Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

Destinations of Waiting

In compiling a guidebook to the Eighth Continent, it’s been a common observation by our writers that all travel involves a painful amount of waiting. There’s the time spent waiting for a taxi to arrive, the time wasted waiting in line at the airport, and a seemingly endless amount of hours waiting in concourses and bus terminals, train stations and hotel lobbies.

Science Fiction

Shadow Prisons of the Mind

With the right overlays, the city was charming—apartment buildings done up like giant row houses, seamlessly blending Victorian and modern sensibilities, boutiques and cafés on tree-lined streets, parks bathed in sunshine. Vivian Watanabe had lived on this block, once, in a high-rise apartment painted cornflower blue with trim in teal and white. She couldn’t see it now, not the way she used to.

Fantasy

Moses

Moses is not dreaming. She is remembering. She is twelve, standing drenched on the blacktop, all heaving, nervous breaths and frustrated tears blending with the rain. The air around her begins to pulse. She should have been home by now. A dozen things need doing before her mother gets home, and her little sister stands on the sidewalk, fidgeting beneath a plastic umbrella.

Science Fiction

The Author’s Wife vs. the Giant Robot

The year I turned five, my father got taken out by a giant robot. I was present and I took it very personally. You honestly don’t expect that kind of thing when you’re a kid, not even if you’ve seen the giant robot from a distance every day of your life and have been taught what random carnage the giant robot got up to. I had grown to that tender age knowing that the giant robot killed people at the rate of one a day.

Fantasy

The Huntsman and the Beast

One day, long ago, a fierce storm scattered the royal hunting party. The prince, his best huntsman, twelve of his great lords and all their attendants, men and dogs and horses charged every which way, vanishing down one path and another until the prince and his best huntsman, whose name was Jack, were left alone, on foot, at the gates of a strange castle. “I didn’t know there was a castle here,” the prince said.

Science Fiction

Sing in Me, Muse

O Mother, dear Mnemosyne! It is I, Anisah, fifteenth of my line! Here is my song. Long have I waited for this, the end of my first shift; at last I am a daughter grown old enough to sing. I have sat at my post—I have looked out my mirrored window—I have logged my report with the cousins who keep the histories. But for you, my mother, on my first night’s watch, I will confirm that, port and starboard, there is nothing out my window but the black and endless sea.

Fantasy

The Bone-Stag Walks

The Bone-Stag walks at midwinter, sharp-antlered, hard-hoofed. Deep white snow spreads under deep black sky. Cold air slices lungs; rivers stand as stone. Over cresting drifts comes the Bone-Stag, leaving no mark of his passing. Down in the village, they draw their curtains fast against him. They bolt tight their doors. Garlic at the lintels and holly upon the sills.

Science Fiction

My Base Pair

The kid was a cruise, you could see it in his eyes even if you’d never seen a single film made by his diminutive action star original. Something hungry flickered there; hungry and hunted. “He’s one of those kids,” you’d say, and depending on your own particular prejudices, you’d respond with disgust, lewd intrigue, inappropriate questions.

Fantasy

Miss Beulah’s Braiding and Life Change Salon

The chime above my shop door rings. It heralds a young woman wearing a head wrap boasting a network of silvery constellations on indigo, interspersed with the occasional yellow-gold moon. The wrap itself is made of silk—not the finest grade, mind you, but sufficient to conceal what she must see as a fault. None of her hair is visible, but the contorted celestial bodies show the fabric is at the end of its tether.

Science Fiction

Still You Linger, Like Soot in the Air

By the time Gil had stopped meditating and opened his eyes, Muu had already removed the body. Just yesterday he and Demi had walked the eighty-four flights of stairs down to the dusty city streets, and together he and Demi had strolled across the promenade of Usha Square under the tangerine light of the setting sun. The wind had whipped Demi’s long hair into a frenzy, and Gil had leaned forward to brush a lock away from his friend’s glowing eyes.