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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.
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Science Fiction

Biotech


There are many experts who believe that, while most current exciting developments have been in computers and software, the next wave will be biotech-driven. From where we stand now, humans gaining power to control the manifestation of genes would feel like magic. The complexity of our ecosystem is so much greater than we understand, leaving possibilities from devestation to utopia, and just about any stop inbetween.

by Elizabeth Archer
She looked at the golden orange fish swimming in the bowl and carefully examined the fins, the scales, the huge eyes, the size. She shut her eyes and dumped the fish down the wastewater chute and pushed the button to liquefy it. "Not right yet? Malala is only seven. Will she really be able to tell it isn't the same fish?"
Published on Dec 18, 2013
Rx
by Jacquelyn Bartel
The orange is for energy, the green for focus, and the midnight blue for sleep. They line the shelves, spells in handy bottles, flavored to taste. Berry and citrus on the left, chocolate and cake batter flavors on the right. I shoulder my way through the perpetual crowd to the pharmacy. The businessman standing by the bottles of cunning gives me a dirty look, like he's some sort of badass or something. Whatever. My new flavor isn't even available to the public. The bored clerk reads my prescription. Once, twice, then she swallows her gum and runs to get her boss. He comes out, white lab coat still pressed from the cleaners, and takes out his reading glasses. He nods and goes into the back once more.
Published on Jan 4, 2011
by M. Bennardo
Great-great-grandmother is receiving her doctorate in Japanese literature. Great-great-granddaughter is renewing her marriage to Marjaana Leskinen. Sister is working as a sewage engineer in Buenos Aires now. Great-aunt is vacationing in Manila.
Published on Oct 3, 2014
by Aimee Vanessa Blume
***Editor's Warning: Brief adult language, and adult themes, in the story that follows*** "Heya, Bob! How ya feelin'?" shouted a plump, balding gentleman as a young man in a baseball cap entered the bar. The young man waved and joined the table.
Published on Aug 29, 2012
by Sarah L Byrne
Alyssa walked barefoot over the shards of broken glass in the road. She didn't feel a thing. Her spider-silk skin was strong as steel. The breeze fluttered the strands of her long black hair and the skirt of her short summer dress as she approached the fenced-off dead-end street. The makeshift pen was crowded with her people, the latest group to be rounded up. Some cowered fearfully on the ground, others shouted defiance at their captors. It made no difference. They'd all die just the same.
Published on Apr 24, 2014
by Beth Cato
If there is any justice in the world, Priscilla Reardon's associate-hatchling will be a walking, talking pile of dung. But even if it is, everyone will probably applaud and say it's gorgeous. My whole class, Priscilla included, is from the same crèche batch. We turn ten today, of age to get our requisite associate.
Published on Oct 16, 2014
by Ron Collins
My dad stood in the doorway, holding his datapad in his hand. I sat cross-legged on the floor, guitar tucked under my arm, my fingertips burning against the strings. "What's this?" he said, pointing to his e-mail.
Published on Jan 23, 2012
by Susan E. Connolly
I am a Dragonslayer. My title is not Sir or Lord or Prince, but Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. My quest did not begin with a plea from a Queen or a charge from a dying adventurer. It began with a two-stage interview process and a yearlong contract with the Humane Society. I am a Dragonslayer. My reward is not a princess' hand in marriage or a half a kingdom. Rather it is a set salary deposited to my bank account on a biweekly basis, with generous medical benefits and potential for overtime.
Published on Dec 30, 2013
by D.A. D'Amico
Paolo was in the middle of it when Lisa walked in. He had been toying with the tiny gold pill for nearly an hour, pressing it against his thin trembling lips, tasting its burning sweetness on his tongue. He had been careful to allow just the tiniest of doses into his system--until Lisa returned. She burst in unexpectedly, shooting into the room like a bullet through glass.
Published on Feb 24, 2011
by Gaea Dill-D'Ascoli
He was an impulse buy.
