Science Fiction & Fantasy

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

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Fiction

Fantasy

Maiden, Mother, Crone

The mule nipped at Marjan’s hand as she burdened it with her packs. She pushed its nose away, careful not to hurt it. She needed the mule to be well. Her life — and her unborn child’s — depended on it. She led the mule outside the stable and carefully latched the door behind them. She didn’t want the other animals to suffer from the cold. Bad enough she was stealing the mule.

Science Fiction

Men of Unborrowed Vision

We are not terrorists. We have not done this because we wish to terrify or instill fear. We do what we have done in order to bring the truth to everyone, a truth that burns away the lies and leaves only itself. We are no more terrorists than the invisible hand of the market is a terrorist.

Fantasy

The Archon

“What do we call this thing?” Erm Kaslo said, gesturing to the smooth opaque walls. “It’s not a spaceship.” Diomedo Obron tapped the green leather-bound tome he was studying. “Testroni’s Impervious Conveyance, it says here.” They were inside an object that had looked to Kaslo like nothing so much as an oversized version of the silver dome that a butler would whisk away from an aristocrat’s meal. It even had a large ring on top — a ring that was now grasped by the talons of an honest-to-goodness dragon.

Science Fiction

More Adventures on Other Planets

This is what they used to call a meet cute, back when movies were made by people like Ernst Lubitsch or Billy Wilder, when movies had plots and dialogue, when life and love had rules, back in the last century. A handsome officer in the Soviet embassy (does that tell you how long ago?) picks up the phone one day and hears a lilting female voice asking him if he can tell her, please, what is Lenin’s middle name. “It’s for my crossword puzzle.”

Fantasy

The Lonely Heart

It was towards mid-afternoon that Chen became aware of the girl. She stood before Chen’s stall, watching the fake-jade effigies of the Buddha and the coloured incense sticks, her eyes wide in the sunlight — she was no more than thirteen or fourteen, with the gangly unease of that age. To her left, children shrieked as they passed the Bridge of Impossibility, holding each other’s hands, and went into the temple complex.

Science Fiction

He Came From a Place of Openness and Truth

Mickey and I worked together at Hillman’s Horror House, and maybe the thrill of scaring people was what made me notice him. I’d never thought about another guy that way before, and so when I first got that electric jolt as his hand brushed mine in the changing room, I felt like I might puke. I went to the bathroom, where instead of throwing up I jacked off into the toilet.

Fantasy

Headwater LLC

Masa makes a deep bow as Yoko holds a plastic bottle beneath him, waiting for the water to drain like a tea garden waterfall from Masa’s bowl-shaped head. A trainee at Headwater Bottled Refreshments stands behind Masa with a hose, filling his head up to the brim after he finishes his bow. “We have to wait five minutes before filling more bottles,” Yoko says. “The water needs time to change.”

Science Fiction

Beautiful Boys

You know who I’m talking about. You can see them on Sunday afternoons, in places like Knoxville, Tennessee or Flagstaff, Arizona, playing pool or with their elbows on the bar, drinking a beer before they head out into the dusty sunlight and get into their pickups, onto their motorcycles. Some of them have dogs. Some of their dogs wear bandanas around their necks.

Science Fiction

They Tell Me There Will Be No Pain

Colonel Rathbone attends my final debriefing. I’m wearing a paper hospital gown that doesn’t cover my ass; I’ve got a breeze where no breeze has any right to be, from the back of my neck right down where the good Lord split me. But despite that I’m sweating, the backs of my thighs sticking to the paper covering the hospital table

Fantasy

A Lie You Give, and Thus I Take

Don’t be fooled by the breadcrumbs in the forest. This is not a fairy tale. The first lie is pretty and spirals from your mouth like candyfloss; sweet, so sweet, and I’m melting under your tongue. Baby, baby, baby, you say, and I gobble it up, unaware that every word you say comes with a candy thermometer and you’ve made me your latest caramel bonbon.