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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.

Science Fiction

Science Fiction

Science fiction, even as a subgenre is a vast, underexplored country filled with unusual denizens, many of whom simply defy classification. Long way of saying this is the catch-all category for any stories that don't fit into our topic listings above. If too many of these selections start to form a natural cluster, we will allow a new topic to be born. Until that time, enjoy the varied, murky melange that defines the undefined herein.

by Jarod K. Anderson
The gap between Ted's front teeth opened onto a solar system buzzing with civilizations of light and power. Every once in a while it would glint and draw the eye of Becky Cooley, the shy paralegal with the 84% compatibility rating from the dating website. Ted found that trying to laugh behind his hand was awkward. Trying to tilt his head down while he spoke was awkward. He'd lost dates to awkwardness and to the bushy mustache he had used to curtain his upper teeth for a few weeks in June.
Published on Feb 25, 2015
by Liz Argall
The model is privileged to work at the Albury-Wodonga Academy of Fine Arts and Neuroscience. Work permits are few and she needs to send half her ration to family up in the burning lands round Newcastle way. She has excellent references, but that doesn't count for much; the proof will be in her flesh, her stamina, her strength of will. She removes her clothes in a dark change room. Someone has let a can of drink fall on its side and sticky Cack congeals on the bench--a waste of good, if foul tasting, nutrient. She removes her clothes, top half first: a soft crochet hat, elbow high fingerless gloves and three layers--soft hemp undershirt, polyurethane mid layer, thick wool shell. The whole lot pulled up and over her head in a single gesture, an easy, familiar motion. She folds them neatly and places them in her bag. She pulls off her shoes, lines them up on the scratched linoleum, then removes the bottom half: poly-leggings under button-fly goat leather, hemp underwear, wool socks, removed in a similar single gesture. Folds the pants in on themselves and places them in her bag. She stretches one arm, then the other, shakes her legs and thinks through possible poses and energy she will bring to the class. She lives to do her job well--she loves to see how artists develop and grow and make classes come to life with potentia.
Published on May 20, 2011
by J.S. Bangs
Dearest Elizabeth, forgive me. The light is dim, and my hand trembles. The enemies of God have me under guard, but there is a maid who pities me. She brought me these instruments, and I pray she will take my letter to you when I have finished. You have heard many monstrous things about me. None of them are true. I will tell you the truth, from the beginning, though the story will be long. Please, believe me.
Published on Jul 11, 2014
by David Barber
Pauli Neutrino Telescope, Antarctica, 23.05 GMT, 22nd July. Particle-noir winds from Sattigarius blow through the superconductor array frozen deep under the Ross Ice Shelf, howling like ghosts in the machine.
Published on Jan 31, 2013
by A. J. Barr
***Editor's Warning: There is mature language in the story that follows*** It happened with annoying regularity, often enough to make it difficult to maintain a relationship.
Published on Jun 29, 2012
by Matthew W Baugh
The small grey man walked into Ben Murphy's office and stared at him with enormous black eyes. Ben had seen a lot during his fifteen years as Sheriff of Chaves County, but nothing like this naked, spindly-limbed, huge-headed critter. For that matter, he couldn't rightly say whether the thing was a man or not, despite the lack of pants. Still, Ben knew the value of remaining calm and helpful, whatever the situation. "Can I help you?" he asked.
Published on Dec 5, 2011
by James Beamon
Twenty-two years from now, on a bright day in a dim room, your husband will utter his last words. He will tell you he is sorry for the time he squandered chasing fruitless theories, time made precious to him now by the power of hindsight. "You were my greatest discovery," he will say. The two of you will spend the nine years prior to his end on a new beginning, one free of his long nights tinkering in the lab and obsessing over notes. He will be yours for the duration of long walks through blossoming gardens, sunny days that do not cloud over save for those rare moments where he will stare unfocused, his poor, brilliant mind a million miles away as it tries to discover where his science failed.
Published on Apr 1, 2013
by Anatoly Belilovsky
My body remembers what I cannot. My hands move to the sides, legs move apart, knees bend.
Published on Oct 22, 2012
by Anatoly Belilovsky
Swear to God, that's what the sign said: Quantum Mechanics. A faded, peeling sign on a rickety garage on a weed-choked lot. I looked out the window from the little Mexican taqueria across the street, and it still said: "Quantum Mechanics." Damn misleading. "What's misleading?" the cook asked without turning.