Published on Jul 7, 2011
by Amalia Dillin
...choose from a wide variety of the finest genes. Galactic athletes, interstellar stars, and even Dr. Habber's own genetic material is on file in our banks. Remember, with the right combination of traits, you'll be giving your child the best start to a successful life! "Can't you turn that off?" Ned asked. "Is there a reason I have to suffer that insult every time I show up for a check-up? How do you think that makes me feel?"
Published on Nov 9, 2011
by SJ Driscoll
The waiter had just set our dinners in front of us when Marlie stiffened and dropped her fork. "Keith," she gasped, "it's time."
Published on Sep 15, 2011
by Ciro Faienza
***Editor's Note: Disturbing*** Austin approached J'ae with a Dixie cup full of blue, slurring something to her about "urban" culture--read "black." How had that word persisted?
Published on Sep 3, 2014
by Ephiny Gale
Published on Jan 28, 2013
by Steve Gillies
The alarm clock read 4:40 am when I slapped it off my bedside table to no effect. The ringing didn't stop. For a second I thought about which thin-walled neighbor would wake this early before I noticed the clanging noise sounded more like a fire alarm than an alarm clock. I heard shouting from outside and it hit me that I had to get out quick. I rushed out into the hallway of my apartment building to find it black with smoke. There were two ways I could run, to the front or the back. Back was closer so that's how I went. After a few steps of groping my way through the hallway, I could tell I had chosen wrong. The smoke became impossibly thicker, almost a physical barrier to get through. And it was getting hotter. I couldn't breathe enough to turn around and find my way to the front. I had to keep going, even though it might mean walking straight into the fire. Chances were, I was going to die. I thought about what that meant. I thought about my life up that point and all I could do was shrug.
Published on May 23, 2014
by Damien Walters Grintalis
***Editor's Note: The story that follows is disturbing. Use your discretion in choosing to continue.***
Published on Aug 2, 2012
by Richard E. Gropp
***This Story Contains Mature and Potentially Disturbing Content. It is for Adult Readers Only***
Published on Jul 8, 2011
by D. Robert Hamm
Even this close to the desert, the sun finds enough cloud on which to paint its retirement colors. Turner Bray sits beside an almost-dry stream under a Joshua tree while the oranges and yellows and reds and pinks fade into one another, and listens to the birds. They are not Original birds, of course; the stores of avian DNA were among the many things damaged on the voyage here, centuries ago. They might look like Original birds, and hatch from eggs like Original birds, but they are partly carbon filament and nanotubes, and they grow tiny processors in their brains to guide them--with varying degrees of success--toward Original bird behavior.
Published on Dec 20, 2011
by Dan Hart
Ivy tried to imagine how it would feel to be bereft of his musical ability, but could not. The Transfer Specialist smiled at him with warm cheeks and wide eyes. His nametag, elegant as the sleek office, sparkled gold: "Ted Seals." Ivy studied Ted's smile and concluded it was a lie. "How much would you give me?" Ivy asked, forcing steady breaths. His heart thumped three times for every tick of the wall clock. He needed at least ninety-two thousand for Rose's cochlear implants. He hoped for a hundred and fifty, despite the horror stories of artistic skills selling for less than twenty thousand per decade of experience.
Published on Dec 18, 2012
by Carol Hassler
"Sleep. Six to eight hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days of the year. Adds up to a lot of time, right?" Diana Tregald swung her hand up like a conductor and her audience murmured its assent. "But if we have learned nothing from SleepNote's meteoric rise and crash these past two years, it is that we need sleep. It is, in fact, a biological imperative. Essential to rebuild ourselves both physically and mentally." She paused the presentation on a collage of headlines: Sleep Drug Blamed for Office Shooting; Elephant Made Me Do it, Man Claims; 1.5 Million Dead from Stress-Related Disease; Memory Loss Treatment at All-Time High.
