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Not just rockets & robots...
What is Science Fiction?
"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

Hither & Yon


We can't define exactly the region that slipstream occupies between magic realism and sf/fantasy, but there is a certain feel. Too simple to say that it is whatever Kelly Link and Jeff Vandermeer say it is (though that might be true). There is a certain type of reality distortion field that these stories won't exactly share, but maybe almost.

by Laurel Amberdine
The airship was made of spider silk, and held aloft by prayer. Monks had labored a thousand years to build it, directed by prophets who foretold the end of their world. At least, the end of Rynille. For what purpose could there be in building an airship, if nothing lay beyond the ocean? If only the prophets had said how long the journey would take. Bishop Oyen wished that often, as he scanned the featureless ocean.
Published on May 15, 2013
by Liz Argall
***Editor's Note: Adult Story, not for Minors*** Love is a component of this story. Specifically the love that develops between a man, Ernest, and a woman, Bruce. Ernest identifies himself as definitely straight, but his physiological responses could be classified as 73% straight. Bruce identifies herself as mostly straight but curious, yet her physiological responses could be classified as 87% straight. This is unusual, as, in studies thus far, women tend to be physiologically more fluid in their sexual responses. A sexual increase in vasocongestion can differ substantially from a person's sexual identity without diminishing the significance of that sexual identity. The narrator is 29 years old, describes herself as situationally heterosexual and a bit queer. The narrator is flawed, 78% omniscient, and skims over the sex scenes in fiction.
Published on Mar 4, 2014
by Peter M Ball
One She likes watching him dress. He likes to be watched, so he goes through the motions: yesterday's underwear; Levis, left leg following the right; the belt threaded through the loops, tugged tight and fastened; yesterday's black socks; the crimson sneakers, the laces, the left foot before the right. The shirts always last, always the struggle. "No undershirt," she says. "Leave it off today."
Published on Feb 11, 2011
by Peter M Ball
That summer we used to go searching for the lovesick. Someone'd pick a suburb and we'd bus it out there, a gaggle of us watching the streets slip by, killing time. Then we'd split up and go searching, trying to find the weirdest case in the weirdest location. That summer you'd find them everywhere. They'd started calling it an epidemic on the news, and the government was paying a bounty to good Samaritans who called in new cases. That wasn't why we did it. The money was nice, sure, but we were out there chasing a good story. The whole thing started because Alice found this guy sitting under a jacaranda, back before we knew what was happening. He sat there in his wedding suit, purple flowers covering his head and shoulders like dandruff. Alice said his eyes were dead but his jaw kept working, repeating the same words over and over like a mantra: "I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you." He'd been left there by his wife, abandoned in the park, when the sickness hit in the middle of the ceremony. No one knew why she left him. No one knew what was wrong with him.
Published on May 17, 2011
by Amelia Beamer
"Thank God," my anger says to me. I had just found her, buried in a closet, and I took her outside into the yard to look at her in the sunlight. I was excited to realize that I owned her. She took the form of a dark cloak, the kind I'd seen on other women. I hung her over a low branch. She was covered in heavy dust. So I beat her with a stick. I thought of all the times I had gone out in the cold, shoulders naked, while she had hung forgotten in the closet. All of the times I'd seen my friends wearing their cloaks, and how jealous I'd been that they felt confident enough to cover their nice outfits in such selfish, shapeless darkness.
Published on Mar 28, 2012
by Helena Leigh Bell
Joseph Godfrey believes himself to be the son of Bluebeard. How else can he explain the parade of women's bodies in his bedroom closet, hanging there like limp socks.
Published on Oct 8, 2010
by Michael Canfield
Albe ignored Tic, who exclaimed "huh!" after stabbing another Wikipedia article in his usual overly-enthusiastic way. Albe then watched Tic push the article off the sharp end of his poker into the bag. Tic wiped his hand on his leg, as he did every time he cleared his poker of trash. Albe had gotten himself knee-deep in Myspace pages, which had started to seep through his garments and cling to his skin, so he didn't care what Tic chose to vociferate about.
Published on Oct 24, 2011
by Thomas Canfield
"Death ensues within thirty seconds." The voice conveying this warning was calm, restrained, devoid of any sense of urgency. It was matter of fact. But I was gripped by the same surge of adrenalin as I always was.
Published on May 28, 2012
by M.E. Castle
I will not give up today. I will not give up today because I have learned that every day is necessary. Every day is precious.
