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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.

Anti-Gravity and the Punishment of Clever Girls

Librarian, mother, and minor trickster, Janna spends her time annoying lobsters, sharpening the edges of paper, and refusing to take out the trash. She has coerced published works in Andromeda Spaceways, F(r)ction, Meow Meow Pow Pow, Luna Station Quarterly, and a dozen or so more. Nominated for Best Small Fictions, she doesn't really know what to say about that, but will get back to you later. Generally, if the toaster blows up, it is not her fault. Follow her @ScribblerMiller on Twitter or visit her website to detail a complete list of her shenanigans. /millersminusculemystories.com

Yes, it is dark, my child. Cold and getting colder.
If you stretch out your hand, I can reach it. It won't stop the pod from spinning, but gravity is a relative bonus.
Remember the story I told you? About the banished queen allowed to take just one thing? While being dragged away, she threw her braids around her husband's waist. Tied them into a knot.
But things don't always work out for clever girls. We can't perpetually manipulate the weight of atmospheres.
So before they sealed the airlock, I determined to take the most precious thing.
I took you.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, April 15th, 2021

Author Comments

This story was born out of a drabble challenge and a love for genre mashing and word mincing. I've always been drawn to folk stories where the girl outsmarts the villain/dragon/ignorant populace by using some clever loophole. But what if that girl is tired? She's outsmarted again and again and this time it doesn't quite work out for her. Or the child. Perhaps this time, she didn't make the right choice at all. In one version of Grimm's The Clever Girl, the queen gets away with taking her husband through a backwards kind of prenuptial agreement. All is forgiven and she is celebrated for her wittiness by avoiding a careless banishment. In this story, no matter how hard the clever girl tries, the universe works against her. Taking what she thinks most precious, she is banished after all and left spinning through cold darkness to an uncertain end.

- Janna Miller
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