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Not just rockets & robots...
"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.



For whatever reason, fantasy and medieval Europe are so intertwined in the popular imagination that a story need only feel medieval sometimes to evoke the proper reactions to belong in the category.

by Tara Barnett
When the first soldier came to taste of Ana's wine, I asked Mama when a man would first taste mine. "Patience, my beautiful daughter," she told me. "Let the wine age, and it will become richer, and stronger than its oak cask." But the first soldier who tasted took my sister Ana away, although her wine was still young and sweet, perhaps because he liked the taste. It was many years still before a man came to taste of my wine. I had many long days to think, read, and become skilled for the man who would drink of me fully. Every day I seasoned that barrel, breathed in its heady aroma, and adjusted the heat of my father's cellar to best temper my powerful brew. It was my full-time obsession.
Published on Dec 13, 2010
by E. B. Brandon
Well met! In the following new employee rune book you will find everything you need to transition into your new role as a productive team-member of Grundar’s Ravaging Horde. Welcome to your new and glorious purpose! While Grundar alone is destined to rule, the bloodstone diadem heavy on his brow, Grundar relies on YOU to sunder his enemies and rain devastation upon the broken lands. The following tome will outline our chosen ways.
Published on Feb 17, 2021
by Evan Dicken
I'm not a bad woman, I just come from a long line of them. It's not unusual. Scratch the gilding from any royal family and you're bound to find a seething mess of rapists, traitors, and mass murderers. Your ancestors were the same--difference is, mine were better at it. But enough about me.
Published on Sep 6, 2016
by Frank Dutkiewicz
James wondered what kind of idiot he had become. Here he was, mere feet from the entrance to a dragon's lair, and not just any dragon's lair, the dragon of all dragon's lair. They didn't call Cirole "terrible" because of a pleasant disposition. "I changed my mind."
Published on Sep 12, 2012
by Shannon Fay
I was the one who told Rhiz about the Folx bush. "It flowers in the spring, little pink blossoms that sit on thick, knobby branches," I said, placing the seed in Rhiz's hand and folding her fingers over it. "When you try and trim it, it just grows back stronger. Tearing one out of the ground is like trying to rend a full-grown oak. It's hale and tough and beautiful, just like you."
Published on Aug 21, 2017
by Shannon Fay
The elf's name was Sakorin and she had never met a human before. She asked if I would walk with her a little while, and I agreed. Together we traveled away from the rocky coast and through the marshlands, bridging our two worlds with stories of our childhoods. We became lovers at the foot of a mountain, sharing smiles the next day as we climbed its peaks. We met other travelers along the way, some good, some bad, many of them much more attractive and interesting and daring than me. My heart would clench every time Sakorin met someone new. I was sure she would leave me once she realized that I wasn't anything special. She had only asked me to walk with her for a little while, after all.
Published on Aug 1, 2019
by Jessica Freely
The Warrior Beasts of Varn craft their armor from the hides of their defeated foes. When I first met Gralgash at the beginning of the Half Lands campaign he was already a veteran of fifty battles, his breastplate encrusted with the gemstone scales of Plath lizards, the razor-sharp plumage of vengeance hawks nodding from his helm. I was there the day he slew the Dragon King and I'll never forget the sight of him climbing the monster's back, the red rays of the Wasted Sun sparking off him, turning him into an ever-shifting kaleidoscope, a beacon of hope that could be seen for miles and miles. In the end, I had to look away or be blinded, so I missed the killing blow. But I helped him skin the wyrm, and I asked him if he would retire now that the enemy of the righteous was dead. "Never," he said, as he measured a length of adamantine skin against his inseam.
Published on Nov 2, 2017
by Laura Anne Gilman
"My lady, I dislike this place." She smiled at me, not amused, and yet amused nonetheless, a tender smile no man had ever seen. "I know."
Published on Jul 16, 2012
by Laura Anne Gilman
"I was thinking it's maybe time we had a change of scenery. Maybe do things different around here." It was an idle comment, just the kind one might flick off between washing one ear and digging between his fore and third claws for a bit of sand somehow lodged there. But nothing Oliver ever did was without reason, however distant or obscured. The sailor paused in coiling the rope, feeling the oiled fiber slide under his calluses. "Captain's not going to like that kind of thinking."
Published on Apr 20, 2012
by David A. Gray
"You have slaughtered my entire species, except for me," said the ancient dragon, leaning its head on taloned forelegs, "and now you've come to finish your genocide, and twist the tale for your so-called histories." "'I am the last of my kind,' quoth the glittering emerald-scaled Dragon King," the bard said smoothly, from the edge of the little clearing in the nameless wood. " 'So we must do final battle, here in the legendary Misty Forest. Because bold striving mankind and cunning lizard can never share this land.'"
