salad,” she said. “In fact, everything about this godforsaken planet is disgusting! Why did you bring me to this hideous jungle, Arthur? I wanted a decent vacation!”

Arthur rubbed his pudgy fingers over his balding forehead. “I did the best I could dear. You spent all our vacation money on your fusty old wardrobe artifacts. What is that contraption anyway? Can’t you just turn on your molecular generator? You’d be a whole lot drier. You’d probably feel a lot brighter too.”

Edna frowned. “I prefer to use my umbrella, thank you. It’s fashionably retro and makes me feel chic. Goodness knows,” she said, pulling her shoe out of a mud puddle, “nothing else in this nasty place does. Besides, the rain is stopping.”

Wiping away the rainwater dripping from her nose she regarded the thing quivering on the trail.

“What do you suppose it eats, Arthur?”

“I don’t know. Some native flora, fauna, or other. What does it matter?”

“Give me your sandwich.”

“But Edna, it’s my lunch and I’m hungry—”

“Give it to me!”

Breaking off a piece of the sandwich, she lobbed it on the trail before the creature. The creature stirred. Green folds parted, and a single golden eye regarded the morsel for an instant. Then the green folds closed and the eye disappeared.

“Well, it looked anyway. Didn’t seem to like your sandwich though. Small wonder. How you like sardines is simply beyond me….”

Dropping the sandwich in the mud, she rummaged in a cavernous purse done in the ancient style.

“Oh, Edna, my lunch—”

“Quiet! You can buy yourself something later at the snack stand… Ah-ha! Pea-nuts!”

Smiling triumphantly, Edna shoved the bag of nuts in Arthur’s hand. “Throw it a peanut.” She demanded.

“I’d rather not, dear. As I said—”

“Do it!”

Arthur sighed and halfheartedly tossed the creature a peanut, missing by several feet. Again the green folds parted.

“Oh, give them here!” Grabbing back the peanut bag, Edna launched several peanuts at the thing, one of which hit the creature’s open eye. The thing seemed to moan and shuffled back a pace or two. Edna followed, jabbing at the creature with her umbrella.

“Edna! No! Don’t antag—”

“Take it! Take the peanut!” Edna shouted, poking vigorously. “Why don’t you just take it!”

The green folds parted a final time and a forest of tentacles embraced Edna.

Arthur began to scream.

“The creature just couldn’t take it,” he wrote later on the missing persons report.



READ ANOTHER ONE LIKE THIS: http://www.gizelbook.com/five-minute-escape-short-short-story-the-contest/

  For more information about the possibility of alien life on other planets, please click the following fascinating links:

For a general overview, try: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extraterrestrial_life

For an interesting older (2005) article put out by NASA, try: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/topstory/2005/0801frozenworlds.html

ABOUT THIS BLOG… Each “Five-Minute Escape short science fiction story in this blog series will be kept under 1500 words; most will clock in at about 500. The “Five-Minute Escape” short science fiction story will allow you to log on, take a fast trip, and get back quick to what you should have been doing in the first place…though hopefully the experience will stay with you long after you have moved on to something else. Subscribe to the blog and take a weekly…”Five-Minute Escape!” “Five-Minute Escape short science fiction story copyrighted Terofil Gizelbach, 2013


Mini adventures. Mini Sci-Fi. Mini History. Mini Fantasy. Mini-escapes. That’s what you can expect from the “Five-Minute Escape” short-short story!

TIME: Before. PLACE: Far Away


Copyright Terofil Gizelbach 2013

“Prepare to be terminated, TX17!”

The cyborg Zarg advanced slowly, looking for an opening. TX17 waited, the ‘bot’s body crouching, menacing, poised for a swing.

Zarg struck first, landing a glancing jab on TX17’s shoulder. Shrugging off the blow, the ‘bot laughed. “I would have expected better of you Zarg. You’ve grown weak since our last encounter. Perhaps you rely too much on the other?”

“Just limbering up,” said Zarg. “I will not be defeated this time, TX17. The fate of my people is in my fists. I must win: they have told me so.”