Published on May 12, 2014
by M. Bennardo
Nobody ever asked me the secret to survival. You didn't ask either, but I'll tell you anyway. It's cowardice, O-hana, so that's how we'll survive. You and I and all the others in our cave--with a million tiny acts of cowardice.
Published on May 27, 2014
by Dawn Bonanno
Hachi Station was jumping for a Restday Eve. Marina had enough of the crowd and headed for the door when a man showed up in an illegal purple haze, leaving Marina in a coughing fit for inhaling the dust. "Hey!" The last thing she wanted to do was get any closer to the newcomer, but apparently he didn't check the rules before landing. Someone needed to set him straight, and since most of the patrons were hybrids with gill flaps over their intakes and submerged in the various hot pools, none of them were going to bother. It was bad enough she was a landwalker in a bar full of hybrids, she also happened to be a veteran auditor and compulsive rule upholder. She really should have stayed in tonight.
Published on Jun 10, 2014
by Dawn Bonanno
After the bombs rained like fire and the riots faded, my daughter and I found ourselves alone in her room, our home surrounded by silence so deep it gouged my soul. The grandfather clock downstairs chimed once an hour, and rattled too, the cracked glass panel vibrating with the chimes. In the silence between chimes, Cara's heart beat too quietly, too slow, and out of sync. Cara squeezed my arm, her breath labored and her face pale, like the ghost she was in danger of becoming. "Mama, am I dying?"
Published on Nov 4, 2014
by Jennifer Campbell-Hicks
"I wouldn't open that door if I were you." Kitty stopped with her hand on the knob.
Published on Jul 30, 2014
by A.G. Carpenter
He can't be more than fourteen. Couldn't have been, my mind corrects. Now he's dead in the sunburned street, a sticky sweet puddle of blood growing larger with every second.
Published on Mar 9, 2012
by Beth Cato
Published on Mar 17, 2014
by Seth Chambers
Published on Dec 17, 2015
by J. Chant
He cleared his throat, a thunderclap in the silence. "Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to thank you for indulging an elderly man, and express my gratitude that so many have attended. To those watching from all over our planet, I hope humanity can share this moment. That is why, instead of publishing in a journal where only a fraction will read and understand this breakthrough, I have chosen this unusual method of communicating a scientific discovery."
Published on Sep 20, 2010
by P. Djeli Clark
I remember the day my father died. I imagined I could see him smiling down at me, as he soared high above. For a brief moment he had flown, just as he'd said he would--like Daedalus on wings of silver. Then suddenly it had all ended and he'd gone falling to earth, plummeting and spinning like a broken bird. I'd watched it all because as my mother screamed, she'd forgotten to shield my eyes. Daddy was a tinkerer, that's what mother used to call him. He was a welder by trade, and I remembered him coming home in the afternoons, dungaree overalls and jacket smelling of sweat and soot. But in his spare time he did love to tinker, to talk about machines and the way things worked. I was amazed at how he could take things apart and then rebuild them--knowing where every cog, washer, and screw went back with ease. He could talk about Jules Vernes and da Vinci for hours. And he made sure I knew about Elijah McCoy, the black inventor whose picture he kept in his garage. That was where Daddy made his inventions, odd contraptions he'd fashioned out of old appliances and parts he'd scoured from junk heaps. Most of them didn't work. A few sputtered and died or even blew up right in front of us. But that never stopped him. He kept going through his few successes and many failures.
Published on Apr 5, 2011
by Mark Cole
"How about this: they only think they've been kidnapped by aliens. They wake up in their beds and realize they dreamed it all." "Been done." the Director said without much interest, letting a long slow plume of smoke escape from his lips.
Published on Dec 31, 2015
by Tina Connolly and Caroline M. Yoachim
Heads. Most people wouldn't decide to ship out to the colonies on a coin flip, but we're not most people, right babe? When they said you wouldn't come out of the coma I had the medical team transmute your consciousness into a gold coin. The head is your lovely face; the "tail" on the back is a double helix segment of your DNA. You're in my pocket forever, my lucky piece. You know how we used to fight--no, not really fight... love fights, little kitten tussles--about who got to make the decisions? Well now it's all you. I flip the coin, you decide what we do. You are still in there, aren't you? Heads. I'll upload my consciousness to the shipboard computer, and put my body in stasis. Your coin will remain safely in my pocket, keeping my body company for a trip that will take decades for you but only an instant for my uploaded mind. You know me so well, babe. You know I desperately want to see the colony itself, and not languish for decades on a stinking colony ship, only to die en route or arrive too old to enjoy our new life. I hear it's like the Wild West out there. Cash for the taking, if a man is bold enough to stake it. I hear you saying reckless, but you're wrong. Not reckless. Brave.
