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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.

Science Fiction


Not just comic book superheros live here. But when they do, it's amazing what can be accomplished with superhero legends in the hands of a capable writer.

by Davian Aw
The hero was supposed to die. Louis saved him with his mind, sitting at the back of the cinema where no one might notice the concentration on his face. His hand jerked as he shoved the man safely away from his gory end in a wood chipper. The audience broke into laughter. Repeat viewers gaped in shock. "That was so much less gross than Conor said it would be," a teenager remarked to her friend as the credits rolled.
Published on Jun 6, 2017
by James Beamon
I'm bolting down the third-floor hallway, making a beeline to the stairwell where I can either: A) rush down, and hopefully escape P.A.M. Fantastic from my office/lair's side door or B) scramble up and hope the rogue murderbot hasn't compromised the helicopter's computer. Realization dawns on me that P.A.M. Fantastic wouldn't live up to the term Predictive Analysis Module if it didn't expect me to do both these things and it wouldn't be Fantastic if it hadn't already neatly countered both my options. And I knew it was both because I had built it. How do you get past a machine that spends its quantum state processing what you're gonna do next? Me, I jump through the third-story picture window.
Published on Jan 5, 2018
by James Beamon
I'm on the set of a big budget movie, mere moments away from destroying Hollywood, and not with one of my patented Doomsday devices either. No, my plan involves wrecking the industry from the inside by turning public opinion against it and its bogus propaganda. No one needs to manually cock the hammer back on a modern gun, bombs aren't built with differently colored wires and you can't crash through real glass and not expect serious injury. I know about that last one from personal experience. Also from personal experience: medical insurance will not cover injuries sustained from jumping through a glass window, even if you claim you were escaping from a rogue murderbot.
Published on Apr 6, 2018
by Paul Blonsky
Noted super villain and family man, Doctor Professor Putridor, succumbed Friday night at age seventy-two after a long struggle with the forces of justice. Putridor was raised on a floating island in the Pacific by his maternal grandparents, the notorious husband and wife biological weapons threat known as The Exterminators. He spent his childhood, schooled in evildoing by his grandparents, off the coasts of New Zealand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and India, with summers spent in a hidden moon base.
Published on Mar 6, 2013
by Karen Brenchley
She was a hero, she reminded herself. She had superpowers and wore a spandex costume and little girls dressed up as her for Halloween. She took another sip of her coffee, which had cooled. Should she bother getting anther cup? Hot coffee hurt worse when it was thrown. Her wristband flashed, letting her know her husband had won his latest battle. Her hand shook, causing waves in her cup and a rattle against the table. Her stomach clenched. She pushed back her chair from the kitchen table, not caring that the table slid across the floor to hit the wall. The coffee cup broke, and pale brown liquid slid down the wall. She should clean that. She didn't want to get slapped. She loved her husband, she really did. Well, everybody else did, too. Everybody loves a handsome hero who saves puppies and babies and keeps buildings from falling down. Bile rose in her throat. She turned up the running news channel in hopes of hearing of a disaster, big enough and far enough away that her help would be needed and appreciated. And explainable, for why she wasn't home. She'd spoken to some other elites, women and even one man, about options. She'd been slowly building her own Fortress of Privacy, with strong walls and the best encryption on the locks. Best of all, she'd hidden it very, very well. She needed to get to it. Her face flushed, heat rising up. Or hope. Maybe he'd be in a good mood. She hoped he'd saved happy people, who called his name and maybe some beautiful women kissed him. She desperately needed him to feel magnanimous. She couldn't just walk out without saying anything. That would make him feel like a loser, and he'd never stop trying to get revenge for making him feel ashamed. She ran through her speech in her head. She tried to smile, but she knew it would look like a grimace. She wanted to scream, to faint, to become invisible, but her power made her strong. Just not strong enough. He'd be home soon.
Published on Feb 10, 2022
by Aaron DaMommio
When my seventeenth birthday came and went without a word, I decided to take away your powers. The plan was simple: radioactive powder in your cocoa. You'd promised never to miss morning cocoa after you spent my ninth birthday babysitting a hostage crisis at Euro Disney. You'd kept that promise--when you were home.
Published on Apr 11, 2013
by Evan Dicken
Lieutenant Chang came back from Proxima Ceti IV a hero. My mom didn't come back at all. "It was just her time," Dad said, his voice all echoey and weird through the rejuvenation pod that was regrowing his skin. He'd been mauled while saving Lieutenant Chang, but Mom's body had shielded him from the worst of the plasma beast. I could still see the shadows of her outstretched hands on his face, the skin clean and untouched by the burns that mapped the rest of him.
Published on Mar 24, 2017
by Andrew Edwards
Having enjoyed their meal, the editor and the policeman retired to the bar to enjoy their drinks in privacy. Discussion turned, as it always did, to both their core topic of conversation and the reason for their annual get-together. "Busy year?" asked the policeman.