Published on Aug 7, 2020
by Jon Michael Hansen
O gather, youth of my master, and hear my tale. That's how these stories always start, as I recall from the bards. Yes, many a bard sang songs of me, for I was once the mightiest blade in the land. No, 'tis true! I look like a humble farming implement now, but I was forged into existence as the Silver Singing Sword, wrought by elfish magic for Sir Cymberleon, Knight of the Realm, and many--
Published on May 5, 2021
by C.L. Holland
After he brought the Emperor back to life, they cut off his hands. "Now you can never use your gift for anyone else," the Emperor's most loyal advisor said. Blinded by pain, Sora barely heard him. The physicians continued their work, spreading salves over the wounds that made it feel like they were on fire. He was barely conscious even before they tipped honey-sweetened laudanum down his throat.
Published on Apr 4, 2012
by Jessica Jo Horowitz
"Is it you?" The voice was as dusty and aged as the tower falling to ruin around them, but in it, the Hero could hear the barest sliver of emotion, packed up years ago and locked away where it could do no harm. Hope.
Published on Mar 18, 2020
by M.K. Hutchins
Silence is the canvas. That's what my sister always said, right before singing a broom to life to do the cleaning. When her baby cried, the broom always fell over. No more canvas, no more spell.
Published on Oct 5, 2011
by Raven Jakubowski
There was a saying among the oracles, when there were still oracles: Every vision is a choice. Through the window I can see the great capitol of Ethrehym burning in the valley. Warriors will be here soon, and whether they are ours or theirs, I no longer think it matters. I am the only remaining oracle; this is the choice I made almost sixty long years ago.
Published on Oct 28, 2014
by Tobias Backman
The farmgirl creeps deep into the cave, so far below ground she must've passed into the nether worlds long ago. She doesn't turn back even when she can no longer see her fingers in the darkness in front of her or the pitchfork they're clenching. She doesn't tremble even when her free hand, sliding along the cold, damp stones, passes through spider webs so wide their owners must be living off cows and deer. She only stops when the blind witch's cackle rises from the deep. The farmgirl doesn't cower, doesn't swing the pitchfork wildly and reveal herself. The cackle grows louder, but the farmgirl keeps still until movement disrupts the stale air in front of her and she is nearly choking on the witch's warm, rotten breath.
Published on Jan 19, 2021
by Andrew Kaye
Published on Oct 9, 2012
by Anastasia Kharlamova
He got the throne. He was born two years earlier than me, it was natural. Even though he was born with a limp (some enemy wizard's curse gone awry on my mother), he was trained to wear the crown. Meanwhile, I was trained to be the spare. Meredith the additional. Meredith the always second-best. Meredith the "just in case something happens to Anatole": the nicest title my parents could give me.
Published on May 28, 2019
by Marissa Kristine Lingen
Elli had been on every circuit, in various costumes. Always a heel. She was never above choking, taking people's eyes out, anything. She'd do it for free outside the ring if you were patient. She'd brought down most of the biggest faces there'd ever been, although a few succumbed to early injury instead, or drugs. But she didn't mind sharing her victories with the drugs.
Published on Dec 10, 2020
by Marissa Lingen
Twelve was old enough, or should have been old enough, not to need a minder at every turn. But twelve was also the perfect age for shiny things, for putting your hand on what is there for no better reason than because you can, and they turned their backs on my cousin for (his mother swore it) no more than a moment, half a moment really, and now he had that cursed sword. Which was horrifying, disgusting, and a disgrace the likes of which our family would never live down if we could not get the curse off him before anyone found out.
Published on May 4, 2020
by Mari Ness
He makes a ritual of it, summoning the servants and the guards as he places a two-edged sword in the center of his bed before lifting her hand to his lips. "Until I return," he says, and she curtsies, saying nothing. He smiles, pulling down his helmet, not touching her, not caring that she does not reach for him, or even the helmet. They have done all that, he tells himself, the night before.
Published on Feb 22, 2018
by Mari Ness
In the end, they did not shut the princess up alone. It had been discussed. But a few of the advisors of the king's court had seen prisoners dragged from cells after years of speaking to no one but their guards, if that. Prisoners who had not seen the sun. The princess was disobedient, yes, but she could still be useful--perhaps. If she was not driven insane.
Published on Oct 15, 2018
by Mari Ness
They stole my name when I was quite small, too young to understand the loss. For a time, no one even noticed. Such is the way of childhood, where I could be called the baby, or the girl, or the child, or handed to an aunt or uncle who needed no names to know how to feed and scold me. I knew the others had names, and learned them as I learned the names of every tree and plant about the huts, and which were good for eating and which good for playing and which we might steal as toys, and the names of the moons and the stars. I drank words and tales with every breath, but never thought to take a word for myself.