Published on Feb 17, 2015
by Jonas David
They came to a stop. Bismuth helped him out of the car. His leg sent him a spike of pain as he stepped onto the grass. They walked through the crowd toward the white door, the people parting to let him through. Cobalt saw his classmates and friends; some smiled and nodded at him, some looked away whispering. All looked nervous. They reached the door and Bismuth opened it. "A new Citizen will exit from this room." Cobalt stepped through the doorway and it latched shut behind him.
Published on Jun 12, 2012
by Davyne DeSye
The two-year-old in the corner clutches her collection of candy wrappers and odd papers to herself as if they were dragon's horde. The stripped vault I've closed us in--me and twenty-seven children--shudders once, twice, and the already dim lighting wanes; the two-year-old looks briefly up toward the lights set around the edges of the metal ceiling, but is far more interested in the crinkling sound of her treasures. We've been in the vault too long. The sealed room smells of a day's worth of urine and worse. Resilient, adaptable, none of the children cry out at this latest attack. The wispy hair that frames the two-year-old's face seems to glow even in the low light, and I find myself wondering if all two-year-olds look as cherubic. Not that I really care.
Published on Mar 26, 2013
by K.S. Dearsley
"Sebastian, come look!" Madeleine called her brother to come and see what she had found. It was not the first time. "Not now, Maddy. Pitches'll sack me if I'm late again." Sebastian pulled on the palm guards he had made from a tire. They protected his hands and helped him grip the sharp edges of the metal drums he spent his days fashioning into walls and roofs. It had been a great find. As well as the palm guards he had been able to put new soles on their sandals and make Maddy pads for her shins and elbows. She was always picking up scrapes and bruises gleaning with the other scavs who were too young or too old for other work.
Published on Dec 26, 2012
by James S. Dorr
She had always been somewhat pale in complexion. But now, as she stood before me in moonlight outside my front door, she seemed positively without color at all. I do not mean her lips, of course. Drusilla's lips have always been a deep, blood red. Some say she does not even need to use lipstick. And her hair, dark chestnut, which some say she dyes, reflects as well as much a notion of violence and death as it does of healthy life.
Published on Aug 9, 2011
by Nicky Drayden
Fina kept her aim steady. This would be the eighth time she'd watched Neil die--his face contorting in agony under the blue-white haze of the Abbey's limelight. The tight zoom of her camera caught every detail, including the wrinkles in the fabric backdrop bearing meticulously painted palm trees, the tufts of batting peaking from sloppy seams on the prop horses, and even the tremble of her husband's hands as theatrical blood dripped from the wound in his abdomen. Neil's death scene wasn't supposed to go on for this long. Fina tensed as the unnerving sound of seams ripping whispered all around her. She worried that there wouldn't be enough time to capture the end of the play. Her entire project would be ruined.
Published on Dec 14, 2011
by Jakob Drud
There is a monster under my bed. I know because it followed me home from school. I could call for help, but I'm afraid what Dad will do. He was so mad about my suspension. He never hits me, but even when he was through with his 'Jason-dammit', he kept shouting at the TV.
Published on May 16, 2012
by Em Dupre
Keep me safe, keep me safe, keep me safe, you say over and over and over again. It races through your mind on a single track, like a runaway train of fear, gathering momentum while careening on an ever-downward slope. It is not as if you want to be here, thrust into the controlled chaos of the Big Bad City with its noisy cars and mobs of temporary people. Dislikes aside, you need to eat, need to work, need to survive all on your meager single girl budget. This is a far cry from Grover's Corners indeed, where heliotrope perfumes the air and not the dried urine of bums. Even your Sentinel is an expense you scrimp to afford. And the clean-shaven salesman with the borrowed suit was so earnest about the tragic tales of a friend of a friend who, parroting the recycled stories that never lead back to anyone real. He recommended the Sentinel and you pretended to consider the option. Fantasy or otherwise, the singular threat lives and breathes, skulking around corners and lurking just out of reach of the feeble light from the mocking streetlamps.
Published on Dec 24, 2013
by Nicky Drayden
I stare at my sleek, new veggie spiralizer with disdain. It's a simple contraption--dual funnels attached at the narrow ends, with severely sharp blades tucked inside, promising to turn any vegetable into long strings of gluten-free goodness. But I don't care how much meat sauce I dump on it, there's no way zucchini noodles will satisfy me like the hearty chew of durum wheat spaghetti. Effin' Paleo diet.
