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Breaking News: World Ends Today

by Leonard Henry Scott

There was a big notice in the paper this morning announcing that the world would be ending today. The notice took up a quarter of the front page of The Times (below the fold) and read in bold letters.

            “We regret to announce that due to administrative considerations the world will be ending today, at 3:30 p.m. Prior to closeout, we will be efforting to obtain additional population data needed to complete the final record, a kind of head count so to speak.

             Thank you for your service. ”

             WPPQ TV 4 made this special announcement every hour, beginning on their popular Sunny Morning Wake-up Show; “World predicted to end this afternoon about 3:30 pm. Details at six”.

            This was shocking news to most people.

            Naturally, many did wonder; “Is it really true, or is it just some new kind of fake news?”

            All morning on the cable news experts pontificated, officials bloviated, theologians extrapolated, journalists reported, citizens opined and pollsters polled. In very short order, on the basis of all available information, the pollsters (the most important group) concluded that the report of the world’s imminent demise was certifiably believed to be 73.7% accurate. 

            So, that was that.

            Notwithstanding that being that, the very notion of the end of the world caught most people by surprise, although some had been expecting it for some time. Very few of the certified 73.7% who believed that the world would be ending this very day as reported knew quite what to do. Some made hasty preparations to flee to Peru, or Tahiti, or Patagonia, or other such places, all of which (by the way) were coincidentally on the same predicted to be imminently ending world in question.   

            Throngs of people ventured at once to crowded places of worship to spend those precious final hours in prayer or silent reflection. Others sat together quietly at home ensconced in the warmth and comfort of their loved ones. Some (a statistically significant group) gathered before the TV to eat take out Kung Pao Chicken or pizza as they caught up with the latest updates and waited for the six o’clock news.

            For some (especially those hamstrung by overbearing dietary constraints) what to do, what to do – wasn’t a problem at all, it was an opportunity. Why not eat two orders of cheese fries with bacon bits (slathered with mayonnaise) along with a whole mess of double extra crispy fried chicken and mashed potatoes sopping with gravy. And then wash it all down with a quart of bourbon and two packs of cigarettes?

            Why the hell not?

            There had been mention of some efforting efforts to obtain data for the final record. Most people were accounted for. However, there was a certain, particular group for whom population data was persistently insufficient. They always seemed to be moving. In fact, they moved around so much and intentionally kept their heads down. Many did not have long-term addresses or bank accounts. They moved around constantly, always paying cash to avoid being tracked by creditors, ex-spouses and the IRS. They were elusive as unicorns.

            Despite all that effort, life for them usually boiled down to a constant series of brilliant ideas followed closely by spectacular failures. One week they were selling non-stick frying pans in a Denver shopping mall, the next hawking Christmas trees in the gloom and rain of an unseasonably warm Cincinnati suburb. But nothing ever quite worked out. Frying pan handles fell off in the middle of demonstrations. Christmas trees were plagued by unpleasant boring insects. So, they would move on to the next town and the next dream.

            Little was known of them, except for one thing. They really, really loved a good party. In light of that, Big Bank Stadium was rented to lure those folks into one place so their heads could be finally counted. And by noon EST on TDOTEOTW (an initialism, not an acronym) ETA 3:30 pm) the party was in full swing.

            Dangerously amped up bands played ear-shattering music, punctuated sharply by the occasional semi-melodic sound of a distant vuvuzela. The International Bedding and Furniture Company provided lampshades for wearing and tables for dancing on. Happy party goers in free grass skirts, muumuus and aloha shirts, generously fueled with giant Margaritas, pranced outlandishly around in conga lines. Great storms of celebratory streamers stuck to their hair and tickled their necks amid a rumbling indefinable din and constant thunder clap of music. Big Bank Stadium shook and swayed in this raucous farewell to life as the crowd prepared to rocket blissfully into the unknown.

            Then at 3:25 p.m. all at once everything stopped when a voice came from above. And despite the loud music, the tumultuous noise and the jostling and the dancing, everybody heard it.


            said the voice.

            That single word rang clear and true as if the speaker was standing right next to each person with liquid lips pressed in a tickle against their ears. The music stopped and so did the party. And everyone just stood silently gazing up at the sky. But there was nothing special to see there, save a large yellow sun escorted by a few white puffy clouds.

            “It’s almost time.” the voice said.

            Then, after a brief silence one person in the crowd spoke bravely to the sky.

            “Is it really the end of the world?”

            “Yes,” said the voice.

            “What will become of us?” They asked.

            “I really couldn’t say.” The voice replied noncommittally.

            “Look, you could go up. You could go down. Up is good but it’s easier to get into Harvard. You Do Not want to go down. Down is bad. But truthfully, most of you will probably wind up in the middle. There’s a big middle place. The food’s pretty good and you can still get cable.”

            The sun glowed brighter than before and there was something else different. Next to the sun was a long pull chain with a giant rabbit’s foot at the end of it. Was this something new, or had it been there all along obscured by clouds? They didn’t know. But there it was. 

            “Hold very still for just a moment and I’ll show you a trick.”

            The voice said and everyone complied.

            They all stood stiff and still as mannequins in the echoing eerie silence of Big Bank Stadium. Flocks of runaway streamers swirled around in the disobedient breeze.

