Falling by Christina Sng





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Many Scifaikuest thanks to our newest NEWBIES: H. T. Grossen and Russell Nichols


small scrap of real paper

reminding me

of my home on Earth








persistent headache

the worms eat more gray matter

I weep tears of blood


Brian Barnett




goggles obscured 
Herb Kauderer

zero-G requires
special safety equipment:
hair scrunchies in space



thought you were childless

until flying saucer lands

eighteen year later


Denny E. Marshall




the loch ness monster

year after year digs up mud

to free the army


Denny E. Marshall






















Parallel Mix by Denny Marshall




sunlight refracts

through joyful tears—

rainbow bridge


Lisa Timpf




   cold waters

     I feel the warmth

        of the mermaid’s kiss


Stephen C. Curro 




stalled engine

the T. rex nudges

our time machine


Stephen C. Curro 




air raid siren

gigantic eyes fill

the tenth story window


Stephen C. Curro 




gulping the potion

the rush of my DNA



Stephen C. Curro 



black hole
many spacecraft enter
none ever leave

Guy Belleranti




former robot girlfriend

first machine to feel love

my sparking bride


Gabriel Smithwilson




human poetic forms

seeming so quaint

alien child’s laughter


Gabriel Smithwilson




particles all spewing

vast energies now crashing

what is created


Doug Gant




bouncers keep you out

Cerberus the hound of Hell

keeps you in


Greer Woodward




The Mother Tree


grab-spores drift downwards

glowing death of mother tree

brings new life below


H.T. Grossen




popular mouthpiece

corrects "improper" English
Speak Proppr™


Russell Nichols




reluctant hero

loses powers in large crowds
mister introvert


Russell Nichols






you're paying for the view


the world
keeps passing me by—
moonporch view


Russell Nichols






lily pads 
Herb Kauderer

buffer states
space stations clustered





One Night Stand 
Herb Kauderer

The love of your life
trapped in a
time loop
first date
with a first
kiss but no future.



crew members eject
clones to guide
those who

Guy Belleranti





you are what you eat 
Herb Kauderer

flowers stretch their
skeletal limbs at dawn
before hiding them away from
spring crowds






Full blue promise

All green with vibrant life

Like the one we once were knowing

Now desolate, polluted, dark and dead,

Ark I land, animals and plants

Many people hoping

We’ll preserve this



Doug Gant






A Parliament of Satellites
for Jupiter's inner moons

i. Metis
first wife
jailed in a water glass

ii. Adrastea
nanny runs
in unstable rings
all fall down

iii. Amalthea
ruddy maid
babe in a blizzard
spills goat's milk

iv. Thebe
gossamer dust
veils nymph and husband
from Jove's stare

Mariel Herbert






Some Things We’re Meant to Leave Behind

Lisa Timpf


Sophie suggested to her granddaughter she should leave her action figure doll at the cottage, but the girl insisted—I won’t lose it. I won’t forget anything. As kids do. She remembers.


It’s tiring just watching the child go, go, go. From mid-morning on, she’s in and out of the lake, swimming, splashing, crafting a sand castle—a long day.


Supper-time, back at the cottage where Sophie lives, where her daughter's family has come to visit. A bonfire, a goodnight story, and then her granddaughter is asleep, with her doll beside her in bed. But said doll is without, Sophie notices, her tiny pink suitcase. Does she know how much this stuff costs? She huffs to herself, annoyed.


Did the suitcase come to the beach, earlier? Sophie thinks so, but can’t be sure. She tells her adult visitors, glued to the TV, that she feels like going for a walk. The lake calls to her, a pull that will not be denied. She strolls on the beach beside moon-silvered waters, looking for the spot where they'd been playing, earlier. She catches her breath, sharply, in surprise. There, that leaning tower—that’s all that’s left of the sand castle.


life’s tides—

the impermanence

of all we build


Then—movement, on the periphery of her gaze. A soldier action figure some other child left behind, clad in desert camo. He stands stock-still, and she turns her head away, keeping him in the corner of her eye.


He whistles, low and sweet, and a miniature German shepherd bounds toward him. She recognizes the bandana around the dog’s neck. It's one of her granddaughter’s doll’s accessories. It must have come from the pink suitcase which the soldier is carrying as he and the dog scurry toward the dunes, quickly lost in the forest of tall grasses.


She pauses, irresolute. Could she find him? And what then? She pictures herself wrestling the soldier for possession of the suitcase, and laughs. The sheer ridiculousness . . .


Maybe, she thinks, there are things we’re not meant to cling to.


sands through our fingers—

to art of letting go



Feeling only slightly foolish, she waves toward the dunes, then turns for home.






The Missing Link:

Hyphens and the continuing evolution of human languages

Robert E. Porter


I sent a batch of poems to Star*Line in September of 2018. A month later, I heard back from editor Vince Gotera, who singled one out: “Cool poem!” he said -- music to my ears.


Then, in January of 2019, he said, “My editorial assistant pointed out something in [name withheld to protect the evanescent]: ‘low-rider’ is always either two words or one word. I've changed it to "lowrider," based on the usage of Lowrider Magazine. Just wanted to let you know for any future appearances of the poem.”


It’s not like he was being cheap, either. I wasn’t getting paid by the word. The poem was too short. I’d be getting the minimum flat rate, either way. No big deal, right?


