Science Fiction & Fantasy

DAYFALL by Michael David Ares




Remote Presence

As usual, Win was late to work. Since he hadn’t had time to eat breakfast at home, he arrived at his office—tucked into the old wing of the hospital, now a maze of ancient files and obscure personnel—clutching a styrofoam vat of cafeteria coffee, a donut balanced atop it. He wore jeans and hiking boots and a wrinkled pinstripe dress shirt, from which his ID badge hung crookedly. “Winston Z, MDiv, LCSW, BCC,” it read.

Science Fiction

If Lions Could Speak: Imagining the Alien

Many have written on this subject to confess failure; who am I to claim success? The objections line up like policemen: Alien intelligence does not, in fact, exist. So when we try to describe it, our thoughts do not connect to any object except ourselves. The words we put into an alien mouth, the feeling into an alien heart, the tools into alien hands, what can they be but imitations of our words, feelings, tools?



Long ago, a woman in Bavaria had to peel some potatoes. She had to do the washing. She had to check on the soup that simmered on the stove and was never quite thick enough. She had to watch her smallest child where it lay wrapped near the fire and sweating, and watch her oldest daughter tying back her hair to look finer when she went to trade the day’s milk for some woolens from the merchant with the unmarried son.

Science Fiction

Infinite Love Engine

Beeblax beats its wings against a superlumic slurry of time and space, and the universe turns to liquid starlight in its periphery; inside rides Aria Astra—Stellar Champion of the Star Supremacy, Wielder of the Sister Ray, Spacetrotting Coolgal, and Humanity’s Last Hope—nestled within a blob of translucent pink jellymeat, and it is totally cool and only a little disgusting.


Soccer Fields and Frozen Lakes

Dear Sara: The official verdict that I am no longer classified as human arrived in a windowed envelope bearing the return address of the Bureau of Lineage Affairs. There is one envelope for me and one for you, although I haven’t opened yours. Except for the return address, these envelopes look like something from the bank, or perhaps an offer for home insurance, the kind we throw away.

Science Fiction


Come-from-aways think it’s the tides that brings the wreckage in, but any local child will tell you the truth of the matter. You can have fifty fine days in a row and the beaches will be clean and empty, except for the usual haul of rockweed, driftwood, and old plastic bottles. Fifty fine days, and then there’ll come a thick, foggy night of the sort we do so well around here.


La Peau Verte

In a dusty, antique-littered back room of the loft on St. Mark’s Place, a room with walls the color of ripe cranberries, Hannah stands naked in front of the towering mahogany-framed mirror and stares at herself. No—not her self any longer, but the new thing that the man and woman have made of her. Three long hours busy with their airbrushes and latex prosthetics.

Science Fiction

Death Every Seventy-Two Minutes

Negelein is at his workstation working on the Lafferty file when the bone spear arcs over the sea of cubicles and strikes just above his right ear, penetrating his skull with a wet crunch. Oblivion is not quite instantaneous; his neurons all fire at the moment his brain goes soggy with blood, giving him, in his last instant, an overwhelming taste of peppermint.


The Stone Lover

When word came that the king had died, Kyros began packing his tools. Agathon had been a fine patron, commissioning statues and friezes for his capital’s many temples and his own palace, but his wife had no reputation for piety or art. He was surprised, then, when one of her pages delivered a scroll requesting his services.


The Debt of the Innocent

On October 11, 2035, Jamie Wrede, R.N., was the sole employee staffing the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Temperance United in Martinsville’s Pine Ridge district. In the course of her career, she’d been asked to kill nine newborns. That morning, she planned to kill four more. Jamie woke at 6:45 and began preparing breakfast for her eighteen-month-old daughter, Claire. At 7:34, she picked up a “crank call” and listened for three minutes.