Science Fiction & Fantasy

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Illustrated by Galen Dara

Science Fiction

Love Might Be Too Strong a Word

Here’s how I remember it: A touch shocked me. I was reaching for a flash-seared bog-oyster, and then a fingertip, softer than I’d ever felt, brushed my knuckle. The softness startled me so much, it took me a moment to realize the hand had seven fingers, three more than mine.

Fantasy

Give Her Honey When You Hear Her Scream

In the middle of the maze, there’s always a monster. If there were no monster, people would happily set up house where it’s warm and windowless and comfortable. The monster is required. The monster is a real estate disclosure.

Science Fiction

Four Short Novels

Eventually it came to pass that no one ever had to die, unless they ran out of money. When you started to feel the little aches and twinges that meant your body was running down, you just got in line at Immortality, Incorporated, and handed them your credit card. As long as you had at least a million bucks—and eventually everybody did—they would reset you to whatever age you liked.

Fantasy

Ghost River Red

Akamiko arrived three days before the anniversary of the Lady of All Colors’ death. The village held a small market filled with stalls selling fish and vegetables, and a bathhouse stood by the river. It was hard to imagine the Lady of All Colors growing up here.

Science Fiction

Contact

The Desert of Winds was inland, a four-day flight from the eyries along the coastal mountains. After the eight-day fast, it was a long journey, even for the strongest-winged. But when they felt the high, hot desert wind lift them like dry leaves, even the most exhausted stretched their wings to the fullest and surrendered to the euphoria of approaching death.

Fantasy

Cup and Table

Sigmund stepped over the New Doctor, dropping a subway token onto her devastated body. He stepped around the spreading shadow of his best friend, Carlsbad, who had died as he’d lived: inconclusively, and without fanfare.

Fantasy

The Ruby Incomparable

The girl surprised everyone. To begin with, no one in the world below had thought her parents would have more children. Her parents’ marriage had created quite a scandal, a profound clash of philosophical extremes; for her father was the Master of the Mountain, a brigand and sorcerer, who had carried the Saint of the World off to his high fortress.

Science Fiction

Nightside on Callisto

A faint, steady vibration carried through the igloo’s massive ice walls—a vibration that shouldn’t have been there. Jayne heard it in her sleep. Age had not dulled her soldier’s reflexes, honed by decades spent on watch against incursions of the Red. Her eyes snapped open. She held her breath.

Fantasy

The Sympathy

The apartment was in his name, and the Accord was in hers. It took Lauren less than a minute to step out one door and into the other. She put her suitcase in the floorboard and her laptop bag in the passenger seat. Her container garden fit snugly in the back.

Science Fiction

Ruminations in an Alien Tongue

Sitting on the sun-warmed step at the end of her workday, Birha laid her hand on the dog’s neck and let her mind drift. Like a gyre-moth finding the center of its desire, her mind inevitably spiraled inward to the defining moment of her life. It must be something to do with growing old, she thought irritably, that all she did was revisit what had happened all those years ago.