Published on Apr 6, 2012
by Kat Otis
There was a footbridge on the road leading into the town, but its troll was small enough that Hans only had to sell a woodcarving memory to gain passage. Afterwards, he prodded at the blank space in his mind, like tonguing a missing tooth, even though he'd sold enough memories to know that it was gone forever. He reached into his pocket and felt the reassuring shape of his latest carving. After five decades of working with wood, surely he had memories to spare. And even if he didn't, the price was still worth it. Another chance to find his daughter, his Inger, was worth any price.
Published on May 29, 2014
by Kat Otis
The god gave his keys to my brother, but I knew it was a mistake. Keys are a woman's domain.
Published on Dec 9, 2015
by Anya Ow
"Old Mother," said the teashop's owner, "Why do you still hunt? Your bank is bent under your blade, and you grow thinner by the season. Have you no children to ease your days, no grandchildren?" The teashop owner was not a young man himself. Life on the edge of the Kunlun meant that his shop relied heavily on the kingsroad, the benches cramped close to the paved stone, the small thatched-roof shop forever heavy with the animal scent of tethered horses. Ryurin smiled broadly with her few remaining teeth, amused as the teashop owner averted his eyes when he sat beside her on the bench. Thirty years ago, Ryurin would have believed it to be flirting. Time had made her wiser to the growing indifference of the world. The shop was empty, and the teashop owner had little else to do but wait out the days till the warmth of summer.
Published on Sep 16, 2016
by Anya Ow
"The lemon tree is my favorite," confided the Bone Wyrm to Princess Meeka, though its great jaws did not move. Within the echo chamber of her mind, the Wyrmvoice boomed clarion-bright, and Meeka had to fight not to clap her hands over her ears. The closest yellow orb of three on this side of its serpentine muzzle turned to follow Meeka as she stepped politely over the tip of its ivory tail and under the gate it had made by lifting its coils. Within it, the Wyrmgarden sang to her with silver clappers.
Published on Mar 28, 2017
by L.L. Phelps
Mei Ling sat beside the living room window and listened as the firecrackers echoed across the city. They had been going off for days, and she was sure by now that the dragon was getting as cranky as she was from being woken up so often by the loud pops and bangs. She was sure it was only a matter of time before it took flight and she was not going to miss it this year like every year before. Mei looked down at her red dress and matching shoes and smiled. She wondered if the dragon could see how well she had dressed today and every day in the month long celebration. She was sure that if the dragon was awake, it would not miss her bright red clothing, the braids that her mother carefully plaited into her hair, and the bright oranges and festive candies that she gave to her friends in the streets.
Published on Jul 13, 2011
by Jennifer R. Povey
Princess Inga made her way out of the keep and across the grounds. "Hey!" she called in a horribly informal manner. The woman who answered was privileged and used to such from the Princess. Sara was Inga's milk sister, after all, the queen having lacked the strength to nurse her daughter while recovering from a difficult birth.
Published on Apr 28, 2020
by Cat Rambo
Marcus hadn't thought marriage would be like this after three months. He had expected to love Pippa, but he hadn't thought she would love him so much, that she would follow him from counter to till in his tiny shop where he sold souvenirs and curiosities: stuffed mermaids, filagree jars, and great shark jaws set with more teeth than a carved comb. Was it that he was all the treasure that Pippa had? Would her need diminish with time, as she felt more secure?
Published on Apr 19, 2011
by Kenneth Schneyer
Petros cowered, well hidden in the stinking alley. He could not, did not deserve to avert his gaze as three Watchers in the street wrenched a girl from the grasp of her weeping parents. Even then, her desperate father put a foot forward to stop them; but one burly Watcher drew his black-and-silver sword and raised it to the old man's chin, grinning as if he were about to enjoy a fine meal or a game of dice. The father backed away, burying his face in his woolen shirt. The girl couldn't have been more than fourteen. At best, she'd spend a half-moon as a plaything for some Noble or the Watch themselves, then be thrown back into the street barely alive--if alive, if not mutilated. At worst--Petros closed his eyes and swallowed, trying not to think about the King and his Royal Feasts, the roasts and stews carved from the flesh of children.
Published on Feb 10, 2012
by Rene Sears
Amuse-bouche: Take one remote coastal castle. Add sea-raiders. Drain the blood of one king. (Arrows, cut throats, or beheadings are all acceptable--ask your butcher.) Send one princess into hiding, garnished with a daring midnight escape. Reserve one queen for later.