Published on May 1, 2019
by Ciro Faienza
William had to wiki the word "psi-phy". The explanation ". . . pop-cultural slang for the various disciplines of psioneurology, neurophysics, and quantum neuroscience," and further, ". . . where some have noted the hyphenation illustrates the dichotomy of the competing approaches to the study of psi phenomenon," sent him on an endlessly nesting hyperlink tangent before he finally gave up and tabbed back to the blog entry that had prompted the search in the first place. . . . but it's time for a small confession I don't subscribe to this sustained vogue for Theories of Everything. And I know, you think, another iconoclasm from your favorite blogging contrarian (am I your favorite? Is this all just a quest for approval?) Honestly, I'm just going with my gut. I'm sick of reading about the rise and fall of the various avenues of discovery string theory, information theory, variable speed of light, ad infinitum. I remember when holographic theory was one step away from quackery, before the "new" and "revised" monikers.
Published on Oct 22, 2010
by JT Gill
Pencils In seventh grade, my crush is a boy named Austin. He walks the halls with head down, hand out, a pencil hovering circles over his open palm.
Published on Jun 27, 2016
by Bill Glover
"All things come round to him who will but wait." --Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Published on Aug 19, 2013
by Amanda Helms
***Editor's Note: Deceptively Adult Story. Mature Subject and Language*** Argument
Published on Sep 4, 2017
by Billy Higgins
Blood. Sweat. Exhaustion. I hate when he sees me like this.
Published on Sep 8, 2015
by Brian J. Hunt
“Are you sure you want to do this?” asked Captain Ortega. I nodded. “You need someone to do it,” I said. “Your people still have family, and I won’t let him take that from anyone else.” I tried not to think of the bank building reduced to a pile of rubble that was now covering my wife’s body. I entered the armored transport and closed the door behind me. Sitting down on the bench across from the prisoner, I looked at all the power drainers attached to him. You can never be too careful with a supervillain. Then we began to move, guided by controls in a vehicle well behind this one. He raised his head and grinned at me like a predator. “You here to kill me?” he asked. I could literally feel him studying me, as if I were a book he was riffling through. “No,” I answered hesitantly “Good,” he said, casually shrugging off all the hardware attached to him, “because you’re no match for me. Then why are you here?” “I’m supposed to distract you,” I told him. “They were worried that you’d try some kind of mischief on the way to The Hole.” He laughed nodding, “So what, you’re someone I can play with?” I could feel my face ache. “I wish we had a mirror... Hey, what’s your name anyway?” “George.” “George, you look just like the president right now, only he’s shorter and stupider looking.” I felt my body shrink and my clothes transformed into a clown outfit. My whole body ached with the change, and my vision was partially obscured by the red ball my nose had become. He laughed looking at me. “So, what did you do to get this crap job?” I glanced at the huge clown shoes I was now wearing, knowing my feet were shaped to fill them. “I volunteered. During the fight you collapsed a building. My wife was inside, my soulmate. So yes, I’d murder you if I could, but you’re right, I have no powers.” I could feel tears on my face. “Change me if you want. Kill me. Whatever! I have nothing left to live for!” I watched as white paint tears dripped from my chin onto my rainbow-colored pants. He stared at me for a minute, then sighed. After a few seconds of pain, I was back to being normal me. “I know this won’t mean much, but I am sorry.” I stared at the contrite look on the face of the man the world knew as Dr. Menace. “I understand what you’re going through,” he murmured. I leapt to my feet and started yelling, “How could you know what I’m going through! I lost my Mary! She was everything to me....” He raised his eyes to meet mine and the pain in them silenced me. “My daughter. She inherited my powers, but nobody knew, not even me. She got herself into trouble at the orphanage she was in. Kids died. They were going to execute her, but the Government will commute her sentence to life if I turn myself in. I couldn’t let her die. She’s literally the only thing in the world that means anything to me. I’ll never see her again, but at least I’ll know she’s alive.” I sat down beside him on his bench and took his hand in mine. We were both hurting. My wife always said I was too softhearted, too empathetic. He squeezed my hand and I shifted surprisingly painlessly into the form of a young girl. “Touch makes this easier,” he said softly. “I’m sorry, but I need to see my baby one last time, so I’ve made you her.” He released my hand and turned on the bench to face me. “I love you honey bear. Daddy’s sorry he wasn’t there for you.” I saw tears in his eyes. I found myself answering him. “I understand daddy. I forgive you. I’ll always love you.” He was controlling me to say the words he needed to hear. Then I felt his control slip as his body heaved with wracking sobs. “I love you too, princess,” he yelled as he hugged me. In that moment I realized he truly had made me his daughter. “Daddy?” I said softly. “What is it, booger bear?” “You’re right.” I pulled back from the hug, my hand still on his neck. “Touch does make this easier.” With that, I exploded every blood vessel in his head. He slumped back, stone dead, blood pouring from his eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Two hours later the transport finally stopped. I stepped out looking exactly like I had when I entered. Captain Ortega looked inside. “What the hell happened! What did you do?” “Me?” I answered incredulously. “How could I do that?” I pointed back at the cooling body that had once been the most feared man in the world. “He told me he surrendered to save his little girl but the joke was on you. He knew he was going to die soon as he’d been having debilitating seizures. Then he started shaking so violently he threw off the power drainers, and after the convulsions stopped, the blood started. He was dead not long after.” I shuddered. “It wasn’t an easy death.” “Good,” Ortega murmured quietly, then he put his hand out to me. “I wanted to thank you. What you did today was incredibly brave.” I shook his hand. “I’m glad I did. Seeing him die like that won’t bring my wife back, but I feel better.” I saw agents approaching after they looked in the transport. Fortunately I’d had time to think my story over. Keep it simple stupid. Keep it consistent. As I was being led off, Ortega started bellowing orders to his men. A good officer like that shouldn’t have to die of pancreatic cancer, but then again, now he wouldn’t. I’d removed it from him when we shook hands. Touch makes it easier.
