By Chris Limb

The equally absurd worlds of modern celebrity and ancient mythology collide when pop singer Genie searches for her dead lover in the afterlife

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Once Upon A.I.

Today I hope to entertain you with a very short story. 

Despite some success with having my short fiction published in the past, in the last couple of years I've had less acceptances, despite continuing to submit. Has the quality of my output dropped or is it just coincidence? Who can tell?

However, in the case of this story I suspect the problem was the subject matter.

The inspiration came from my frustration as a web developer when I saw potential clients not hiring people like me to build sites for them but instead plumping for Build-It-Yourself services like Wix or Squarespace.

Fair enough of course, it is a free market and why pay the going rate for a freelancer when you can DIY with a drag and drop service? 

I began to wonder whether the AIs would eventually put all developers out of a job, and what jobs would remain for people like me when it was quicker and cheaper to get a machine to do it. The creative arts would surely be immune...

And then the classic SF inspiration popped into my head. But what if...?  Thus was this tale - no more than a quick flash fiction really - born.

I couldn't find anyone who wanted to publish it. One outlet replied to me with an email suggesting that they thought I was trolling their submissions pile... I can see how they might think that due to the somewhat meta nature of the piece but that genuinely wasn't the case here.

I really was just thinking "What if...?"

Once Upon A.I.

Want to write your own short fiction but don’t know where to start? Need a novella for that submissions call but don’t have the time to write it? Learning creative writing can be a daunting and time-consuming process…

Don’t let that stand in your way - sign up at www.fics.ctn today!

No imagination or creative skills are required. With highly engaging narrative templates, simple drag-and-drop protagonists and spectacular world-building features, you’ll be able to create the distinctive tale you want for your own audience.

Our syntactic AIs do all of the heavy lifting so you don’t need to let learning any of that complex spelling and grammar get in the way of your unique creative vision.

Our dedicated storyline server ensures that all Fics narratives you construct are exclusive to your account and free from both plot holes and plagiarism.

Change your story’s genre at the click of a mouse with one of our attractive and professional themes.

Streamline your scenarios using our plot optimisation layer.

Express yourself! Thanks to Fics, the privileged few no longer have a stranglehold on fiction.

Join the new publishing revolution now!


Some admin - I am very pleased to report there has been a flurry of new pledges and we now stand at 56% completion. Enormous thanks to every one of you who has pledged so far - it feels like we don't have that far to go now so let's forge ahead to 70% at which point I would like to think that the end will indeed be in sight.

Tell your friends, colleagues and acquaintances - every pledge counts towards the ultimate goal.

Back to project page
Share on social

Top rewards

37 pledges


Ebook edition, ebook of short story collection The Demon Face and your name in the back of the book.
Buy now
£25  + shipping
30 pledges

Single of the Week

1st edition paperback, ebook edition, ebook of short story collection The Demon Face, two signed postcards, an A4 print and your name in the list of Super Patrons in the front of the book.