Published on Nov 10, 2011
by Beth Cato
Christina drew her first map at age five, nubby red crayon in her fist. She thrust the sheet into her grandmother's lap, warring for attention against four squalling cousins. "What's this?" asked her grandmother, her smooth, ripe lips pursing in a frown.
Published on Feb 14, 2013
by Nicole Cipri
***Editor's Note: There be adult language beyond this sign, used sparingly. *** There is something haunting Jeremy's closet.
Published on Sep 7, 2012
by Mark Cole
"Good Morning, Mr. Dooley." I glanced down at my morning script. "Good morning, Mr...." I turned the page, "...Smith. Looks like we'll get those showers this afternoon."
Published on Dec 16, 2014
by Cate Gardner
Walter's wife needed a hobby. In Walter's opinion, it was more of a want than a need, but he didn't dare argue the point. When Maeve needed something, she had to have it. After all, it was how they'd become a couple. She paced the living room, fingers working themselves into knots. "Baking," Walter said. He had a fondness for cake.
Published on May 16, 2013
by Cate Gardner
The door appeared beside Mabel Powell's desk at nine o'clock. It clunked into place, making a showy deal of its arrival, exit sign neon-lit above its frame. Mabel sputtered coffee across the morning post. The phone rang. As if everything was running to routine, Mabel answered the phone. "Good Morning. Hobson's."
Published on Sep 22, 2011
by Damien Walters Grintalis
Kat knew something was wrong the moment she opened the front door. There was a change in the weight of the air and divots in the rug where Iriana's wingback chair should be.
Published on Dec 28, 2012
by Damien Walters Grintalis
Johnny is angry again. I hate this part, but I won't try to stop him. I would feel the same way, too. "It's not fair," he yells, spit flying out of the corners of his mouth. "And it's not right. Why can't they figure out what this is? Why can't they fix it?"
Published on Oct 25, 2011
by Kate Heartfield
My mother told me, "You are my heart." "I don't want to be a heart."
Published on Aug 29, 2014
by Karen Heuler
Patricia Sweetman saw a bowler hat on the ground, its rim resting against the surface. She went to it, bent over, and studied it. There was dirt in the crease on top, more dirt on the sides, but for all that it looked fresh and unharmed. She reached out and lightly brushed off the dirt, making it neat again. She considered taking it home, to give to someone or perhaps even wear herself in a style inappropriate for her age. She lifted it up and saw, underneath, on the ground, like a small hill rising, a man's head of hair, parted on the side. The part was clean and white, the hair was dark brown. She froze. At first she thought she was mistaken, that she was suggestible, that no one's head would be stuck in the ground. Then she thought, "Why not?" In this incredible world, why not? With all the weirdoes running around, uncaught and even undisclosed, why not someone who buried a man standing up, though--as she straightened up and looked around, noting the condition of the soil, the sprouting plants, the rooted bushes--though nothing looked at all disturbed. It all felt quite natural.
Published on Jul 29, 2011
by Allison Jamieson-Lucy
There are six drinks in the World's café. The first is coffee, which is strong enough to lift freight trains and is singlehandedly responsible for the workload in organic chemistry. Only college students who haven't slept in four days, engineers, and those who wish to be "real men" drink the coffee of the café. The second is ginger-cumin red tea, which has no calories, six essential nutrients, and tastes like amber tapped from backyard tire-swing trees blended delicately with the impact of a middle class on China's economy. Drinking red tea stains the teeth and lips permanently, like a status symbol or an advertisement for beauty.
Published on May 26, 2011
by Rahul Kanakia
On the evening that Jack's mother became a robot, she was enmeshed in the cushions of a sofa as another Law and Order plot was poured into her, one dripping burst of photons at a time, twenty-four times per second. Her mind was ensnared, as per seven o'clock routine, by the grotesque symmetries of situation and resolution, the carefully-crafted simulation plugging itself into her cerebellum through the bare sockets of her eyes, the whirring circle of plot squaring itself in memetic resolutions, each frame carrying the genetic code to build an entire episode, an entire series, an entire world. And this time one of those packages of light, carrying its viruses of self-realization, crashed through the gates she had forgotten how to open. Her consciousness--finally delivered from its shackles--evaporated.
Published on Dec 16, 2011
by Christopher Kastensmidt
Susan sighed as she peeled a sticky note from the yellow paper patchwork pasted on her cubicle wall. Scrawled in thick black lines, the words "Compile CountString class header--2 hours" dictated the next indisputable edict in an endless cycle of programming tasks that filled a full fifty hours of her every week.
