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"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.

Recent Stories

by Margaret C Speaker Yuan
Frydthorn waved her wand. The last drunken shrimp from her cocktail flew into her mouth. "Nice trick," said the knight in chainmail next to her. "Scooping up your shrimp with your chopstick." The dog on the barstool beside the knight coughed, a dog's cough, but somehow it sounded like the word ‘Magic.’ Frydthorn sighed. The well-known idea, that women couldn't do magic, made people unable to see that she was a fully-trained magician with a powerful wand. In the past, she had tried wearing a false beard and shoulder pads. She’d bespelled her voice down to a baritone. People saw her perform magic when she cross-dressed but her disguise made the ladies want to cuddle up. Not to her, only to her magic. Some of them were very cute but would they be interested in her when they found out she wasn’t a guy? The knight nudged his barstool closer to hers. She sighed. The call of magic was acting on his blood. Frydthorn waved her wand again. The alcohol in the knight's drink ignited and singed his beard. "Wow. Spontaneous combustion.” He beat the sparks in his beard out. “I thought that was a myth." The dog rolled his eyes. He barked, ‘Blind.’ Frydthorn sighed. All she wanted was to be seen as she really was. Magician and female plus her last, most important secret. She had never even dreamed of revealing it. She stretched, sliding her hands out as far as they would go. Her butt should have gone up in the air at the same time. Nope. She wasn’t going to give herself away. Her backside stayed firmly planted on the barstool. The dog snorted. Cute little pooch, thought Frydthorn. Short-haired, maybe 15 pounds, he sat up with his front paws on the bar, for all the world like a small person. He lapped his beer from a saucer and coughed, “Ah.” The knight edged his barstool another few inches toward Frydthorn. "So," he said, "what's your sign?" "Cliche," coughed the dog. "Shut up," said the knight. Frydthorn, about to reply, closed her mouth and looked at him askance. "Not you, miss. My poodle. Actually, he's a mix. Shitzu-poodle. A shitpoo. Thinks he can talk. Name's Gynrick. The dog's name, that is. Call him Rick. I'm Marrapanoth. Noth for short." "Noth, I'm Frydthorn." He's going to ask me to dinner, she thought. "Frydthorn," said Noth in a knightly tone, "would you accompany me to a local fine dining establishment?" "No," barked Rick. Behind Noth, a barbarian, tatts all over his bare chest, muscles bulging, loomed as only a barbarian could loom. "No, thank you," said Frydthorn. "I need to wax my wand." "What?" said Noth. A smile played at the corners of his mouth, as if he thought she might be making an innuendo. "Oh, nothing," said Frydthorn. Rick bared his teeth in a dog’s grin. He had an adorable little underbite. She glanced at the barbarian, gulped the rest of her drunken shrimp cocktail, and stood up. Rick jumped down off of his barstool. Frydthorn heard a bottle break. She thought, Ah, the evening’s entertainment is about to start. The barbarian slammed Noth's head down onto the bar. Noth swung around with a knife in his hand. “Why’d you do that?” he yelled. The barbarian grinned. Rick ran between his feet. Noth lunged. The barbarian’s bellow “Waauugh!” morphed into “Woopsie!” as he tripped over the dog. Unable to stop himself, Noth stumbled over the man and dog on the floor. With a jangle of chainmail, he slammed into the back wall of the barroom. The barbarian tried to get up. He planted one hand on Rick’s back. The dog yelped. Frydthorn kicked the barbarian in the face and scooped Rick into her arms. “Hey, you OK?” He licked her face as she rubbed his back. She skirted the other barbarians who were closing in on Noth. “Rescue him?” she said. Rick shook his head. A barbarian sailed past them. He crashed into the swinging doors and landed face down in the dusty street. A second later, the doors fell on top of him. He jumped to his feet, wiped his nose on his hand, and screamed a battle cry as he charged back into the bar. He still held a broken bottle. That was part of the barbarian code, never drop your weapon, thought Frydthorn. I should trip him. That’ll add to the general ambiance. She raised her foot but he leapt right over it and landed in the fray. Noth was probably at the epicenter of it. Not even his head showed over the swirling mass of fighters. She carried Rick outside and set him down on his feet. She said, "So, where are we eating?" Rick coughed, "Fish. Tacos." "My favorite. Julio's?" Rick nodded. He trotted next to her, for all the world like a small dog, but his shadow showed a tall man with a pack over his shoulder. "You can drop the disguise if you want," said Frydthorn. She blinked as he shapeshifted. Now his shadow showed a small dog. "I'm cursed," he said when she cocked an eyebrow at him. "Not a dog or a man." "Cool," said Frydthorn. She wondered whether she had the courage to show him her true self. “We ought to be mortal enemies, you know?” “No, I don’t,” said Rick. “Why?” Seven of nine lives down, she thought. I’ve never been so nervous. Her pulse sang in her ears. She turned so that he could see her shadow. “You already guessed my secret, didn’t you?” He sighed. “I was hoping I’d made a mistake. So we can’t be friends? Or more than friends? Because that’s the way of the universe, isn’t it?” “Mmm, well, women can’t do magic and dogs can’t talk.” She reached out to embrace him. “But we don’t believe that, do we?” Their shadows, hers of a huge cat and his of a tiny dog, merged when they kissed.
Published on Oct 7, 2022
by Aimee Ogden
Ruthanne has gone down into the basement, but she can't remember what for.

