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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.


High Fantasy

Fairies and Elves, Unicorns and Dwarves. It's important to note that here there be dragons--most of them, anyway.

by Barbara A. Barnett
At midnight on her ninth birthday, Alison Marie was crowned Queen of the Nightlands; she decreed that flowers should glow in the dark and that bats should dine with her at supper. At midnight on her tenth birthday, she was named Keeper of the Secret Word, which she whispered to her trusted steed, a giant frog who galloped through the moors. On her eleventh birthday, Alison Marie was worshipped as Goddess of the Sky. She spread her dragon wings each night and breathed the stars to life with fire. But at midnight on her twelfth birthday, Alison Marie became the daughter of a widowed man, and she made no more visits to her other lives. There is no memory in those worlds, she thought as she touched the cold, papery cheek of her mother's body. And so I shall remain in this world and be a Servant of Death.
Published on Jul 5, 2013
by Stephen Case
Objects we have no words for do not exist in the same way as those we do. That's what the elfmaid said when she handed me the book. She said it slowly, as though I was a child. She said it was the most important thing to understand.
Published on Sep 12, 2014
by Beth Cato
In the back corner of the barn, the unicorn watched her with expressionless eyes. He didn't tug against the ropes. One cloven hoof tapped the hard dirt. Bandages swaddled his left foreleg from fetlock to knee. Emma had found him a week ago snared in the barbed wire. She brought him home, cared for him, and stroked the silky length of his forelock. It would take him weeks to mend and hold weight on that leg.
Published on Oct 12, 2010
by Tina Connolly
Guinevere deNeptunias scratched her blonde wig against the boulder she was chained to, watched the dragon approaching, and wished that she had taken up any other career in the universe. The trick handcuffs seemed tighter than usual. Her girlfriend Io had designed them to break away, so Guinevere could draw her sword and dispatch the flying serpent. There were generally a good range of dirty jokes about this subject, but lately the jokes had taken a sharper edge. It wasn't that she really suspected Io of wishing Guinevere would "accidentally" fall prey to one of the large bionic pests that were currently the plague of Neptunias. But she was starting to think her girlfriend would find it convenient if Guinevere had an excuse to leave. Io craved adventure, and dependable (dull) dragon-dispatching Guinevere was apparently not supplying it.
Published on Sep 18, 2020
by Ryan Creel
She opened her eyes, revealing golden orbs that glittered like stars in the night. And as the morning sun rose slowly over the northern mountains, black pupils narrowed to slits, and stood like knives, to accommodate the light.
Published on Jun 4, 2012
by Amanda C. Davis
Say you've got a problem. Might be big, might be small. Almost always to do with money. Maybe you can't afford to feed your kid. Maybe you can't make the rent. Maybe you've thought about all the different ways to get yourself out of this hole, and they've gotten bigger and crazier--theft and fraud and suicide and murder--and you're just about ready to start trying the worst of them. Here's what you do.
Published on May 16, 2011
by Amanda C. Davis
The water isn't clear until you're all the way down, but by then it's too late. You sink slowly, seeing murk. A gross brown mist, a fog, refracting what's left of the sunlight with thick particles of filth. Tastes good though. Rich salt. You drink it in and soon you are sinking faster. The sinking is the dying.
Published on Dec 20, 2018
by Rebecca DeVendra
The mermaids needed a large tank, but in groups they formed conspiracies. The pet shop owner relegated them to tall, individual cups that were stacked on the far shelf next to the ghost shrimp tank. There they grew lachrymose and languid, arms hanging in front of them and tails trailing behind, subject to the concerned squints of onlookers.
Published on Jun 11, 2018
by Jennifer R. Donohue
Sometimes, you can stop to breathe. Sometimes, you repack that worn leather pack, which has been with you longer than any companion, and find the detritus from when you started, from before you bled so much. From when you were just goofing off in an inn, or at a trail marker.
