Welcome to the Teacher’s Guide to The Experience Arcade and Other Stories.  If you want teaching materials for the stories in the collection, you can consult the list before.  Clicking on the file links will take you straight to suggestions for teaching each story.

“In Memoriam”

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

3,120 words long fantasy story.  Read aloud time: 15:30.

The cemetery’s groundskeeper is the conduit to the story of Esther and Thomas Bramwell.  Thomas died years earlier.  His aged wife visits the grave regularly.  Through their story, the groundskeeper learns that love is more powerful than he ever imagined.

“The Continuing Saga of Tom Corbett: Space Cadet”

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

5,300 words long science fiction story.  Read aloud time: 26:30.

Tomiko Corbett used to like that people connected her with a kid’s book hero, Tom Corbett.  As she became older she grew tired of the name, but she never stopped wishing to go to space, and being a leader and hero.  It’s what she dreamed of, and then her dreams became eerily realistic.

“The Lawn Fairy War”

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word F ilePDF File

3,550 words long fantasy story.  Read aloud time: 17:30.

Grace is middle-aged, single, and devoted to her collection of lawn ornaments.  Her yard hosts ceramic fairies, castles, elves and other gentle creatures.  Everything is fine until Ashley whose taste in lawn decor is quite a bit darker moves in next door.

“Experience Arcade” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

1,024 word long science fiction story.  Read aloud time: 5:06.

In the near future, “experience arcades” will exist, where a person can become a part of their favorite movies through advanced virtual reality.  Everything they experience will feel as real as if they were actually in the movie world.  The unnamed narrator in this story visits an arcade that specializes in horror movies.

“Death of a Starship Poet” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

4,920 word long science fiction story.  Read aloud time: 24:35.

A murder on a starship in a society where murder is a quaint term out of history means that an antiquated profession is suddenly needed again: a detective.  Jayla, a woman whose specialty is writing memoirs is tapped for the job.

“Ghost Ship” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

4,200 word long fantasy story.  Read aloud time: 21:00.

Stories about impossible ships that appear from the fog and then vanish again are legend.  What is life like for the men aboard such ships, doomed to sail for eternity and never make port?  What kind of creature haunts a ghost ship?

“Mars, Aphids and Your Cheating Heart” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

3,500 word long science fiction/fantasy story.  Read aloud time: 17:30.

Most people are aware of the butterfly effect: a butterfly flapping a wing in Asia might be the first action that ends up causing a hurricane on the other side of the world.  The tiniest, seemingly unrelated motion in the universe like the shifting of a single grain of sand on Mars, or the placement of a single aphid on a branch, can save a person’s life.

 “Three Paintings” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

4,380 words long science fiction story.  Read aloud time: 21:55.

Artists have long pursued the roots of their own creativity.  In a world where a wealthy enough artist can buy multiple copies of himself, an interesting experiment in creativity becomes possible.

“We Have Always Lived in the Hamlet” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

2,770 words long science fiction story.  Read aloud time: 13:50.

Tory and Janelle are very different sisters.  Tory loves her home in the hamlet while Janelle wants to go to the stars. Because of relativistic time shifts, Janelle travels for a few years, but Tory ages decades.  Time affects everything, even the relationship between family members.


Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

 3,800 words long science fiction story.  Read aloud time: 19:00.

When a new drug delivers on the promise of never-ending youth, an aging man will give up everything to attain it.


Handouts and teaching suggestions.Word FilePDF File

2,270 words long science fiction story.  Read aloud time: 11:20.

A father/mother scientist team work to explore Titan, one of Saturn’s moons.  When a catastrophe strikes the parents, what can their son do to save them?

“The Lies” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

1,232 words long dystopic science fiction story.  Read aloud time: 6: 10.

Occasionally, in hard times, the truth is too hard to bear. What do you say to the person you love in such times?  A brother and sister tell each other the story they most want to hear.

“Falling Out of Downey”

Handouts and teaching suggestions. Word FilePDF File

2,760 words long fantasy story.  Read aloud time: 13: 48.

A paperboy in a rural mountain town accidentally crosses into another dimension.  He can’t stay!  There are papers to be delivered, and tonight he’s supposed to meet a girl he likes a lot, if he can just figure how to get back home.


Handouts and teaching suggestions.

4,980 words long swords and sorcery story.  Read aloud time: 24:54.

A young wizard’s apprentice is learning magic under a cruel master. The apprentice will become a full wizard one day except that his master has other plans for him.

“Titan Descansos” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions.

2,045 words long science fiction story.  Read aloud time: 10:15.

Along highways in America, an observant traveler will see crosses and informal memorials to those who have died on the road.  The impulse to mark the place where someone died may be universal. Humanity may not be the only species in the universe who mourn their lost.

“The Children’s Collection” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions.

3,810 words long horror (sort of–it’s a Lovecraft-influenced piece). Read aloud time: 19:03.

A recently graduated librarian gets his first job in Kingsport, a small town not far from Dunwich and its infamous Miskatonic University. It doesn’t take long for him to learn that this is a strange place to live with an even stranger history.  He has responsibilities, though, and one of them is getting more children into the library.

“Writing Advice”

Handouts and teaching suggestions.

1,200 words long science fiction. Read aloud time: 6:00.

One piece of writing advice is “never start with the weather.”  But what if the weather is what the story is about? Many people are afraid that humanity will cause an apocalypse.  Mother nature might have something to say about that.

“The Golden Daffodils”

Handouts and teaching suggestions.

2,860 words long fantasy. Read aloud time: 14:18.

A homeless man finds hope in a program that promises to send the needy to new colonies on the moon. Are the promises real or is the idea just providing false hope?

“The Silk Silvered Skulls of Millen Mir” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions.

4,090 words long fantasy. Read aloud time: 20:25.

Les Bullard remembers a book he read when he was young that he’s never been able to find since. In his retirement, his search has taken him deep into a mysterious library and into the competent hands of a librarian built like an Amazonian.

“Weaponized Ghosts of the 96th Infantry” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions.

1,196 words long science fiction horror. Read aloud time: 6:00.

A war against non-traditional armies, like terrorists, requires an untraditional approach.  Maybe this time the government has found the ultimate weapon to fight the enemy.

“Maybe if One Person Less” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions.

1,320 words long science fiction.  Read aloud time: 6:45.

Lengthy space voyages demand a lot from the explorers. Their psychological makeup must be nearly perfect to withstand the isolation, the claustrophobia, and the crushing knowledge that all they have is what they brought with them.  Not everyone is equipped for the challenge.


Handouts and teaching suggestions.

3,310 words long dystopic science fiction.  Read aloud time: 16:35.

“Climate change” is an abstract notion for most.  The changes are too slow, which sucks the urgency out of the idea, and what can an individual do to make a difference? No matter what happens to the climate in the future, the basic needs remain the same: food, shelter, and taking care of the children.

“No One is so Fierce” 

Handouts and teaching suggestions.

3,280 words long fantasy.  Read aloud time: 16:20.

A woman quits her job in the city to work in a lighthouse. The position is lonely, and it’s certainly not safe, but she finds wildness and elemental strengths there that her old life never provided.

“The Sword Imperial”

Handouts and teaching suggestions.

5,750 words long sword and sorcery. Read aloud time: 28:45.

A young farmer named Hndred finds a valuable sword buried in his field. Maybe this will be his chance to live the life he’s always dreamed of.  He goes to town to find out more about his unexpected treasure.