Published on Jul 6, 2011
by Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Most of Noma's study friends were growing their own boys with the new Vampire, Werewolf, or Wizard Seed kits. Her best friend Celestine invited Noma to the grow room in her family compartment to take a look at a half-grown vamp. "I specified the golden hair and dark eyebrows," Celeste said, "but he opened his eyes for the first time yesterday, and they're this weird greenish color. I ordered sky blue. Skies were blue, right?"
Published on Feb 14, 2011
by JT Howard
Jean Muhammad Rishawi's legs were still tingling from the vibrations of the turbofans when he stepped off the transport. The titan rotors whined as they slowly skipped to a halt, the displaced air kicking up a cloud of dust that made Jean Muhammad glad his armored suit was sealed from the outside environment. "Hey, rookie," the lieutenant grunted. "You're on point."
Published on Jun 27, 2013
by Rahul Kanakia
***Editor's Note: Adult story, with adult language and situations*** While I shower, I hold the golden heart-shaped pin in my left hand. I was wearing this pin when I first met James. Most of the pure-hearted get their pins at a support-group meeting. I ordered mine off the internet. Whenever I'm not wearing it, my stomach juices boil over and my heart twitches. Without it, I am naked and anonymous. With it, I am pure of heart. Sometimes, at the meetings, I am tempted to ask the others whether they feel the same. But I don't. After all, why should they feel dependent on a piece of metal? They carry their identity in their genes.
Published on Mar 21, 2014
by Christopher Kastensmidt
Albert sat at the bar and ordered a beer. Beside him, a bearded fellow yelled at the bartender. "And bring me two more shots of bread while you're at it!"
Published on Feb 24, 2014
by James Patrick Kelly
Marva wanted to keep an open mind, but she suspected that Doctor Kamer wasn't about to help her. Maybe it was the background music playing in his office. Baroque sonatas. Too damn serene. Over-confident. Doctors had ruined her life and this one was like all the rest. And then there was the curved furniture, and the moonscape on his flix. So he had the kind of income that could buy a vacation in space. Blood money, squeezed from other people's misery. "So Mrs. Gundersen," he said. "Why are you here today?"
Published on Jul 12, 2011
by Rebecca Lang
Case Study: Diann
Published on Sep 4, 2014
by Susan Lanigan
Yes, Inspector, you may turn on the tape. No, thank you, I don't need tea. "For the purposes of this interview"--isn't that the terminology? Some things never change. So--for the purposes of this interview--my name is Kevin Drummond, as you know. Up until last week, I ran the Drug Rehabilitation Unit in Hampden Hospital. Have you seen it, Inspector? Nothing much to look at; a long, low building surrounded by a "Zen garden" of patchy grass, gravel, and hardy perennials, and under twenty-four-hour armed guard. My work was my life, but that won't surprise you either.
Published on Sep 19, 2013
by Scott Lininger
You know how it goes. You wake up on a Friday thinking that it's a Saturday, and you lie there in bed for a full minute listening to your wife breathe, thanking God that you don't have to trudge in to the digital salt mines and sit in front of your computer all day. You think of your cramped little office with its north-facing window filled with sorry bonsai trees, happy that you don't have to go in. Then you remember a certain meeting, and the weekend illusion collapses, so you resign yourself to reality, to the mundane motions of shower and shave. "What are you doing up so early?" asks your wife sexily from the pillow zone, and as you straighten your tie you wish you hadn't yet. Is it worth a little re-tie for a hallowed a.m. koochie-koo? Part of you, the influential part, votes yay.
Published on Dec 22, 2010
by Steven Mathes
The rat's quantum bubble popped into reality over by its dish. The rat scuttled out to its special food mix: gerbil food, caviar, and cheese. It always wanted the caviar a little rancid. Robby turned away from the arguing customer, some man who wanted to have his cake and eat it, too.
Published on Jan 3, 2014
by D. Thomas Minton
My mistress calls me her mimic. It's as good a name as any, and I have had more names than I can clearly remember.
