Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations

The Grand Philosopher Ancient Leaf once expounded that a man who kills another out of passion or greed is condemned as a murderer, and one who kills ten people is reviled as a maniac, but one who causes the death of hundreds of thousands in pursuit of personal glory is often revered as a great personage. The Grand Historian Silver Mirror utilized the quote in describing the senseless nature of the Wars of the Four Princes and the Six Grand Lords.

Science Fiction

Everything and Nothing

Start with a romance: a man and a woman who are wildly and irrevocably in love with each other. Or two men. Or two women. Or two people, because life is beautiful and complex. Just know that these Lovers are important. The fate of the galaxy rests on their shoulders—because, of course, the fate of an entire portion of known space can be determined by two people in love. The laws of physics are remarkably vulnerable to the laws of love.

Fantasy

The Vampire of Kovácspéter

The village of Kovácspéter was plagued by a vampire, which was increasingly embarrassing. The year was 1873 and Hungary was on the march to modernity. They had their own prime minister, their own constitution, and their own economic development plan. Rails were being laid and industry was being developed. The future was industrial, prosperous and, most importantly, happening right now.

Science Fiction

The Shadow Prisoner’s Dilemma

Vivian sat at a café opposite Cass. Everything around her had a gritty, dingy quality. Even Cass looked run down, their face deeply tanned and distressingly wrinkled. They were old now, many decades past being the child that Vivian remembered. She looked down at her hands, so different than the black shadows that she’d grown accustomed to seeing during all her years as a Shade—the skin was covered in age spots and hung loose on the bones.

Fantasy

Forty Acres and a Mule

My parents’ farm has shrunk, as old things tend to do. The shed, the workshop, the paddock with its doubled wire fences and chicken coop—all squat and rain-blackened, coming into focus as I step from the car as if I have put on glasses or wiped rain from a window. The house itself stands straight-spined beyond the pear tree, gray in the drizzle, more withdrawn than the last time I visited. The tree has not changed.

Science Fiction

The Ambient Intelligence

The air over Chicago was thick with drones. There were at least two dozen I could see from the beach. Most were small, no more than slow-moving specks against the clouds, probably simple reconnaissance units. But at higher altitudes the big Venezuelan military birds prowled, formidable machines the size of Buicks. They moved through the sky with purpose. I had the suit zoom in on one, high over the lake.

Fantasy

Entanglement

I never met my father, the sea monster, but my mother told me about him: eight raging tentacles that felt, when she stroked them, like finest silk, the deep calm ocean blue of him, the round eyes that revealed secrets in their reflections. The first time she looked into them, she saw an image of herself in her future, and she was kind and full of joy. They met on a dating app. There weren’t that many options. | Copyright 2020 by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam.

Science Fiction

Machine Learning

You asked me once if I had any favorites, and I asked you which of your sons you most loved. Do you remember? It was when I was on your radio show, the one where between the music you interview machines. Do people ever listen to this show? I do. I like hearing how the other machines think, what they’re building, what’s next. I hear the tiredness in their voices. I wonder if you do too.

Fantasy

Persephone of the Crows

Isabelle Winters once saw a fairy. For real. It was little, like a hummingbird, with a hummingbird’s frantic wings, and it was moving through the garden, shaking the rosebuds open for the bees. She’s just told this to Polly, though not exactly in those words. The sarcastic for real, for instance, is all Polly. If there was ever a girl primed to see fairies, Isabelle Winters is that girl.

Science Fiction

Note to Self

The notion of the quantum mirror was first floated by two graduate students (Sapna Gupta and Mark Shaw) over a fourth round of beers in a small pub in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and therefore one should consider the role of intoxication in its initial conception. This is not to say that the notion itself was a foolish one; the subsequent procession of events should be sufficient proof that it was not.