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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

Nanotech


Here there be Nanites. Nanotech is a dangerous substance: in the hands of a talented science fiction writer it becomes indistinguishable from magic, thereby proving Arthur C. Clarke correct. But Greg Bear ("Blood Music") and Neal Stephenson ("The Diamond Age") among others have proven that a cautionary tale, turning on the plight of all-too-human characters, can be woven of this magic gossamer fluff.

by Maggie Clark
In fourteen years of marriage, Pritchard Nichols had on many occasions considered himself a bad husband, but none worse than the day he informed his dying wife of his intention to grieve her passing. “Are you mad?” said Myna, though it was increasingly hard for her to speak, and her once-dulcet voice now rasped at the attempt. If it weren’t for the nano protocol routinely targeting pain centers in her deteriorating body, Pritchard’s declaration might have sent her to an early crematorium then and there.
Published on Apr 27, 2012
by Tim Deans
The General slapped me on the back with one hand while prodding his forefinger against the observation window. "That meets the definition of a miracle, Doctor." "Yes, sir," I replied, "it does."
Published on Nov 28, 2012
by Paul G Di Filippo
Nearly all biohackers agree on one thing concerning the infamous Twaddle virus: it was elegantly scripted. Contagious via mere touch or aerosol dispersal (a sneeze, a cough), the synthetic infection was able to cross the blood-brain barrier within hours of contact with a human host. A retrovirus, it wrote itself ineradicably into the victim's cortical genome, forever altering the sufferer's neurochemistry. As a final insult, the parasite caused the mocking signature logo of its unknown maker to appear upon the brow of each victim, scribed in colorful active OLED nanopixels: a GIF of an obese cartoon duck waddling across a barnyard: what soon came to be known as "the Twaddle duck."
Published on Aug 27, 2012
by Andrew L Findlay
Rule five of the Regeneration Manual: The database in which all subjects are recorded must be monitored at all times, as failure to do so may result in errors for which your employer will not be liable.
Published on Apr 4, 2011
by K. A. Gillett
Taja's seven fingers worked quickly, efficiently. The tiny brushes at the end of each digit distributed yellow pollen from flower to flower. She worked her way up the branch, pollinating--as directed by the chief of the ag station--every fifth flower. The tree limb, cool under the touch of her real hand, swayed as she shifted her weight to reach the farthest apple blossoms, those closest to the sky. Wide-based wooden ladders leaned against old, gnarled apple trunks as her team climbed into the trees beside hers. In most orchards, the trees were dwarf with the horizontal branches low so that even a pollinator as short as Taja had no need to stand on tiptoes. But in this orchard, which stretched for kilometers to the horizon, the government was trying to preserve the old varieties, and some trees had branches six times her height.
Published on Apr 1, 2014
by Erik Goranson
I found the professor in a hospital bed. His boy sat next to him, teary eyed, clinging to his pale fingers. The professor was consoling the boy until he saw me. He cast a knowing look in my direction and sent the boy off to fetch some water. I found his scrutiny delightful. My disguise was impeccable, but even in his deteriorated state, the man remained astute. He offered a promising harvest.
Published on Jan 19, 2012
by Ryan Gutierrez
Jacob knew he had to work quickly. When the last breath exited the body, it was only a matter of time before the electrons in the nerve centers of the brain ceased to fire. At that time it would all be too late.
Published on Aug 17, 2011
by KJ Kabza
It begins to unravel in the Green Horse Café. And that frighteningly athletic-looking waitress (that's Jiao Ming, by the by, and she's gotta be 5'10" if she's an inch) is gonna be the one to pull that first, tempting thread. The moment hits at 12:05 P.M., when this guy that Jiao wishes she didn't know enters with a gust of ankle-biting air. His name, as Jiao has read from his credit card on prior occasions, is Nathan Pinkwater. Slender but flabby, tall but self-conscious, he slouches in a funny way when he walks and bites his nails all over the place (look at those cuticles, would you; ugh), and tends to flirt with all the debonair suaveness of a shaven orangutan. At least the usual dandruffy snow on Pinkwater's shoulders has evaporated in the happy spring of improved personal hygiene.
Published on Oct 5, 2012
by Lancer & Shelli Kind
