Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Science Fiction

Real Animals

The bear has been stalking the taxidermy garden for ten weeks now, ever since Raffi showed up. Sometimes it disappears for a few days or a week, but it always comes back. Prowls the perimeter, looking for weak spots. From inside the taxidermy garden, Raffi feels the bear’s presence tugging on her, as though it has become the pole of her personal compass. The taxidermy garden isn’t a real garden. It’s a ski chalet, or what used to be a ski chalet, all hand-hewn logs and wood stoves.

The Marsh of Camarina

“Your grades really are quite spectacular, Sita,” my career advisor Mrs. Dana Rice says to me in her deep southern drawl, an accent I’ve come to associate with my studies here. “A 3.8 cumulative GPA at Georgia Tech is nothing to sneeze at. You should be proud of yourself!” I force a smile and say, “Thank you.” But all I can focus on is the football stadium gleaming outside Mrs. Rice’s office window. Sweeping. Enormous. Empty. Baking in the morning sun.

Single Malt Spacecraft

The first time Fresia tasted scotch, it was true love. She was twenty-two. Her boyfriend had just turned twenty-one and had gotten a bottle of Glen Livet from his dad. He poured a shot for himself and for his friend, but none for Fresia. “Come on,” she said, “I want to taste it.” “Girls don’t like whisky,” he said. “Trust me, you’ll hate it.” “Let me find out for myself.” “Not for what this costs, sorry.” The friend gasped over his empty shot glass. “Oh, that’s good.” Her boyfriend put the whisky on the top of the fridge where he knew Fresia was too short to reach.

Still Life with Hammers, a Broom, and a Brick Stacker

Linc tucked down the bill of his worn Red Sox cap and closed his eyes against the sweat stinging them. The truck, lifting carpets of ash and dust into the air like someone spreading a bedsheet, provided the morning’s only sound. But Linc thought he could maybe hear the wreckers up ahead, monstrous, steel-tooth jaws spreading open to dump another load of bricks on the growing pile. In the shadows cast by the leaning, crumbling apartment towers stood black girls and a few jaundiced snow bunnies.

Rager in Space

Sion sent a drunk text to Grant Hendryx at four in the morning, whipping off her hoodie and bra, snapping a pic and writing a sexy caption before hitting send. Except she aimed the camera the wrong way, and she picked the wrong entry in her address book, so Grant Donaldson, senior project manager at Aerodox Ventures, was surprised to receive a blurry photo of a pair of parking meters with a message that read, ‘LICK MY LEFT ONE.’ The next day, Sion had an invitation to go to outer space.

Melting Like Metal

When the quantum supercomputing systems of the God called Nemesis registered the sighting of the heretic Candor Gray—already tried in absentia and slated for termination, and assigned the serial number of HA3-940QK322PF-P—Enga Afonbataw Konum of Nemesis was already waiting, as she’d waited during the last few dozen stupid assignments. Enga was an angel of Nemesis, a no-longer-human cyborg built for a singular purpose: to hunt down and destroy the Gods’ enemies.

One Hundred Sentences About the City of the Future: A Jeremiad

  1. It rained yesterday, only in my precinct, far in excess of the scheduled and published amount, as a result of which some of my more delicate houseplants, which are flowering, were severely damaged.
  2. The choices in the mayoral election are disappointing, far from the ideological panoply promised in early stages of the campaign.
  3. Because of this, I am deciding whether or not I should file a formal Notice of Intent not to vote.

A Subtle Web: A Tale From the Somadeva Chronicles

The Blue People of the desert continent on the Planet Miln have never been in space, as far as their ancestral memories go. Among the sand dunes and the whirling dust devils of the Southern Continent, they lead nomadic lives, content to traverse, generation after generation, the shifting pathways across the great desert. In all their remembered history, only one of them has ever traveled to the Northern Continent and beyond, never to return. The Blue People do not speak to the Northerners.

Voice of Their Generation

On their ninth rewrite of the third act of Detective Pikachu vs. Predator, it occurred to Thicket that they might just be the voice of their generation. In a fever, they swiped together the final epic speech where Detective Pikachu refutes Predator’s cynical attempts to turn him against his human partner, arguing that the Pokémon relationship with humanity was one not of servitude but of guardianship, for every Pokémon can see within each human the potential to rise above their flawed nature.

Always the Harvest

Nissaea-of-the-Slant wasn’t even looking for an eye implant in the mazeway lode when she came across the half-smashed ocular. It was worthless in any case, and she gritted her teeth at her bad luck. A hand was what she needed, and this was her last chance. The sputtering confounders, the only ones she’d been able to afford, would give out sooner or later, and then she wouldn’t be able to hide her illegal implant-mining from the Watch.