Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Codename: Delphi

“Valdez, you need to slow down,” Karin Larsen warned, each syllable crisply pronounced into a mic. “Stay behind the seekers. If you overrun them, you’re going to walk into a booby trap.”

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The first Alsiso was a gift from Lord Grastiac’s murderer. The word came from the lexicon of a dead language—a language which had gone to the scaffold laughing three hundred years ago, with “alsiso” being one of its last words. The assassin wrote “alsiso” on the pale carpet in the nobleman’s blood, balancing the death of the man with the resurrection of one word.

The Mad Scientist's Guide to World Domination


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Artist Showcase: Rémi Le Capon

Rémi Le Capon was born in 1973 in Grenoble, France. He attended drawing school in Lyon. He works as a freelance illustrator for role playing games, other games projects, and private illustration commissions. He also works as a colorist for comics. Despite his training in classical drawing, he mostly works in digital media.

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Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa

1. Lord, it’s hot in this cabin. I could hard-boil an egg inside my mouth. What’s your name?
2. Have you ever poached an egg? The trick is white vinegar. Everyone forgets the white vinegar, and the blasted thing falls apart, and then they miss one of the greatest wonders of the world.

The Only Death in the City

It was named the City of Lights. It had known other names in the long history of Earth, in the years before the sun turned wan and plague-ridden, before the moon hung vast and lurid in the sky, before the ships from the stars grew few and the reasons for ambition grew fewer still. It stretched as far as the eye could see . . . if one saw it from the outside, as the inhabitants never did.

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The Day the World Turned Upside Down

That day, the world turned upside down. We didn’t know why it happened. Some of us wondered whether it was our fault. Whether we had been praying to the wrong gods, or whether we had said the wrong things. But it wasn’t like that—the world simply turned upside down.

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The Legend of RoboNinja

RoboNinja. A name for garbled tongues and garbled times. Interstate mudlarks peer at him from beneath grotty brows as he passes, eyes the size of headlamps reflecting the gelid glow of his visor. He once tried obscuring the light with handfuls of ash, smeared across LEDs and his shining silver carapace like the penitential marks of a sect long forgotten. It had worked for a time, until the monsoon came mocking once more.

Complex God

Dr. Petra Prawatt pulled her jacket tighter and shivered against the cold of a Michigan winter. There wasn’t much left to block the icy, stiff breeze that whipped in off the river, not since the nuke had crushed most of the buildings in downtown Detroit.

Francisca Montoya’s Almanac of Things That Can Kill You

If you get ill after eating or touching something that didn’t make anyone else sick, you may be allergic to it. Especially if there’s a rash. Allergies are caused by your body rejecting substances it doesn’t like. There is no treatment but to avoid those substances. Fortunately, only a few types of allergies can kill you.

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It has long been said that air (which others call argon) is the source of life. This is not in fact the case, and I engrave these words to describe how I came to understand the true source of life and, as a corollary, the means by which life will one day end.

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Editorial, April 2014

This month, we have original science fiction by Linda Nagata (“Codename: Delphi”) and Shaenon K. Garrity (“Francisca Montoya’s Almanac of Things That Can Kill You”), along with SF reprints by Ted Chiang (“Exhalation”) and the aforementioned story from Robot Uprisings, “Complex God,” by Scott Sigler. Plus, we have original fantasy by Carmen Maria Machado (“Observations About Eggs from the Man Sitting Next to Me on a Flight from Chicago, Illinois to Cedar Rapids, Iowa”) and Thomas Olde Heuvelt (“The Day the World Turned Upside Down”), and fantasy reprints by K J. Bishop (“Alsiso”) and C.J. Cherryh (“The Only Death in the City”). All that, and of course we also have our usual assortment of author and artist spotlights, along with feature interviews with Scott Sigler and Pi, Black Swan, and Noah director Darren Aronofsky. For our ebook readers, we also have the novella reprint “The Autopsy” by Michael Shea, who tragically died suddenly in mid-February. In lieu of an author spotlight, which we were not able to conduct before Michael’s sudden passing, we have a brief tribute to his life and work by his friend and admirer, Laird Barron. Also exclusive to our ebook edition, we’ll have our usual array of novel excerpts: This month, we have AFTERPARTY by Daryl Gregory and STELES OF THE SKY by Elizabeth Bear.

Interview: Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky is no stranger to difficult films. From his hallucinatory feature debut PI to his metaphysical triptych fantasy THE FOUNTAIN, his cinematic worlds are often a hopeless personal struggle against overwhelming, even cosmic odds. The other theme to which he most often returns is that of all-consuming passion (be it ballet or wrestling, or—if you want to give in and get really dark—addiction).

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Interview: Scott Sigler

Scott Sigler was the first author to start podcasting novels, and built up a huge online following that led to a five-book deal with Crown Random House. Two of his books are currently in development as TV shows. His new novel, PANDEMIC, the third book in the Infected trilogy, is out now.

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