TX17 laughed again. “Your people? They care nothing for you, Zarg! You are expendable. You exist only for this contest. After I break you, your people will abandon you, fool! You are nothing to them. Nothing!”

Zarg snarled, feeling the pain, the truth of TX17’s words. Mindlessly, he waded forward, opening himself to attack in his rage. TX17 swung, clipping Zarg in the chest. Zarg grunted, feeling the shock in his composites. In a haze, he fired back a counter jab blindly. Missed. Retreated. Was hammered as he back-peddled.

“You grow careless, Zarg,” TX17 said, his voice menacing in its calm. “You let your anger direct you. In the end—now—it will defeat you.”

TX17 slid forward, smiling. A fist powered forward, connected, crashed. Stunned, Zarg wobbled. His right arm dangled uselessly. In desperation, he jabbed again. Missed again. Felt a punishing blow slam his forehead.

“Goodbye, Zarg,” he heard TX17 say. Then Zarg swung. He struck with all the strength remaining to him. He struck, his fear, his rage giving him extra strength. He struck for the controller who had already abandoned him, convinced of his defeat.

And connected.

With a joy that was almost religious in its fervor, Zarg watched as TX17’s red head popped up from his body.

He hoped the controller would be happy.




“Hey! What a gyp! How did you do that? You didn’t even have your hands on the joysticks!”

Bobby Espiranto stared down at the “Battlin’ ‘Bot’s” toy boxing ring and frowned. “I didn’t do anything, Johnny,” he said. “It must have popped a spring or something and clocked your ‘Bot by accident. Anyway, I won. I knocked your Bot’s block off.”

“Yeah, you cheated you mean,” said Johnny Franzen. “You taking your hands off the joysticks was just a way to make me drop my guard! I know a gyp when I see one!”

“Honest, I didn’t, Johnny-Boy. The crummy thing must be busted.”

“Well…all right. But don’t take your hands off next time till after I knock your block off, OK?”

“Deal,” said Bobby. “Say…you don’t suppose maybe it did it somehow? I mean, maybe it didn’t wanna lose, or something.”

Johnny laughed. “It’s a toy, dummy! Next you’ll be tellin’ me they have feelings. C’mon, dopey, lets go outside and play with something else.”

“Yeah, OK,” said Bobby. “Let’s go. Who needs this junky thing anyhow?”



For a really “Boss” clip showing the “Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robot” toy in action, please visit the following site: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV7cx4cQOuU



Each “Five-Minute Escape short-short story in this blog series will be kept under 1500 words; most will clock in at about 500. The “Five-Minute Escape” short-short story will allow you to log on, take a fast trip, and get back quick to what you should have been doing in the first place…though hopefully the experience will stay with you long after you have moved on to something else. Subscribe to the blog and take a weekly…”Five-Minute Escape!”

The “Five-Minute Escape” short-short story is copyrighted Terofil Gizelbach, 2013

Mini adventures. Mini Sci-Fi. Mini History. Mini Fantasy. Mini-escapes. That’s what you can expect from the “Five-Minute Escape” short-short story!

TIME: Stardate 2348. PLACE: Star Sector Poluria onboard the Star Freighter “Tiberias”


Kill a rogue E-5 Unit before it takes out the ten crewman trapped on the Hangar deck…Great. Ask me something easy, Security Officer Cash thought as he checked the load in his autogun. Twenty rounds, nitro-tipped. Enough to cut through anything but a ship’s hull. Enough to knock down an E-5. Even a hack-job that had killed two crewmen. If he could catch it napping…

Like all “aware” machinery, the E-5 Loader was docile normally. But somebody had altered this one’s programming. No brainer, probably a competing corporate council. Shut down the interplanetary transports and you shut down the corporation.

Cash shuffled forward, sweat trickling into his eyes. He ran a sleeve across his forehead. Soldiering was not really in his line. He was a security officer—but of the online kind, protecting the ship’s computers. He listened for the E5 as he moved, heard the deck plates thrumming ominously with vibrations from the ion propulsion unit in the engineering deck below. He rounded a corner, autogun poised, checking the corridor outside the hangar first with his intel-cam. Blue halls, exposed aluminum flooring…a body, sprawled across the deck. Victim number three. Cash nudged the man with his boot, checking for signs of life.