Published on Jan 14, 2016
by Amy Greschaw
"Happy Birthday, Elspeth!" She's just come back to her office to drop off a stack of papers to grade, and Luisa's greeting has interrupted her departure. Right away, the words are wrong: the "happy" and the "birthday" too cheerful, and the name too formal. Everyone calls her Elle, and Luisa of all people should know that this is a birthday she is loath to acknowledge. As far as Elle is concerned, all important people achieve success before they turn 30, and one year closer to her deadline is nothing to celebrate.
Published on Apr 12, 2012
by Michael Haynes
Gerard sat in the awkward waiting-room chair, bouncing his right leg up and down. The door from the scanning room opened and Emily walked out. She gave him a smile, but he saw it didn't reach her eyes. She hurried across the room and sat in the chair beside him. A moment later, she set her hand on his knee. He stopped bouncing his leg.
Published on May 7, 2014
by Jeff Hecht
He held it as delicately as an injured bird. "This is very old," he said, turning it over and looking at the stamp pasted on the old Aerogramme. "The postmark is smudged, but the year looks like 1989. I see no date on the letter. Where did you find it?"
Published on Sep 1, 2010
by Sylvia Anna Hiven
Some of the bodies, a corpse runner ain't ever gonna return home. It's not that I don't got compassion at the sight of the dead soldiers in the ditches. Honestly, I don't give a damn if they've got a leg blown off by the sonic cannons, even if it's gonna drip blood all over my wagon. It won't even matter if they got on the gold uniform of the West, or the crimson one from the East, because I make corpse runs both ways. All that matters is if the identification chip is still readable, and beneath that uniform, be it gold trimmed or crimson lined, is there a tin locket around their necks.
Published on Jun 19, 2015
by C.L. Holland
On the observation deck of the terraforming ship Lifebringer, Commander Therro watches the surface of the planet below burn on the screens before him. Flames writhe and smoke boils, and sometimes he catches a glimpse of tall, thin figures moving through the destruction without concern. They're the cause of it, after all. He flicks a switch to change his view. Abruptly, he sees one of the twenty-foot tall humanoids walking stiff-legged across the screen. This one is apparently female, breasts and hips are visible beneath the thin blue fabric that shrouds her, although having seen the creatures in the flesh she's too towering and sinewy for him to think of her as a "her."
Published on Oct 11, 2012
by D.K. Holmberg
Lacey hunkered behind the thick oak tree, the thin fabric of her nightgown not enough to protect her from the scratchy bark. Strange green lights flickered distantly, sweeping over the yard. No fair, she thought. Jason hadn't told her they were using lights tonight; just covered her mouth when the booming thunder woke her up and told her to hide. She didn't dare move or it would give away her position. They played this often enough in the dark for her to know how to win. Whenever Jason was seeker, he always found her, like he knew just where she planned on hiding. Tonight would be different.
Published on Jan 2, 2014
by Michael Jaoui
She only had one photo on her profile, and it was blurry. I don't usually go on dates with people who hide their face, online dating being what it is. It's not that I was afraid she'd be unsightly--it's that she was hiding something, and I don't like mysteries. But I took a chance and met her for coffee. When I got to the cafe, I saw her sitting there with a cup of coffee jittering in her hand. It shook like it was her tenth cup of the day. And she was still blurry. I sat down and made small talk. I rubbed my eyes. I blinked. I wondered if I was going blind.
Published on Mar 15, 2016
by Matthew Johnson
Four stars Dinner for two $120-160 with wine, tax and tip
Published on Sep 27, 2010
by Christopher Kastensmidt
"Excuse me," said the man sitting beside me at the bar. "Yes?" I replied.
Published on Nov 7, 2011
by Andrew Kaye
After years of controversial experimentation, Dr. Abram Winthrop successfully manipulated the building blocks of human life. The process started in a petri dish, grew too big, moved to a test tube. The test tubes got progressively larger, and from then on it was incubators and operating tables with leather straps and buckles the size of a child’s hand. Dr. Winthrop and his assistant gave the artificial human a dose of accelerant five times a day. And vitamins, because vitamins were important. Every night before they closed the lab, Dr. Winthrop and his assistant took a tissue culture to make sure the skin was growing properly. It always was. The assistant made a note of it.
