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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.

Story Categories & Topics

Science Fiction
Yes, of course here be little green men. But not only these. Extraterrestrial life can and sometimes should be almost unrecognizable. Luminaries from Carl Sagan to Madonna have noted that the odds against humanity being the only sentient form of life are astronomical. Yet, as noted in the Fermi paradox, there seem to be no signs of aliens in reality. (Of course, with the recent discoveries of many hundreds of planets orbiting other stars, perhaps that will change. Stay tuned to your favorite science fact websites.) Science fiction writers have stepped into the void, providing entertainment, humor, and cautionary tales. Here are those that have appeared in Daily Science Fiction:

There are many experts who believe that, while most current exciting developments have been in computers and software, the next wave will be biotech-driven. From where we stand now, humans gaining power to control the manifestation of genes would feel like magic. The complexity of our ecosystem is so much greater than we understand, leaving possibilities from devestation to utopia, and just about any stop inbetween.

Clones have been a much developed topic in science fiction for more than 70 years. Now that we know they're actually within the grasp of current technology, some of the thrill is gone. Yet, in the right hands clones continue to provide fertile ground for imagined futures worthy cautionary and ecstatic.

Science fiction came of age during the cold war. For virtually it's entire existence, it's been easier than not to imagine manmade technology leading to cataclysm. Fortunately, our worst nightmares haven't come true, though we are a species dedicated to walking the tightrope in so many ways. Just as stories fall flat without conflict, modern humanity gets bored without courting extinction on an ongoing basis, we suppose. Definitely, a fertile ground for science fiction.

Future Societies
What will tomorrow bring? Utopia, dystopia, a muddled, uncertain middle ground. There's room here for near future semi-realistic explanations and beyond the beyond post-singularity nightmares. Let's see what develops.

Here there be Nanites. Nanotech is a dangerous substance: in the hands of a talented science fiction writer it becomes indistinguishable from magic, thereby proving Arthur C. Clarke correct. But Greg Bear ("Blood Music") and Neal Stephenson ("The Diamond Age") among others have proven that a cautionary tale, turning on the plight of all-too-human characters, can be woven of this magic gossamer fluff.

Other Worlds
New colonies. Alternate Earths. Parallel Universes. All is fair game.

Robots & Computers
As humans, we like to play god. From the golems of Jewish lore to Isaac Asimov's Univac to Robot B-9 in Lost in Space we've created machines in the image of our minds or bodies - often both. Artificial Intelligence and its implications keep many of our top minds up all night. Somehow, it rarely works out as we hope.

Space Travel
One of the most daunting aspects of making science fictional aspirations real is the vast distances--and nearly insurmountable obstacles--between interesting space objects. Thank goodness for the fertile imaginations of sf writers, who can conquer all. Generational starships have been a staple of science fiction, from crazy metal rockets to hollowed out asteroids. Wormholes and space-bending tubes are always popular with the technology conquers all crowd. Even better; faster than light travel - which may be more honestly classified as fantasy than science fiction proper. Whatever the taxonomy, space is truly the final frontier, or the next frontier anyway. It's a great setting for some good old-fashioned storytelling.

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.

Time Travel
Many have opined that this topic belongs properly to Fantasy, but following convention, we too classify it as science fiction. From trite paradoxes to tachyonic effusions of phoenix-like prebirth, there's a lot to work with here. We hope you enjoy.

Virtual Reality
Of all the science fictional tropes this may be the one we are slamming into headlong at the most blistering pace. Go to Second Life, play with your friends vie Wii, even share virtual messages in a bottle on your iphone. Take a look at the amazing motion capture on Microsoft's new gaming technology. It's happening. The effect on societies, and the all-important individuals within them, is far less clear.

Science Fiction
Science fiction, even as a subgenre is a vast, underexplored country filled with unusual denizens, many of whom simply defy classification. Long way of saying this is the catch-all category for any stories that don't fit into our topic listings above. If too many of these selections start to form a natural cluster, we will allow a new topic to be born. Until that time, enjoy the varied, murky melange that defines the undefined herein.

Fairy Tales
You won't see traditional fairy tales here, at least unaltered. But fairy tales do provide a great common language upon which to build a story or twist the old out of recognition.

