Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

The Pilgrim and the Angel

Three days before Mr. Fareed Halawani was washed and turned to face the northeast, a beatific smile on his face, he had the unusual distinction of entertaining the angel Gabriel at the coffeeshop he operated in the unfashionable district of Moqattam in Cairo. Fareed was tipped back in his monobloc chair, watching the soccer game on television. The cigarette between his lips wobbled with disapproval at the referee’s calls.

Science Fiction

Midway

It’s not unusual to hear music in a spaceport arrival lounge. After all, if aliens didn’t enjoy music, I’d never have been able to travel. But this sounded familiar. Disturbingly familiar. Standing in line, I felt a sinking sensation as the tune wound its way to its conclusion. It was The Beatles. Millions of light years from Earth and I was listening to The Beatles. How did I feel?

Fantasy

Son of Water and Fire

Born of water, into water, the boy knew no other world. It would not always be thus. Someday, he had been told, he would leave here for another place. His mother had told him this, in a quiet time, her body swollen and expanded to its widest, spanning banks miles apart, trailing enormous skirts of silt. He loved her at these quiet times, when her icy mountain rage had mellowed to a somnolent trawl, flowing majestically down to the ocean.

Science Fiction

The Engine at Heartspring’s Center

Let me tell you of a creature called the Bork. It was born in the heart of a dying sun. It was cast forth upon this day from the river of past/future as a piece of time pollution. It was fashioned of mud and aluminum, plastic, and some evolutionary distillate of seawater. It had spun dangling from the umbilical of circumstance until, severed by its will, it had fallen a lifetime or so later, coming to rest on the shoals of a world where things go to die.

Fantasy

The Emerald Coat and Other Wishes

I met Violet for the first time when she tiptoed through the museum door in her gray schoolteacher’s dress, trailing the smell of autumn leaves into the antechamber. She pulled her faux-kid gloves off finger by finger as she craned her neck around the mahogany-paneled room. Then her eyes fell on me, sitting at the podium that bars the door leading to the exhibits. “Excuse me, do you know the way to the Bethnal Green Tube stop?”

Science Fiction

With Teeth Unmake the Sun

Io Destiny is a rich planet, home to three billion lives, built as a faceted gem to honor the Seven Suns. All the gods are worshiped equally here in peace. Temples caress the lower atmosphere and ships dance in celestial orbit; the Seven Suns are honored in effigy in great statues and holograms that mortals adore. Io Destiny is the only neutral world. While the gods chafe and feud with each other, hovering on the cusp of war, this planet is sacrosanct.

Fantasy

The Counsellor Crow

When Cole Franklin, Chief Counsellor of the Royal Court of Ildcrest, decided to resign, he did so by putting on his black boots, black trousers, black tunic, and black ceremonial robes, and walking out into the black night. He walked up to Ashbridge to wait on the tracks for the passing of the midnight freight train. The spot he chose was one hundred feet out from the western bank of the gorge and two hundred feet up from the River Ash.

Science Fiction

Under the Sea of Stars

We have traveled here, to this most innocuous of country landscapes, to make good on a promise made by my grandfather, Carlton Whitmore, to a girl he loved in his youth. How foolish that sounds, writ down so! But it is true. Grandfather met her on the banks of the Bolton Strid, where she stood naked and confused, water drying on her skin. His notes state that she knew no modesty, and that “she was pale as the belly of a deep-river fish.”

Fantasy

Grandma Novak’s Famous Nut Roll

Hello, family! As everyone who follows my sister on Facebook knows (and who isn’t reading Kat’s posts? Twenty lashes with a wet noodle, and you bet it’ll be Grandma’s kluski!), last weekend she and I visited Grandma Novak for . . . baking lessons! Though Grandma’s strong as she ever was (just try to tell her otherwise) she IS getting on in years. Kat and I agreed we ought to get her recipes down in writing while we can.

Science Fiction

Vade Retro Satana

::SO-COMMAND\TEMPLAR-NAVCOM-INFO: All systems functioning within normal parameters:: Peacekeeping missions were always the most difficult assignment for Lieutenant Macia Branson. Not that she longed for the combat which had been much of her duty in the Service of the Order, but the reality was that it was still war conditions, only with the setting lowered to a slow broil.