Science Fiction & Fantasy

Beren & Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Fantasy

Michael Doesn’t Hate His Mother

At rest, coiled up, Michael’s mother is about the size of a riding mower. Michael’s living room is not much bigger than her.
With a shudder, she rises. Her little piston feet march, pulling her out of her coil. Lifters above the feet kick out like dancers in a line. She snakes into the kitchen. Julie shrieks in horrified delight. Their mother opens the refrigerator. Julie and Michael watch as she prepares them lunch. She nudges them into chairs at the table. They haven’t eaten at the table in a long time. Maybe she’s getting better.

Science Fiction

RedKing

Tain held a pistol toward me. The black gel of the handle pulsed, waiting to be gripped. “Better take this,” she said. I shook my head. “I never use them.” We sat in an unmarked police cruiser, the steering wheel packed away in the dashboard. Tain’s face was a pale shimmer in the cool blue light of the car’s entertainment system. “Your file says you are weapons trained.” “Yeah,” I said, “I got one of those cannons at home, locked in my kitchen drawer.”

Fantasy

Sparks Fly

“There’s a dark side to sloths,” she said, using her straw to plumb the ice at the bottom of her glass, flicking red-blonde hair out of blue-blue eyes. “Sometimes they go to grab a branch, but accidentally grab their own arm, and then fall to their deaths.” “Because of the mossy fur?” I guessed, also guessing at the best way to put my hand onto hers on the bubbled-glass patio table. I could see her suntanned legs underneath and it put sparks under my skin.

Science Fiction

Welcome to the Medical Clinic at the Interplanetary Relay Station | Hours Since the Last Patient Death: 0

You take a shortcut through the hydroponics bay on your way to work, and notice that the tomato plants are covered in tiny crawling insects that look like miniature beetles. One of the insects skitters up your leg, so you reach down and brush it off. It bites your hand. The area around the bite turns purple and swollen. You run down a long metal hallway to the Medical Clinic, grateful for the artificially generated gravity that defies the laws of physics and yet is surprisingly common in fictional space stations.

Fantasy

Starfish

On the third day of the sightseeing trip, among walrus-laden icebergs, they run into slurry. At the fore, Skipper sticks a boat hook into the water. “There are plenty of critters here,” he says. “It’s like playing grab bag. You’ll always catch something on the hook.” He thrusts the boat hook up and down a couple of times, stirs it in the slush, and pulls it out again. A transparent little rag is impaled on the tip.

Science Fiction

Sooner or Later Everything Falls Into the Sea

The rock star washed ashore at high tide. Earlier in the day, Bay had seen something bobbing far out in the water. Remnant of a rowboat, perhaps, or something better. She waited until the tide ebbed, checked her traps and tidal pools among the rocks before walking toward the inlet where debris usually beached. All kinds of things washed up if Bay waited long enough.

Fantasy

Not by Wardrobe, Tornado, or Looking Glass

The scent of fresh lilacs and the boom of a cannon shot muffled by distance prefaced the arrival of the rabbit hole. Louisa jerked upright in her seat, and her book fell from her lap to slap against the cold pavement of the station floor. Dropping a book would normally cause her to cringe, but instead she allowed herself a spark of excitement as a metal maintenance door creaked open on rusty hinges. Golden light spilled out onto dazed commuters. Was this it? Was this finally it?

Science Fiction

Charlotte Incorporated

At night she pores over the corpus catalogues online: Incorporated Incorporated, Modern Anatomy, and Shoulders, Knees, & Toes. She weighs the merits of femur length and belly fat, redundant kidneys, attached earlobes, and pronated feet. Most people buy pre-configured corpi with symmetrical faces and standard organ kits, but she wants a custom build. Something completely unique.

Science Fiction

Beyond the Heliopause

As soon as the recorded message pinged in her peripheral vision, she accepted and listened to the call on her cochlear implant. “Suzanne, I need to see you. It’s urgent. I . . . well, I’ll tell you when I see you. All my love.”

Fantasy

Maiden, Hunter, Beast

She had never intended to be a nineteen-year-old virgin. She wasn’t opposed to the idea of sex, didn’t think the simple act of having sex with someone had to be a big deal, and sure, she went to Mass and knew what the priests taught, but she figured God was actually a lot less concerned about that sort of thing than they were. She just hadn’t ever wanted to badly enough.