Discovering Neon-Flash Fiction – Write Ahead: The Future Looms
If you’re reading an article on a website called CyberPunks.com, then chances are good that you’ve either consumed or heard of the classics, from Gibson’s Neuromancer to Katsuhiro Otomo’s Akira. However, like every genre enthusiast, you’ve probably asked yourself the age-old question: “Where do I source more cyberpunk to feed my neon-fueled addiction?”. The simplest answer is to go straight to the source of the story.
Today, my fellow cyber-pioneer, I’d like to focus on a cyberpunk magazine that holds a special place in my heart, since they published my first story ever: Write Ahead: The Future Looms (shortened to WA/FL for convenience and amusement).
Drop Into These “Byte-Sized” Cyberpunk Short Stories
Based in both Zurich (Switzerland) and Worthing (England), “WA/FL” published their first volume in early 2019. Since then, they have published a new volume every two months, each containing approximately five stories. Some of you punks are already worrying about how long that’s going to take to read. I understand you. After all, we live in the age of information, and reading stories from debuting artists can feel like a risky use of your time. You’re already reading your cyberpunk audiobooks at 2.5x speed.
In my opinion, however, this is where WA/FL truly shines. Each story (even their serialized chapters) is no more than two thousand words. In most cases, you won’t gamble most of the stories, you won’t have to gamble more than five minutes of your time to read them. Did you love the story? Great! You can look up the author and enjoy discovering his work. Did you dislike it? Don’t worry, there’s plenty more literary fish in this digital ocean.
At least you tried something new in the time it takes you to listen to a single synth-heavy song.
Free Samples: The First Hit Is On The House
Hopefully, this quick pitch has at least made you curious about the world of small-scale cyberpunk short story publishing. If you are, I’m sure that you’ve got the big question in your mind: “How many credits will this cost me?”.
As a starving author, of course, my first answer would be: “There’s no price for art, just pay up”. However, as a penniless author my second answer is: “Take it for a test drive before you bring it home.”
If you’re still unsure about whether short cyberpunk fiction is for you, the magazine always provides sample stories for you to read for free. You can find their samples either on their website, or on their Twitter: @AheadLooms, which is also a good source of cyberpunk art!
Regardless of whether you buy this magazine, or another one, or even if you try to submit a story yourself, just remember that your interest is the lifeblood that helps keep cyberpunk sci-fi alive. With your financial support, independent publishers can select the best work and pay for it appropriately, and with your attention, you give purpose to writers who want their work to be read, such as Yours Truly. If you ever want to take a look at my firstborn, Digital Vigil, you’ll find it hidden within the digital pages of Volume 3 of Write Ahead: The Future Looms.