Published on Nov 30, 2010
by Gary Kloster
***Editor's Note: Adult story, sexual situations*** On our last night, I led Maia through my cities, one after another, until we reached the last, the saddest, the best.
Published on Oct 14, 2013
by Jamie Lackey
The pamphlet arrives in your mailbox, sandwiched between the grocery store ads and the previous tenant's life insurance bill. The shiny, slick paper is thick between your fingers. Simple black letters on a dried-blood background say, "We Will Pay for your Time." Inside the explanation is long, scientific, boring. But the math is simple. They will take thirty years of your life--not including weekends or holidays. They will take it in an instant, and pay you for the whole. They do not explain how. The pamphlet does not cover what they do with your time once they have it. But the number is more than you'd make in thirty years anyway. Enough to pay off your student loans, your car, your mortgage, with more than enough to live on, after. You can finally take that cruise that you've always dreamed of. You can quit your job.
Published on Jan 20, 2015
by Oliver Buckram
"Three coffees," Zu told the waitress. "Point vell taken," said Ludolph to Archie, resuming the three-way conversation, "but vere do you see strange patterns?"
Published on Apr 13, 2012
by Margaret Langendorf
Florencia Costello wouldn't leave for a trip without scrubbing the walls of the shower, vacuuming the front carpet and remaking the beds. No exceptions. Who'd want to return to dirty sheets or a filthy bath? No one, that's who.
Published on May 9, 2016
by Terr Light
Published on Jan 15, 2013
by Ken Liu
I am rooted to the ground beneath me, stationary, a statue. The rise and fall of constellations traces broad arcs against my unblinking eyes. The memory of my body in motion sometimes seems unreal. But other memories only become more real with the passage of time.
Published on Mar 12, 2013
by A.L. Lowe
"No, it's broken, take your shekel," growled Jonas, giving the vending machine a final kick. He had already managed to dent the side and puncture the lower corner, but the last kick was somewhat halfhearted. He stared at the machine forlornly. "Keep it. We may find another," said Kevin. He leaned toward the dirty plastic front. "Think you're better off. Nothing in there looks particularly fresh anymore."
Published on Oct 28, 2013
by Will McIntosh
Jahn turned to Leisle. "I'm so sorry." He wrapped his arms around her. For a moment she melted into him, then she was coiled rope, pushing him away.
Published on Dec 10, 2010
by Jonathan L. Miller
I am sitting in a chair. The Man has put me here. He rubbed my head and I thumped my tail. I look next to me and see another man. He is also in a chair. The Man is talking to him, but he does not say my name, so what he says must not be important.
Published on Aug 14, 2014
by Deanna Kay Morris
It was a new world and Willy was right smack in the middle of it. He was a janitor by trade, servicing hotels and office buildings, the chord of his vacuum slinking behind him up stairs and down hallways. People rarely saw Willy without his vacuum. That's what gave them the idea. In truth, the idea started years before. A professional baseball club owner wore a wooden leg which had a small drawer built into it, to use as an ashtray, for his chain smoking habit. It was part of him. When Willy lost his arm the same idea was applied. Only this was the year 2020 and it wasn't wood they'd be using.
Published on Oct 2, 2013
by Michelle Muenzler
My hands won't stop shaking. Over the cheap toddler's tic-tac-toe board, my opponent stares with smoke-rheumed eyes. She's iron, my great gran, like an old battleship. She's already dropped my niece, the pigtailed doll with her once candy-red cheeks paling against the linoleum, and my second uncle on my father's side who swore in Russian as soon as he figured out how badly he'd screwed himself.
Published on Oct 21, 2015
by Mari Ness
Mary had spent her entire life on the dropships. This was only her second rainstorm, and it was as terrifying and wonderful as the first has been. So much water, and so loud. She had seen them on the vids, of course, and she and Ronald had even sometimes stood in the shower and pretended to see and feel the rain, letting the water run on and on (a near criminal act on the dropships), but it hadn't been the same. The others in the room hardly seemed to notice, even when another bolt of thunder sounded, sending tremors through her body. But then again, they hardly seemed to notice anything, the air, the way the surface constantly changed between your feet, the sunlight. They had sun equivalent light on the dropships, but that, too, hadn't been the same.