Published on Apr 9, 2015
by Sarina Dorie
This is a public service announcement brought to you by VFV. Warning: There is a plague of unicorns upon our kingdom. This species has been known to carry off fair maidens and impale those who attempt to slay them. Whether you are on a royal hunt, or are a sorcerer in need of a magical horn, be aware: unicorns can be cunning, dangerous, and deadly. Do not be fooled by the beauty and elegance of these creatures, nor their air of innocence and purity encouraged by the princess community. They are in fact depraved and horny beasts who breed like rabbits; hence the reason they have overpopulated the forests and now run amuck in small villages, consuming crops and terrorizing the countryside. Those horned stallions have their pick of the best maidens and use magic to seduce them. Worst of all, they trample over the dignity of the common man. All must do their part in ridding our kingdom of this invasive herd.
Published on Jan 18, 2016
by Sarah L. Edwards
She smiles to see him so, content, healthy, for dimly she remembers another time when he did not appear so well, before his father returned from the mountains with the gently beating box of stone.
Published on Oct 26, 2010
by Laura Anne Gilman
The babe was quiet under the padded blanket, occasional milky burps rising, followed by a soft sighing settling, tiny hands fisting restlessly as though reaching for something now far beyond their grasp. He kissed the downy head, feeling the odd roughness of the scalp, the too slow beat of its heart, and pushed forward, the warm bundle tucked into the leather apron he'd repurposed to form a sling against his chest. He had been walking for nearly a day now, following nothing more than a story, driven by nothing less than desperation. By nightfall, he'd been told. At the first falling of dusk, at the far purple edge of the darkest trees.
Published on Sep 21, 2018
by Robert Bruce Goforth
Jeffrey leaned on the watchtower parapet, watching the sunrise over the town commons that stretched to the edge of the Fairy Forest, while waiting for his relief from standing night watch. It looked to be the start of a fine day, and the unicorn grazing on the lush grass of the pasture seemed to agree. He was wondering why unicorns were scarce, when a dragon swooped down and snatched it up in its huge reptilian jaws. The dragon chewed three times, spit out the horn, and swallowed the rest before taking flight again. Jeffrey figured that answered his question. He made a mental note to retrieve the horn before going to breakfast.
Published on Mar 26, 2020
by Alyc Helms
When the Bargain was first made--so the stories went--the leaves on the trees had just turned. The world was dressed in rubies and gold, and autumn rains darkened wood to ebony. But each Bargain lasted a year and a day. As the seasons cycled, the day of sacrifice crept through the winter. This year, a spring ice storm sheathed the sprouting branches and new leaf buds in a silver thaw. From everywhere, crystalline brilliants flashed and winked. The Sacrifice stood on the approach to the Keep, though neither of them deserved their titles. Enid was just a scared girl, and the keep was less like a dwelling built by men and more like the cocoon of some great larval insect. Brittle, colorless stone dribbled down from an amber-glass dome to grip at the hilltop like the fingers of a keloid scar. The entry causeway stretched before her like the gullet of the great beast she was slated for.
Published on Nov 4, 2011
by K.G. Jewell
"No, sir, I don't think your problem is with the fridge elf." I watched the technician bend his thin frame behind the refrigerator as he spoke, flashing his light through the cooling fan into the inner recess of the unit. "He looks pretty happy. He's got himself satellite TV and a case of Fritos. If the writer's strike isn't over when football season wraps up, you might have a problem, but you should be fine in the meantime. He doesn't have a clue about anything going on around here." I recalled the nametag on the technician's blue coveralls had read "Ed." Ed shifted to his stomach, peering into the inch between the linoleum flooring and the bottom of the refrigerator. "Ah ha! Just as I suspected," he said triumphantly.
