Science Fiction & Fantasy

Beren & Luthien by J.R.R. Tolkien

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2014 Original Fiction

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.

Science Fiction

Wake-Rider

This is a story from the time before she was famous. In the early days, she was known as Leli, or Lelia, a tease-name that had stuck. On her first mission for the revolution, she sat cramped, fists clenched with tension, waiting in the tiny scabship Tinka, out of sight in a radar deadzone. The salvage ship Gathering Moss, which she was stalking, lay like a giant, rusting silver slug in the docking bay.

Fantasy

The Drawstring Detective

The Drawstring Detective is heavier than he appears. When Char picks him up off the shelf, she almost drops him. He is a foot tall and made entirely of tin. He is dressed in charcoal-colored slacks, a white shirt and black tie, a black greatcoat, loafers, and a bowler hat, all of which are also made of tin. White gloves hold a folded umbrella. A small, tightly curled mustache stands in place of a mouth.

Science Fiction

Pay Phobetor

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Science Fiction

Drones Don’t Kill People

I was always already a killer. There was no hazy time in my memory before I knew how to target a person’s heart or brain for clean execution. I did not develop a morbid fascination with death over time; I did not spend my childhood mutilating animals; I was not abused by a violent parent; I did not suffer social injustice until finally I broke down and turned to professional violence. From the moment I was conscious, I could kill and I did.

Fantasy

Enter Saunterance

Back in Obron’s workroom, Kaslo told the wizard his theory that the reason their enemy had sent a fire elemental against them was because he wanted the fiery spirit to seize the noubles the op had originally acquired from the murderous thaumaturge, Asrat Gozon. “Fire cannot harm them,” he finished.

Fantasy

A Flock of Grief

The woman’s dress was perfectly correct. Indeed, it, and she, would have been utterly unremarkable, were it not for the bird perched upon her shoulder, black-feathered, eyes with the seasick luminosity of moonstones. “Vulgar,” Sofie said to me under her breath. “Why go out in society at all, if you are going to appear like that? No one wishes to have a party disturbed by such reminders of grief and mortality.”

Science Fiction

What Glistens Back

Come back. You hear the call as the lander breaks up around you. You’re aware of the entirely arbitrary concepts of up and down before you realize what’s happening, and then they’re a lot less arbitrary. Down is not so much a direction as a function of possibility, of what might happen to you, of what is happening now. You finally get down as an idea.

Fantasy

The Quality of Descent

The trick begins like this: The magician throws an egg up into the air, where it flies — small and white and full of import — up and up, high into the black reaches of the proscenium. We await the descent, holding our breaths, expecting at any moment the crash of slapstick hilarity, exploding like a bomb. But the egg simply vanishes.