Science Fiction & Fantasy

Latest Science Fiction Story

Wilson’s Singularity

Wilson woke in bed, back to back with his husband, as warm morning sunlight crept around the room and settled on his face like a lazy cat. He tried to stay asleep, tried to block it out by nestling deeper under the covers, but it was no use. Now that he was awake, Unity would pop up the time and temperature in midair before him, and offer news updates and messages. The news would be filled with his name and today’s ceremony, and he’d heard enough about that for the last week.

Latest Science Fiction Story

The Red Thread

Dear Fox, Hey. It’s Sahra. I’m tagging you from center M691, Black Hawk, South Dakota. It’s night and the lights are on in the center. It’s run by an old white guy with a hanging lip—he’s talking to my mom at the counter. Mom’s okay. We’ve barely mentioned you since we left the old group in the valley, just a few weeks after you disappeared. She said your name once, when I found one of your old slates covered with equations. “Well,” she said. “That was Fox.”

Everfair

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Latest Nonfiction

Book Reviews: June 2016

This month, Sunil Patel reviews novels by POC writers: Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger, United States of Japan by Peter Tieryas, Infomocracy by Malka Older, and The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi.

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A Good Home

I brought him home from the VA shelter and sat him in front of the window because the doctors said he liked that. The shelter had set him in safe mode for transport until I could voice activate him again, and recalibrate, but safe mode still allowed for base functions like walking, observation, and primary speech. He seemed to like the window because he blinked once. Their kind didn’t blink ordinarily, and they never wept, so I always wondered where the sadness went.

Salto Mortal

Three days ago, Paul had thrown Mary onto the kitchen floor and kicked her everywhere except her face. For the first two days, the only time she left her bed was to go to the bathroom, drops of clotted blood from her insides deposited like coins in the toilet bowl. On the third day, high on oxycodone, Mary dreamed about the lucha libre. She hadn’t thought about wrestling since she’d left Mexico, but the hallucination was as bright and sharp as grief.

People of Colo(u)r Destroy Flash Fiction!

As part of our People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! special issue, we opened up Lightspeed to flash fiction for just the third time. The flash fiction section was guest-edited by critically acclaimed writer Berit Ellingsen. Half of the flash selections are available online, while the other half are exclusive to the print/ebook edition.

Four and Twenty Blackbirds

The doctor congratulates them. The baby is human, and healthy. Richard is on her instantly, bruising her shoulders with his joy, planting kisses on her forehead and neck and face. His—their—fortune is the five-month-old smudge in the grain of the sonogram, soft-boned and quivering and reassuringly feather-free. It’s been six long years: Years of cajoling, years of trying, years of navigating the risks. Now they are here.

Other Metamorphoses

As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself in his bed. He hadn’t been transformed into a gigantic insect. Disappointed, the small velociraptor started to weep. And braced himself to enter dreamtime again. Samsa was a member of that elusive caste known as the Oneironauts. Dream travelers—people who, since the dawn of time, were able to master their dreams and bend them at their will.

Hiranyagarbha

Remember when I first see it while boating through the mangroves in Caroni Swamp. Was early morning—you coulda still see the flicker of a candlefly here and there. I was following a trail of dead tilapia floating belly-up in the water. Wasn’t the first time I see something like that—but not to this extent. Their lifeless bodies was washing up on the silt. Black halos of corbeaux circling overhead, like angels of death.

Binaries

Year 1: I come into the world wet and squalling and ordinary, born of heterosexual bio-parents. Year 2: A flat photo shows me on my first birthday with a shock of red hair, wide green eyes, and an expression of distaste at the sticky white frosting on my fingers. My mother stands on one side looking not at all Jewish; my Goan, lapsed-Catholic father stands on the other.

An Offertory to Our Drowned Gods

The bodies floating on the streets look fuller than Johnnyboy feels. They are pink and bloated, like the click-flash tourists who once inhaled the spirits of their cities. No one talks about the drownings, but Johnnyboy’s father sometimes puts his hands together and whispers to the newly baptized. The water carries sound much faster, he says, this is why no one has secrets any more. The tide brings in so many things: keyboards, used condoms, crucifixes, textbooks. The tide is how Johnnyboy finds a name—a faded basketball jersey, the number seven, Johnnyboy in purple lettering.

Double Time

Skaters in black practice outfits swerved around Shelly. Her music was playing over the PA system. She had right of way. A scattering of figure skating fans sat in the rink’s hard, blue, plastic seats. Even to a practice session, some had brought their flags. Her mom sat near the boards and waved her US flag as though if only it had shook more fiercely last night, Shelly would have landed her triple Lutz-triple toe jump combination in the short program.

Fifty Shades of Grays

Terrorist. That’s what they call me, but I am something worse: both successful traitor and failed saboteur. I want to die, for all of this to be over. For my last request, I asked to have paper and pen to write my last will and testament. They won’t let me have it, forcing me to use the mindsynch. Damned Traveler tech. Maybe they’re scared I’ll ram the pen up my nose, scribble on my brain, and cheat the hangman.

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Delhi

Tonight he is intensely aware of the city: its ancient stones, the flat-roofed brick houses, threads of clotheslines, wet, bright colors waving like pennants, neem tree-lined roads choked with traffic. There’s a bus going over the bridge under which he has chosen to sleep. The night smells of jasmine, and stale urine, and the dust of the cricket field on the other side of the road. A man is lighting a bidi near him: face lean, half in shadow, and he thinks he sees himself.

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More Nonfiction

The People of Colo(u)r Destroy Science Fiction! Manifesto

I have no mouth, and I must scream, proclaims the title of Harlan Ellison’s classic work of science fiction. Like most “classic” works of science fiction, it was written by a white man. For centuries, white voices have been boosted, have been heard more than those of POC (a muddled term, to be sure, but one that facilitates a necessary discussion). It’s been their mouths doing the screaming.

Doing Dhalgren

Dhalgren takes root and blossoms in the mind of the reader. It plants so many ideas that it takes time for some to become recognizable. I suspect that each time I read it, the novel could reveal something new, but after this reading I feel what Delany says is that a writer must abandon traditional roads to find his or her voice, and to seek literary freedom and success by entering unknown territory unafraid.

The Thunderbird’s Path: Indigenous Seeds of Science Fiction

I was told by my Métis grandfather that it was unbecoming to stare at the Milky Way, the Thunderbird’s Path, because the Thunder beings were not to be disrespected by gawking. So even though I am now about science and, yes, science fiction, and say to myself, sometimes the Milky Way is just stars, I do still clasp the talismanic meteorite medallion I wear as a sort of magical protection. But it is hard to look away from a flight of stars gliding silently overhead like a flock of snowy owls.

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