The Uncurling of Samsara

FICTION by Koji A. Dae in Issue 184 – January 2022

Day 1 Mother prints the ceremonial wheat berry pudding. I want to cook it the traditional way, but Mother insists it takes too many resources to print the ingredients separately, and the Samsara isn’t equipped for cooking. I know all this, but it’s for Gram. What I should have done was finish the recipe Gram […]

The Lion and the Virgin

FICTION by Megan J. Kerr in Issue 184 – January 2022

Esteban calms me the most. His voice comes to me through the speaker just above my head. It drifts over me, hazy in the way sound gets distorted over distance. Gentle, and I think he must be lying down as well, half asleep with his eyes almost closed. A little breathy, as if everything he […]

The Five Rules of Supernova Surfing or A For Real Solution to the Fermi Paradox, Bro

FICTION by Geoffrey W. Cole in Issue 184 – January 2022

First rule of supernova surfing: timing is everything. A lightyear out from the dying red supergiant, Reef put on the music. Hundreds of semi-sentient AIs sprang to life at the back of the 2025 VW Microbus and began to strum, tickle, blow, and stomp the virtual instruments he had laid out for them. Metallic bossa […]

Bishop's Opening

FICTION by R.S.A. Garcia in Issue 184 – January 2022

Old as she was, the Kiskadee had done three full delivery runs without a single safety incident. So naturally, with the crew relaxed after a fourth successful delivery and launch, and eight cycles after Reece slingshotted the starship around Tavaco to head back to the Roost and their next job, their luck ran out. Sebastian […]

No One at the Wild Dock

FICTION by Gu Shi, translated by S. Qiouyi Lu in Issue 184 – January 2022

“Humanity will die.” The first time he heard the instructors say that, he was a baby who’d just started school, with nothing more than a huge head devoid of any knowledge. That day, the instructors had been muttering among themselves when they suddenly asked him, “Who are you?” He stared blankly as he rummaged around […]

Learning to Hate Yourself as a Self-Defense Mechanism

FICTION by Andrea Kriz in Issue 184 – January 2022

Your friend releases a virtugame. “You shouldn’t play it,” she says dismissively when you ask. “It’s not really your thing.” You listen, but it becomes impossible to ignore when, despite being ironically titled Best Game, it appears in glowing review after review from your favorite virtuTubers, which you avoid watching, in highly upvoted posts on […]

For Whom the Psychopomp Calls

FICTION by Filip Hajdar Drnovšek Zorko in Issue 184 – January 2022

We picked the psychopomp up on Svetove. That’s the far end of the arc, far from Earth as anyone ever been. Little station, off the ecliptic, automated most times save when there were deep space haulers like us in residence. Raw material goes in, antimatter fuel comes out, and if the conversion goes bad, least […]

Other Stories

FICTION PODCAST by Wang Yuan, translated by Andy Dudak in Issue 183 – December 2021


FICTION PODCAST by David Goodman in Issue 183 – December 2021

You Are Born Exploding

FICTION by Rich Larson in Issue 183 – December 2021

When Elisabeth takes the baby to the beach on Thursday afternoon, another shambler has got through the fence. “Stay ten meters back,” the guard says, his translucent face mask fogged with the heat. “Yes, yes,” Elisabeth says. “And the child. Ten meters.” “We’re fully inoculated,” Elisabeth says, annoyed. “Of course, ma’am.” He seems to be […]

The Cold Calculations

FICTION by Aimee Ogden in Issue 183 – December 2021

Once upon a time, a little girl had to die. It’s just math. Wrong place, wrong time. Bad luck; too bad, so sad. We’ve all heard such stories, told them, shared them, collected them. Not in the way that we collect trinkets; more like how a sock collects holes. We’re submerged in such stories, we […]

Beneath the Earth Where the Nymphs Sleep

FICTION by Meghan Feldman in Issue 183 – December 2021

Rana supposed she should feel flattered that the Council of Ages chose her to outlive all the gene techs who called the Enclave home. Some brainless techs would feel grateful. Especially if they had half-hacked implants and a price on their head like she did. But Rana had no intention of being trapped again, so […]


FICTION by David Goodman in Issue 183 – December 2021

That’s the thing you have to remember about Kobayashi drivetrains. They work until they don’t. Not like a Selenex or a Rostov unit. Those things tell you all the time how they’re feeling. Grumble grumble. You’re out there in your suit, putting on the spray lube, picking bits of regolith out of the intakes, every […]

Other Stories

FICTION by Wang Yuan, translated by Andy Dudak in Issue 183 – December 2021

This story is sincerely dedicated to my Mother. 1 Tom called Adriana Honey-Bunny, and she called him Pumpkin. A moment by a window. An orange California morning. Tom snapped his fingers, the waiter understood and came and refilled his cup with fragrant coffee. The sun shone on their table and the street outside was crowded. […]

Just One Step, and Then the Next

FICTION by E. N. Díaz in Issue 183 – December 2021

Doña Chuy was sitting in her living room, the heavy smell of the summer rains wafting in through the open door. She hated that smell, but the house was too warm, and her air conditioner no longer worked, so she had to leave windows and doors open to keep it cool. She didn’t worry about […]

A Series of Endings

FICTION by Amal Singh in Issue 183 – December 2021

This is the story of Roopchand Rathore, time traveler, fighter, poet, cancer-survivor, inventor. While his story has many endings, there’s only one true beginning, and it takes place in the humid but pristine backwaters of sun-drenched Kerala. A scene from a movie, but a true-to-roots, hand on heart, scene of value, scene of promise, scene […]

City of Eternity

FICTION PODCAST by Pan Haitian, translated by Carmen Yiling Yan in Issue 182 – November 2021

Clarkesworld Year Twelve
Best Science Fiction of the Year