Published on Sep 28, 2012
by Gary A. Mitchell
"Hunter-gatherers?" said Maria Dillard, her fingers raking long blonde hair out of her eyes. She quickly returned her hand to the tablet she had set up on the table in front of her, stabbing at the flexible keyboard laid out beneath the screen. "An analogy only, but it's appropriate," he said. "The scavenger cells are programmed with that behavioral model in mind. They transit the circulatory system hunting for cancerous cells, and when they find them, they devour them, using the targeted cells as fuel."
Published on Jul 22, 2014
by John P. Murphy
Helena held Jack's hand tightly as the doctor returned to the exam room, with an unfamiliar man in a suit in tow. Helena said hello to them both. Jack said nothing, because since the morning prior, Jack couldn't say anything. Doctor Steiner closed the door and sat at her desk, then busied herself at her laptop. The unfamiliar man in the suit glanced around at the now chairless room, frowned at the exam table, and finally stood with his back to the door and his arms crossed in front of his name badge. He looked unhappy, which made Helena unhappy. Jack said nothing, but Helena expected that he was unhappy too. According to the clock on the wall, they had been there for seven hours.
Published on May 1, 2014
by K. C. Norton
She takes him apart, bone from meat from ventricle. "You have nimble hands," he tells her. "It barely hurts. The pamphlet made it sound much worse."
Published on Jun 30, 2014
by Kate O'Connor
The packed concert hall was far from silent. People whispered to their neighbors, fancy clothing rustled, jewelry chimed. In the wings, William Reis waited, the sound of his rapidly thumping heart filling his ears. A sharp tug on his collar dragged his eyes down. Emily's pale hands, beautiful still though her skin was wrinkled and growing translucent, straightened his lapels. The charcoal gray suit belonged to her second son. It was tight across the middle and a little long in the leg but he had forgotten that he would need concert attire until the last minute.
Published on Oct 7, 2011
by C J Paget
I've always wondered what thoughts people have in those moments when they're called to weigh their lives against doing the right thing. Is there an instant of decision, of choice, of strength or weakness? Do the brave undervalue their own lives? Are they brave over and over, or are they sometimes strong, and sometimes weak? Most of all: How would I choose? Perhaps I'm about to find out.
Published on Feb 4, 2014
by Colum Paget
Sandra Barclay awoke to find a whole day of her life missing. She didn't go looking for it, she was used to missing days. On her bedside table the expected note rested, folded in an inverted "V" on the pad it had been torn from. Upon this page Sandra's eyes met a confident, looping scrawl, a sharp contrast to her own fastidious lettering:
Published on Feb 4, 2011
by Geoffrey C Porter
Mathews joined us. "The mice will eat how you eat, take whatever medicines you take, and exercise if you exercise. When the mice die, a necropsy will be conducted by a robot. You'll know the cause of death and age estimate within hours after the mouse expires as well as a full review of all organ tissue and toxins present."
Published on Oct 18, 2010
by Dave Raines
June put her nametag on. It was blank. She stepped past the flying carpet hovering beside her bed and whistled. On the wall, the pages of the calendar flapped past April and May, held themselves open until the name "June" could wiggle out from under the mountain wildflowers and attach itself to her nametag. She smoothed her white waitress's blouse and modest skirt, hoping they would stay modest this particular day.
Published on Jun 16, 2011
by Stephen V. Ramey
This was before the change, before the world became transparent as they like to say. I was a thirty-something woman with a son I could not understand, a mortgage that sapped my savings, and no husband to call my own. My world was lies, from simple fibs about age and weight, to complex manufactures concerning my husband's prolonged "absence." Truth was I had never married and never been asked. Why did I agree to the procedure? I was a mother losing my boy to forces beyond my control. It was a no-brainer at the time.
