Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Illustrated Stories

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.

Fantasy

An Invocation of Incuriosity

There are flea markets all across Florida, and this was not the worst of them. It had once been an aircraft hangar, but the local airport had closed. There were a hundred traders there, behind their metal tables, most of them selling counterfeit merchandise: sunglasses or watches or bags or belts. There was an African family selling carved wooden animals, and behind them a loud, blowsy woman named (I cannot forget the name) Charity Parrot sold coverless paperback books, and old pulp magazines, the paper browned and crumbling, and beside her, in the corner, a Mexican woman whose name I never knew sold film posters and curling film stills.

Science Fiction

The Schrödinger War

You’d think after seven tries, I could get the living part right, or at least be a pro at dying, but both are still messy and painful. At least dying doesn’t scare me anymore. I yank Olshevski back into our wrinkle of black basalt before the Eatees mist his head.

Science Fiction

The Knight of Chains, the Deuce of Stars

The tower is a black spire upon a world whose only sun is a million starships wrecked into a mass grave. Light the color of fossils burns from the ships, and at certain hours, the sun casts shadows that mutter the names of vanquished cities and vanished civilizations. It is said that when the tower’s sun finally darkens, the universe’s clocks will stop.

Science Fiction

Division of Labor

No one said anything, but Sull could tell they were all a little jealous when he lost his arms and legs. The arms went first, the left one during a bath and the right one a few days later, while he was being fed. Then both legs went at once, which was rare, and Sull was proud of it. He was sitting in a marketing meeting with Glenda and Farook when suddenly his legs quivered and then turned into a slightly viscous liquid that ran out of his trousers like toothpaste from a tube. The liquid ran down the drain under the table with a soft slurping sound.

Science Fiction

The Ballad of Marisol Brook

Her name, this time, is Marisol Lysium Brook. The media, long bored with the minutiae of her death, occupies itself by speculating which stars will grace the guest list at her reconstruction gala.