Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

Wednesday’s Story

My story has a strange shape to it. It has a beginning and middle and, of course, I need not tell you that it has an end because it is the nature of all things to end, especially stories. But this story . . . well, it bunches up in places and twists upon itself in ways that no good story should. The sharpness of its arcs flare and wane in unexpected places because it is a story made of other stories.

Science Fiction

The Philosopher’s Stone

The row of horseless vehicles moved slowly along Kensington High Street. The green translucent leaves of Kensington Garden were colored red by the setting sun. The day had been unusually hot for this time of the year. Workers headed homewards now that the diminishing daylight no longer made it sensible to continue working. The row of horseless vehicles had come to a standstill.

Fantasy

Hungerford Bridge

I hadn’t heard from Miles for several months, when he wrote if I wanted to get together for lunch. Of course I did, and several days later I met him at a noisy, cheerful restaurant at South Bank. It was early February, London still somewhat dazed by the heavy snowfall that had recently paralyzed the city. The Thames seemed a river of lead. A black skim of ice made the sidewalks treacherous.

Science Fiction

Deathlight

Els wondered again if she should start recording her final words. If she could start recording her final words. There was cold, and then there was cold, and the Tolstar was cold. Dun had shut off every heating system that wasn’t absolutely needed to keep systems running outside of the main control room, and even that he left cold enough to let ice crystals form.

Fantasy

The Jaws That Bite, The Claws That Catch

Mist flowed through the Tulgey Wood like treacle, slow and thick and unyielding. Squeaks and muffled chitters came from the underbrush as rabbits, foxes, and adolescent toves that hadn’t sensed the weather changing were caught and drowned in the gray-white mire. It would clear by noon, burnt off by the sun, and then the scavengers would come, making a feast of the small mist-struck creatures.

Science Fiction

Tethered

In 1978, NASA astrophysicist Donald J. Kessler predicted that the quantity of artificial satellites orbiting Earth would reach a critical limit, after which collisions became inevitable. One satellite would strike another at the dangerous speeds of Earth orbit—seven, eight kilometers per second—and the two would break into hundreds of pieces. These pieces would in turn collide with other satellites, generating a chain reaction of impact and debris.

Fantasy

North Over Empty Space

Sigmund came back to himself after a gray interval of unknown time, hunched in the yellow vinyl booth of an appallingly bright diner, his head aching from the night’s exertions. His partner Carlsbad sat across from him, drawing no attention at all, which struck Sigmund as strange even in his exhausted state. Carlsbad was a human-shaped figure, but he was unclothed, his face was entirely featureless, and he was composed of a viscous-looking black substance instead of flesh.

Science Fiction

Three Points Masculine

I was serving in Baxon just north of Hescher, guard-dogging a queue of first responders heading into the riot zones, and John caught my eye. Her beard caught my eye. Some troublemaker flaunting the rules, I thought, or a guy sneaking in under cover of audacity, thinking the Womens Volunteer Corps was a good place to get laid. If that was the case, he was looking to get roughed up, and it was my job to oblige.

Fantasy

Of Metal Men and Scarlet Thread and Dancing with the Sunrise

Rudolfo’s Gypsy Scouts found the metal man sobbing in an impact crater deep in the roiling smoke and glowing ruins of Windwir. He crouched over a pile of blackened bones, his shoulders chugging and his bellows wheezing, his helmet-like head shaking in his large metal hands. They approached him silently, ghosts in a city of ghosts, but the metal man still heard and looked up.

Science Fiction

The Birth Will Take Place on a Mutually Acceptable Research Vessel

When they inform you the birth will take place on a mutually acceptable research vessel, you nod and smile as if it was your choice all along. Because smiling and nodding is what you’ve been doing since the beginning. Because this is bigger than you. Because at least this way it feels like you’re being honored and feted instead of herded and controlled. Mr. Kagawa, courteous and diplomatic by profession, does his best to make it all seem like a request.