Published on Dec 21, 2010
by Alter S. Reiss
"So, this is your place," said Susan, looking around. I smiled, looked at her, and hoped that I hadn't left anything inappropriate anywhere visible. "Pretty much," I said. "It's kinda small, but with the rent---"
Published on Feb 8, 2011
by Shane D. Rhinewald
On Mondays, they ate chicken--dark meat in the morning, breast meat at night. On Tuesdays, they started the day with steak and ended it with roast. On Wednesdays, they supped on pork loin, ribs, and chops. And then on Thursdays the rotation started over again. When Sunday rolled around, there might be duck or turkey, but only if they were lucky. Claire never counted on it. Once, Claire had crunched on a wedge of apple in school, and it had been sour and sweet and all things delicious. Another time, a friend had slipped her a stalk of celery, which had been stringy and chewy, yet surprisingly satisfying. But for the most part, Claire knew neither fruits nor vegetables for more than eleven years.
Published on Jul 30, 2012
by Peter Roberts
"The red spots are absolutely lovely. They match your dress perfectly. Where’d you get them? I saw an ad from Mayo offering something similar. Is that where you found them?”
Published on Oct 7, 2010
by Michael Louis Ruggiero
***Editor's Note: Adult language and situations in the tale that follows*** "So when I take this, I'll be able to kill him?" asks the hooded man.
Published on Jul 16, 2014
by Robert Lowell Russell
Katie walked hand in hand with her grandfather along the forest path. Dappled light filtered through the trees. She liked the way his hand felt rough in hers and how his eyes always seemed to smile, even when it didn't show on his face. Whenever she stumbled over a stone, or a root, or her own feet, he'd steady her with a grip that was still firm and strong. He stopped along the trail and pointed to dandelions growing in a sunlit circle among the trees. Yellow petals crowned green stems ending in spiked leaves. Some flowers had already changed to puffs.
Published on Aug 1, 2014
by Alexander Stanmyer
This city is dying. Did you know that? There hasn't been a press release, but if you pay attention you can find the signs of decay yourself. It's breathing heavier, for starters. Listen to its breathing next time you're lying in bed at night. I mean really listen. It's laboring just a little more than you remember it, I promise. Soon it'll start having real trouble. You'll be kept awake at night while it takes desperate, ragged, sucks through its pores.
Published on Feb 6, 2012
by Allison Starkweather
2058-W09-3 I remember sitting on the porch in Inglenook in the chair Niko made, watching the waves lap at the shore. The endless blue of the sky overhead left me breathless.
Published on Jul 5, 2011
by Judith Tarr
Never mind the slithy toves; let me tell you about the time all the cats splooped into floons.
Published on Jun 10, 2011
by Devin Wallace
The streets smelled of trash and human waste as James held his daughter close to his side. He knew better than to let her wander ahead or stray behind. James wasn't eager for her company, but he was told she had to be there. Safety regulations, they said to him. As if safety was any of their concern. They passed stores with windows boarded, garbage cans burning in decrepit alleys. He pulled her closer. James shivered under his thin coat. The sky was dirty, stained with a dozen shades of gray and peppered with streaks of sunlight seeping through.
Published on Mar 15, 2012
by Caroline M. Yoachim
I gave my left arm to Elizabeth. You've never met her, but she was my dearest childhood friend. After my disembodiment party she went home to London and put it on her end table, hand side down, with a lampshade made of green velvet and children's nightmares. The nightmares gnawed at the nerve endings on my shoulder, or maybe the unpleasant sensation was my longing for Elizabeth. Or perhaps the scab was itchy. The arm was the first part of me to be removed so it was hard to be sure what each sensation meant. My long-ago first boyfriend Michael was surprisingly squeamish, so I gave him my hair, thinking that it would be bloodless and therefore more appealing. He stuffed it in a plastic bag and took it home to Houston, but then he threw it away. Inside the plastic bag, the hair will never weave itself into the dirt and sing lullabies to earthworms. It will never tangle in a shower drain and capture off-key songs. You know how fond I was of my hair, so you will appreciate how angry I was to see it wasted. Let us never speak of Michael again.
Published on Jun 19, 2014
 
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