“Searching for Cidalisa” published in Aurealis #96

Cover of Aurealis #96 features two faceless men

Cover art by Brenda Bailey

My short science fiction story is now available to read through Smashwords. It’s directly inspired by my Master of Information Science studies, featuring Google AI and rogue databases. I was thrilled to see the artwork by Andrew J McKiernan, he did a fabulous job of the Boolean too (you’ll have to buy the mag to see the artwork though, sorry)! It’s the first time I’ve had a story illustrated, and I absolutely love it. The issue will set you back a mere USD$2.99, so get onto it!


In my dreams, I searched the databases. Input search query, examine results, refine search query. Fields, proximity operators, even the antiquated Boolean queries—I tried every combination I could think of, all night, until I woke in the morning in a haze of exhaustion, eyes glued together, mind overloaded. I’d thumb my earLink on and mumble the names of the databases into my journal so I knew which ones I’d searched. It was habit born of delusion. Once I’d had my first coffee I deleted the cloud entries. Those databases didn’t exist anymore. My fevered dream searching was pointless. Unresolved issues are the root of repetitive dreams, I’d read.

What was I looking for? Information. Answers. And maybe, an end to the tension in my shoulders, the ache in my gut. Closure.

I was searching for Cidalisa.

From the blurb: “Aurealis #96 features Patrick Doerksen’s ‘Extracts from a Life of Science Fiction’, a poetic meditation on the nature of science fiction and humanity, S G Larner’s ‘Searching for Cidalisa’ which explores a near future society of implanted memories and rogue databases, and Annika Howells’ eerie and lyrical ‘Obsidian River’ that will live with you long after you’ve finished reading.”


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