Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

What We Know About the Lost Families of —— House

Of course the house is haunted. If a door is closed on the first floor, another on the second floor will squeal open out of contrariness. If wine is spilled on the living room carpet and scrubbed at furiously and quickly so that a stain does not set, another stain, possibly darker, will appear somewhere else in the house. A favorite room in which malevolence quietly happens is the bathroom.

Science Fiction

Unauthorized Access

Prison 17 had been built long enough ago that it got next to no natural light—before all the studies that said that light was good for prison behavior and morale. And of course the rest of its district had been remodded in the past ten years, so the view from outside was a phalanx of solar panels over heat-reflecting paint, making a headache-inducing pattern of black and white. Prisons and hydroponics.

Fantasy

Crocodile Tears

Everything we crocodiles taste in the water has meaning. It tells us about the people who live here: who does the washing, who harvests the water crops, what they are growing in their fields and belukar. We even know littler details: who is pregnant, who is dying, what couple has been frolicking in the river, heedless of the risks we pose to them.

Science Fiction

Ernesto

A year after the war began, I found myself in Madrid, where I took a room at the Hotel Florida. In those lean months, breakfast usually consisted of little more than a few bits of dry bread from the night before, but one morning in the lobby, as I was nursing a cup of weak tea and some stale crusts, I noticed the smell of fresh coffee and fried ham drifting down from somewhere overhead.

Fantasy

The Wilderness Within

I went to the window of my half-empty apartment that morning expecting to see the usual foggy San Francisco summer street, but instead, there was a volcano: looming over the city taller than the skyscrapers in the financial district, rising from the depths of Golden Gate Park, casting a long shadow to the west. The steep slopes, visible above the rooftops of my neighbors across the street, were gray and rocky.

Science Fiction

The Lives of Riley

The sirens are growing louder. Riley doesn’t know how the peacekeepers found out—he was so careful, so sure he’d covered every trace of his existence, all of it—but that’s less important now than getting away. He cannot afford to make any more mistakes. The night seems dark and empty as he leaves the warehouse through the back door.

Fantasy

See The Unseeable, Know The Unknowable

There are woods, and the woods are dark, though there are lights hung from the trees. Many of the lights no longer light up. Around the edge of the clearing, someone has strung a long chain of origami animals on barbed wire, some gilded paper and some newsprint, some pages torn out of books, some photographs, each animal snagged on its own spike. The animals have been rained on, and more than once.

Science Fiction

Power Couple (Or “Love Never Sleeps”)

I never felt like a real college girl until I met John my senior year. He and I stayed up all night talking and then ran around campus chalking pastel hearts and portraits of Václav Havel on the cement walkways. A manic fox with wavy brown hair, he could come to rest suddenly and eye me with a playful stillness that made me ache. He managed to be both clever and smart, lean as well as dimpled.

Fantasy

The Siren Son

The day the dragons came, Neal kissed a boy. This span of months would later be remembered as the Awakening and condensed to precisely three pages in a tenth-cycle history text. Those three pages would lie nestled between twelve pages on the War of the Sea (when the merfolk rose up and attacked the trade ships in retaliation for an attack against their king) and twenty-four pages on the Reconstruction Age.

Science Fiction

Laika Comes Back Safe

There was a special program when I was in fourth grade where this photographer came and taught us. It was called the Appalachian Art Project, and it was supposed to expose us to art. We all got these little plastic cameras called Dianas that didn’t have a flash or anything, and black and white film. The first week we took pictures of our family and then we developed them and picked one for our autobiography.