Published on Mar 18, 2011
by Andrew Kaye
Jonathan ate elves because they were high in protein and vitamin B, and he fed them to his wife for the same reason. She was three months pregnant and couldn't stomach most foods; only elves satisfied her without bringing on a ripple of nausea in her belly. He prepared them for her like a tuna fish sandwich, chopping the cooked meat into small, moist chunks and mixing it with mayonnaise and a blob of sweet relish, then smearing the resulting paste between slices of toasted Wonder Bread.
Published on Mar 10, 2011
by R. Keelan
A guinea for a skinny. That's the piecework rate. A skinny's an elf--or that's what folks around here call 'em. Not that I do, unless someone's listening, in which case I do, to fit in like.
Published on May 14, 2018
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Even though her parents had always told her they'd come to the mortal world for the sole purpose of conceiving her, even though her childhood had been filled with fairy tales in which she was the chosen one, even seeing their glamour, Kim had never fully believed them. Because the alternative, that she was the first fairy born into the mortal world since the gate closed, was crazy. She gestured at the parchment. "Can I see it?"
Published on Sep 17, 2010
by Jamie Lackey
Ellandra followed the unicorn deeper and deeper into the dying wood. She saw it only as flashes of white in the sunlight that filtered through the brown leaves, but it had to be a unicorn. Unicorns maintained the balance in the world, and her land was dying before its time. They couldn't allow this to continue. Ellandra stopped to rest at every tree, her thin chest aching with each breath. Her legs trembled beneath her, and her hands were weak and clumsy, clutching at crumbling bark.
Published on Mar 7, 2013
by Mary Soon Lee
Mountain dwarf. Hardy, stout, subterranean stock. Male specimens swarthy, bearded; females elusive or hard to distinguish from the males. Famed for axe-wielding miners and warrior-smiths. Disposition: stalwart, stubborn, steadfast. Frequently hoard treasure. Note: the dwarven ruling class is drawn exclusively from mountain dwarves.
Published on Feb 13, 2018
by Marissa Lingen
The aviary smelled of a thousand different blossoms, the humid glory of the empire, and under them all the rich earth and the ammonia scents of the imperial parrots' droppings. The empress never took her meals there--the ammonia smell pinched her imperial nostrils, interfered with the perfect balance the imperial chefs created for her meals--but often she would walk there after, listening to the cacophony of the parrots. Each spoke a different language. Each language was sweet in her ears, for each reminded her of the people who once had spoken it and now were gone, crushed under the boots of her soldiers and burnt to ashes by the lightning of her sorcery corps.
Published on Jan 27, 2017
by Ian McHugh
In the days when fairies were still to be found in the world, and wishes could come true, there lived a wishwriter and his wife. The wishwriter was a clever man, but plain, and born with a twisted back that made him stoop. His wife was beautiful, gentle and generous, and she loved him just as he was. The wishwriter was happy, for this was just as he had wished. His wife contented herself that her husband, too, was gentle and generous, and it did not hurt her to love him.
Published on Jul 19, 2011
by Holli Mintzer
After graduation, still in the white dress the school made all the girls wear, you go down to the lake to see the mermaids. It's a long walk: through the backyard of your father's house to the woods, over the neighbors' gate, down the lane and under the bridge and across the irrigation ditch. This early in the summer, the grass in the meadow is knee-high and still green, and the tangle of vegetation down the slope of the hill smells damp and alive. Along the lakeshore, the mud sucks at the heels of your new white sandals, bought to match, until you take them off and hook the straps around one wrist. They've left the start of blisters in two spots, on the top of each foot. The grotto where the mermaids live is on the far side of the lake, far past where most people bother to go. There's a path, but it's not much more than a deer trail, and you remind yourself to bring the hedge clippers, the next time you come. The raspberry canes will creep across the path, otherwise, and they're prickly.
Published on Jul 6, 2012
by Stephanie Monteith
Ultimately, it was the unicorn-blood soup. The fairy food industry drowned beneath a deluge of hate mail. Animal rights groups were up in arms, even though unicorns technically don't exist. The fair folk were baffled. Humans had gone wild for dragon-on-rye. What was the problem?
