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Monday, April 2, 2018

From the SHOWCASE archives...

Fiction • “Heart of Dorkness,” by Henry Vogel •

[Editor’s note: With the release this week of Henry’s new novel, THE RECOGNITION REVELATION, I keep trying to think of ways to introduce him to people who haven’t read him. I think this is the first story of his that I ever read. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of reading it. ~brb]


The con had wound down. The fans were all gone back to their mundane lives, leaving the five of us in the con suite. Our host, the Gaming Director, passed around what was left of the free sodas. We drank and stared out the window as darkness gathered in the skies above the hotel. The Power Gamer spoke of adventures long past, with the Rules Law­yer interrupting whenever the Power Gamer incorrectly stated a rule. The rest of us lis­tened, extending the camara­derie of the con just a bit longer.

As the Power Gamer wound down Marlow took over the narrative. “Ah, friend, you have put me in mind of ancient games and old times. Of when Third Edition con­quered the gaming realms, banishing our cherished char­acters as mere second-edition cardboard characters. The end of the era when all it took was a handful of dice and a few spare minutes to bring your character to life.”

We all lifted our soda cans in salute to the bygone age as Marlow continued. “To learn this new approach to gaming, many of us ventured forth to small cons, far from the great cities and great hotels of the major cons. I was among those who ventured far from game shops, far from comic book stores, far from civilization itself. I remember not the name of the con, just that my dear aunt was on the con com­mittee and could get me in for free. Friends, a free con does not mean a good con. Let this serve as a warning to you...

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