Fortunetellers, precogs, future knowers. In science fiction, time travelers mostly go back. In fantasy, they see forward.

High Fantasy
Fairies and Elves, Unicorns and Dwarves. It's important to note that here there be dragons--most of them, anyway.

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.

Magic & Wizardry
A bunch of intro text about Magic & Wizardry

All sorts of monsters live here, from Vampires and Werewolves to Selkie and the ever popular Zombies.

Other Worlds
Mystical colony worlds, portal worlds from modern normalcy, Piers Anthony style parallel worlds ruled by magic. All fit under this rubric.

Souls, Angels, Devils, God, and gods. Certain tales are best understood through the lens of religion.

Modern Fantasy
Welcome to today. But wait, it's different.

Yep, you guessed it. Fantasy has occupied the human mind from time immemorial. Not all of it will fit into neat little cubby holes, no matter how many we define. Here's what didn't fit elsewhere.

Hither & Yon
We can't define exactly the region that slipstream occupies between magic realism and sf/fantasy, but there is a certain feel. Too simple to say that it is whatever Kelly Link and Jeff Vandermeer say it is (though that might be true). There is a certain type of reality distortion field that these stories won't exactly share, but maybe almost.

Alternate History
Past is prologue. There are so many spots in history where a small change would evidently create a very different outcome. Historians call them counterfactuals and extrapolate how society might have differed. Science fiction writers populate that different world with characters and tell a story. Harry Turtledove dominates this topic possibly more than any single author does any other.

A rare genre in Daily Science Fiction, but sometimes we all just need a good scare....

There is some fiction that incorporates aspects of fantasy and science fiction but doesn't have that indescribable flavor that would make it clearly slipstream. China Mieville and his work spring to mind. Wizards on space ships, robots riding magic carpets, AIs on a quest to find unicorns? Could all be candidates to appear here.

The Alphabet Quartet
We are excited to be able to share this series of stories with you each Wednesday from these four award-worthy writers. All but this first tale are flash. (We believe there will be 26 in all, but wouldn't put it past these four to come up with an alien alphabet and just keep writing....) After you read many of the stories here, the entire series will be available in audio from Escape Artists. We'll share more information and a specific url later when the stories are available, in March or thereabouts.

The Numbers Quartet
Inspired in part by the Alphabet Quartet series, four powerful authors have come together here to examine a dozen important concepts in mathematics through short short fiction pieces. Mathematics may not be science but in many ways it is the language that science is spoken in. The stories proceed in chronological order with the oldest developed concept going first.

Twisted Fairy Tales
A series of fairy tales, not quite as you remember your mother telling them. This series written by Melissa Mead, one of DSF's most popular writers.

Postmark Andromeda
Epistolary flash fiction series by Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

The Future of Future Planning
A science fiction flash series by Nicky Drayden. "You never know what challenges the future will bring--so it's important to be prepared for anything and everything."

Dear Jezzy
The Dear Jezzy series of paranormal love advice columns takes place in Sarina Dorie's Wrath of the Tooth Fairy world, a novel in which the tooth fairy meets the bogeyman while working on the job collecting teeth.

Tasting Menu
Caroline M. Yoachim's series of food-based fairy tales.

Tales of the Rose Knights
A series of stories written by award-winning authors Ruth Nestvold and Jay Lake.

Careers for Magical Creatures
Sarina Dorie's world of magic, horror, and humor. Read on.

Captain Percina Saunders
Jez Patterson's swashbuckling space series about the one and only Captain Percina Saunders

Clickbait for Paranormals
Sarina Dorie presents excellent advice for the super natural being in your life.

Alien Salvage
Mary E. Lowd's Space Opera flash series.

From Diaspora to New Jupiter
A six story science fiction series from the inestimable Mary E. Lowd.

Childhood at Crossroad Station
a six story series by Mary Lowd

Cara Watt, P.I.
Since Asimov, and before, the science fiction mystery has been a vibrant corner of the sci fi universe.

Maradia's Robot
A new story series from Mary E. Lowd

The League of Magical Felines
Mary E. Lowd gives us the origins of the league. Come along for the ride..

The Prehistory Zoo
A story series from Mary Lowd