Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

The Lachrymist

It is not the dust that brings her tears. The Lachrymist’s house is dusty, fragments of time and memory fallen everywhere, a living blanket that drapes itself over tables and chairs and things even stranger. But time and memory are to be expected anywhere the dead gather, and even in this abundance, they do not drive her to weeping. Neither is her weeping caused by the voices, calling to each other from shadowy ceiling corners, memories still embodied, repeating phrases into the cold air.

Science Fiction

Seven Ways to Fall in Love with an Astronaut

We met on Mars. You had been there for two years already; I was fresh out of rehabilitation. We already knew about each other, had read each other’s files. You were an expert in highly optimized tolerance. I had seen your picture, but I had never realized you were handsome until I saw you in person. You weren’t clean-shaven, but neither did you have a beard. This is supposed to be the mark of a man who makes a good boyfriend but a bad husband.

Fantasy

Burn the Ships

There are no obsidian blades in the camp. The Dawncomer guards have learned enough to make sure that no ritual knives get smuggled in. Without obsidian, Quineltoc can’t spill blood properly—he can’t keep the law, can’t observe the rites of the Living Lord as a man of God must. The ghost-colored invaders who came from beyond the rising sun trust in their vigilance and in their cold technology to protect them. It does. The People make do. They’ve had to, for over a decade now.

Science Fiction

Schrödinger’s Catastrophe [Part 2]

It took twice as long to get to the third deck from the first as it did to get to the first deck from the fifth. Alice was quite certain there was no mechanism in existence capable of adding fractional decks to the ship, and so was chalking this up to another aspect of the ongoing computer malfunction. She supposed a way to validate this was to ask that the elevator stop at, say, deck two-and-five-sixteenths, but she also didn’t want to encourage the computer’s departures from reality any more than necessary.

Fantasy

Le Cygne Baiseur

The women have gathered around Mr. Hubert, their eyes shining in the candlelight, their expressions eager. The hoops of their skirts bump and crinolines rustle as they jockey for position; looks containing entire conversations are exchanged. In spite of the lateness of the hour, the parlor is very hot. Sweat beads at the edges of their elaborate hairdos and trickles down more than one white-powdered cheek. Mr. Hubert, the celebrated toymaker, is just as turned out as the women who surround him.

Science Fiction

Schrödinger’s Catastrophe [Part 1]

Things began to go badly for the crew of the USFS Erwin around the time Dr. Marchere’s coffee mug spontaneously reassembled itself. Dr. Louis Marchere was not, at that moment, conducting some manner of experiment. Well, he was, only not on entropy and the nature of time. He was running several other tests, of the kind that make perfect sense on a scientific vessel such as the Erwin. About half of them were biological in nature, concerning how small samples of cellular material react to certain deep-space factors.

Fantasy

Everquest

Gopal knew before he booted up the game—a Christmas present from his dad—that his character would be some form of elf or human, because the other races were all ugly, and he didn’t play games to be ugly. And he knew too, although he didn’t say it, that his character would be a girl. He always played girls online, although he’d be ashamed if anyone knew it, precisely because it played into the online belief that most girls in most games were “really” men.

Science Fiction

Byzantine Empathy

You’re hurrying along a muddy path, part of a jostling crowd. The commotion around you compels you to scramble to keep up. As your eyes adjust to the dim light of early dawn, you see everyone is laden down with possessions: a baby wrapped tightly against the chest of its mother; a bulging bed sheet filled with clothing ballooning over the back of a middle-aged man; a washbasin filled with lychees and breadfruit cradled in the arms of an eight-year-old girl.

Fantasy

The Virtue of Unfaithful Translations

The Grand Philosopher Ancient Leaf once expounded that a man who kills another out of passion or greed is condemned as a murderer, and one who kills ten people is reviled as a maniac, but one who causes the death of hundreds of thousands in pursuit of personal glory is often revered as a great personage. The Grand Historian Silver Mirror utilized the quote in describing the senseless nature of the Wars of the Four Princes and the Six Grand Lords.

Science Fiction

Everything and Nothing

Start with a romance: a man and a woman who are wildly and irrevocably in love with each other. Or two men. Or two women. Or two people, because life is beautiful and complex. Just know that these Lovers are important. The fate of the galaxy rests on their shoulders—because, of course, the fate of an entire portion of known space can be determined by two people in love. The laws of physics are remarkably vulnerable to the laws of love.