The Stories

By Meghashri Dalvi

sfgenre“What the hell —” Laura mumbled as the bright, dazzling lights shone in her eyes.

It was a cool summer night in her suburb, and she was pulled out of a tranquil sleep. Half awake, she tugged at the window curtains.

A spaceship was just landing.

By Rob Riel

sfgenreThe dogs trot quietly up the stone stairs and through the open gothic doors of the church. Seventy of them, at least. Mostly larger breeds. No chihuahuas. No uncontrollably yappy miniatures are allowed in the church.

The dogs are perfectly silent as they enter, but for the clicking of their nails on the dark marble floor. They jog along the aisle to the communion rail and form a line. A few sit, but most push their snouts through the balusters to see and sniff. A large female mastiff, tall enough to see over the rail, whines softly. The dogs on either side make eye contact, ears back. She lowers her head and tail.

By Wes Parish

sfgenreAntaia read the sentence slowly, "Farmers made deliberate attempts ... to breed out unwanted features ... such as large size or ... aggressiveness." She looked up at the rest of us students in the tutorial with bewildered surprise.

Antaia — my wife — and I had stolen across the Boundary one night following a hunch, and tracked down the origins of humanity in the universe and planet where Karyl and Daryl, John and Bin Boutros had originated before they had wound up in this Enclave between universes. We had returned with the fragments of one of several books about human origins.

By Mark Webb

sfgenreIn the time before time, when the gods walked the earth and miracles were made manifest, the great demon Bilkie poured all of his hatred and contempt into the forging of a blade. A blade linked with destiny. A blade that would one day be called "Godslayer" by the lesser men that inherited its terrible purpose. The story of its journey to the sleepy town of Riversrun is a long and beguiling one, but ultimately not worth the telling when compared to the greater tale that was to come. Because little did apprentice baker Chiara know that he was fated to be united with the blade, and together they would carve a bloody path to fame and...

By Shane Griffin

sfgenreThe recycling unit came out of the alley and rolled into the busy street. It was 7:42 am. Abundant humans scuttled along the street in their variable ways. Seconds later, the nearest humans noticed the unit. They responded with a typical fear response that spread and multiplied to become a crowd in panic.

The rate of progress of the spreading panic was predictable and could reduce the probability of the recycler catching its target.

By Ed Errington

sfgenreIt is generally agreed that the longest days experienced by any single species in the whole multiverse (according to immutable records, tricks of the light, and much else) are those experienced by the Lukor on planet Trawkon in the Pi-143 Galaxy. According to the Grand Keeper of the Multiversal Repository of Un-knowledge, the Lukor are a class-nine, super-strain who spend much of their time hiding in the shadows to avoid light from dual suns — Herg and Jerg. In gigantic dark caves, they build the most magnificent space liners designed to transport rich passengers from many outer worlds across the multiverse.

By Mark Tremble

sfgenreThey only come at night.

That’s mostly because the days are too hot for their flailed skin. The last time I saw them, it looked as if their hides were about to fall off their bones.

Thank God.

Hell, I could even leave the door to the hut open in the daytime if I wanted to — but there’s no point since it lets out the cool air, the same cool air that I breathe to stay alive. That, and the fact that there are some nasty little bugs that live under the sand that might want to join me as well.

By Pamela Jeffs

sfgenreThe water laps outside the hull. The gentle slap of salty brine is a lullaby to remind me of other days; days when I could feel a kind breeze on my brow, and sunlight on my skin — days before I was chained to an oar bench in the dark hold of Davy Jones’s phantom ship.

Light does not penetrate here except for a thin beam filtering in through a section of broken caulking. It does not break the darkness of the hold, but instead marks a bright day outside, one I will never see. Around me, that same darkness hides the features of my fellow prisoners, but their heaving breaths rumble on, a soft roar of sound that is both quiet and loud. These people pull at the oars as I do.

David S. Golding

Last week I flew from Prague to Shanghai to go to this year's World Ocean Festival. At first I went because I felt obligated, since it's an important cause and everything, but in the end it was so amazing.

I met up with Leon, a German engineer I've known since I was a student. We ate crepes at the historic Plaza 66 and designed our avatars for the party. With a few graceful gestures he shaped the most stunning turtle head onto himself, glinting ultraviolet and neon, depending on the angle. It was very appropriate for the occasion because I think it was one of the extinct species.

By Andrew Barnett

sfgenre"You know what I haven't had enough of lately?" asked Alice.

"Bullshit?" replied Amit, his voice confident.

"Yeah, bullshit. Hand me one of those open access applications."

Amit rolled on his fancy office chair across the polished concrete floor. He liked that bit of the job, rolling across the floor. He rolled right up to a neat pile of paper, just about the only paper in this huge building.

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101 Uses For Dark Energy
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AThousand Ways Of Not Detecting Aliens
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Jamison Omitted
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The Black Dog Cometh
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The Orient Express
by Daniel de Cullá

The Human Question
by Ivan Bucalo

Still Water
by Mark Tremble

Three Mistakes And Something More
by Paul Alex Gray

Triumvirate Judgement
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