Science Fiction & Fantasy

IntheNightWood-Banner_Final_Lightspeed Oct 2018

Advertisement

Fiction

Fantasy

Abandonware

Some kids do that—they imprint on empty objects, they give them stories and opinions and a will, until they feel half-inhabited even to grownups, who have to pretend that they care how Chrissy’s blanket feels about things for so long that one day when Chrissy’s at school they step on the blanket and apologize. I did it with anything, when I was young; my toys were always in the middle of some intense plot that nobody outside could understand.

Science Fiction

Her Monster, Whom She Loved

Ammuya birthed five hundred gods, followed by a monster. That was her first mistake. The gods tormented the monster because they feared it. They bound it inside a black hole, and the monster’s hatred seethed. Eventually the monster raged so fiercely he escaped the event horizon. Then he hunted down his siblings, one by one. On a silent desert planet, Ammuya cried for her children.

Fantasy

A Compendium of Architecture and the Science of Building

By the time he returned home after all his years of wandering, Magnus Diarisso had come to prefer a fire burning on cold days rather than the elaborate hypocaust system that heated the mage house. The sound of wood settling, sparks popping, and ashes sighing helped him relax. He told his nephew the mansa, the powerful cold mage who was head of Four Moons House, that he did not want to live in the main house with its comings and goings and the children’s chatter.

Science Fiction

Project Extropy

The first time God spoke to Akiko, she was a passenger aboard a container ship with no memory of how she got there. She was in the Pacific, headed for California. The ship was two weeks into its journey, but Akiko had only two days’ worth of memory.
Akiko was in the possession of several languages, though none of them felt like her mother tongue. She could address the crew in English or Russian or Tagalog, and though they seemed to understand what she was saying, they didn’t want to speak to her.

Fantasy

Here’s What I Know

Here’s what I know: When Mom discovered she was pregnant with me, my parents had been separated for some time. Dad had left her for another woman in another town, and Mom had filed for divorce. I was conceived during a short-lived Christmas reunion. Dad wanted her to get an abortion. She refused. On the eve of the date when the divorce would’ve become final, Dad caught a train back to New York.

Science Fiction

The Atonement Path

To think we used to put young criminals in jail. I’m sorry. I don’t mean to eavesdrop. Or should I say eaveswatch? What is the comparable term for using one’s visual sense in a surreptitious fashion? Dining establishments are a superb venue for such observations. But it is true, no? What good could their example do if they were shut away from public view? Ah. I am being rude. My name is Andrew Blankenship. Esquire, in the interest of completeness.

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.