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"Off-Track Betting" now available at FLURB

A story of mine called “Off-Track Betting” has finally found a home, and you can read it here, compliments of Rudy Rucker, who was kind enough to give it a home. As I told my workshop (who might not remember the title, as I wrote the story some time ago), “it’s about alien nanites who communicate through interpretive dance, and the illegal gambling communities that spring up around them.”

I swear it’s a serious story. Even with the interpretive dance. No, really. It’s about, uh, interrogating the myth of a unified nation, and, er…critiquing depictions of the female cyborg body at labour. And stuff. Yeah.


The Motes let Xian go, and she tucked herself, twitching and sweating, into a loose ball until the crane plucked her like fruit from her sector of the performance space. The Motes really had a lot to say, this session, and her body had contorted in ways it hadn’t since her People’s Colonial Circus days: her toes near her eyes, her spine a half-circle. A nurse pulled Xian’s collar down and slapped on a pain patch. Xian’s body, so light in this space, took on a false heaviness as the drug worked at softening the impact of what the Motes’ molecular machines had done to it. Someone gave her a drink – potassium and sodium chloride and all the chemicals the Motes liked to mimic when their machines broadcast signals through a Dancer’s nervous system, bypassing the brain’s own signals. She needed to replenish. She needed to sleep. She needed to place her bets.

Also there’s a funny picture of me at the end of it all. I had initially intended for an edited, prettier version to be sent, but somehow it didn’t get through. Clearly the internet is punishing me for my vanity. I’ll just leave it as is.

  • Madeline Ashby… a science fiction writer, futurist, speaker, and immigrant living in Toronto. She writes a column for the Ottawa Citizen. She is represented by Anne McDermid & Associates, and Jason Richman at UTA. You can buy her books here.

    She has worked with Intel Labs, the Institute for the Future, SciFutures, Nesta, Data & Society, The Atlantic Council, the ASU Center for Science and the Imagination, and others. Her short fiction has appeared in Nature, FLURB, Tesseracts, Imaginarium, and Escape Pod. Her other essays and criticism have appeared at BoingBoing, io9, WorldChanging, Creators Project, Arcfinity,, MISC Magazine, FutureNow, and elsewhere.

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    Madeline Ashby's books on Goodreads
    vN vN (The Machine Dynasty, #1)
    reviews: 342
    ratings: 2160 (avg rating 3.43)

    Company Town Company Town
    reviews: 232
    ratings: 1217 (avg rating 3.68)

    iD iD (The Machine Dynasty, #2)
    reviews: 73
    ratings: 439 (avg rating 3.66)

    Social Services Social Services
    reviews: 3
    ratings: 10 (avg rating 3.50)

    A Clock Stopped A Clock Stopped
    reviews: 2
    ratings: 5 (avg rating 4.20)

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  • Madeline 's bookshelf: read

    Designing for Interaction: Creating Innovative Applications and Devices (2nd Edition)Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways: To Incorporate Whole & Natural Ingredients into Your CookingGluten-Free Girl and the ChefPeople Crossing Borders: An Analysis of U.S. Border Protection PoliciesHalf the Day Is NightThe Magicians

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