The Rhythm of the Soul

FICTION by Michelle Julia John in Issue 194 – November 2022

I was ten years old when my father broke the world with the sweet notes of a steel pan. He created a new version, called it the S-pan, short for soul pan. Like any other, he made it from a repurposed steel drum. Streaks of gold ran up the sides of its five-inch skirt tucked […]

Accountability, and Other Myths of Old Earth

FICTION by Aimee Ogden in Issue 194 – November 2022

The Architects judged Earth, and found its people guilty, before anyone ever knew they were watching. When they made themselves known, they did so entirely. Around the world, at 13:17 Greenwich Mean Time, phones and laptops flickered to life, and TVs changed channels. Where there were no screens to be had, other things served as […]

Calf Cleaving in the Benthic Black

FICTION by Isabel J. Kim in Issue 194 – November 2022

The technical term is “generation ship cascade failure.” Cryogenic collapse. Millennium drive breakdown. Failed ship-in-a-bottle revolution against the corpostate hegemony. I call all the outcomes whalefalls, though. Because that’s what they are: the carcasses of something that used to be alive, floating slowly down through the black. I guess that makes me one of those […]

The Lonely Time Traveler of Kentish Town

FICTION by Nadia Afifi in Issue 194 – November 2022

I clutch a flaky sausage roll and a miniature bottle of prosecco as I sit on the Northern Line train, waiting for my appetite to return. It’s hard to eat, though less hard to drink, after witnessing a public burning. The smell of smoke clings to my nostrils, tinged with something fouler. The unique, searing […]

Hummingbird, Resting on Honeysuckles

FICTION by Yang Wanqing, translated by Jay Zhang in Issue 194 – November 2022

Red for temperature. Blue for ignition. Green for airflow. It takes four hours and forty-two minutes for you to finish your transformation into a pile of white ashes. I keep a patient vigil over those three primary colors on the cremator’s monitor, making sure that nothing is left behind. Nothing that can be linked to […]

The Transfiguration of the Gardener Irene by the Dead Planet Hipea

FICTION by Ann LeBlanc in Issue 194 – November 2022

The first of Irene’s memories I eat is the night she learned I had been murdered. It was karaoke night—not the official one for the cruise ship passengers, but an illicit one Irene organized for a few of the other crew. They weren’t supposed to be in the botanical garden, but it was still two […]

The Whelk

FICTION by Samara Auman in Issue 194 – November 2022

Nostalgia died a quiet death, wrapped in cellophane and power cords. The future had killed it. The ghosts of yesteryear’s fragrances no longer haunted, no longer hung and clung to the passersby. Instead, those ghosts lay shriveled like salted slugs in the perfectly modulated light of streetlamps and roadside LEDs. And I, a robot programmed […]

Giant Fish

FICTION PODCAST by Chu Shifan, translated by Stella Jiayue Zhu in Issue 193 – October 2022

Fly Free

FICTION PODCAST by Alan Kubatiev, translated by Alex Shvartsman in Issue 193 – October 2022

Lost and Found

FICTION PODCAST by M. L. Clark in Issue 193 – October 2022

Sweetbaby

FICTION PODCAST by Thomas Ha in Issue 193 – October 2022

Coding Van Gogh

FICTION PODCAST by Elaine Gao in Issue 193 – October 2022

Junk Hounds

FICTION by Lavie Tidhar in Issue 193 – October 2022

The walls were beige and you could see where the rust took hold. A tiny dead robot floated past Amir, feelers drooping. It was the same color as the walls and shaped like a grasshopper. Amir made a grab for it but a hidden maintenance duct sucked it up and it vanished with a soft, […]

Junk Hounds

FICTION PODCAST by Lavie Tidhar in Issue 193 – October 2022

Coding Van Gogh

FICTION by Elaine Gao in Issue 193 – October 2022

A paintbrush, still dipped in Prussian blue, dissolved into a stream of code. Tara peeked at the 0s and 1s snaking up her wired arms, dimly illuminating the very human veins underneath. Her eyes shut. Starry Night. Violently controlled waves, tamed only by the canvas, cupped in its palms—gold, amber, and rusted orange wheels, stuck […]

Sweetbaby

FICTION by Thomas Ha in Issue 193 – October 2022

Won’t Hurt, I Know You don’t look Sweetbaby in the eye when he pushes out from under the tree throw. We know that now. Instead, the ears, or what’s left of them, are a better place to settle your gaze. They’re close enough to the face that you can tell which way he’s looking and […]

Lost and Found

FICTION by M. L. Clark in Issue 193 – October 2022

The uniform’s design was out of date by the time Essen made orbit over Drasti Prime—but then, so was Essen, so she kept it as is, fiddling in sequence with the pocket flaps and interface protector while the autofeed caught her up on twenty-three years of Partnership intel: personal, professional, interplanetary, and puerile. The inner […]

Fly Free

FICTION by Alan Kubatiev, translated by Alex Shvartsman in Issue 193 – October 2022

“I needed a true monster, so I went with a bird.” “Why?” “It’s impossible to reach an accord with a bird.” —From a conversation with film director Juraj Herz Bird-speak was the only reason Crowley got this job. Without it, he couldn’t have dreamed of landing such a cushy, well-paying gig. He had cautiously constructed […]

Giant Fish

FICTION by Chu Shifan, translated by Stella Jiayue Zhu in Issue 193 – October 2022

1. K’un died. It breathed for tens of thousands of years and, at long last, life came to an end. Its body was washed ashore. Pale red scales plowed through vegetation as the bulging exoskeleton grazed against dunes. Its enormous carcass formed an imposing mountain range along Pearl Island’s shoreline. Countless miners abandoned their digs […]

The Secret Strength of Things

FICTION by Gregory Feeley in Issue 193 – October 2022

The Snow Woman was away, far away. The winds that blew round the frozen world would take “days” to bear her to where Kitsune sheltered, even though both lay beneath the blue light of Ryujin, which the Chinese call Hǎiwángxīng and the white folks call Neptune. The atmosphere was too thin to loft anything denser […]

Rondo for Strings and Lasergun

FICTION by Jared Oliver Adams in Issue 193 – October 2022

Theme While the main theme of Quispe’s Rondo for Cello and Orchestra hugs the shoreline of Romanticism, the episodes between refrains climb the Andes to harvest the folk music of the composer’s youth, returning richer for each excursion. Chasca Huapaya loses herself in the performance. Her bow glides, skitters, bounces, grinds. She uses the body […]

Rivers Bend

FICTION PODCAST by James Sallis in Issue 192 – September 2022

Live Update

FICTION PODCAST by Lettie Prell in Issue 192 – September 2022

Sub-son

FICTION PODCAST by Amal Singh in Issue 192 – September 2022

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