Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

Sía

Right before I wake up from a dream of hotel sex, I hear drums. They start low, building, voices murmuring healing healing healing. I sit up in bed, pissed. I look to my altar in the corner. “Come on!” I yell, throwing the covers back. I hear cackling. My ancestors have been on a real asshole streak lately. After the tragedy I did the brown-girl-spiritual-thing, called upon my ancestors for guidance, but when my ancestors showed up, they were like me: sarcastic, shit-talking assholes. I felt seen.

Science Fiction

Mister Dawn, How Can You Be So Cruel?

I only met Mr. Compton once, but he was easy: fifty years old, twice divorced, thin black hair with gray roots, expensive off-the-rack suit, office shoes with rubber soles, an expensive gold watch on one wrist and an expensive smartwatch on the other, sunglasses inside, a smile on the outside. He told me that he loved “hot jazz.” He told me that he had never truly been in love. He told me that his favorite film was Breathless. These were all lies, but lies are much more revealing than the truth. Truth is molded by the real; lies are shaped like our souls. So I could see Mr. Compton very clearly

Fantasy

Invasive Species and their Habitats

The vine’s voraciousness dwarfs even the kudzu of the Southern United States, whose growth of one foot per day is a snail’s pace compared to the Teczotchicin’s rate of up to twenty-five meters. It is among the rare plants one can watch growing beneath one’s feet, birthing folktales of its murderous qualities. Indeed, the vines have been known to devour whatever they encounter, entangling wild boars in their constriction, swallowing homes of nesting birds, and suffocating local banyan trees which reach thirty meters into the air.

Science Fiction

Where You Left Me

The best way to hide a red mouth is to know exactly when your gums start to bleed. If you check your teeth every so often with a quick swipe of the tongue, and you get a bit of that saltiness, you’ll learn to take a swig from a canteen and rinse before anyone else notices. The weeps are a little harder. Most of us wear tinted goggles when we ride at the barrier. They keep solar glare low, of course, but they also let you feel when your tear ducts leak, because the blood collects at the bottom of the rims. That and a dark handkerchief, and you can clean yourself up as needed, no problem.

Fantasy

Fanspell: Flowers in Spring (RobYung, NSFW)

I am ashamed of the way I learned magic, and shame has made me a coward. I stay silent as Arul circles the body of the girl who has made bright flowers of her flesh, silent as he says, “Unorthodox interpretation of Lee’s Symphony of the Meteor. Backlash ultimately fatal. Time of unmaking . . . midnight, give or take a couple of hours. Stop staring, Myei. Write it down.” I write it down. The flesh column that was once a young girl stretches from the packed dirt of the kitchen floor to the belly of the longhouse above us, held high by stilts out of respect for the Mother River’s many moods.

Science Fiction

Judi

She sank to the ground on a world without name. We were far from home, farther than we had ever gone, maybe farther than anyone had ever gone. It was so far away, or at least so strange for some undefinable local cause, that we could have filled volumes with all the alterations in the way things worked; in the ways that light worked, in the way that time worked, in the way that mass worked. We spoke of bringing back word to the learned of my world and hers. We talked of making our names.

Fantasy

My Sister is a Scorpion

My baby sister didn’t used to be a scorpion, but she is one now. I don’t know if that sounds weird to you, but it doesn’t to me, because right after my sister was born, Abuelita turned into a white crane and flew away. She was so sad after we buried Abuelito, you know. One winter day, she stepped outside of the faded stucco church into bright sunshine, her Bible tucked under one arm. Maybe the touch of the sun was not enough to warm her after the shadows of the church.

Science Fiction

Anything Short of Death Is Survivable

Olive feared she might vomit which would be a really dumb and dangerous thing to do since her mouth was sealed off (along with the rest of her skin) against the vacuum of space. Basically, her insides had nowhere to go. She swallowed hard. Only little kids got space sick and she wasn’t a little kid, she was fourteen. As soon as the hatch had opened and she went rushing out into the empty, Olive’s skin crystalized—just like it was supposed to.

Fantasy

The Tale of Jaja and Canti

Seated on the balcony of the house across the street is a man. He is slumped in his chair and has remained unmoving for several hours. The tattered frays of his agbada spreads about his person like an old sailcloth, snapping in the wind. His equally tattered hat is positioned on his head such that you cannot see his face. He has maintained this position for nigh on a day (which is much, much longer than you think). If you think him dead, then you’ll be wrong; if you think him alive, well . . .

Science Fiction

City of Refuge

The world was ending, but Royal Parker still had to go through the motions of a job interview. He knew as soon as he sat down across from the manager—in his ridiculous red-and-white striped shirt and paper hat—that he wasn’t getting the job. Despite the assurances from the Liberation Investment Support Cooperative, the corporate entity controlling the state’s infrastructure, jobs were scarce. He hated that even part of him wanted this person’s approval.