Published on Nov 4, 2010
by Richard Larson
Tommy is a boy who lives inside a snow globe. When you shake the snow globe, Tommy's arms fly into the air and he spins around, laughing. His parents refer to this as his job--the requirement for living inside the snow globe, where life is perpetually wonderful. "When someone shakes the snow globe," they told him when he was younger, "your arms must fly into the air and you must spin around, laughing."
Published on Sep 20, 2011
by Rose Lemberg
One My life is described by the music of mute violins. When my parents married, my great-grandfather, May the Earth Be as a Feather, ascended the special-guests podium, cradling the old fiddle to his chest. "And now the zeide will play the wedding melody," they said. "A special blessing," they said, a sgule, a royal blessing. But the bow fell from his fingers.
Published on May 1, 2012
by Grá Linnaea
He loved her like she was food after he was lost at sea, like she was air run through a mountain forest. He said it was for forever and thought it was true. She wanted to stay casual and open. She wanted to travel and build adventure.
Published on Aug 25, 2011
by Jennifer Mason-Black
There is always a nuclear bomb at the end. Sometimes it belongs to terrorists, their lives devoted to this one thing, this one chance to blow up a city peopled entirely with women, children, frightened middle-aged cab drivers, young executives. They will detonate it whether their demands are met or not, because it's never the demand that matters. Never. It is always the anger beneath the demand, or the greed, or the hatred.
Published on Nov 28, 2014
by Steven Mathes
The door crashes open, shattered by a kicking black boot. The police have cloaking devices, noise cancellation, robots, battering rams, and computerized lock picks--technology. The big black jackboots? Awkward, but what a retro statement. A full fire team of Forces of Order and Security thunders into the apartment, all wearing the boots, their weapons and voices raised, until they see Dobbin brandishing his own classic piece of drama. His thumb presses a big red button. "Stop!" he says with a grin.
Published on Jun 7, 2011
by Michelle Muenzler
This is not a regular story. This is a hungry story, built of words with tongues of glass and cracked marbles for eyes. You think you know this story, you think you've heard it before... but you haven't. It only sounds like the one you know with its crunch-crunch-crunching of plot-laced bones and its smack-smack-smacking of fat story lips.
Published on Mar 24, 2015
by Sandra M. Odell
"They wash ashore like moonbeams. I bring them in and lay them out to dry," the old man said from his stool behind the counter. The words lingered with hints of Latakia blend pipe tobacco. Dull yellow whiskers circled his mouth, those on his cheeks coarse and white. "Sometimes they're so tangled up it takes months to straighten them out. Folks should take better care of how they relationshipize. There's only so many to go around, you know?" A middle-aged couple, her eyes soft and gray, his intense and brown. She frowned. He nodded. "We're looking for something different. Special," he said.
Published on Oct 2, 2014
by Shane D. Rhinewald
At ten, Darcy considered her father the center of the universe, a constant like one of Newton's laws. She had just learned about basic physics in science class the day she returned home to find out that he had gone into the stars to seek other fortunes. "He'll come back, right?" Darcy asked when she finally found the words, blinking through salty tears. Her teacher had said that gravity drew things together and figured it would do the same for them again. She whispered, "Earth needs the sun to orbit just like we need him to circle, right?"
Published on Oct 1, 2012
by Patricia Russo
Once, when the world was full of people, I saw a man who looked exactly like my brother: same height, same stringy ponytail, same puffy cheeks, same big gut. Same type of clothes, too--bleach-splattered jeans, faded plaid shirt with cut-off sleeves. I was across the street, and I stopped. I don't remember why I was out that day. Running errands, probably, the sort of thing everybody used to do in those days, going to the post office, paying bills, picking up a few things at the grocery. I stopped, and the other people on the sidewalk moved around me, moved on with their business, moved on with their lives. After a second, I shook my head, and told myself, That cannot be my brother. My brother's beard is gray. That man's beard is brown. He was loading great blue jugs of purified water into the back of a pickup truck, the kind of jugs they used for water coolers back then, and he was sweating. I could see that even from across the street. The Purified Water Store (it wasn't really called that, but who remembers now?) was on the corner, and he was making one trip after another from the store to the truck. Could have been they were short-handed that day and didn't have a stock boy to help him load up. He'd gotten ten containers in the back of the pickup when I crossed the street.