Published on Nov 17, 2021
by Rachael K. Jones
Randall's weird power is refilling anything empty. He's been doing it for as long as he can remember, although he keeps it quiet. Cheetos bags--poof! Overflowing with cheesy goodness. Sprite bottles--bang! Topped off and fizzy. It doesn't always work perfectly. He once tried to refill the air in a flat tire for Mom during a road trip, but that just exploded the rubber. He thinks it has something to do with volume and mass, physics or whatnot. He has to know the proper heft of a thing when it's full. He's never picked up a whole car tire before, and anyway, how heavy is air?
Published on Jun 9, 2020
by Uri King-Levy
The enormous feet of a mammoth blocked his path, nearly treading on his toes. Sudhir wanted to swear, but instead politely edged into a space between two shacks, trying to relax. "Om mani padme hum..." he murmured, counting prayer beads in his pocket. Tension eased as he moved down the chain, but didn't leave completely. "What's this?" a small voice piped up behind him. Sudhir turned to see a child, wide eyes examining his bags. He smiled and crouched in front of her.
Published on Nov 10, 2020
by Kristen Koopman
I only have the one psy-identifier that California law requires, the unisex cuff I picked out when my abilities were found in the fifth-grade screenings. I wore it when I met you, our eyes meeting over the glistening arcs of glass rims from across the bar. We got to talking, got to flirting, and all your looks were innocuous--at me, the reflections off bottles, the sticky spilled-drink fingerprints on your glass--until you saw it for the first time (I would've noticed if it weren't) and brought it up. "What's that for, then? Empath? Telepath? Pyrokinetic?" Each said with an accepting waggle of the eyebrows, as though light scandal was the worst that could come of an identifier.
Published on Feb 1, 2016
by Andrew Kozma
Our intrepid heroes were making their way across the wastes of the world. We were in the future. The entire world was wasted. It didn't care anymore, and neither did we, but the heroes, they cared, and they picked up the trash we had left behind to rot. The trash couldn't rot because it was plastic. Everything worthwhile was artificial. Still, the heroes collected the trash and built new heroes from it. We were buried under a plague of noble heroes. We were in the future. The heroes lived in our homes without our permission and they judged everything we did or didn't do. They frowned when we didn't replace the empty roll of toilet paper. They frowned when we threw the cardboard roll into the recycling bin. We didn't know what they wanted. They refused to tell us.
Published on Mar 3, 2016
by Anaea Lay
There is a button looming over us, round and red and waiting. If I close my eyes I can see it, a bulletproof plastic case covering it in its shining metallic console. And the console rests in the bowels of a fortress impregnable for its distance as much as for the ring of blue flame surrounding it. Blue flame. Of course she found a way to surround her fortress with a ring of flame, never mind the vacuum, the impossibility of sustained combustion on the naked surface of the moon. It wouldn't be hers without the fire. She needs it, the symbol, the existential warmth of it. She needs the burning, needs to share it, to set it free. That's who she is. That's who she will always be. It's what drove her from the planet that birthed her and why the button hangs over our heads, waiting. She's going to press it.
Published on Oct 11, 2013
by Nathaniel Matthews Lee
The cars might as well have been parked. Sixty miles an hour is just not that fast anymore. I ran between the rows, head down, arms pumping. It doesn't propel me much faster, relatively speaking--like running on board a jet plane--but it's necessary. Everything is necessary, if it increases my efficiency by even the slightest margin. I slowed as I neared the crash site. It's hard to see in the blue-lit twilight that comes when I push myself to my limits; I didn't want to bump anything. Might cause more damage than I prevent, at this speed.
Published on May 13, 2011
by Jessica May Lin
I met you the summer I was nineteen. You were a shadow on the wall, tall and intimidating in a way I could never be, and you were all that stood between my first supervillain and me. You grinned and leapt down in your black domino mask and high-top sneakers, before I even stepped past the mouth of the alley.
Published on Jun 13, 2013
by Craig F Lincoln
Darnell stopped throwing bags into the back of the garbage truck for a moment to look up at the two streaks chasing each other across the sky above the city: one red, one blue. He rubbed his callused hands against each other, working the dirt and dust further into the lines of his palms. "Hey, Leena," he said. Leena climbed down from the garbage truck's cab and walked over. She wiped sweat from her forehead, smearing it with grit. "What's up?"
