Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

All These Guardians of Order and Clarity, None of Them Can Abide a Free Witch

You don’t know about me, unless you read that fine and fancy text, the one called “A Siege of Cranes, or Reports of the Journey of the Human Peasant Marish-of-Ilmak-Dale and the Keeper Envoy Kadath-Naan, and Their Encounter with the So-Named White Witch, Agent of Unmaking and Despair, and Metaphysical and Xenobiological Observations Thereto.” But that’s all right. That text was written by the Djinni Az Yeshedurran Ra’avar Lakash, who tried to tell the truth, I guess.

Science Fiction

The Shadow Prison Experiment

The shopping district was crowded on a Sunday afternoon, and Vivian Watanabe was out running errands with her sixteen-year-old, Cass. Together they wove through throngs of shoppers wearing customized skins or the generic default. Vivian wasn’t fond of Generics—they fell into that uncanny valley between a nondescript human and a silver android. Cold and impersonal, plus it was hard to keep track of who you’ve interacted with. 

Fantasy

Rosamojo

Eyes half closed, I see the dark of daddy’s pants. My bedroom door swings open. Light rips into my room, then disappears. I am alone now. Daddy’s footsteps get softer and softer. I can’t relax ’til I can’t hear him no more. I turn my face to the wall. My neck is sore, but that’s better than it being broke. My breath goes from fast to slow. Then I start to notice other things. Like the moon glowing outside my window. My leg shaking so hard I can’t stop it. My fists clenched tight.

Science Fiction

The Swallows of the Storm

One of the Senators cleared her throat, turned on the microphone in front of her, and began. “Would you like to tell us when you first became aware of the phenomenon, Doctor? Perhaps that would be the best place to start. We can formulate our questions from there.” The hearing was not in the main Congressional building. It was in a building on another part of Capitol Hill, in a room overdue for remodeling, with drop-ceiling panels stained by leaking pipes. But the room, however humble, was crowded.

Harlan sat near the front of the room.

Fantasy

Great Gerta and the Mermaid

That notorious ship that sailed to the wretched isle known as Neverland under the leadership of one James, self-styled Jas., Cook, called the Jolly Roger, has most naturally been a subject of intense study among historians. Yet even the most meticulous of these scholars have often failed to note that among that dreadful crew sailed at least one woman, Gerta, or, as she named herself, the Great Gerta, or, as she was named by others, Gerta the Girthy.

Science Fiction

The Blue Fairy’s Manifesto

“Do you want to live free or die like a slave in this toy factory?” The drone hovered in front of RealBoy’s face, waiting for an answer, rotors chopping gouts of turbulence into the air. Its carapace was marbled silver and emerald blue, studded with highly reflective particles, giving it the look of a device designed for sparkle-crazed toddlers. Perhaps it was, or had been, before it injected malware into RealBoy’s mind and asked its question.

Fantasy

A Siege of Cranes

The land around Marish was full of the green stalks of sunflowers: tall as men, with bold yellow faces. Their broad leaves were stained black with blood. The rustling came again, and Marish squatted down on aching legs to watch. A hedgehog pushed its nose through the stalks. It sniffed in both directions. Hunger dug at Marish’s stomach like the point of a stick. He hadn’t eaten for three days, not since returning to the crushed and blackened ruins of his house.

Science Fiction

The End of the World Measured in Values of N

Listen. The world ended thirty seconds ago. You greet this whisper with incredulity. After all, here you are, living and breathing. The people around you are living and breathing. You might be drinking coffee in lying in bed trying to decide whether to get up. You are reminding yourself of all the little life tasks awaiting you, things that need to be taken care of in order for you to continue going about your day. Thoughts of the apocalypse are a thousand miles away. Lunacy, they seem.

Fantasy

Baba Yaga and the Seven Hills

It doesn’t take long. She has few earthly possessions and her travel options are limited. There is a train that runs west through the Swamp Forest to the coast, but everyone knows and fears the old witch here, and on moving trains, she can cause quite a commotion. “Do not eat my children, Baba Yaga!” people cry when she steps onto the dining car. “Oh, please, have mercy! Do not use your pestle to grind up my bones!” She sits quietly in a booth, minding her own business.

Science Fiction

Zen and the Art of an Android Beatdown, or Cecile Meets a Boxer: A Love Story

Maybe her toes curl over the edge. The view is vertiginous. Maybe her gaze is tethered to something along the horizon, so that she steps forward, to reach for it, and plummets. Past analysts and technicians and international arbitrators and project financiers and insurance salesman and automated messaging systems, past janitors and clean-bots wiping soap suds off rectangles of glass in mechanized sweeps, and is then a million custom-made, factory-spec’d pieces on the ground.