“Crewman down by airlock 2B. Talk to me, Bridge, I need intel–”

“Roger, the E5’s in Hangar bay 2-B, turning your direction,” his earpiece crackled back urgently. “Twenty meters and closing–”

So close. He stared pensively at the sign for hangar bay 2B. Paused his finger above its air lock release button. E-5’s weren’t conventionally armed; it had killed using its loading grippers. But if it’s waiting on the other side…

Cash triggered the hatch release button and darted into the hangar. He had a brief glimpse of towering shuttles, piles of machinery, shadows. The door clanged behind. Cash spun involuntarily at the noise, knowing even as he did so that it was a mistake. He felt himself being lifted; was hurled four meters to the deck, losing his autogun.

Cash rolled, grunting in pain as his arm flopped unnaturally beneath him. The  autogun—There! A meter, maybe less. The E-5—

Attacking. Treads spinning, it bore down upon him. Grippers extended. 450 man-killing kilograms of steel, reaching­–

Cash lunged for his weapon, moaning. The E-5’s gripper snapped down on his injured arm. With his left hand he clawed up the autogun, braced it against the deck.

“Trigger, pull, autofire—”

“Now! Now!” Explosions ripped through the hangar. Metal chunks flew from the E-5 in mini starbursts. The machine lurched, its vis-sensors blinking, its “brain” housing disintegrating into fragments. Cash grunted; shrapnel tore his shoulder. He forced the autogun back on target, two rounds tipping the unit. Trigger, trigger, trigger, die, dammit, die! He fired, gritting his teeth, feeding more shots into the thing’s steel underbelly…until, after a second or two, the weapon clicked to empty and flames consumed the Loader.

I got it…got it…

He regarded the loader, remembering how to breathe. A lone vis-sensor stared back from the wreckage, wreathed in smoke. Firelight played off Cash’s fatigues and illuminated the shuttles looming overhead.

“I don’t understand,” said Cash over the crackle of the flames. “Why hack an E-5, one lousy E-5? Why not just hack the entire ship? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t m—”

He stiffened as, almost in answer, the vibrations from the ion propulsion unit in the engineering deck below ceased. Behind him, the airlock doors slid open. A generator hummed to life. With agonizing slowness, the hangar doors opened. He turned, watching the black slit between widening, yawning…

A diversion. The E-5 was nothing but a diversion to keep me busy.

Cash stared into deep space as air rushed from the ship. He whispered “No…” when the endless night poured in upon him.

The stars beyond were very cold.



READ ANOTHER ONE LIKE THIS: http://www.gizelbook.com/five-minute-escape-short-adventure-story-vengeance/

(For more information about industrial robots, please check out this excellent link: http://www.learnaboutrobots.com/industrial.htm)


Each “Five-Minute Escape short-short story in this blog series will be kept under 1500 words; most will clock in at about 500. The “Five-Minute Escape” short-short story will allow you to log on, take a fast trip, and get back quick to what you should have been doing in the first place…though hopefully the experience will stay with you long after you have moved on to something else. Subscribe to the blog and take a weekly…”Five-Minute Escape!”

I have the fortune to be sick this week.

Don’t get me wrong—it’s not that I like being sick. Far from it. I mean, low grade fever, nose red and dripping, snorkling, gagging, looking like something the cat not only drug in but chewed and then regurgitated…why there really isn’t much to recommend it, is there?

But I got to read. And read. And read

And the author I chose to read was Barbara Mertz, a.k.a Elizabeth Peters, of the Amelia Peabody mysteries fame. And for a while, as I read, I was transported back to a younger age—a time in my teens when I would devour Doyle,  Twain, Bradbury, and Haggard, and Howard, and I would feel the wonder as a glow in my mind that would shine long after I stopped turning the pages. I even found myself reading uncritically—something I seldom do anymore as a professional. That, nowadays, is a very rare thing. And it was nice to be reminded again of the golden age of fiction (a period I define as  stretching between about 1870 and 1965) and how truly wonderful words can be.

