Science Fiction & Fantasy

THECONDUCTORS

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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.

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

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.

Fantasy

The Fenghuang

Her skin was sore and feverish under her fingers, as it always was a few days after she came back from the dead. Candice unwrapped the bandages around her head and peeled off the itchy scabs behind her ears. She shuddered at the memory of her regeneration: the charred bones snapping back into place, the raw skin stretching over exposed nerves, the first pump of blood searing like hot acid through her reborn body.

Fantasy

The Time Traveler’s Advice to the Lovelorn

Time is best described as the thing that must crawl by before even the most unlikely events finally get around to happening. A lot of it had passed in the little village we now visit, drifting down its cobblestoned streets like loose papers carried away by the wind, before the most unlikely of all developments had finally occurred. Samael, the junk collector, had fallen in love. Nobody had ever expected this, in large part because Samael was as dull and unimaginative a man who had ever lived.

Fantasy

The Witch Speaks

As different as earth and sky. That is what they said about us. Yet even earth and sky meet at the horizon. Shade your eyes from the sun. Look, far in the distance. Do you see that line where brown merges into blue? I’m ready to walk there. But not before having told my story.

Science Fiction

Voice of Their Generation

On their ninth rewrite of the third act of Detective Pikachu vs. Predator, it occurred to Thicket that they might just be the voice of their generation. In a fever, they swiped together the final epic speech where Detective Pikachu refutes Predator’s cynical attempts to turn him against his human partner, arguing that the Pokémon relationship with humanity was one not of servitude but of guardianship, for every Pokémon can see within each human the potential to rise above their flawed nature.

Fantasy

Glass Bottle Dancer

When de words “glass bottle dancer” come to me as I was day-dreaming, listening to music on de radio, I thought it sounded like someting I’d like to see, didn’t tink it would change me whole life. I imagine it might mean taking a bunch of soda and beer bottles, laying dem on dey sides and stepping on dem widout having dem roll away. I thought a limbo dancer might do it to add someting special to dere act.

Science Fiction

The Least of These

Two women, Best and Least, woke in a bright room. Best did so as if surfacing in a pool of water, her eyes wide and observant. Least woke with a start, and immediately slammed her back against the wall behind her, her arms splayed. Where are we? asked Best. Who the fuck are you? demanded Least. Now, now, came a voice from the doorway. There’s no need to be coarse. A tall, graceful Being entered the room, diaphanous fabric afloat around its slender body.