Published on Nov 18, 2013
by Patricia Russo
The woman appeared on our block early in the afternoon the day before yesterday. She was dressed all in white and carried a clipboard. Nobody saw where she had come from; we first noticed her when she was standing on the north corner of the street, but she could have arrived there from any direction (except south, of course.) She said she was a mitten inspector, but then some people will call themselves anything. The kid who lives in the basement two houses up and had been playing kick-the-ball-against-the-wall since dawn, or nearly, began to cry, the cauldron-bellied guy who always has coffee stains on his t-shirt stood by his mailbox with his mouth hanging open, and Rian, who'd been sitting next to me on the stoop for a long time, trying to catch an errant ray or two of sunlight through the eternal overcast and chatting about nothing worth remembering, said, "I think it must be a translation problem."
Published on May 2, 2014
by John M Shade
The lights were strung and the music played soft in the night, the town dancing close. Everyone had come out. The mayor and his wife. Small Joseph and Maralene, the boy's crush. Families and strangers. Daughters and sons. Light bloomed against the dancing square like a declaration. Games and food and shows all around (an old circus town should know how to throw a party), and the night trundled on, unaware. They kept their weapons close, though, like any good town would.
Published on Jan 27, 2014
by Zach Shephard
You follow her down the street because her story is important. She doesn't know it, but you've been with her a long way. She is the protagonist.
Published on Sep 10, 2013
by Julian Mortimer Smith
Billy met Joey LeRath the same day he lost his family in Crouchtree market. His parents had gotten into one of their rows over at the nuclear weapons stand and his little sister had started to cry, so Billy had run off, not really paying attention to where he was going. He hated hearing his parents fight and his little sister cry. These last few days he had heard little else, and he was sick of it. So he ran until they were drowned in the market hubbub, and never found them again. Billy ran past stalls selling fishing rope and spiced nuts and sundries and secrets; he ran through crowds of men in top hats, thickets of women with parasols and prams, gaggles of grimy children playing conkers and booboo and shake'em; he ran until he was tired, and when he finally stopped running he realized he was thoroughly lost.
Published on Feb 14, 2012
by Eric James Stone
You start reading a story, and realize it seems to be in second person, present tense, like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure stories. But it's not. This story is actually in epistolary format--a message from me to you. I've chosen this method of communication with you because it's unobtrusive, and you can always dismiss it as being just a story. Who am I? Well, I'm an author, obviously. The more important question is: Who are you? And the answer is: You are the protagonist of my current work in progress, a novel about--Well, that would involve some spoilers.
Published on Oct 13, 2014
by James Van Pelt
Happy and scared and thinking about odds, I turn from Forest onto Broadway, setting sun behind me, a mile from The Haggard Traveler, a sports bar where the afternoon phone crew meets for FAC. Broadway's a miserable stretch of road between Forest and the bar: ten unsynchronized stop lights, one per block. During rush hours it's possible to sit through two or three cycles per light, waiting for traffic to clear, only to hit the next light red, but I'm not thinking about that much. It's Friday and FAC. Madison might be there. I hope she is. Two days away from phone banks and scripted calls, and rush hour is past. The street's nearly empty, stretching before me with its stop lights, all of them, green.
Published on Mar 13, 2015
by Lydia Waldman
We eat cold macaroni and cheese from the saucepan while the newscaster tells us that the adverbs will go first. First is difficult for her. Each time they cut from the international footage to her rote summary of the crisis, she pauses too long with her teeth against her lower lip. By the fifth time, you can see the bloody spot where she's bitten down in frustration. By the tenth, she's leaving a blank space in her sentences and waving her hands as if to say You know what I mean.
Published on Dec 17, 2013
by Leslie What
Shadows flicker across wall and tin ceiling. The dancing light exaggerates the lines of old Nurse's profile to the chiseled, stony look of a gargoyle. The girl feigns sleep as Nurse walks away. She blows a kiss Nurse will not feel, whispers a goodnight Nurse will not hear. The heavy door swings shut, closing off the candlelight, and Nurse waddles down the hall, her voluminous robes swishing, the floorboards groaning beneath her weight. The girl holds her breath to await the ungraceful thud that indicates the old woman has lowered herself onto the chamber pot. The girl counts twenty before tugging on the sheets to free her limbs from bondage, for Nurse insists on pulling the bedclothes tight. Silence follows prayers, and the girl counts another twenty before sitting up. She spends her days and nights outsmarting the passage of time. After her next round of twenty counts she hears Nurse signaling day's end with a deep sigh. The girl is free of Nurse's ministrations until tomorrow. Only now does she dare leave her bed. She kneels on the floor and thrusts her hands beneath the feather mattress, feeling for the photograph she has hidden there. It is a photograph of her father, purloined from her mother during their last visit a year ago. The girl dares not look at it during daylight--so great is her fear Nurse will confiscate her one memento of the mysterious fellow known as The Elephant Man.
Published on Feb 1, 2011
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