Published on May 23, 2016
by Marissa Lingen
October 30. I am soooo excited for this year's NaSuHeMo. I know we're not supposed to do any of the work in advance, but that doesn't mean you can't prepare your strategies, and I definitely am. I've read all the forums from previous years to see who had the most success. I even made a spreadsheet. It looks to me like radiation is the best option, but it obviously depends on what kind of radiation you can get access to. The mecha suit options are the most reliable for people with engineering degrees, but mine was in Communication Studies. Knowing how to communicate is valuable in any field, so I'm sure it'll make me an important member of whatever superhero team I join. Once I get my powers.
Published on Nov 3, 2017
by Avra Margariti
You don't know this, but I've been here before, watching the flying robot monkeys attack Trafalgar Square. I was on the other side, the wrong side. The monkeys used to be under my command. "Uncle Elijah, quick!" you yell, seconds before you black out from the nearest monkey's venomous canines sinking into your arm.
Published on Oct 5, 2020
by Arlene F. Marks
Ultraman enters the room slowly, pausing in the doorway for effect. He has purposely kept us waiting for ten minutes. A smile tugs briefly at the corners of his mouth as he steps ponderously over to the dark green chair at the center of all the lights and cameras. This is the final interview. All the safe and simple questions have been asked and answered. It's time for the tough ones. That's why the network hired me. Our viewers want to know. The chair is especially designed to accommodate his bulk and support his weight. Hyperdeveloped muscles are evident even beneath the fabric of his suit coat. They bunch and shift beneath his skin with every movement he makes. Together with his granitic features and the brow ridge that canopies his eyes, they turn him into a caricature of physical strength.
Published on Aug 28, 2015
by Emily McCosh
Listen here, son. There are rules to being a hero, and sometimes it isn't best to learn them on your own-- No, no, she can wait. I know you're eager, but she's locked away, she isn't going anywhere. You can go to her any time. Just be patient....
Published on Sep 22, 2016
by Shawn R. McKee
In my wheelchair, I am invisible. It's my superpower. I glide silently down the street in the darkness, my wheels whispering on the asphalt. A pedestrian moves out of my way without making eye contact, or even acknowledging my presence.
Published on Mar 22, 2018
by Melissa Mead
The old man set the bottle in its stand, leaned back into his pillows, and sighed. "Perfect. I've still got my touch."
Published on Jan 27, 2011
by Lynette Mejia
The door to the roof slams shut with a bang and I jump, involuntarily. For a moment Roger is nothing but a dark figure illuminated from behind, and then he is reduced to the orange pinpoint of his cigarette as the light from the doorway is extinguished. "You okay?" he asks. The orange light glows brighter as he takes a drag.
Published on Apr 4, 2016
by Holli Mintzer
***Editor's Note: A bit of adult language in the story that follows.*** Mark works at the northeast edge of the city, in a red-brick warehouse that used to be full of cloth or wheat or spare parts before it was an office building. His commute sucks, but he likes the job and loves the view out his office window: the piers stretching out over the water, the mooring masts stretching up into the sky. There aren't a lot of zeppelins these days to anchor at them, just like there aren't many ships in the harbor, but the masts are still there: two or three big freight elevators apiece, caged in a lattice of iron struts and steel cable. There's one in the courtyard between his building and the next one over, the one where they're doing web design, or possibly mad science; Mark went to their launch party, but only for the open bar and to see the D-list cape they hired to sign autographs.
Published on Oct 19, 2012
by Mari Ness
Vigilante Turned Supervillain Disputes Guilty Verdict - Normal City, Arizona
Published on Sep 23, 2016
by Phoebe North
1. It's been two years since you met, eighteen months since you defeated Thanatos. You expected something bigger. Europe, maybe. Instead, 28 days out of 30, you're doing the same shit that the other kids from your high school do: community college, shows at the VFW, making out in the backseat of his mom's Volvo. It felt special once, magical. Not anymore. Not after you've saved the world. Those other two days, you don't talk about. Not at first.
Published on Dec 24, 2018
by Xander Odell
A high-pitched whistle, a rubber band snap, and suddenly a future version of Phil appeared right in front of me in the middle of the Mercer and 9th crosswalk. He looked like a total freak old man with a blue mohawk and a neon purple catsuit. The rest of the crowd glared at us as they finished crossing the street, the red hand signal flashing and timer ticking down. Future Phil looked around and swore, something he never did now. He looked at me. “Where am I?” I sighed and rolled my eyes. All my posse come back in time and acting like I was Google maps for the Geriatric Spandex Avengers. “Probably back at your place with your head under a pillow.” He nodded then leapt into the sky with a burst of ozone and lightning and was gone. A couple people gasped; one driver stuck his head out the window and stared at the sky. “You should probably text first!” Phil never opened the door unless he knew you were coming. Dude probably knew that, anyway. I finished crossing the street right as the light changed.