"You really want a pet?" Diff says. He can't believe what he's hearing. "We've got a lot of logic to build and the boss keeps mentioning deadlines and I'm supposed to be meeting Zoe in an hour." Diff grabs a can of canned air, leans back in his chair, and sprays it through his beard so the ends of his Fu Manchu dance. He hopes it makes him look thoughtful instead of annoyed.
Published on Jan 7, 2011
by Dylan Otto Krider
Would you be the first to climb onto the device? Would you proceed if you fully understood the scientific principles upon which it is based? What is it about the device that troubles you? Is it the flashy lights on the control panel? The eerie hum of the machine as it powers up? Is it the slight nod of the technician, inviting you to step on as he stands safely behind shatter-resistant Plexiglas?
Published on Dec 13, 2012
by Sam J Miller
Sabi As a young man, I tried not to hate the monks. I tried to share my mother's reverence, tried not to see them as cowards hiding from the world and the war. Now that I am one, I don't even try.
Published on Dec 6, 2013
by Grayson Bray Morris
Henry came back to me in 2048, fifteen years after he'd left. I was married by then, with two kids. I was happy. But when I opened the door and saw Henry standing there, my heart sang.
Published on Nov 29, 2011
by Ian Nichols
It's always difficult to tell someone they're going to die. They know there's something wrong with them; that's why they've come to see a doctor. You treat the symptoms, and make them feel better for now, but you take the samples and send them off for testing. Then you wait, the results come back, you call them and ask them to make an appointment. That's when they know. They know when you want to discuss the results in person. They come to your office and sit in the chair opposite you, not the one alongside where you usually seat them. There aren't going to be any tests this time. No pulse, no temperature, no blood pressure, none of it. The tests are all done, the diagnosis is in.
Published on Mar 13, 2012
by Patricia Duffy Novak
Oops, tactical error. Marla gave an internal grimace as she looked up from her salad-making to see her husband bustling down the hall with the latest issue of Woman's Journal in his hands. After the incident with the security system she'd vowed to stash her magazines where he couldn't find them. Looked like she'd gotten careless. Again. Tom, on one of his tangents, was the last thing she wanted to deal with today, with a head cold coming on. All she wanted to do was get supper over and go to bed.
Published on Feb 17, 2012
by Tony Pi
When Susumu Nakashima entered the competition hall, the origami masters and their audience fell into stunned silence. He knew they were staring at the pinned sleeve that marked his lost arm, or the gloved right hand that remained. Some murmured while others chuckled. The press peppered him with question after question, but Susumu chose not to answer. In the midst of his peers, Susumu voiced his only desire: "Let me fold."
Published on Oct 25, 2012
by Michael Adam Robson
They were built as well as his clumsy human hands could fashion, programmed as well as his simple mind could design, but their potential was so much more. The most important thing he taught them was to improve on his own work, to evolve. At first they were like a colony of tiny ants. Individually they were simple, but their strength came from their numbers, their collective efforts. He supplied them with what they needed, and instructed them in how to proceed. Soon they became more like children, telling him what they needed, and organizing all on their own. It was around this time that he started to worry; he stopped supplying materials, and sealed off their world from his, not a molecule in or out.
Published on Jan 16, 2014
by Lavie Tidhar
They caught up with him at last on the edge of Soi Cowboy. He'd been running for some time: a doll-repair shop in Nong Khai on the Mekong river, a stint in Vientiane--he'd dumped his last ID, changed his node in a back-street warez lab in Kunming and fled, fled across Laos and into Thailand, into Issan: where nothing ever happened, and one could--almost--disappear. They came for him nevertheless, as he knew they would, and he fled again, at last trying to hide himself in Bangkok, the city masking him, the hum of its endless electronics, wireless signals, radio and telephone and optics, cables and satellites all acting to hide one single human in that vast digital space--but they found him again and he had to run.
Published on Apr 22, 2011
by Fran Wilde
Morning finds the farmers' market burst into flower and fruit below the expressway. Carts and tables elbow for space, showcasing chard, sunflowers, and bushels of crabs. The bridge above thumps its irregular heartbeat as cars rush forward over concrete slabs. By afternoon, the market will revert to its weekday form, a stained sandwich bag blowing across the shaded commuter parking lot.
Published on Sep 5, 2011
 
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