Short fiction

“The Obscurists.” The Overcast. J.S. Arquin, editor. April 2019.
Instantaneous travel, evil twins, severe allergies, and Mark Twain. Sierra and Taran play a game that spans the globe, trying to lay claim to a dwindling supply of unique places.

“See You Later.” Shoreline of Infinity, The Chosen from the First Age: Stories selected from issues 1-10 of the award-winning science fiction magazine. Noel Chidwick, editor. February, 2019. Reprint of story originally published in 2015.
The Guardian says, “M Luke McDonell’s “See You Later” is a poignant account of how personalised VR can be used and misused in a failing marriage.”

“Escape Room.” Hacker Tales, Bedtime Stories. September 2018.
Children who’ve been monitored their whole lives turn the tables (er-cameras) on their parents.

“The Affair.” The Arcanist. Online, May, 2018, and in print, “The Arcanist Year One: Over 50 bite-sized science fiction and fantasy stories.” July, 2018.
Stella is failing at infidelity in her open marriage.

“At First Sight.” The Overcast. J.S. Arquin, editor. March 2018.
Adeline is sure she’ll finally perfect the “First Date” setting on her glasses.

“First Contact.” New Reader Magazine. Issue 1, March 2018.
Two technicians controlling surveyor robots on Mars hope for nothing more than to someday meet in real life.

“Resolution.”  Perihelion. January, 2017.
Virginia rents a telepresence robot to “visit” her until-now virtual boyfriend in London, and obviously, things don’t go as planned.

“See You Later.” Shoreline of Infinity. June, 2015.

Novelette: The Bear Box

Bear-box-cover-smIn the aftermath a tragic accident, Yosemite National Park blocks access to WorldNet, hoping visitors will focus on the natural wonders that surround them instead of virtual entertainment.

Seventeen-year-old Anika gets an unexpected break from the intrusive monitoring of the cuff she’s worn since birth. She finally has the chance to bend some rules, but so do the rest of the visitors to the valley.

What happens when guardrails and safety nets vanish? It’s a weekend of firsts…and lasts.

“Both very enchanting and very ominous. McDonell’s writing is vibrant and precise in this can’t-put-it-down coming of age story.”
–Peter Delacorte, author of Time on My Hands and Levantine.

This is a tiny book, 4×7 inches, and about an hour read. Only available in print – get it now!

Novella: The Perfect Specimen

Dr. Derek Singh is sure that one of planet Victoria’s millions of venomous insects holds the key to destroying cancerous tumors–and jumpstarting his stalled career.

Unfortunately, the traps he sets each night capture nothing but dust, and his competitive colleagues don’t share the venom they’ve collected. The clock is running down on his two-year grant and he’s making no progress.

When his young neighbor–one of the few native-born children–finds out he studies “bugs,” she is happy to bring him all the specimens he needs. Derek worries she’ll be bitten or stung, but soon discovers Mia is in danger from a far larger predator–the corporation that funds him.

The Perfect Specimen is a 22,000 word novella available on Amazon and iTunes .


In progress: Six, Book 1

No crime, no pollution, no poverty–no privacy. Life is good on newly-colonized planet Victoria–if you don’t mind 27/7 surveillance. Mia claims she doesn’t, but a lifetime of hiding a valuable talent from the cameras has condemned her to shallow relationships and dependence on recreational drugs. When she loses her high-paying job and takes a temporary position at a small security firm, evidence quickly mounts that Victoria isn’t as perfect it claims to be. And neither is she.