Future Liam popped in right before I clocked out for lunch. He had thick gray braids, a long red cape over his white Spandex bodysuit, and a green sort of Roman helmet with white feathers over his ears. He looked around, noticed me, and frowned. “You! Tell me where--?” Another whistle and snap and Future Pearl was standing beside him dressed in the same outfit and goofy helmet. I did kind of dig their glowing axe, though. They looked from Future Liam to me. “Where can we find--?” I wasn’t in the mood. It was delivery day at the co-op, I’d worked my ass off all morning in the oven of a storeroom unloading boxes, and Kevin kept texting me excuses about why he didn’t want to get married. I dragged them behind the lettuce before anyone else saw them. “Jesus, what’s with you people? Why you keep bugging me, huh?” Future Pearl cleared their throat. “It is beyond our ken the workings of time and space.” “Well, it’s beyond my Barbie to get written up so get your asses out of here, will you?” I jabbed a finger at scarred-up Liam--“You’re at the computer lab,”--and axe murderer Pearl--“and you’re probably at your mom’s doing laundry and eating Oreos.” They exchanged a look, then Future Liam bowed to me. Future Pearl smiled. “Our thanks and know that you have saved the world.” I’d heard it all before. They never said anything about future me but wouldn’t stop talking about saving the world. “Fine, yeah, whatever. Just go before anyone sees you.” Like that, they ran out the backdoor. I took off my apron and headed for the breakroom.
Future Ziggy caught me two days later taking a dump. Day after that, it was Future Wagner on my way home from work. Day after that, Future Mia came out of the steam while I was in the shower and I gotta say her look was some cold grandma shit when I didn’t cover my junk. This was getting old. I didn’t know what was going on, and they all looked so weird, not just old but the whole Superman vibe. They never said anything about me, either. No lie, I worried about a lot of stuff but that straight up frightened me. Maybe that was why I was so surprised when my future self found me at the bus stop outside the co-op after close. I was waiting for the 18 Uptown, about to text Kevin and tell him I didn’t need him anymore, next thing I know I hear that damn whistle and snap and the future me is beside me on the bench smoking a cigarette. I, I mean he, looked at me and sort of smiled. “Hey.” Older, lot of gray in my hair and beard, glasses, camo jacket, jeans, steel-toed boots. I looked like Dad but with longer hair and pierced ears. No flash, no Spandex, just me smoking a cigarette. I felt that kind of sick where you knew you’d throw-up if you moved too fast. “Hey.” There were usually questions or claims. Future me didn’t say a thing. “Um... When do I start smoking?” He took another drag. “Not for a couple years. After everything blew up, I figured it couldn’t hurt.” Oh crap. “Like explosion blew up or...?” He shook his head. “Figuratively speaking.” Good to know. “So, a Spandex bomb.” Future me laughed a little. “Something like that.” I waited for him to say something about saving the world or give out some dire warning. All he did was flick the butt onto the sidewalk and watch the cars go by. That kind of got me thinking about something else. “So, how come you knew where to find me and no one else was where they were supposed to be? And how the hell do I suddenly know where everyone is, like, all the time?” He picked a bit of something off the tip of his tongue. “Yeah. Sorry about that. I need a fixed point to send someone back and since I always know where and when I am I figured I was a good anchor. The rest is probably just splash over.” That was not what I expected. “Wait. So all those others from the future. That was you?” Future Me stretched out his legs. He tapped his steel-toes together like Dorothy going home. “That was me.” It made sense and didn’t make sense at the same time. “When’d I figure out--?” “After everything--” “--blew up, right, right.” “Right.” “Clear as mud.” “Exactly.” Mom always said it was okay to talk to yourself and answer yourself just so long as you didn’t answer yourself and then go “Huuuuh?” I was way past that. We didn’t say much after that. The 23 Newton went by, then the 10 Express. I checked my phone; the 18 Uptown would be along in a couple of minutes. People came and went without giving us a second glance. I had so many questions: What happened to the world? Were my folks okay? Was I still working at the co-op or had I dumped Kevin and joined the Army? Were there still cat videos? Did we cure cancer? All those questions, and what do I ask? “So, no Spandex?” Future Me shook his head. “No Spandex. Not my thing.” I nodded. “That’s a relief. Are you going to send more people back to me?” He hesitated, nodded. “A few more, yeah.” “Got it.” More silence. Future Me looked left. “Bus is almost here.” I could see it heading this way. Ask about Kevin, ask about cat videos. For Christ’s sake, ask about something! “I don’t have to catch this one. There’s another one in a half-hour.” He shook his head. “Nah. You go on ahead. I got to be heading back.” “I mean it. I can--” Future Me stopped me with one of those smiles Kevin always said made him feel better. “Dude, it’ll be okay.” Would it? Would it really? “Is that why you came back? To tell me it’d be okay?” Future Me shook his head. “No, but it’s something you needed to hear.” “You mean you needed to hear.” He gave a little shrug. “Something like that.” Maybe that’s why I stood when the bus pulled up. I clutched my phone and hope. People started getting on the bus. I didn’t have much time. “Then why?” Another one of those smiles. “Call Kevin.” And he was gone like he’d never been. “You getting on?” the bus driver said. I paid my fare and found a seat at the back of the bus. Stop and go for three blocks, I watched people doing what they did, living their lives, wondering about the future. Whistle-snap and I was jammed up against the window, Future Brian dressed like a walrus with long white tusks sticking out of his gray beard beside me. He did a doubletake at the sight of me, opened his mouth to say something. I beat him to it. “You’re either at work or about to hit O’Malley’s.” Future Brian closed his mouth. “The world thanks you.” He lumbered towards the front of the bus, bellowing at the driver to let him off. I fished my phone out of my pants pocket and dialed Kevin, feeling pretty good about myself.