Published on Mar 27, 2012
by Gemma Noon
We are all but embers here, dying alone in the night. The hoods keep us docile with their soothing images and beautiful sounds, threaded through with just enough discord to keep us working, to keep us weeping at the things we have done. Serum drips into my mouth via a tube, bringing feelings of guilt and pride in equal measure. I am strong and honored to serve. I am shamed by my past and seek only to make amends. I am repulsed by my fellow prisoners, by the things that they have done. I live only to earn redemption. All these things are lies.
Published on Dec 16, 2013
by Don Norum
"There's supposed to be a margin of safety. These capsules are overengineered." He took his hands from the controls to hold his head.
Published on Dec 29, 2011
by K. S. O'Neill
There was a survivor. Sarah heard Elena calling from across the wreckage, and saw her daughter's lantern waving in the dark and the driving rain. The sound of the storm's wild surf wafted in from the tip of the Cape a mile away. She went striding, skirts soaked, across the grass and mud of the field.
Published on Jan 2, 2015
by Dionne Obeso
The mess hall rocked crazily as the Kraggle scum got off another lucky shot. Crewman Jase Landsdon slapped his hand over the dice to keep them from rolling off the table. "I bet fifteen hours of degreasing duty." Crewman Rick Scalati eyed him back. "Rich bet."
Published on Dec 3, 2015
by Victor Fernando R. Ocampo
She unlocks the door of your father's flat and motions you to come inside. The landlady is mostly pleasant--sweet, yet subtle and reserved, like a stereotypical English grandmother. You realize you cannot tell where her shawl ends and where her cat begins. She leans towards you and assaults you with the smell of rosewater and cat feces. You raise a fist to your mouth to suppress a gag reflex. You really, really want to throw up, but you can't.
Published on Feb 26, 2016
by Kat Otis
About midnight, the party came to a crashing halt when one of the dive team seniors arrived with a case of beer. Izzy had a split-second to wince before dozens of iChaperones lit up in angry technicolor. They swarmed down from the ceiling to hover around the heads of their respective underage protectees, screens flashing the cutesy drink icon that alerted them to the presence of alcohol. In case that wasn't enough to convey the message, the control unit on her wrist began a continuous buzzing that sent vibrations all the way up her arm.
Published on Jul 14, 2014
by Briane Pagel
At first people thought it beautiful, all these new stars appearing every night. I did. I especially liked that in cities you could see the stars for the first time. So nights when I would leave the office late, I could see them on my way through downtown Chicago, blazing down between the tall, dark obelisks of buildings I drove under as much as I drove over the farmland in the second half of my drive . But after a couple of months, when there were still more each night, when the night sky above the farm house we lived in--and were supposedly fixing up--seemed to blaze like white fire, and Wendy, when I accidentally woke her up one night at 12:15 a.m. having just arrived home, said It seems like it's hot at night, doesn't it?: after that, it didn't seem just pretty, anymore.
Published on Dec 18, 2014
by Jonathan H Randall
Polished, white teeth reflected the flash like tiny mirrors. Miss Verna fixated on the impartial black lens facing her. She had labored for hours on perfecting the glow of her rouge-covered cheeks; all aspects of her appearance had been carefully considered. "Four minutes."
Published on Apr 21, 2016
by Robert Reed
Well that's a preposterous thing to say. Is it?
Published on May 2, 2016
by Luc Reid
Dear Editor, Enclosed please find my story about your unfortunate demise. Understand, this is not a death threat. You really are going to die, and there's nothing either of us can do about it (which, by the way, is also not a death threat).
Published on Aug 1, 2012
by Luc Reid
It seemed to Iowa as she curled up on her automod, cradling the antique cell phone, that sometimes it was better to experience things backwards. When you lived through things forwards, you had to live with the fear of what might or might not happen. When you looked backwards, though, the worst was always over. In reverse, you could see your failed relationships and your humiliating childhood as though you'd zoomed out, as though you were floating free over a sea of distant events that no longer pertained to you. You didn't have to worry that the next person you tried to love would turn out to be even worse than the last one, or that your crazy plans might go wrong.
Published on Feb 8, 2013
by Shannon Luke Ryan
Deep in the tropical rainforests of far north Queensland, two tiny cocoons hung from a thick purple fungus. The cocoon on the left began to twitch and shudder, moments later so did the other. A split appeared in the left cocoon, and two bright yellow wings could be seen as a little butterfly slowly emerged and took a perch on the spongy purple mushroom. It was joined less than a minute later by another, as the second cocoon split and disgorged a larger red and green winged butterfly.
Published on Nov 9, 2010
by Aniket Sanyal
When the vortex comes, you will be asleep. You will not even be dreaming of your name. When the vortex arrives you will be in a different land. It will not occur to you whether your horizons are completely or totally aligned.
