Hunter – a short pay-what-you-want SciFi tale

Hunter is a short Sci-Fi story set in a dark and desperate world. Here’s a small preview:

Pyke chased the girl down a street still wet with the afternoon’s rainfall. A thin sliver of moon was glowing behind the thinning clouds, but it wasn’t bright enough to pierce the darkness between thefew street lamps that still worked. The girl was fast. He had to stay close, or she’d escape. 

Pyke had let the girl put about 500 feet between them when she ranthrough a bright pool of light and was swallowed by darkness. When she didn’t reappear, Pyke knew he had her, for there was only one place she could have gone. He followed her through a once-ornate gateway into the old city, where the colony had been founded a century before.

Her footfalls echoed off rows of empty windows down narrow streets that seemed to turn back on themselves, an ancient trick intended to confuse invaders. When the Gan arrived, they solved this puzzle by simply bombarding most of the buildings and walls from low orbit until there weren’t many places left to hide. Hunters like Pyke—a second-generation Goa colonist who’d grown up in the old city—knew every twist, every turn, every blind alley and every hidden basement.

It wasn’t the first time Pyke had pushed a rebel into the avenues. In the six months he’d been working for the Gan, he’d let dozens of terrified patriots think they were making their escape into the old city’s maze-like streets, only to trap them in one of its countless dead ends, where he’d have a little fun before turning them over to his masters.

He heard a splash just down the block, followed by a yelp. She must have fallen in a puddle, Pyke thought. Shallow craters were everywhere in these streets; filled with water, they made quite effective traps. Pyke slowed to a jog and grinned. It was only a matter of time now.

Hunter is a short story, just about 2500 words. I figure that’s about the length of a story you’d read in a magazine, but I’m not really sure what the appropriate cost is, so I’m experimenting with the Pay What You Want model that seems to be working really well for a lot of artists I respect and admire.

If I sold it to a magazine, I’d probably get around $125 or so (assuming I could get the SFWA professional rate of five cents a word. I figure that at least 125 people will want to read this, so if all of them donated a dollar, I’d feel really good about this, and I’d be able to do it again in the future.

So here’s what you do: click this big ugly button and decide what you want to pay for this story. Then, choose your format and download it. Or, download it, read it, and then decide what you want to pay; it’s entirely up to you. I just ask that, if you like it, you tell your friends about it.

If you prefer to use Google Checkout, you can do that, but it won’t let me set up a pay-what-you-want button, so I set it at $2.00, which is right in the middle of what people seem to be paying for this story.

READ THIS BECAUSE IT’S IMPORTANT: After you’ve decided what you wish to pay (from the low, low price of FREE to one billion dollars in pure diamonds), choose the format you want by clicking on one of the links below. Your download should begin automatically. Some mobile users may have trouble. I’m trying to fix the issue, but until it’s resolved, you should be able to get a copy from any non-mobile browser. I apologize for the inconvenience.

Hunter is available in DRM-free .mobi format for Kindle, .epub for other eReaders, and .pdf format for printing.

Hunter is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-ShareAlike 3.0 license.

I’d love to hear your feedback. If you’d like to comment about Hunter, you can do that on the Hunter post at my blog.