Science Fiction & Fantasy

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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

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

My Wife Hates Time Travel

From the very beginning—which I guess is also the middle and the end if you follow the bent logic involved and arrange events by some scheme other than strict chronological order—there was never any way of knowing which one of us, my wife or myself, was going to invent time travel.

Fantasy

Breaking the Frame

The photograph is of a woman at the center of a forest. She is slim and tall and pale as the birches she stands among. The shadows turn her ribs and spine into branches, into knots in the wood. Around her arms, the peeling white bark of the birches, curved in bracelets. Between her thighs, the hair is dense and springy like moss. She is turning into a tree.

Science Fiction

Flash Bang Remember

Red-haired Mother, with her sharp nose and freckled chest, leaned low over the hydroponics channel and declared that the dead plants were Girl23’s fault.

Fantasy

A Moment Before It Struck

He felt death coming a moment before it struck. In the lingering gray twilight, Smoke lay on his bedding, eyes not quite closed and mind adrift, only half-aware of the sounds of the encampment around him: steel on whetstone, the rattle of dice, a soft song, and loud bragging.

Science Fiction

The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species

There is no definitive census of all the intelligent species in the universe. Not only are there perennial arguments about what qualifies as intelligence, but each moment and everywhere, civilizations rise and fall, much as the stars are born and die. Time devours all.