Science Fiction & Fantasy

THE ROBOTS OF GOTHAM

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Illustrated Stories

Science Fiction

Undermarket Data

A drink arrived that Culin hadn’t ordered. No one sent drinks to the crowded annex where Culin sat, crammed in with seven other people, all with contagion bands on their sleeves and matching tattoos on their arms. Sending drinks was an affectation Culin didn’t see much in the Dead Engine at all.

Science Fiction

The New Provisions

Phil called the toll-free number he’d been given, and after the usual twenty-minute hold time, reached a human being who explained that the tow truck driver really did have the right to haul away his car. It didn’t matter that the car had been parked in his driveway or that it had been completely paid for, and it certainly didn’t matter that it was the only form of transportation he and his wife had for getting back and forth from work.

Science Fiction

Like Daughter

I got the call in the middle of the week, when I came wheezing home from my uphill late-afternoon run. I didn’t recognize the voice on my computer’s answer-phone at first, although I thought it sounded like my best friend, Denise. There was no video feed, only the recording, and the words were so improbable they only confused me more.

Science Fiction

Cuts Both Ways

The kids know he’s coming to visit. They’ve been texting him to tell him about the snow and how cold it is, and they helpfully send links to their Amazon wish lists with pages of moon-eyed dolls and odd sets of dueling robots and creatures sold according to series. The things they like are incomprehensible to him, but they know he’s good for it.

Science Fiction

The Case of the Passionless Bees

Of all the strange sights I had been privy to during my acquaintanceship with that illustrious detective, none was as disturbing as seeing my old friend covered in bees. Naturally I was not concerned; his manaccanite skin was impervious to harm and I myself was at a safe distance, ensconced behind the clerestory window at Shading Coil Cottage.

Science Fiction

Walking Awake

The Master who came for Enri was wearing a relatively young body. Sadie guessed it was maybe fifty years old. It was healthy and in good condition, still handsome. It could last twenty years more, easily.

Science Fiction

Love Is the Plan the Plan Is Death

—I am hugely black and hopeful, I bounce on six legs along the mountains in the new warm! . . . Sing the changer, Sing the stranger! Will the changes change forever? . . . All my hums have words now. Another change!

Science Fiction

Each to Each

The smell of damp steel assaults my nose as I walk the hall, uncomfortable boots clumping heavily with every step I force myself to take. The space is tight, confined, unyielding; it is like living inside a coral reef, trapped by the limits of our own necessary shells.

Science Fiction

A Word Shaped Like Bones

The dead man sits in the corner of the chamber enclosed by spaceship on all sides. He takes up a lot of space. He has been there for three days.

Science Fiction

A Tank Only Fears Four Things

The surgery makes Tereshkova into a tank. In the war, she never showed any fear, not at Fulda, not even in the snows of Vogelsberg when the Americans dropped the first bomb. When Clinton and Yeltsin shook hands at Yalta, when the word came down to the 8th Guards Army to yield Frankfurt and withdraw to Soviet soil, Tereshkova spat into the dirt and said: “Too bad.”