Published on Mar 12, 2015
by Rebecca Schwarz
Dear Parents, It's diorama time again, and I thought I would send home a few notes for parents about this annual project. While your child is encouraged to approach this project creatively, there are a few ground rules that will help ensure success--as well as the safety of the class.
Published on Aug 6, 2014
by M. Adrian Sellers
As he stopped off at Marty-Mart, Aubrey saw that someone had scrawled across the store front: Martin Paxson has only one testicle but he's a righteous dude. You can trust him. Paying old Mr. Paxson for smokes, Aubrey tried not to laugh.
Published on Apr 29, 2013
by Melissa Shaw
She slumped down the dirty alley, ignoring the discarded garbage, the drifts of broken things with sharp edges. She felt like a broken thing with sharp edges herself. "You're back?" came the familiar voice. "So soon?"
Published on Feb 11, 2015
by Diana Sherman
It is a week after the funeral. Daniel Marsten is interrupted by the phone ringing as he reads to his young son from a book of Greek myths. He kisses the boy quickly on the forehead before rushing to get the phone. He knows it is his sister-in-law, calling about the boy. She will be arriving soon to whisk him away from this mountain retreat, and take him to a world of soccer practice, booster clubs, and lemonade stands manned in company with his cousins. She will take him away to a world where there is still a mother, even if it isn't his. Daniel convinces himself this will be enough. The boy, whose name is Jason, and who never thinks of himself as the boy, knows it will not be. He wants to stay with his father. He loves the mountains, as his mother did, and he loves the observatory where he is not allowed to go, but which he dreams of nonetheless. He loves the stories his mother told him of scanning the night sky for stars and life and dreams. Soccer practice pales in comparison. And his father does not have to leave the mountain.
Published on Jan 6, 2012
by Alex Shvartsman
Dedicated to the memory of Roger Zelazny It was a great match, until the other side cheated.
Published on Jun 12, 2014
by Marge Simon
They barred the library doors today. Men in uniform stand patrol, armed and ready. Their lantern jaws are set firm, lips in a straight line. Stoic women, also armed, jog up and down the block, buttocks moving like pistons. Someone dashes from a building, a hand-held reader clutched close. Shots are fired; I don't stay to find out more. I've packed the car with books, little room for else. It is my car, his gift to buy my silence, to make up for the bruises real and otherwise; never marry a politician who has no use for literature, has no use for a wife that does.
Published on Jan 28, 2016
by Amy Sisson
APPLICANTS WANTED! Are you charismatic?
Published on Jun 16, 2015
by Brent C. Smith
Sarah sips her coffee without tasting it, the last of the week's ration burning her throat. The wall monitor next to the rickety metal kitchen table blinks the time in block white letters, 05:06, much too soon for her to be awake. Her shift at the factory won't begin until eight, but she's hasn't slept well in this house since Teddy left. Too empty. Too quiet. A sense of suspense that something is happening impossibly far away while time in her deteriorating row house stands still. Below the clock, a line blinks in urgent red. "One new message." Below that, the message header from the Adjutant General's office, with the title "Re. Theodore J. Calhoun."
Published on Oct 1, 2014
by Brent C. Smith
She rests against a sweat-stained pillow. Hair clings to her forehead like strands of shriveled seaweed from the shrinking ocean. Everyone sweats in this dying world, but hers is the mark of exertion. Of exhaustion. A baby sleeps in her arms. She holds its head against her shoulder and presses dried lips to its ginger hair. But her eyes, wide with interest (or is it fear?) watch her husband and his twin across the long room. He whispers to identical doctors, but the force of his hissing carries across the space as if he shouted.
Published on Nov 26, 2015
by Julian Mortimer Smith
I have a crush on a boy from yesterday.
Published on May 5, 2011
by Bud Sparhawk
***Editor's Note: Adult language in the adult story that follows*** I don't know how or why the conflict started or what our objective was. All I knew was that four guys in green uniforms came to the farm, trudged through the fields to my flock, pointed at me, and told me I was a trainee--a volunteer citizen soldier. Me, Alex Sorenson Lightfoot Hardy the Third, and, by God and the Saints of Church ElRon, a soldier. It was ridiculous. I was a shepherd, not a fighter.
