Science Fiction & Fantasy

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2013 Original Fiction

Science Fiction

Leaving Night

Very quietly, in the dark of night, people began disappearing. Later research showed that they vanished while in their deepest sleep. The few available videos of sleeping people revealed that the air around them shimmered for a few seconds amid a soft humming sound. The bodies seemed to shrink to nothing. They were simply gone, leaving clothes behind. Seldom did the event even wake mates asleep beside them.

Fantasy

The Correspondence Between the Governess and the Attic

The changeling hides in the window seat. On one side of her is glass, gauzy with rain. On the other, a thick curtain. November whistles through the crack in the window frame, but she dares not move. In this house she is a creeping, persecuted thing. Best if they don’t see her. She opens the book. Reading, she knows, is dangerous: none of the books in the house are hers, nothing is hers, and the family will hold this small act against her. But reading is a better escape than none at all.

Fantasy

Miss Nobody Never Was

Everybody thinks that bartenders steal. You know what? They’re right. Maybe there’s an upright bartender someplace where it’s all parking lots and cornfields and traffic lights flashing yellow, but I doubt it.

Science Fiction

Invisible Planets

Chichi Raha is a fascinating place, its flowers and lakes unforgettable to all visitors. There, you cannot see a single inch of exposed soil because the land is covered by vegetation: the anua grass, as fine as silk thread; the kuqin tree, tall enough to scrape the clouds; and many varieties of unnameable, unimaginably strange fruits, exuding seductive aromas.

Fantasy

Sleeper

Erm Kaslo always found that a strong drink or two helped clear his head of the after-effects of the sedative that cushioned the fragile human psyche from the irreality of passage through a whimsy. He was sipping from a glass of red abandon in the second-class lounge of the second-rate liner, Armitou, when harsh bells clanged throughout the ship. Immediately, the ever-present underhum of the vessel’s normal-space drive lowered its pitch then began to fade. In a few moments, Kaslo couldn’t hear the sound at all.

Science Fiction

The Turing Test

“My name is Elektra Shepherd,” I say. “I’m eighteen years old. A freshman in university, majoring in artificial intelligence. Today I am a participant in a Turing test.”

Fantasy

The Insect and the Astronomer: A Love Story

The Insect has never been in love. The Astronomer has never been alive. It is important that you understand this.

Science Fiction

Death and the Hobbyist

It wasn’t enough for my mother Juliet to be crazy. Of course not. She was always going to find a uniquely inconvenient way to drive us mad along with her.

Science Fiction

Ghost Days

Ona watched her Teacher turn around. The helmetless Ms. Coron wore a dress that exposed the skin of her arms and legs in a way that she had taught the children was beautiful and natural. Intellectually, Ona understood that the frigid air in the classroom, cold enough to give her and the other children hypothermia even with brief exposure, was perfectly suited to the Teachers. But she couldn’t help shivering at the sight. The airtight heat-suit scraped over Ona’s scales, and the rustling noise reverberated loudly in her helmet.

Fantasy

The Master Conjurer

Peter did a magic spell, and it worked fine. With no unintended consequences, and no weird side effects. Two days later, he was on the front page of the local newspaper: “The Miracle Conjurer.” Some blogs picked it up, and soon enough he was getting visits from CNN and MSNBC, and his local NPR station kept wanting to put him on. News crews were standing and talking in front of his house.