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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.

Before and After

Before they came our buildings stood tall, our trees were green, and Lady Liberty's face shone brightly towards the Atlantic.
Before they came the world was connected and a child could access all information in the palm of their hands.
Before they came father fought with mother when she ignored him for a screen.
Before they came I wrestled with brother for a controller and made his nose bleed.
Before they came our dining room table gathered dust and our books petrified themselves to our shelves.
Before they came father lived on a couch in our living room and mother went out alone dressed in short skirts, laughing at her phone.
Before they came I drew a picture for father, but he would not see it till the game was done.
Before they came all was cold and no one knew one another's pain.
After they came our buildings turned to ash, our trees burned black, and Lady Liberty's face lay drowning in the Atlantic.
After they came the world lost connection and no information could be gathered beyond the rubble.
After they came father hugged mother as she wept and looked to his eyes for comfort.
After they came brother and I shared scraps of food and ammunition.
After they came we played board games together in the bunker and our books became worn and frayed.
After they came mother held father as they told stories by the fire and sang.
After they came I drew up a plan to attack them and father displayed it high.
After they came our home was warmed by the fire and we took care of one another's needs.
After they left our buildings were rebuilt, new trees were planted, and Lady Liberty was hoisted high towards the Atlantic again.
After they left the networks were patched and all information flowed again.
After they left father fought with mother when she ignored him for a screen.
After they left I slandered my brother to win the election.
After they left our dining room table was replaced with a rug and all our books were burned and replaced with screens.
After they left mother divorced father and he wept for her to return.
After they left I called father for advice, but he would not answer till she returned.
After they left I got on my knees and prayed they would soon return.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

Author Comments

This story is inspired by those memories of times in our lives whem all seemed to be going wrong around us yet in the struggle we came together. We were forced to do away with technology and truly get to know one another and help one another through a storm. It is a reflection on the state of society and how we would would get along when it all came crashing down. But then what if everything was fixed and things went back to the way they were before collapse? Would we be happier? Would we find the same meaning we had when we were forced to band together when things got tough? Or would we find dispair? May the reader come to their own conclusions.

- Alek Gearhart
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