Published on Dec 20, 2013
by Bud Sparhawk
Two figures appeared between two spiral galaxies, and looking neither right nor left at so common a view, the Chief Philosopher remarked, "I cannot believe I've permitted this profligate wasteful project to continue for so long." He wiggled his dark brows, an atavism that he'd carefully engineered to heighten an already fierce visage appropriate to the Imperator of all Humankind and High and Low Justice in One. Zeron, the Supreme Scientist, Single Leader of All Man's Scientific Endeavor, and Coordinator of All Knowledge, nodded sagely at the criticism. "One cannot deny it has be such an immense an effort, Xeres. But we've had our reasons for continuing the effort."
Published on Jul 20, 2015
by John Robert Spry
"I want to get inside your alienation," said the woman in the coffee house. "I want to know it." "No you don't," he replied.
Published on Aug 8, 2011
by Pat Stansberry
This is a science fiction story about the day after tomorrow. No aliens will arrive on Earth to enlighten or enslave us. There will be no traveler from the future warning of impending Armageddon. No shadowy government agency will reveal unheard of technologies, a secret new space plane or spy drone or stealth ship. Absolutely nothing of that sort will occur.
Published on May 22, 2014
by Eric James Stone
You don't say "I love you" anymore.
Published on Aug 28, 2013
by Eric James Stone
Freefall was the best part of a jump. As she fell, Gina Wright looked down at Earth, half shadowed beneath her as dawn crept toward her landing target in Kansas, and relished the knowledge that she was about to demolish the world freefall record by more than 20,000 miles. This was going to be so much better than her spacejump from the old International Space Station. She would have forty minutes of freefall before she even entered the atmosphere.
Published on Jun 28, 2011
by Phil Temples
The boy scratched his chin. He nodded to himself; then he moved a group of pieces a few centimeters on the board. Seconds later, the computer reacted by rearranging the opposing force into two separate, smaller groups. The boy thought this was a good sign. He would know better after two or three more moves. Philip used to play the game frequently with his father. His father was a great strategist--he taught Philip well. His father had praised Philip's skills. Philip was an exceptional player--especially for one so young. Indeed, at eight years of age, he could outplay most adults. He wished his father were still alive so that they could play the games together.
Published on Dec 3, 2012
by David G. Uffelman
The news first came to the Old Mother through her feet. She leaned forward to rest more weight on the cartilaginous nodes within her padded front feet to create a solid connection with the earth, the better to receive the seismic signals that traveled through the bedrock beneath the gentle rolling grasslands of the Highveld. A muscle in each of her large African ears constricted, dampening the acoustic signals carried by the soft winds, allowing her to concentrate on the vibrations below. Through the rich earth, she sensed the steady movement of the other elephant family, the other half of her bond group. They were on the march, a full day's journey from here. Although she could not hear it at that great distance, she knew that the other family's Old Mother must have trumpeted her distress. Nevertheless, the ground vibrations did not resonate fear or alarm. No, it was grief. "You must join us. We have lost a friend."
Published on Jul 1, 2013
by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
Tiffany forced a reassuring smile onto her face. "We're just going to feed the ducks," she told the nurse. "I promise I'll take her straight to the park and back. There won't be any trouble." The nurse raised an eyebrow at Tiffany. "There better not be. And be back before tea, do you hear?"
Published on Mar 25, 2015
by Jun Yi
They refused to delete Amy's account.
Published on May 1, 2015
by Caroline M. Yoachim
After the earthquake, Steven drove to his grandmother's house to check on her. He knew the damage was bad the moment he walked in the door. The entryway tiles were covered in a puddle of spilled memories--a week in the hospital, his grandfather's last ragged breaths, the funeral service in the pouring rain. The iridescent sheen of the memories was dotted with shards of broken glass. So many memories lost, all because his grandmother had used vases instead of something more sensible. He'd tried to talk her into metal, but she liked to look at the delicate swirls of color in the memories. Plastic was completely out of the question, too tacky to put on display.
Published on Jul 12, 2012
by Caroline M. Yoachim
You do not know me yet, my love, but I can hear you in my future. You are there from the beginning--at first just a few stray notes, but your presence quickly grows into a beautiful refrain. I wish you could hear time as I do, my love, but this song was never meant to be heard. The future should be chronobviated, gathered up in feathery pink fronds with delicate threads that waver in and out of alternate timelines. The past should be memographed, absorbed into a sturdy gray tail that stretches back to the beginning of the universe. We humans have neither fronds nor tails, but when the Eternals wanted to talk to us, they found a way to work around that.
Published on Jan 1, 2013
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