Science Fiction & Fantasy

CHOSEN ONES

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Fiction

Fantasy

Refuge

Dear Mr. Quilas: This morning, I began to read your new collection of essays, Forgotten Lives. I’ve enjoyed a number of your books previously, but this collection held a particular interest for me. Aned Heast, the subject of your third essay, “A Refuge in Juar,” held a personal interest and I looked forward to reading your piece about him. Sadly, I was disappointed. Your essay was riddled with misinformation and errors. I’m sure you do not wish to be told that. Few writers want to be told they are wrong.

Science Fiction

The Marsh of Camarina

“Your grades really are quite spectacular, Sita,” my career advisor Mrs. Dana Rice says to me in her deep southern drawl, an accent I’ve come to associate with my studies here. “A 3.8 cumulative GPA at Georgia Tech is nothing to sneeze at. You should be proud of yourself!” I force a smile and say, “Thank you.” But all I can focus on is the football stadium gleaming outside Mrs. Rice’s office window. Sweeping. Enormous. Empty. Baking in the morning sun.

Fantasy

Danaë

She notices him primarily as a new scent in the antiseptic air of the Tower: a rich man’s perfume of milk and fig, myrrh and pistachio. You might expect that the Tower itself would stink of brass, so much of it heaped together beneath the Argive sun, but the metal has no scent of its own. What you smell is only the oil and sweat on your skin, broken down by the copper, wafted to your nostrils and triggering some mammalian predilection for the stink of blood. And she never touches the Tower.

Science Fiction

Single Malt Spacecraft

The first time Fresia tasted scotch, it was true love. She was twenty-two. Her boyfriend had just turned twenty-one and had gotten a bottle of Glen Livet from his dad. He poured a shot for himself and for his friend, but none for Fresia. “Come on,” she said, “I want to taste it.” “Girls don’t like whisky,” he said. “Trust me, you’ll hate it.” “Let me find out for myself.” “Not for what this costs, sorry.” The friend gasped over his empty shot glass. “Oh, that’s good.” Her boyfriend put the whisky on the top of the fridge where he knew Fresia was too short to reach.

Fantasy

The Postictal State of Divine Love

My mother used to tell me we came from the matriarchal vampiric line that had been traced farther back than Queen Elizabeth. She only told me these things after a seizure. Many people with epilepsy talk about how, after a seizure, strange memories pop up—small but suddenly vibrant details; my mother would recall the small vibrant details of our collective vampiric past. What kind of mother would do this? Mine. And, when I was little, I loved her for it.

Science Fiction

Still Life with Hammers, a Broom, and a Brick Stacker

Linc tucked down the bill of his worn Red Sox cap and closed his eyes against the sweat stinging them. The truck, lifting carpets of ash and dust into the air like someone spreading a bedsheet, provided the morning’s only sound. But Linc thought he could maybe hear the wreckers up ahead, monstrous, steel-tooth jaws spreading open to dump another load of bricks on the growing pile. In the shadows cast by the leaning, crumbling apartment towers stood black girls and a few jaundiced snow bunnies.

Fantasy

Destinations of Love

Your guidebook writers are—alas—very familiar with booking tickets in search of love. How many of us haven’t packed our bags for the new continent with this foolish goal in mind? We’ve stumbled through our travels, searching cities and villages for romance. In cafés, opera houses, and hotel rooms, we felt acutely alone. Why, even the most exquisite restaurants were dulled by the empty chair across from us.

Science Fiction

Rager in Space

Sion sent a drunk text to Grant Hendryx at four in the morning, whipping off her hoodie and bra, snapping a pic and writing a sexy caption before hitting send. Except she aimed the camera the wrong way, and she picked the wrong entry in her address book, so Grant Donaldson, senior project manager at Aerodox Ventures, was surprised to receive a blurry photo of a pair of parking meters with a message that read, ‘LICK MY LEFT ONE.’ The next day, Sion had an invitation to go to outer space.

Fantasy

We Are Where the Nightmares Go

Everyone knows the story of the little girl who fell down the rabbit hole and of the children who walked through the wardrobe and of the little girl who was scooped up by the tornado and of the little boy who found the book that never ended and of the little girl who said the right words on the other side of the mirror and of the little girl who unlocked the bricked-up door in the cellar and of the little boy who had such wonderful dreams night after night. But those are the children who came back.

Science Fiction

Melting Like Metal

When the quantum supercomputing systems of the God called Nemesis registered the sighting of the heretic Candor Gray—already tried in absentia and slated for termination, and assigned the serial number of HA3-940QK322PF-P—Enga Afonbataw Konum of Nemesis was already waiting, as she’d waited during the last few dozen stupid assignments. Enga was an angel of Nemesis, a no-longer-human cyborg built for a singular purpose: to hunt down and destroy the Gods’ enemies.