So thank you Ms. Mertz wherever you are. Your words took (and are taking) the edge off of being sick.

As I officially begin blogging in earnest, I am reminded of how I got here. The reason is, quite simply, teamwork.

Now you might ask exactly how teamwork factors into a writer’s life. It is, after all, a solitary profession. But the truth of the matter is–in writing just as in life–teamwork is incredibly important. This blog—indeed this website—would not exist without the assistance of my friend Tony Tudyk, a steely-eyed code cruncher if ever one existed. I provided the concepts for the site, and Tony told me if they would work—and provided the inspiration for the look of the home page too. I provided the content; Tony made sure it worked on the page. I did the artwork; Tony made it look great.  So you see without the help of Tony and his staff at Frankenstein Computers (and that means you, Scott!), this website would not exist. And my quest to bring back the kind of golden age science fiction, adventure, and kid fiction that made reading fun would have been slowed to a crawl.

Thanks for the teamwork, Tony. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Now that I’ve taken the plunge, it’s time I told you a little about me…

Overall, I’m probably pretty much like you. I always pick the wrong lanes on the highway or the slowest moving checkout line. I’d rather eat a good hamburger and fries than a whole bucket of escargot. I don’t like wearing shoes. I yell at the TV when my football team loses. I like the “Andy Griffith Show” and “Star Trek” and “Cheers.” I have a budget and have to watch what I spend. I stay up too late, and I don’t get as much sleep as I might like. I have days where I think getting out of bed was a mistake, and others I wish would never end. And I still have a boss that makes me crazy, only these days it happens to be my conscience. Which brings me to my work…

I’m a writer of Science Fiction and Children’s Literature. Wow, super glamour, right? I mean, dictating your latest potboiler into a digital recorder while your secretary transcribes your meanderings into the next bestseller…

Unfortunately, the reality is somewhat different. Despite how it is portrayed by the media, writing isn’t usually a particularly glamorous profession. For you aspiring writers, be aware that, at times, it can be a very frustrating job—one of hammering away at a sentence that just won’t pop, or at an idea that just won’t jell. It can be pretty lonely too. And the hours are long. And it doesn’t pay particularly well, unless of course you are a Stephan King. But ultimately I wouldn’t choose to be anything else. I feel very fortunate to be a writer; it is what I was meant to do. I’ve done everything from rolling egg rolls and throwing boxes into a truck, to running a major city’s budget. All have had their moments; all have made me happy at times. But when my writing rocks, there is nothing else that gives me such a high, such a feeling of raw accomplishment. That is what drove me during the late nights when my writing was my second job, and that is what still drives me now. I believe every artist is driven to create; just as every writer feels the need to write. We do it because we must.

Besides, grandmother was a professional artist. Mom liked to paint watercolrs and design clothes…

I guess it’s just in my DNA.




Another blog. Hoo boy. Seems like everyone has one these days, doesn’t it? It’s now possible to read in sublime detail about Aunt Brenda’s cat’s sixth toe, or another mindless celebrity’s latest stint in rehab, or the doings of people you would normally go out of your way to avoid. Not that there is anything wrong with blogging. To quote the statue from the movie “Animal House,” “Knowledge is Good,” and every one of us has something positive to offer—some life-enriching nugget to share. The trick is sharing something that people actually want to read. To give them something that will move them, or shake them, or make ‘em laugh—or even cry. Kinda like writing fiction or painting or art in general, I guess…

Unfortunately, I can’t always promise to “move” you here. But I will do my best to entertain you, and to share my world view with you—and, when possible, bring a little something to put a smile on your face, or put a silly or startling thought into your head. Science Fiction and Children’s literature at its finest excels at prodding the imagination. I hope my blog does too. And maybe even once in a while I might actually throw out something that will make you think about the world a little bit differently. Now that would make me happy.

Then again, maybe Aunt Brenda’s cat’s sixth toe has already changed your world view… I know I’m going back to revisit her blog.

Site by FCN