Published on Feb 10, 2017
by John M Shade
This was a small thing. In the midst of empires and grand armies and armadas it was something you could have easily overlooked if you weren't careful.
Published on Oct 20, 2011
by Alex Shvartsman
Teo followed one of his men through the vast halls of the palace, past the defaced portraits of royals and the vacant pedestals from which vases and small trinkets had already been looted. Laughter and muffled screams could be heard from some of the rooms they passed; the fighting was over, and the soldiers were helping themselves to spoils of war. "She's in there." The man pointed at the wide doorway. He shifted from foot to foot impatiently, no doubt eager to join his comrades.
Published on Jul 5, 2016
by Marge Simon
Since her untimely birth in the Brothels of Lemorrah, she was mothered by many, daughter of none. The city spawned more children than the poor could afford. Boys were sent to work the streets; young girls to Lemorrah. She'd witnessed them be broken in for service. When it came her turn, she was the only one who didn't cry. Her name doesn't matter. She's barely seventeen but she looks much older. In the forests surrounding Lemorrah there is a glade that she visits when she is depressed. This time, she thinks of suicide, for she's obtained a knife.
Published on Aug 9, 2018
by Amber D. Sistla
Grikl paced in the clearing surrounded by bekel trees, their boughs overflowing with delicately waving blossoms that filled the sultry air with a sweet scent. She took care not to stop lest she sink into the mud. It was bekel bug season and she couldn't even seek the steadier ground near the roots of the trees. One bite from the bug would paralyze her so that it could burrow inside and lay its eggs. The thought of the danger nauseated her, but it was the perfect spot to wallow in her shame; no one would think to look for her in the groves. The Elders said true spirits rejoiced in the accomplishments of others, but she was sure they'd never had to live in the shadow of the Chosen One. Archery, hunting, running, singing, dancing, shouting... Ekkli's list of talents was unending and Grikl was always a distant second. Only beauty, that is my undisputed domain. The thought wormed in her mind like a bekel bug. Of what use was beauty? The boys cared little for such a transient, unskilled thing when they could bask in the glory of Ekkli's bright accomplishments.
Published on Dec 27, 2010
by Gary Smith
I am invisible to everyone around me. I am not a magician, a mystical wood elf, nor a dragon in guise. I am the man that empties the latrines. I have been the palace's emptier of latrines for over five years. At first I wasn't invisible. Other young men would sit near me in the dining hall. Palace maids would whisper and smile as I passed. That lasted until they figured out my occupation.
Published on Oct 6, 2018
Talia was ten and two when she sheared her hair with a kitchen knife, bound her budding breasts with rags until her ribs ached, and stuffed a sock in the crotch of her father's borrowed breeches. She was the same age when her father beat her bloody with a switch and told her she would never hold a sword. "You're to hold a babe, not a blade." He hissed. Her skin cracked, peeled, and bled with every strike.
Published on Dec 29, 2020
by Eric James Stone
You tend to remember the face of a man you've sworn to kill. As Groshen hoisted a rundlet of wine into the wagon, he spotted the crimson-robed prophet strolling along the village's main road. Groshen had only met the prophet twice, but he recognized those copper-colored eyes divided by that bulging nose.
Published on Nov 8, 2011
by Eric James Stone
The Empress Uvay dismissed the physician with a trembling wave of her hand. What could he do except tell her she would soon join the late Emperor in the halls of Paradise? Terrified of being charged with regicide, he would not even give her a concoction to ease her passing. No matter--the poison needle hidden in the ring on her right middle finger would quickly end her life if the pain became too great.
Published on Feb 9, 2012
by Calie Voorhis
A feast loomed on the sagging oak table, but Manda's mind was on her impending doom. Her mouth watered at the rising steam off the verdaki carcass, the aroma of fresh-baked pila fluff. Jewels of fresh kharma root beckoned, swift-melting mousses tempted, her childhood favorite--vanis-spice cardamom pudding beckoned. "Just one bite," the morsels said. A phalanx of guards surrounded the table, pressing her forward into the chair. "Eat," the inquisitor, now in his rich burgundy judge's and jury's garb, said. He flipped his cowl back, letting the velvet stream down his neck, like chocolate sauce.
Published on Jan 1, 2021
by Debs Walker
Eventually the stranger reached her. “Hello and welcome. I’m Ezra.” “I know.” The girl’s voice was sullen. She was performing an unwanted duty. “What do you have for me today?” asked Ezra, pointing to the leather bag slung over the girl’s chest. “Goat’s cheese, bread, dried fruit. The same things that Danelly always brought you.” “And you wanted to bring them to me today?” “Danelly made me do it. She wants to talk to Gordon. She says she has better things to do than. . .” “Than visit an old hermit?”
Published on Sep 7, 2010