            “….23, 673, 89, 6…56…Okay, got it!”

            The voice said with great satisfaction.

            “Now, watch this trick!”

            The clock in the tower at the end of Big Bank Stadium said 3:30 in toddler-sized Roman numerals. At that very moment, a giant hand reached out from behind a cloud, pulled the chain and turned off the sun.

            Instantly, the world was plunged into a frigid darkness.

            “Good night.”

            Like a vast colony of meerkats, they all stood stiff and silent, ears perked to the wind, big eyes intently staring into the empty darkness. By the thousands they stood all together, yet each stood alone silently counting off the last remaining moments and reviewing the toll of their lives. A piercing cold wind rushed through every crack and corner of Big Bank Stadium. It swelled up and churned around them, and swallowed them up like a dark sea.

            “Thank you for your service,” said the voice as it trailed off into the harrowing blackness.



Leonard Henry Scott was born and raised in the Bronx and is a graduate of American University. His fiction has appeared in The Chamber Magazine, Good Works Review, Straylight Magazine, The MacGuffin, Mystery Tribune and elsewhere.

Philosophy Note:

Inspired by the Star Trek Q Continuum. One divine entity might have created the universe. But in light of its incredible vastness, day-to-day management of the universe by a corporation of gods would seem to be a practical idea. Various gods would be assigned areas of responsibility, like regional managers. And of course, this corporation would be subject to some of the same problems that affect other corporations.


More news

fc,800x800,grass_greenThings are starting to proceed for Issue #8 and I am making good headway on the final read pile. Thank you everybody for your patience with out treacle slow submission process. I will be working on some more this week and I will be getting emails out to people with final answers as I have them. We will be launching a new feature next week, a weekly sneak preview of issues with stories and artwork. I’m also looking into different options for further advertising and ways of keeping the magazine going. If you do enjoy it please mention it to your friends and write a review on Amazon! Also, Like our facebook page and share it with your friends, every little bit helps.
Also, to help keep things going I’ve added a donate button on the right hand side. If you would like to kick a few dollars in to help keep things running the money will be put towards paying authors, any amount will help. The goal is to get to the point where this is unnecessary but while things are still growing any help would be greatly appreciated.
Finally, I will be attending Oz Comicon in Sydney on the 25/26th of September. I will be the guy is the snazzy new green Sci Phi Journal tshirt wandering around. On the off chance anybody who reads will be in Sydney shoot me an email so we can meet up!


Issue #4, Book Bombs and News

Issue #4 will be out tomorrow just in time for the weekend. I am really looking forward to this.
Nothing from Sci Phi made it onto the Hugo ballot, maybe next year!
Larry Correia has book bombed Issue #2 for the Sad Puppies story “On a Spiritual Plain” by Lou Antonelli.
I am behind on reviewing submissions but will be back to it at as soon as Issue #4 is out the door.

Submission processing continues!

A quick update on the pile of submissions I have. Tank you to everybody who has submitted and I got about half way through the pile over the break and will continue to dig away at it. I’ve sent out a bunch of emails with yes/nos and I believe I sent an update email to everybody who was still in the queue. If you didn’t receive one or the other please let me know, something might have fallen through the cracks.
A note on submissions, the quality has been good. If you are trying to decide between a story or an article, I am very short of articles so those go to the top of the reading list. Also, I have received a number of really sad stories. I have enjoyed them and they have had beautiful ideas and imagery but can somebody please submit some comedy? It looks a little unmanly to be misty eyed on the train!
Issue #4 is coming together and cover artist extraordinaire Cat Leonard has a spectacular portrait for the cover that is coming together. It reminded me of the cover of Time. If you like the Sci Phi covers and would like some of Cat’s work for your own covers let me know and I can put you in touch.
There will be more contributor interviews coming (next one due out later today!). Do you like them?
Someone asked about paper issues of #1 and #2. How many people would be interested in those? It could be arranged but time is limited and I wouldn’t want to delay the next issue. IF you like the idea of paper for Issue #1 and #2 would you be interested in helping proof it? I can be reached as always at

Sci Phi Journal #3, now in Paper!

A number of people asked about paper copies of Sci Phi and now for Issue #3 that is possible. You can get it right now from Create Space for $7.99 and it will be available from Amazon directly in a few days time. When it is released on Amazon I will make sure to allow the purchase of the Kindle edition via the matching program Amazon have.
So order yours today!
Still available as an Ebook from Amazon (Kindle), Castalia House (EPUB/MOBI) and Smashwords (EPUB, MOBI, PDF)

Issue #3 is taking shape and other news

Sorry for being a bit slow on updates, Issue #3 is taking shape, I will release the ToC as soon as I finalize it and I have the initial image for the issue #3 cover from the amazing Cat Leonard who did that awesome cover from Issue #2 (which I will post a pic of as soon as I get it framed!).
One of our earlier contributors also suggested I consider a Kickstarter for funding some of the future issues. What do people think of that idea? Would you contribute? What would attract you to contribute in terms of rewards? Anybody have experience with this sort of thing and interested in lending a hand?
Also, submissions pile, read some more, should send some contact emails this week saying yay or nay, I expect to get the rest of it done over the Christmas break.