Monthly Archives: September 2014

Truly Stellar Science Fiction!

Assent Publishing

Assent Publishing’s Farther Books imprint is thrilled to announce the winners of the 2014 STELLAR SCI-FI Contest. We travelled through worlds throughout the galaxy and enjoyed every minute of the ride. Along the way we encountered worlds beyond earthly description, technologies that awe, and brave characters that overcame seemingly insurmountable circumstances. Against still talent competition, two tales rose to the surface as we chose the winners of the Farther Books Stellar Sci-Fi contest.


AuthorPicBetteGoldenLambOur GRAND PRIZE WINNER is author Bette Golden Lamb with her deliciously disturbing dive into a dark dystopia fraught with medical mayhem in Rx Deferred. The Corporate-Government wars of 2020 have resulted in a Corporit dictatorship. Its legacy? Escalating climate change, limited food supplies, and clean air only for the elite.

Bette Golden Lamb is an RN, three-dimensional artist,AntiBody and writer. She claims to need all of these disciplines to stay out of…

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I am in the year 2050, in this windowless room where human dissection units are tightly lined up, one-after-the-other. Any spacious rooms, work places, or offices only exist for the corporate CEOs, managers or money makers. They work in comfort, while I, a highly trained surgeon with real skills, am jammed into a factory-style cubicle surrounded by a massive array of dissecting instruments.

There’s lots of grumbling about our work situation. Am I upset? Not to the casual eye. Everything about this gal shouts team player:

1- I dress in department scrubs that can be easily discarded if they get messed up.
2- I have one formal department white coat that not only helps me remember I’m a qualified medical individual, but I can look like one when I wear it to department meetings.
3- I smile at the appropriate moments, even though there’s not much I want to smile at.

I’m not only a team player, but I’m a compliant, smart one. I tell no one – not one single person – how I really feel about anything.

I only speak the truth to you – that silent entity in my head.
I’ve seen what happens to complainers or to those who “confidentially” tell someone else their secrets.

They vanish.

Still, I seethe with resentment. All the intense surgical training I’ve gone through, all the hardships I’ve endured, all because I wanted to be a doctor and save people’s lives. The result is unreal. This is what I’ve earned for all those hard years of training. I didn’t even get to choose the kind of surgical specialty I wanted to practice.

Do you know why?

Because my mother and father weren’t one of the elite, one of the corporates in charge of the world.

It’s as simple as that.

So here I am, a “leg” specialist in the Organ Harvest division. Only another cog in the huge Corporate Vessel Procurement Center.

I hate it. Have hated it for the past ten years. And there are no transfers permitted. I’ll be here forever.

You! You in my head! Take a look around me. What do you see? Only more vessel retrievers. Only another damn reason it doesn’t pay to have any friends.

Vessel retrievers usually die from pulmonary complications of one sort or another. Although preservatives for human tissue no longer have a horrible odor, they’re just as deadly. Every one in this lab has compromised lungs and all of us are either coughing or hacking throughout the day. Any friend you make here will soon be dead.

Just the way I will.

And the air outside the city’s protected domes?

Also polluted.

Even with air scrubbers, things are going downhill. The domed city makes the air a little better, but most people still have to carry small portable  containers for an extra breath of oxygen.

I hate my job.

I shouldn’t even be telling you — whoever you are in my head.

An aide has brought my delivery cart and placed it at the entrance to my cubicle. I pull it closer and press a button at the side of the unit to activate a tiny internal motor. I watch a large mid-leg section as it is mechanically separated and pulled out from the grouping of ten where each segment is wrapped and layered, one on top of the other. I brace myself and clasp the leg firmly, heft it up and clamp the specimen to the dissection table by the knee and ankle. The missing thigh and foot are probably in one of the other labs in someone else’s work cart. Or maybe someone is creating a Surgiclone for surgeons to practice on.

Doesn’t Surgiclone sound interesting? As though it’s an anatomical part that has been cultivated from cells as a teaching aid? You know, so doctors can practice their skills.

Reality – it’s just another hacked up segment from one of the specimen tanks.

My thoughts are drifting. I visualize how the person in the next cubicle could be the one to receive my chopped up leg after I die.

Will she be the one to cut it up?

That thought used to make me cry myself to sleep at night. Now, I accept that’s what’s going to happen to every part of me. All of me will be used, from teeth, skin, fat, and nails … everything.

I’ll be disarticulated, dissected, and destroyed. It’s taken many years, but now I think about it as the three “Ds,” which finally has depersonalized it. The nightmares I used to have are now fewer.

So alone.

All I have is you.

You, that indescribable you that lives somewhere in my head.

Sometimes in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep, I stare into the darkness and wish there was someone I could trust.

Someone I could love who would hold me and bring something real into my life.

But there’s only you.


Coming soon: Rx Deferred.
Corporate-Government wars of 2020 have resulted in a global Corporate dictatorship. Its legacy? Escalating climate changes, limited food supplies, and clean air only for the elite.