The Stone Cipher

“The Stone Cipher”
Writers of the Future Vol. XXIII, Fall 2007. (fantasy novelette)

“It was the same the world over: statues’ mouths spoke a hidden message. But what? That was the mystery of the Stone Cipher.”

Second Place in the Writers of the Future Contest, Q1, 2006.

The Stone Cipher by Lars Edwards

Illustration by Lars Edwards


Those looking for a new group of classic, hard science fiction writers need look no further than the latest volume of Galaxy’s always-reliable original anthology series…13 quality stories by relative newcomers touched with imagination and inventive plotting. The standout is Jeff Carlson’s “The Frozen Sky,”…but several others will linger in the reader’s mind. Fresh names worth watching include Tony Pi, who presents a chilling story of the world’s end…While readers will relish these short pieces, many of the ideas explored in them would likely work well in a longer format, auguring well for the future of these talented up-and-comers. — Publishers Weekly

Tony Pi’s “The Stone Cipher” has a new and brilliant idea: all the statues in the world simultaneously begin speaking, and the story surrounds a linguist, Pierre, and his wife, Marie-Claire, who are trying to figure out what the statues are saying…Pi’s story has a fantastical central premise… — D.G.D. Davidson, The Sci Fi Catholic

Imagine that all the statues started talking…Tony Pi’s “The Stone Cipher” is a thought provoking story. — Barry Hunter, Baryon Online 106

Tony Pi sums up the premise of “The Stone Cipher” with, “What if the whole history of human sculpture has been a conversation between the planet and humanity?”…The religious aspects are handled well, neutrally, and the story itself leaves the reader with a feeling of both damnation and potential hope. — Michele Lee, The Fix Online

…overall the stories are quite enjoyable…I really enjoyed reading it, I think because there is a sense of freshness to things, a sense of writers trying new things – perhaps because they are new writers! I’ll briefly mention some highlights…Tony Pi’s “The Stone Cipher” has one of the wildest ideas: statues around the world begin to move, apparently in unison, but very slowly…All in all, this is a very fine showcase for some promising work by some promising new writers. — Richard Horton, LOCUS Magazine

This is the first volume of Writers of the Future that I’ve read (heard) cover-to-cover, and there wasn’t a weak story in the lot….Two stories really stood out to me. In “The Stone Cipher” by Tony Pi (read by Stefan Rudnicki), every stone statue in the word starts to speak, in unison, silently and very slowly…the payoff is well worth the time. Rudnicki gives the story just the right ominous tone. — Scott D. Danielson, The Fix Online (Audiobook Fix)

This is well written with rich characters and a powerful story. I wanted to know more, but I understand why the author ended it where he did. — Jennifer Dawson, Flash Me Magazine

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