Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Science Fiction

Life Sentence

Home. He recognizes the name of the street. But he doesn’t remember the landscape. He recognizes the address on the mailbox. But he doesn’t remember the house. His family is waiting for him on the porch. Everybody looks just as nervous as he is. He gets out. The police cruiser takes back off down the gravel drive, leaving him standing in a cloud of dust holding a baggie of possessions.

Science Fiction

The Book Collector

“Go away, Todd. We’re busy,” Larry said. “Besides, you’re wasting your time. You know she only likes to fuck imaginary people.” “That’s because she hasn’t tried the real deal,” Todd said. “And that would be you?” Larry asked. Col yawned ostentatiously at Todd, but he didn’t take the hint. He was thick that way. There was hardly room for two people in the cubicle Col shared with Larry.

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.

Nonfiction

Media Reviews: December 2018

This month Carrie Vaughn looks at two films that take their protagonists to amazing new worlds: dark fantasy adaptation The House with a Clock in Its Walls and science biopic First Man.

Fantasy

Of a Sweet Slow Dance in the Wake of Temporary Dogs

On the last night before the end of everything, the stars shine like a fortune in jewels, enriching all who walk the quaint cobblestoned streets of Enysbourg. It is a celebration night, like most nights in the capital city. The courtyard below my balcony is alive with light and music. Young people drink and laugh and dance. Gypsies in silk finery play bouncy tunes on harmonicas and mandolins. Many wave at me, shouting invitations to join them.

Fantasy

A Love Story Written on Water

Bhi’ash was a king of the Axe clan. Truthful and courageous, he was renowned for having performed one thousand Black Horse sacrifices and one hundred Fire sacrifices. For his devotion, upon his demise he attained entrance to the heavenly realms and was honored by the Stone Gods. One day, Bhi’ash—accompanied by many other king-mages and some of the Stone Gods themselves—went to pay homage to Agar, the highest of Stone Gods.

Science Fiction

Remaking History

“The point is not to make an exact replica of the Teheran embassy compound.” Exasperated, Ivan Venutshenko grabbed his hair in one hand and pulled up. “It’s the spirit of the place that we want to invoke here.” “This has the spirit of our storage warehouse, if you ask me.” “This is our storage warehouse, John. We make all our movies here.”

Fantasy

Hapthorn’s Last Case

My assistant said, “You have received an invitation from Holk Xanthoulian. He is embarking on a new menu and invites, and I quote, ‘a select coterie of the cognoscenti to sample its superlative assemblage of tastes, textures, and titillations.’” “He has a flair for the alliterative,” I said. “Sadly, that is true,” my assistant said. “Shall I decline?”

Fantasy

Other Worlds and This One

When I finally visit Hugh Everett, it’s 1982. We sit down and pahnah pours himself a glass of sherry and lights a cig before asking me about the purpose of my visit. We’re in Hugh’s bedroom. He’s sitting on his bed, in full suit and tie, taking deep drags from his cigarette. I take a seat in a chair next to the window. I tell him I want to hear about his theory. This isn’t true. I know his theory well.

Science Fiction

Talk to Your Children About Two-Tongued Jeremy

His name was Two-Tongued Jeremy; he was a monitor lizard with a forked tongue, thick glasses, and a wild, wagging smile meant to convince children that learning could be fun, too. He came highly rated. He updated automatically. When our promising children propped their tablets against their stacks of textbooks, their glazy angelic eyes took on that ferocious determination we liked to see in ourselves.