Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Fiction

Fantasy

The Black Bird

The black bird on the mantelpiece spoke. It said, “Nevermore.” Spade looked up from cleaning his pistol. The bird, a black-lacquered falcon statuette, sat motionless. Spade placed the pistol down on his desk, pushed back the brim of his hat, and approached the bird. “You talk?”

Science Fiction

Flowing Unimpeded to the Enlightenment

Kartar is forty and Irish-Indian, blessed with an avatar’s sterling looks and a fine deep voice that lingers in the mind. He wears a piezosuit and a bright necktie advertising Chinese wetware, and a new Everything is pinned to his broad lapel. Twenty admirers have him surrounded.

Fantasy

Spindles

The first thing that went missing was the smell of onions cooking in butter. It took her a good long time to realize that this was gone, for she had never realized that onions were the cause of the smell. Onions remained, of course. Raw onions still smelled as they always did. They still made you cry when you cut them. But when you fried them: nothing. There was no smell. It was gone.

Fantasy

Monster, Finder, Shifter

My father’s family had produced monster-finders for several generations. More monsters were being born than ever; our village didn’t have enough finder power to track them all, or shaper power to abort or fix those the finders found, so many people had to offer their offspring to the Shadows.

Science Fiction

Sun Dogs

Floating through endless night in a tiny silver ball, surrounded by noise and confusion and the overpowering scents of metal and her own push-stink, the dog Laika dreams.

Fantasy

Heartless

Across the landscape of the battlefield, men stared sight­lessly into the sky, their armor black with blood, their steam­ing intestines spread over the ground. Swarms of crows covered them in a jumping, fluttering carpet. Camp women scavenged among the corpses, cutting the throats of the dying and looting the bodies for anything of worth.

Science Fiction

Boojum

The ship had no name of her own, so her human crew called her the Lavinia Whateley. As far as anyone could tell, she didn’t mind. At least, her long grasping vanes curled—affectionately?—when the chief engineers patted her bulkheads and called her “Vinnie,” and she ceremoniously tracked the footsteps of each crew member with her internal bioluminescence, giving them light to walk and work and live by.

Fantasy

The Seven Samovars

“The first samovar, the silver one at the end with the little bird perched atop the key, is filled to the top with Life,” she says, “freshly brewed each morning at sunrise exactly. A few drops will perk up most customers on a Monday morning, to be sure. And most of them need it, don’t you think?”

Science Fiction

The Streets of Ashkelon

Somewhere above, hidden by the eternal clouds of Wesker’s World, a thunder rumbled and grew. Trader Garth stopped suddenly when he heard it, his boots sinking slowly into the muck, and cupped his good ear to catch the sound. It swelled and waned in the thick atmosphere, growing louder.

Fantasy

The Last Supper

Walter’s mind was at one time rich with emotions other than hunger, but those feelings had long since fallen away. They’d dropped from his being like the flesh, now absent, which had once kept the wind from whistling through his cheeks. He remembered those inner tides but vaguely, for he lived in the eternal present, with barely a shred of memory left in which to contain them.