She glances around, but the cobweb over the storage bins and the dusty shelves don't jog her memories. There's wet laundry in the washer, anyway; she bends to haul it into the dryer. Her jeans, Ben's running t-shirts--what's this, wadded up at the back? She pulls it free, shaking out its folds.
Published on Oct 6, 2022
by Ken Poyner
You have to pay extra to ensure you have all of the Nanurian's attention. They say that once you have put out the additional cash and she physically zeros out any other trans-dimensional connections, the focused passion is almost bone crushing. But, since you exist in only this dimension, and she can project into dozens of dimensions at once, do you really defensibly know that you are renting the full force of her being? She curls on the suspended couch and smirks. Maybe she simply cruises at half speed early on as a sucker-sell, advertising a higher priced performance for later. Maybe she is doing this performance simultaneously in four or eight or sixteen dimensions, dragging--all at one time like a bag of abandoned kittens --half a dozen customers to bridled or unbridled ecstasy. You can wonder about it, but not for long. When her dorsal ridge slips boxing blue and her cross nano-cilia begin to wantonly whisper, her mere touch--at the premium price--no matter how it was ultimately justified, no matter whether all of her is collapsed to only you or shared with a dozen cross-dimension untallied crewmen--sends you waning in and out of furiously blind bliss and personless pleasure. If you have been fooled, you will count the days until you can afford to be fooled again. This is not so alien as you were told it would be. Look, you did not know she could do that with an access port. And you wonder how many other clients hidden in multi-dimensional physics are thinking the same thing. Then, ecstatically, you stop wondering.
Published on Oct 5, 2022
by Eric James Stone
I was waiting for the bus on the way to work when I saw the ad for Madame Grimaldi's Psychic Hotline. It was illegally pasted to the glass of the bus shelter, and as a marketing account manager, I had to admire the sheer amateurishness: the two different styles of clip art for a crystal ball and a telephone, the use of Comic Sans font for "Your First Call Is Free!!!", and the glaring omission of a phone number for the hotline.

As I took out my phone to snap a picture of the ad to show off the incompetence to my co-workers, I finally read the slogan at the bottom: "Don't Call Us--We'll Call You."
Published on Oct 4, 2022
by Marge Simon
Their apartment building was very old. He had tended it a long time, knew every inch of brick and mortar. In the basement, the pulse of its heart. He kept it alive, though no other tenants will need it now. He kept it alive for this. Her body waited at his feet, wrapped in clean linen. His bride would never wish to be piled outside with so many other corpses, so close together.

For him, she exists a lifetime ago, a place on a green riverbank where she'd unwind her amber braid to lie with him. He recalled the day they decided to elope to America. It was the same day they first saw the hourglass. It was a magical afternoon, the sun filtering through the foliage had turned the rocks silver. Rising in the river mist, an hourglass appeared. It was balanced precariously on a stone, the sand at the top was going down unusually fast. When he reached to pick it up, it vanished.
Published on Oct 3, 2022
by Chip Houser
In fair Aliquant, where the soils are rich and the brooks clear, where the woods are filled with game and the mountains silver-veined, where the laws are just and all citizens are treated as equals, the executioner stands beside her scarred block.

Behind the executioner, the heavy palace gates are thrown wide, flanked by the royal guard in their silver and crimson panoply. Through the gates, a rare glimpse into the queen's lush private garden, a hopeful vision of what awaits the faithful beyond this world. In fair Aliquant, it is said the faithful will walk forever with Ilsemance in her celestial garden. The faithful who, to reach their goddess's garden, must be as perfect as their murdered princess. Perfect, unlike the executioner, whose hood hides her misshapen ear from the gathered citizenry.
Published on Sep 30, 2022