Published on Dec 24, 2021
by Sarah Pinsker
Dora didn't recognize him when he walked into the store. Not at first. She only knew someone important had entered because her supervisor, Madame Furie, said so in her earpiece. "Code Yellow," Madame Furie said, leaving her to try to remember which emergency that was supposed to be. Not the one for police, Code Blue, which went off pretty frequently at month's end, when the cops were trying to fill quotas. Not the one for robot armies, Code Steel. No, this one was Code Yellow, which she didn't remember, followed a moment later by, "Holy crap. It's Power Star."
Published on Apr 10, 2015
by Victoria Podmajersky
Clay felt his blissful night sputter and die in the morning reality of public transportation. "No, really--I don't take the bus." Her jaw dropped open--but she kept the morning-after smile fastened to her face. "I thought you were joking. How else are we going to get there?"
Published on Jan 20, 2011
by Beth Powers
Dear Superhero, I'm not sure you know who I am anymore, or else you probably wouldn't have asked me for help. You told me you loved me once, but I doubt you remember the day you broke my heart as vividly as I do.
Published on May 20, 2015
by Conor Powers-Smith
Sasha took what looked to be the third- or fourth-to-last sip of her Jack and Coke, still flirting with the idea of a second round. This was pure fantasy, she knew. After a shift and a half at the hospital, she was too tired to linger in the little roadside bar, neat and quiet though it was. And she didn't want her breath to get too boozy, in case the girls woke up when she snuck in for their belated goodnight kisses. Someone--a man, she thought--slid onto the stool to her left. The bells over the door hadn't jingled, which meant the man hadn't just come in, but had probably been one of the anonymous heads turned away from her, toward the baseball game on the TV mounted above the far end of the bar; which in turn meant his change of position likely had something to do with her.
Published on Feb 15, 2013
by Cat Rambo
***Editor's Note: Adult language and situations*** This is a story about superheroes. And Love and Art.
Published on Oct 4, 2013
by Julie Reeser
The Superhero saved us at the last moment. That sounds cliche, but it's true. My dad was probably going to lose his job. My mother was crying about how to make the mortgage payment. We live paycheck to paycheck, splurging a bit on Saturday to go eat out at the steakhouse, and then having to eat rice and beans or eggs and toast for the last two days before the next check gets deposited. We aren't unhappy, though. We sit around and watch TV in the evenings as a family. Sometimes my dad and I play video games together, and my mom's at every practice game. But without my dad's job as a correctional officer, the debt would have gone higher. I know about debt. My whole generation is facing a mountain of it. The Superhero is going to save us from all of that.
Published on Jul 21, 2020
by Luc Reid
There was this bunch of people, like maybe fifteen or sixteen of them, who just out of the blue suddenly got the superpowers of their choice. Raymond chose the power to make really delicious food that's also good for you. Some of the other new superpeople laughed when they heard his choice. "Ha ha!" said Laser Eyes Guy. "Mom power!"
Published on Feb 16, 2015
by Andy Rogers
Charlie let the temporal freeze come instantly. The slowing of time was instinctual now. He'd had months in the sanitarium to perfect it. He flipped it on like a light switch as soon as he heard the gunshot. The gun was pointed at Meaghan. Had he not slowed time, the bullet would've already entered her torso. As it was, he could see the bullet hanging in midair.
Published on Apr 1, 2015
by Matthue Roth
We were sitting across from each other on the subway car. I wouldn't have been looking at her--there, I mean--except it was the first thing I noticed. Sometimes your body reacts in a certain way, whether you want it to or not, or even before you know you're doing it. Face, chest, face. Sometimes I hate myself for being so hormonally driven. Which doesn't stop me from being that way. Once I'd seen, it was too late. I mean, I couldn't stop looking, wondering if it was real. I studied her face. I knew it was her. The stripes, those colors, that metal-studded bra strap--all peeking out from beneath the collar of her cotton sundress. And I knew it had to be real. I mean, the rest of it could be fake or a joke or themed underwear (themed underwear?). But a metal bra strap? It had to be her.
Published on Sep 30, 2011
by K.A. Rundell
Dmitri's exists in the cracks between the city, in the red zone, where the officials are too busy with the girls to see anything else. It's the only place Kane can go without someone watching him. He sits at the end of the bar, the amber whiskey in his glass trembling in time with the thumping bass of the music overhead. "You want a dance?"
Published on Feb 12, 2013
by Jed Sabin
"I think I might be developing superpowers," says Ronnie. Dana looks up from her cereal. "Really? Hon, that's great!"
