Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

Scavenge, Rustic Hounds!

The creatures come out at night, while we’re asleep. My husband says they are harmless. “Probably mice,” he says. “They’re not harmless,” I tell him. “They are very much not harmless,” I say. “They’re gathering information on us. They’re looking through our things, examining our lives, deciding if we are good or if we are not.” “That’s ridiculous,” my husband says. “They’re singling us out. Deciding which ones to take away.”

Science Fiction

Angels

The creature she’d had them make cost her the last piece of forest outside Siena. The one with the little medieval chapel in it, the tall umbrella pines shading a forest floor no tourist had ever walked upon. It cost her the two rocky islands just south of Elba, and the lead mines at Piombino, which she had never cared about, and the villa on Lake Garda, which she had, because, so small and intimate, it had been one of her father’s favorites.

Fantasy

Treesong

If you have a worry your heart can’t seem to hold, take your troubles to the trees, my grandmama would say. That was in the Old Time, when I was a small girl with scraped knees and ashy legs, a neck full of sun. Her words would comfort me as I grew older, my baby fat yielding to strong woman curves and hips. Then I would fling my arms around my secret tree and whisper my sorrows into her knotty breast.

Science Fiction

A Bond as Deep as Starlit Seas

Don’t sell her. The thought rises like a tide in the back of Jeri’s mind, where she’s spent three Nikutan launch cycles struggling to contain it. It leaves her breathless, drowning in guilt, and trying to hide it from the krosuta-whitened stare of the Henza abbess. This is Cleo, not a load of ore. This will break her. And how could it not break her? She’s a lumbering old Juno-class cargo beast, poor Cleo, one of the earliest models.

Fantasy

Wild Bill’s Last Stand

Wild Bill “The Buck” Williams rode into town for a drink, but he stayed for the pretty boys. He was as mean as they said but not so tall: a lean, hard man with a rocky face and a broad mustache, slicked at both sides from a tin of fat he kept in a satchel round his waist. That first night he broke a man’s jaw for cheating him at poker. I didn’t just hear the story, I saw it—how Wild Bill clocked the fucker upside the face, emptied the last of his drink, and knocked out half the man’s teeth with his mug.

Science Fiction

The Right Place to Start a Family

Yuna searched the colonization vids for a world Oliver would find appealing. Of the half dozen people she was dating, he was her favorite, and the only one she’d really want to bring with her for the centuries-long trip to the colonies. There were seven destination planets to choose from. “What do you think of this one?” Oliver shrugged. “They’re all too expensive. Honestly, I think we’re better off staying here.

Fantasy

Castle Coeurlieu

Isabeau came to Castle Coeurlieu as a girl of twelve, and its lady: She had been married two weeks before to the Comte de Coeurlieu, who was thirty-two and very large, with an always-angry hatchet face slashed and pierced through the left cheek where he had taken a crossbow bolt at the battle of Leprans, full six years ago. She had been excited beforehand: She knew it was a grand match, beyond her family’s deserts, and he was famous.

Science Fiction

Greetings, Humanity! Welcome To Your Choice Of Species!

Hello, there! If you have received this telepathic mailing, you are a member of the species currently self-designated Homo sapiens, as evolved on the planet locally known as Earth, orbiting the sun locally known, for some reason that escapes us, as Sol. Most of your kind is already aware of the legal proceedings just completed in Session 3,975,216.7b of the Exalted High Tribunal of the Interstellar Commission on the Minimum Standards for Worthiness of Indigenous Cultures.

Fantasy

Aberration

You’ll see them someplace you’re going when you’re trying to make the most of your time. They’re standing at the top of the steps to the public library (the amazing branch where they do the photoshoots, not the squat concrete one you go to), or they’re on the balcony at a concert you overheard someone talking about. They’ll be at the greatest altitude you can reach while still seeming effortless; they like being able to look down.

Science Fiction

Waterbirds

Constable Kershaw has not uttered any overrides, nor issued a warrant to access her memory logs, but Celia understands nonetheless that she is expected to stay, to sit and answer his questions like a suspect. It surprises her, this treatment. Like she’s human. “Are you chilly, Constable? Shall I light the fire?” “Yeah, all right,” he says, removing his hat and settling into the armchair her employer always favours. Favoured.