Published on Nov 15, 2018
by Jaime Lee Moyer
My Dearest Miranda, I must apologize for being so remiss in not answering your last letter promptly. I do hope you'll forgive me once I explain.
Published on Oct 18, 2011
by Mari Ness
She married the dragon when she was only twenty. She kept her hand on his head throughout the ceremonies, holding it absolutely still in fear that his sharp scales would cut through her skin. A human priest, then a dragon officiant--did dragons have priests? She would have to find out--performed the twin ceremonies beneath the moons, first human, then dragon, then the signing of the bond, dragon and human. The dragon let the village tavern keeper feed her the traditional honey bread and wine. She gave him the tiny garnet, all that the village could afford, smaller, she knew, than the great gems the dragons exchanged when they wed, dragon to dragon. She knelt as he blew flames across her head. He stayed still as she placed the gentlest of kisses on his scaly nose. She tasted blood as she stepped away. The villagers applauded politely; the dragons blew flames against the wind.
Published on Dec 27, 2013
by Mari Ness
Warm greetings from the Oak Hills Homeowners Association! The many Neighborhood Watch signs decorating our windows and doors notwithstanding, we really don't want to come across as if we're spying on our neighbors or anything, even if the Neighborhood Watch takes considerable gratification in discovering that the Gerbers were responsible for planting the Bermuda grass which is rapidly consuming the very nice St. Augustine grass that the Blythes spent so many long years carefully tending, and even if we are proud to announce that we finally figured out just why so many cars show up at the Grahams every Tuesday night. (It's not the sort of thing we want to put down in a letter like this. Call Fred for details.) Mostly, as you know, we're all about watching people who aren't neighbors. The less we know about each other, we figure, the better.
Published on Apr 24, 2017
by George Nikolopoulos
Every night, I dream of the castle in the snow. Every night I'm a princess, trapped inside the castle tower. Princes from all across the land set out to rescue me from my evil dragon guardian.
Published on May 22, 2018
by Kat Otis
Everyone knows that humans shouldn't eat or drink when visiting Faerie, but no one's quite sure why. I searched the internet and found a bunch of different theories. Maybe you'll end up trapped forever, enslaved to whoever fed you. Maybe you'll get transformed into some hideous beast. Maybe you'll starve to death, never able to eat human food again. Or maybe it's some combination of all the above. I pestered my faerie--well, half-faerie--boyfriend for answers while he filled my cracked vinyl lunchbox with human food, but Maelon refused to explain and finally demanded, "Look, do you want to meet my parents or not?"
Published on Jun 18, 2012
by Alter S. Reiss
4 Springsolm, 2347 Mercedrin & Hart, Specialty Importers,
Published on Jul 9, 2012
by Sean R Robinson
She thought that The Machine would be easy compared to unstitching a tesseract. She didn't know when the creation had earned itself a name, complete with capital letters, but as she peered into another of the supplementary power coils, she thought it was around the same time she created her lab coat. Every scientiste she'd read about, whether they studied the algedonics of whales south of the tropic of cancer, or were engineers developing bronze bas-reliefs to commemorate the fifteenth moon landing, deserved a coat to mark proficiency in their study.
Published on Nov 13, 2013
by Connor Sassmannshausen
Eda danced through the glade, her wings fluttering to keep her footsteps light. It was the eve of her thirtieth birthday, the day she would become a grown fae, and still she found herself breaking the rules. This part of the forest was forbidden. There were scary stories whispered around the fires that monsters crept in the shadows, towering beasts who spear her kind to walls for decoration. Some tales said the monsters would take blades and cut fae open to see their insides. But Eda was on the cusp of adulthood. She knew there was no such thing as humans.
Published on Feb 14, 2019
by Tamoha Sengupta
Once a year, the merfolks arrive. They come from the ocean, their tails rippling silver, their bodies glistening chestnut-brown in the moonlight. For one night, the magic wears off. They reach the shores, and transform into human form. They mix among us, and roam the streets.