Published on Jul 28, 2020
by Carol Scheina
Daddy fingers the sturdy laces on the seven-league boots like he used to finger Mama’s rough, black hair. Like gold strands. Priceless. “Oh, Besslynn, your Mama would’ve been so proud,” Daddy says, helping me string the laces up. “Who would’ve thought our people could ever own a magic item like this.”
Published on Mar 9, 2021
by John M Shade
The trucks roll into town like a fog, muted colors and brands dotting their sides like worn heraldry. Soon the spikes are down and Sluggoth is pouring the sand. Rime lifts the tents with cool, arctic winds from his fingertips. Panoply's clones hammer nails and put up boards. And everything starts to look familiar again. In the main tent, around the sand and dirt floor of the arena, a wooden wall is erected eight-feet tall. The worn, angled seating rises from there. A makeshift gate sits on the side where the opponents emerge, and another across from it from where I emerge. Real boulders dot the floor for cover or weapons, or both. Everything is wood or stone, nothing metal.
Published on Aug 17, 2012
by Steve Stanton
Destiny drove him forward like a taskmaster from the bus, up the grand entranceway into the ballroom at the Civic Centre, past the sign-in table where he received his laminates and loot bag, onward to his publisher's booth in a back corner. There it was: the fabled anthology, bright with colour but creepy enough to grab his attention. He picked up a copy to examine it closely, saw his name on the cover, third from the top, felt a surge of satisfaction. His first sale as an author. "Do you like science fiction?"
Published on Feb 7, 2011
by Eric James Stone
"Ladies and gentlemen, although all of the participants are consenting adults, the final act of the evening is illegal under United States law," said the announcer. "Fortunately, our ship has passed the twelve-mile limit, so we are in international waters." Guillermo turned his attention from his frozen strawberry margarita to the stage as the ceremonial drums ushered in the feather-clad dancers. At the center of their multicolored whirling, the black-masked priest stood behind the altar. The drums grew louder, slower, and the dancers parted to allow a young man to walk step by step to the altar. Face painted crimson, he was stripped to the waist. Sweat glittered on his chest.
Published on May 19, 2011
by Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
"How's he been?" my sister asks, entering the room I am not in. "Not good." Our mother stands in the window, her silhouette like a beacon of dark across the city's nightlights. "During the day, he's okay. He even smiles. But at night." When she turns, our mother's gravel grey face twitches. "I'm running out of options here, Maggie."
Published on Jul 1, 2014
by Lavie Tidhar
Over the fields of Afghanistan where the red poppies flower, Bazooka Joy, former Girl Guide, rides a chopper into battle. Distant explosions rock the air but are dimmed by the sound of the rotor blades. Bazooka Joy, the All-American Girl Hero, runs her hand through her short-cropped hair and stares down where a virtual map enforces itself over the landscape. Who is she hunting? A rogue Taliban? An Al-Qaeda operative? Or perhaps an evil drug lord intent on, if not world domination, at least the opening of profitable new markets for heroin in the land of the free and the home of the brave? It is possible even Bazooka Joy doesn't know. Music plays in the background. Something classical and German with a beat--not bad. The chopper heads lower in a graceful arc. Bazooka Joy drops some napalm on the poppy fields. Anti-aircraft machine guns open fire. The chopper rises, swift as a bird.
Published on May 7, 2015
by James Valvis
This was what I got for being nice to the new kid and inviting him to hang out. Reading through my comics collection in my bedroom, we'd been arguing all morning. "You're so stupid," he said for maybe the millionth time. "If you could be invisible, why would you choose to be a shapeshifter instead? You could just go wherever you wanted in secret."
Published on Oct 17, 2012
by David Ryan VonAllmen
I've already taken the pills. I hope they kick in before Jupiter comes to kill me. I sit on my sagging mattress, spiral notebook on my lap, ballpoint in my hand, deciding how I should finish the letter. To everyone else Jupiter's a wondrous champion--leader of the world's greatest superhero team, the guy who turned back the Kraxx invasion of Earth, the man who made it safe to walk the streets of New York City at night. His ability to be a heartthrob and a family man at the same time doesn't hurt, either.
Published on Apr 26, 2016
by Fran Wilde
The hero roars up on his Harley, and deploys a grin that could melt an ice cave. "Hey hon, what's new?" I can tell you firsthand that it's impossible to hate a hero. It's also difficult to date one, unless you enjoy dangling from cliffs, being chased by henchmen through a burning building, or struggling winsomely against chains that bind you to the tracks. Otherwise, you'll never get his full attention. He's too busy running out the front door, still chewing half a mouthful of the full-grain pasta lasagna that you baked, because there's an earthquake or someone's cat is stranded up a tree.