Still, the word “always” bugged me. Literally, it’s not true. At least one person (me) wrote “low-rider” with a hyphen. And it wasn’t such a glaring error that the editor, an English professor, noticed it right away. My American Heritage dictionary had all three versions. To me, it’s a matter of degree. “Low Rider” might include any rider that happened to be low. For ex., the tick you bring home from a walk in the park, a Shriner driving his midget car in the Macy’s Day parade, or the knight on a Shetland pony with worn-out shocks. On the other hand, Star*Line readers may be as familiar with the term as readers of Lowrider Magazine, for whom it has a more specific meaning. Context is important. Mash two words together in a new or unfamiliar way, and some people are going to think that’s a typo. I don’t know about you, but I find typos distracting, and a small poem doesn’t leave much time to get back on track after losing one’s train of thought. It’s a make-or-break moment. So, in this case, I prefer the middle ground, the happy medium, the hyphen.


If only Gotera and his editorial assistant had not been overly zealous in promoting the chop-shop writing chops and stylistic wheelies of Lowrider’s bullpen! Star*Line readers might not have overlooked my little poem. Imagine: it wins the Dwarf Stars award to unanimous acclaim, I sell the movie rights for 6.8 million dollars, and 5’ 5” Dustin Hoffman wins a Simon and Peabody award for his role as me, REPorter, in A Literary “Giant” (Among LGM). Alas! without a hyphen, that missing link…


For want of a nail, etc.


It’s history. I like history. But it’s not his story. It’s mine. It’s a claymore pointed in the writer’s direction, and it goes off like this:


Any language in common use develops a life of its own.


Hick: “They sure talk funny on the BBC.”

Hack: “That’s not funny. That’s Monty Python.”


The English of Birmingham, Alabama and Birmingham, England are not only related; they’re mutually intelligible. But they’re hardly identical. If you don’t believe me, drop a thousand pounds on the one that’s able to climb into his boot.


In Fortean terms, “These strangely associated things were remarkably separated.” (Fort, 89)


As a language gets used in different ways by different people in different times and places, it changes, branching off in different directions, continuing to live and to evolve. No language can be pinned down, properly dissected and ruled over by gaggles of goose-stepping grammarians until it’s dead and of no real use to anyone.


“We conceive of all ‘things’ as occupying gradation…” (Fort, 14)


Like steps taken across the ocean and handed down through generations to establish variations of an old language in the New World, with hyphens of communication and commerce to retain a semblance to their shared past and purpose. For how much longer, though?


“Lineages change little during most of their history, but events of rapid speciation occasionally punctuate this tranquility. Evolution is the different survival and deployment of these punctuations.” (Gould, 265)


Elmore Leonard hunted exclamation points and adverbs almost to extinction. In Tom Wolfe, they find no natural predators and continue to multiply, spilling out from between his pages in a lemming-like Niagara of ink. Now: which author has left the bigger mark on writers of the 21st century? Which one has left the more permanent Hershey streak in the briefs of Belles Lettres?


Time will tell.


“New species almost always appeared suddenly in the fossil record with no intermediate links to ancestors in older rocks of the same region. Evolution, Huxley believed, could proceed so rapidly that the slow and fitful process of sedimentation rarely caught it in the act.” (Gould, 261)


In other words, if you walk in on a mommy and a daddy dust bunny in flagrante delicto, don’t say “Aha!” and turn this awkward moment into a psyche-scarring horror ku. Act now, before they send you an invitation to the baby shower, and you’re overrun by long-eared Tribbles. Take to the broom and fly, fly away into the vacuum of space, or stand your ground like a minimalist poet and clean house. A place for everything, and everything in its place. Know where your spaces, no spaces, and hyphens go… until deranged by knightly editorial request, trembling, overcaffeinated typesetters, and printer’s devils. For ex.,


A hot dog pants.

Don’t eat my hotdog.
I’m wearing my hot-dog pants.




Fort, C. (2008). The book of the damned: The collected works of Charles Fort. New York: Penguin.


Gould, S. J. (2007). The richness of life: The essential Stephen Jay Gould. New York: W.W. Norton.






thought you were childless

until flying saucer lands

eighteen year later


Denny E. Marshall


OOPS! Hahaha! How unexpectedly delightful! Nice job, Denny!—t.santitoro, editor






Brian Barnett lives in Kentucky. He typically writes spooky middle-grade short stories and novellas such as Graveyard Scavenger Hunt and Chaos at the Carnival.


"Stephen Curro is a total nerd from Windsor, Colorado.  Along with Scifaikuest, he has published or forthcoming work with Acorn and The Fifth Di..., among others.  He also writes educational materials for the nonprofit Taproot Guru.  When he isn't writing, he works as a high school paraprofessional.  When he isn't working, he enjoys scuba diving and plotting to trick his dad into watching Lord of the Rings.  You can keep up with his shenanigans at"


Doug Gant has been an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, and horror for many decades. His interest in folktales and mythology, along with his background in mathematics, allows him to meld the mystic and the analytic.


H.T. Grossen lives in the long evening shadow of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with his magical wife, beautiful children, and several animals of varying levels of intelligence. With his free time he takes every opportunity presented to create and engage in the fantastical. Upcoming work listed at


Mariel Herbert's short fiction and poetry have been published in a few places, including Daily Science Fiction and Star*Line. She lives in California with one high-maintenance dog and hundreds of low-maintenance books. She can be found online at


Herb Kauderer would write on the sidewalk with chalk knowing it was going to rain soon.


Russell Nichols is a speculative fiction writer and endangered journalist. Raised in Richmond, California, he got rid of all his stuff in 2011 to live out of a backpack with his wife, vagabonding around the world ever since. Look for him at


Gabriel Smithwilson: I write poetry and short fiction, play various musical instruments and live in an obscure city somewhere in California.


Lisa Timpf is a retired HR and communications professional who lives in Simcoe, Ontario. When not writing, she enjoys bird-watching and organic gardening. You can find out more about Lisa's latest writing projects at


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