Matt Dovey

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Energy Power Gets What She Wants

I keep my head low as I sprint towards the floating Kakardemon, dodging left-and-right across the dusty ground of Io. A ball of lightning crackles overhead, a near-miss, and the Kakardemon's single green eye twists in fury, its red leather skin sparking in the twilight as it builds another attack. But I'm Energy Power, Queen of New Hell, I'm too damn fast and I get what I want: I leap forward with the Knife of Taertus held high and stab it into the Kakardemon's brow. I'm nearly thrown off as the floating ball of hate starts bucking beneath me, but I grab one of its curved horns and hold on tight.

The Kakardemon sinks to the rocky canyon floor with a hiss.

Read the rest at Diabolical Plots #72A →
(exclusive until 3rd August 2021)

Science Fiction; 1929 words; first published 1st February 2021 at Diabolical Plots #72A →


Consequences of a Statistical Approach Towards a Utilitarian Utopia: A Selection of Potential Outcomes

Michelle smiled, exhausted, as her baby's cry filled the hospital room. The lights above her were harsh and cold, and the sheets beneath her were tangled and scratchy, soaked in her sweat and stinking of iodine, but none of that mattered against such a beautiful sound. She heard it so rarely--just once a year.

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Science Fiction; 1209 words; first published 2nd December 2019 at Diabolical Plots →


The Movements of Other Starfish

Aidan stretches forward on old knees and lifts a rock from the nursery pool. There's a juvenile starfish on its underside, grown enough, so he drops it in his bucket with the others.

It's been a decent bucket. Never would have guessed it'd outlast him on the farm.

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Science Fiction; 1013 words; first published 1st November 2019 at Analog, November/December 2019 →


Remember to Breathe

Vikram watches with growing uncertainty as Isaac turns round and around, searching for a landmark in the heavy fog. Neon signs glow through it like stars, tinted green by the algae; it's like a rainbow galaxy surrounds them, dotted with light. They may as well be floating in a nebula cloud for all they can see of San Francisco, anyway.

Vik signs a question. Their face-masks muffle whispers, and they daren't raise their voices and alert any drones, of course. They're not stupid. Every SF kid knows sign language for fog running, and Vik has picked it up fast since moving here from Sacramento.

Do you know where you're going? Vik exaggerates the signs so they're obvious even through plastic goggles. Every inch of skin is covered for them both.

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Science Fiction; 2138 words; first published 15th July 2019 at Cast of Wonders #364 →; podcasted 15th July 2019 at Cast of Wonders #364 →


She Glitters in the Dark

Camila glanced over at the elevators, and her heart lurched when the shining doors opened. But it still wasn't Hailey. Perhaps she wouldn't come after all. Perhaps something had come up. Perhaps she'd put the phone down on Camila and immediately forgotten her, moving on as smoothly as she always had.

"Hey," said the barman, shouting over the music and putting a Coors down on the glossy-black bar. "This is on the house."

It was a cheap bottle, sure, but shit--free is free, yeah? "What for?" Camila shouted back.

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Science Fiction; 996 words; first published 28th March 2018 at Factor Four, Issue 1 →


The Lies I've Told to Keep You Safe

I'm sure they're not a threat. Their ships probably need to be that big to travel so far across the stars and the spaces between. They don't mean them to look so dangerous.

They must be friendly. You wouldn't be able to build such things if you couldn't work together as a society.

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Science Fiction; 350 words; first published 19th October 2017 at Daily Science Fiction →


The Ghosts of Europa Will Keep You Trapped in a Prison You Make for Yourself

--then scooted her chair over to the microscope. Amira only needed a glance at the holographic zoom floating over the scope. The viral cells were replicating rapidly, budding and splitting at a phenomenal rate.

"Hey, Mariana, look at this." Amira indicated the hologram, then was struck, at once, with an overwhelming sense of déjà vu: something beyond the familiarity of her lab and its clean white surfaces, or the flat icy plains of Europa beyond the carbonglass windows. And more than the déjà vu, there was a feeling of instantaneousness, that this moment had arisen out of nothing, that nothing was all that had been there before, that everything had just--appeared.

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Science Fiction; 2128 words; first published 26th May 2017 at Escape Pod →; podcasted 26th May 2017 at Escape Pod 577 →


Copywrong

Maybe I should kill her, thought Michael, and a thrill ran through him at the idea.

He looked up from his untouched cold toast as Cathy walked back in from the garden, the winter sun picking out the stray silver hairs that had escaped from her ponytail.

"Not hungry, love?" She put a box of fresh eggs on the side.

Michael smiled weakly and pushed his plate away. "Apparently not."

"Fretting about your writing again?"

And just like that, his decision was made.

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Science Fiction; 984 words; first published 12th April 2017 at Perihelion →


Quartet of the Far Blown Winds

Silence is the great divider. Perhaps that is why Melinda wields it so effectively against me.

In the silence of space, solar winds flash green, pink and yellow across the gas giant before me, the aurorae twisting like sea worms. Folded nebulae of colour and gravity stretch across the darkness behind it, unimaginable arms of light like grasping gods. Dust twinkles all around me as it vaporises in the antimatter field of our ships.

My own daughter. Alien to me now.

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Science Fiction; 980 words; first published 1st November 2016 at Flash Fiction Online →


This is the Sound of the End of the World

This is the sound of the end of the world: a billion voices raised in song, a harmony twisting and ululating around the colossal vibrating bass of the core immolators, twelve shining lances of light from the Yattari ships that pierce the now-dying planet of Korthia at equidistant points and pin it in space like a dissected animal on a metal tray.

Captain Jann Yo watches from her bridge. Doubt gnaws at her, and so she connects to the colonial beacons. She needs to hear the hate and violence of the insurrection. She needs to remember her reasons.

The beacons transmit everything. They fulfil their function blindly and faithfully, unable to question their purpose, only to follow it.

They make Captain Jann Yo uncomfortable. She wonders if she is only a beacon to the Empire.

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Science Fiction; 992 words; first published 1st March 2016 at Flash Fiction Online →


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About

Matt Dovey is a professional writer of short science fiction & fantasy. He is very tall, very British, and probably drinking a cup of tea right now. His surname rhymes with “Dopey”, but any other similarities to the dwarf are purely coincidental. More →

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There weren't no good way to say Colin, mate, this is shit, you don't deserve it, but we bloody love you and we'll get through it, alright? Cos no matter how you said it his head was too full of angry buzzing to hear it.

Clouds in a Clear Blue Sky

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Narrations

I watch with hope as Ms. Figgle-DeBitt samples a slice of caramelized banana upside-down cake. She takes a nibble and seems pleased. She sweeps cybernetic fingers through the shock of gray hair that sits on the human half of her face, a gesture I've learned is contemplative. She takes a larger bite, chews, and grimaces. She spits it out into a trash can.

Ms. Figgle-DeBitt's Home for Wayward A.I.s by Kurt Pankau
Escape Pod #597

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The temple altar in the central lava pit cracks open, and a column rises through it from underground: there's a Kyberdevil perched on top, an ugly-ass nine-foot goat-legged little bitch with most of its torso carved away to attach a rocket launcher.

Energy Power Gets What She Wants