Published on May 23, 2017
by Damon Shaw
The invaders kicked down the gate in the village stockade. Eurwen heard the crowd behind her moan in fear, but did not allow herself to flinch as the flimsy barrier crashed to the ground. She raised her hand, as much to still her own heart as to calm her people. The soldiers marched into the village in perfect step. They moved like wolves, their weight centered and low. As they neared, Eurwen fought to control her rising dread. The rumors of the dragon's army were true. Each man was inhumanly handsome.
Published on Apr 29, 2011
by David Sklar
Mellitraxa stirred in her sleep, and the bed of coins shifted beneath her. In her dreams she was a young wyrmling; the coins numbered only in the hundreds, and failed even to fully line the cavern. The soapstone slab where she rested her head lay on the floor of the mountain hollow, with almost nothing else beneath it. When the clank of metal roused her, she woke relieved at the comfort of a full cavern, the gold coins polishing her scales as she rose and stretched. She extended her talons, and they sunk deep into the shifting bed. The human looked ridiculous, as they always do. The metal plates on his body made him look like a crab or an insect covered in chitin beneath his flowing surcoat. "Hold, foul beast," said the crab-man. "Prepare to die."
Published on Mar 22, 2016
by David Steffen
Matthew spent half the morning removing rocks from the western fields before he felt the first rumblings through the soles of his feet. He looked up to see a cloud of dust moving quickly down the dirt road in his direction. The ground shook harder and harder as it approached until he had to crouch just to keep from falling over. It stopped on the point of the road nearest to him, and when the dust cleared, he saw a dragon bigger than his house. It was covered in a thick layer of road dust, which made it seem all the more real. Stranger than that, shields of every shape and size were strapped over every inch of its body. A belt spanned its waist with a lance in a scabbard, and a huge black cauldron served as a helmet, the handle tucked securely under its chin.
Published on Oct 12, 2011
by Sean Vivier
One Your Uncle Abraxas stands at the door. His eyes are wide and his hair tangled. He lifts his chin and sniffs at you.
Published on Apr 17, 2013
by Ian Watson
"Right, apprentice lad, welcome to Ravenstower! As yer already well aware, or bluddy ought to be, the Thirteen Dukedoms communicates by raven-post, and us 'ere is the central ravenry of this 'ere fine city of Orth, proud capital of Northland. Woz yer name again?" "Igar, Ser."
Published on Aug 8, 2013
by Filip Wiltgren
The ogre doesn't react when you enter her hut. She's deep in concentration, head down, hands moving in complicated patterns, dark-brown leather thongs flashing through her fingers. For a moment you hesitate between clearing your throat and banging the pommel of your drawn sword against your shield.
Published on Mar 16, 2018
by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
Project Goals Between the Dawn of Faerie and the Dominion of Men lies an adventure waiting to be had. We need your help in order to fulfill our destinies.
Published on Sep 29, 2014
by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley
I appreciate your showing up. I know. Putting that ad onto OKCupid probably wasn't the best way to deal with this. I just... I didn't know where to turn for help. Maybe I should have just explained outright, but I was worried you might not come. I'll tell you everything, I will. It started with the caterpillars. Seriously.
Published on Nov 28, 2011
by jez patterson
The inn sat at the edge of a forest on one side, an ocean another, mountains the third. The road that led you there, that ended at its door, rode through--on the whole--pleasant countryside, habitable land. Poll stirred the stew set before him, whilst a mental spoon stirred the thought stew between his ears.
Published on May 22, 2019
by jonathan schneeweiss
Izam's fingers moved on their own. They found his sunken chest. And counted his ribs. His father would have slapped his hand away. A stupid habit of a stupid boy. A stupid starving boy who counted his ribs when he was hungry even though it only made him hungrier. Izam knew it was stupid but he could not help it. He was so hungry.
Published on Feb 17, 2014
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