Antithesis: A Collection of Science Fiction and Other Short Stories
by Svet Rouskov
Antithesis is a collection of vivid and exhilarating science fiction stories, tied together by characters whose moral challenges offer windows into humanity and the human condition. These stories are cautionary tales, flights of fancy, terrifying psychological journeys, humorous romps, and even a space opera.
A speculative tale about humankind becoming obsolete from the perspective of the machines we created. The story of an airline pilot who loses his faith in the physics of flying as his rational and irrational mind fight for dominance. An ancient being born of human evolution that strips us of our memories, feeding on one precious reminiscence at a time. An audacious fable that explores a new galaxy, one where humans are irrelevant, but the conflicts of a class-based society are not. A novella-length saga about a mission to Mars, the origins of humanity, and an atrocity that stretches across time and space. And finally, a story that asks the question whether an unstoppable artificial intelligence would indeed be happier traveling the vast reaches of space, or back amongst the flawed beings who created it.
Escape into worlds unlike anything you have seen before, but some eerily similar to our own. Antithesis – where the opposite is to be expected.
If it were anyone else, John would have told them to take a walk, but Chris had found a way through his defences once again. “The moment my dad took me up in his Cessna, I knew what I wanted to do with my life,” said John. “I loved to fly. I went into the Forces, became a transport pilot, and when I was discharged, I went commercial. My career was everything to me. It didn’t seem fair to have a family that I would gladly leave for days or weeks on end.”
“You said, loved to fly. You no longer do?” asked Chris.
John didn’t respond but just looked away. No one, including his therapist, had asked him that question. Did he still love to fly? John was disappointed in himself for not answering immediately. He was terrified of flying now, but did that mean he also didn’t love it anymore?
“I don’t love planes,” said Chris. “But you spent your career in avionics?”
“Because I love electronics. I love technology,” replied Chris. “I love trying to pack as much functionality into as little space as possible.” He then grinned broadly as he said, “And on a jetliner, every ounce counts!”
“Cute …” said John dryly. Chris ran his hand along the edge of the digital screen in front of him. “It’s about elegance. Technological sophistication.” He then turned to look at John. “You know the MCDU— Multifunction Control Display Unit?”
John raised an eyebrow, thinking, seriously?
Chris lifted a hand apologetically. “Of course, you do … but I’m sure you’ve never put much thought into it. The miracle of miniaturization lets us combine a keyboard with an LCD unit that allows pilots to input and modify flight plans and interface with the flight management system—all their data entry needs in a tiny little unit.”
“You’re right,” said John. “I never put that much thought into it.”
“That’s the problem with our society today. We don’t appreciate the work that went into our technology. We don’t really understand the tools at our disposal. Which is why sometimes we don’t anticipate the problems that can happen with them.”
“What do you mean?” asked John.
“The MCDU … its cooling filters can get blocked by dust and fluff. There’s no standard inspection procedure for them. It caused an electrical fire on an eight-thirty variant.”
“I’ve never heard of that.”
“Well, now you have,” said Chris, who then leaned his head back against his headrest and closed his eyes. This conversation was over. John stared at him, wondering why this odd man would be so specific.
John turned to look out the window but could only see the inky blackness of the night sky. He wondered why he thought the red-eye was the better choice for his first flight back. How could not seeing anything possibly alleviate his underlying fears? John shook his head, leaned back, and closed his eyes.
Antithesis is a collection of Science Fiction stories. Some are very short and one is very long. I really enjoyed them all but I loved the one titled The Blue Planet. And I can’t wait to read more about Antonella, Galactic Space Pirate. Following are some brief thoughts I had while reading. Brief thoughts for short stories. . .I hope they will entice you to read all of these very interesting but completely different imaginings by the amazingly talented Svet Rouskov.
Chapter 1 – Obsolescence – Everything eventually becomes obsolete. Something new will always take the place of the old. Enter, the Core. To be continued in Chapter 9.
Chapter 2 – MCDU – The Multifunction Control Display Unit. . .the switches and knobs in the cockpits of airplanes disappeared as they were replaced with screens with submenus. Sounds neat and efficient but could they actually be a danger to a plane in flight?
Chapter 3 – The Harvest – Part 1 – Can our memories be harvested?
Chapter 4 – Antonella, Galactic Space Pirate – Nothing more adventurous than a plunder vessel escapade. But being a pirate’s daughter does not make life any easier. And might even usher in the end of civilization. To be continued in Volume 2.
Chapter 5 – The Harvest – Part 2 – The pain and despair of Alzheimers can be crippling but gravity is a powerful force. It takes you down once your mind has been emptied. To be continued in Volume 2.
Chapter 6 – The Blue Planet – Part 1 – Electric cars banned? Chinese civil war? Could Russia really take half the spoils of China? Alloys on Mars? Find the answers to these questions in the pages of this short story.
Chapter 7 – The Blue Planet – Part 2 – Chapter 7 – Journey to Mars on the Mother Ship. Gargoyles in the tunnels. The language of Martians. And a new theory about how Mars became the Red Planet.
Chapter 8 – The Blue Planet – Part 3 – When men become monsters. When monsters are not monsters after all. Two alphas embrace. And then there was one. The Blue Plant will be continued in Volume 2
Chapter 9 – Andy, of the Core – A male box. An emotional robot pinches his way through the galaxies and finally returns back to where it all began.
Final note: The author has an education in film making and it really shows in his style of writing. I could easily envision each of these tales as a movie. Until that happens, you’ll have to settle for reading his thought-provoking creative works. I found reading them to be an excellent use of my very precious time. I give this collection of short sci-fi musings 5 stars.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Svet Rouskov started his career as a graduate from the University of Toronto Mechanical Engineering program and became a successful automotive industry executive. After fifteen years he discovered that his real passion was writing. Once he took an introductory screenwriting class, Svet realized he was hooked and continued his filmmaking education at Norman Jewison’s Canadian Film Centre. Since that time, Svet has written, developed, and produced feature films, television shows, video games, and web-based series. His passion for writing has now extended to literature, which offers him another exciting avenue to tell stories. This is Svet’s first work of fiction.
Please check out his IMDb page for details of his work and representative contact information.
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The author will be awarding $10 Amazon/BN gift card to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.