Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Illustrated Stories

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.”

Science Fiction

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.”

Science Fiction

Invisible Planets

Chichi Raha is a fascinating place, its flowers and lakes unforgettable to all visitors. There, you cannot see a single inch of exposed soil because the land is covered by vegetation: the anua grass, as fine as silk thread; the kuqin tree, tall enough to scrape the clouds; and many varieties of unnameable, unimaginably strange fruits, exuding seductive aromas.

Fantasy

Sleeper

Erm Kaslo always found that a strong drink or two helped clear his head of the after-effects of the sedative that cushioned the fragile human psyche from the irreality of passage through a whimsy. He was sipping from a glass of red abandon in the second-class lounge of the second-rate liner, Armitou, when harsh bells clanged throughout the ship. Immediately, the ever-present underhum of the vessel’s normal-space drive lowered its pitch then began to fade. In a few moments, Kaslo couldn’t hear the sound at all.