Published on Nov 16, 2011
by Filip Wiltgren
"Hello." Dr. Octopus stomps in through the front door, the fire engine-red, reinforced steel squealing slightly in his grip. For a moment, I'm afraid the thick window-glass in the middle is about to crack. "Sorry," he says. "Bad day." He's tried to wash up, I can see that, but there's still dust on him, and dark stains on his green uniform. He's holding one of his two left arms curled up in a white medical sling. "Benji," I call, "your daddy's here!" Before Benji can arrive, the tiny brass bell above the door tinkles again, and Captain Infinity walks in from the dark playground. Dr. Octopus shifts slightly, pressing up against the hall's wall, craning his neck to see into the daycare proper. Ignoring Captain Infinity. Captain Infinity ignores him right back. There's a big, purple bruise on his cheek, looking suspiciously like it could have come from a tentacle, a round sucker mark painted in broken veins. One of those days. I don't ask. It will make the news. At least the Captain wears a fresh uniform, all crisp blue and starched collar. "Daddy!" a high-pitched voice calls from behind me. "Jo-Jo!" Captain Incredible kneels, somewhat stiffly, and envelops his daughter in a hug so big only her bright-white pigtails stick out from it. "Benji!" Dr. Octopus' tired, dusty face breaks open into a wide grin, with just a tad too small teeth. And too many of them. It doesn't bother me anymore. Working with kids, you learn to get used to anything. Benji rushes up to his dad, his four tiny indoor shoes tip-tapping against the laminate floor. "Can we play?" he says, his right arm unfurling and reaching for Jo-Jo. The girl untangles herself from her father's embrace and reaches for Benji. "Can we play, daddy?" she says. "Please, please, please?" "Well, ah..." Captain Infinity begins, falters. Still not looking at Dr. Octopus. It's hard to do when your kid is reaching for the kid in the other man's arms. "He slept half-an-hour today," I barge into the conversation. "Benji was very tired after lunch, and considering how he's been handling his tantrums when his tired..." "Good, good," Dr. Octopus replies. "We had a late night yesterday, and he woke several times..." "These things happen," I say. "It's a period. I remember my own kids at that age-" I'm about to launch into my story, but Benji wraps his four arms around his father's head and hauls himself up between us. "I want to play," he says. "Not today," Dr. Octopus says in a firm tone. A shadow of relief flashes across Captain Infinity's tired face. His head twitches toward Dr. Octopus, before he catches himself. If I didn't know better, I'd have though he was going to say thanks. That would have started a row. Better to let the kids down gently. "Why not?" a voice says behind and above me. "No flying in the hallway, Mei," I say, without turning. "And no listening in on people." "Awww." A petite girl flutters to the ground beside me, materializing from the shadows near the ceiling. "Why not?" "It's not polite," I say. "And it's something for Benji's and Jo-Jo's dads to talk about. So it's settled, then?" "Yes, Mr. Chides," Mei says. She leans against me. "Why not?" Jo-Jo chimes in, giving her father a serious look. "We're busy today," Captain Infinity says. "Dad's waiting with dinner at home, and you know how sad he gets when we're late." "We could play in the weekend," Benji says. He isn't one to sense tension around him. Or to be denied. "We're going to grandma's," Dr. Octopus says. "That's on Sunday," Benji growls, if a five-year-old can growl. He's trying, anyhow, and trying to be all serious, too. Makes me want to tussle his spiky hair. He's a good kid. They all are. "On Saturday you're going to paint the lair. We don't have anything then. You said so yourself." "Please, daddy, can we play on Saturday?" Jo-Jo says, not giving him the chance to answer before launching into a barrage of "please" and "please" and "a thousand times pretty please." They're good kids. Good, but manipulative. "Well..." Captain Infinity says. "Maybe..." Dr. Octopus says. Benji squirms out of his father's arms and lands lightly beside Jo-Jo. "Want to play on Saturday?" he says, reaching out to Jo-Jo. "Yes," she says, grabbing hold of his tentacle. "It's settled then," Benji replies in such a prefect mimicry of my own tone that I have to hide a smile behind my hand. Hand in tentacle, the kids push open our reinforced door and step into the evening gloom, leaving their parents standing dumbfounded in the hall. The door closes and the silence stretches. "Here," Captain Invincible says, reaching out with a clear blue rectangle held lightly between the tips of his fingers. "My card. Our home number is on the back." "Thanks," Dr. Octopus says. "I'll have my wife give your partner a call." Behind them, two small, grinning faces press against the door's thick window. They're good kids. They'll make great adults.
Published on Aug 16, 2022
by John Wiswell
The Terrible installed a conveyor belt exclusively for her. It carried Invulnerabella along, wriggling helplessly toward the metalworks's blazing furnace, her sinewy arms bulging against carbon-titanium cables. Her curse stole her strength whenever she was bound; the material was purely showmanship. His trap would immolate her in the same metalworks that had forged these cables. It was the perfect doom, better than all the other dooms he'd ever concocted for her. "History will remember me. Not Dr. Ogre. Not Male Gaze. It was The Terrible who conquered you!"
Published on Oct 27, 2015
by E. Lily Yu
It was a summer of superheroes. Children's dreams peeled themselves off the backs of cereal boxes and shimmering TV sets and thundered upward, ululating with joy and desire. Three-inch crusaders swarmed between skyscrapers, firing lasers from eyes and floss from wrists. Paul sketched their battles from window to office window, pressing so hard his pencil point snapped. "Hold still--"
Published on Sep 8, 2016
by jez patterson
"And she's definitely here?" Felicity asked, looking around the room. "Why do you think we're wearing the masks?" Mark said.
Published on Dec 10, 2018