Company Town

FICTION by Aimee Ogden in Issue 189 – June 2022

The company alarm sends Cass flailing out of bed with its first chime. If she lingers under the blankets, she’ll disturb Maya: if she doesn’t get up before the second alarm, the volume ratchets up to eighty decibels, and the smart thermostat will crank up the furnace to make the bedroom unpleasantly hot. She’s not […]

The Art of Navigating an Affair in a Time Rift

FICTION by Nika Murphy in Issue 189 – June 2022

In this timeline, crayons litter the kitchen table. Red for Mars. Pink and orange for clouds. Cerulean for the dot in the sky I call home, in this timeline. Jeannie sticks out her tongue when she colors. Her knuckles turn white as she rubs the crayons to nubs. She hands the picture to me as […]

Manjar dos Deuses

FICTION by Anna Martino in Issue 189 – June 2022

I. “Some would say it’s mercenary to charge people for their memories. What do you have to say about that?” Trust a reporter to sour the beauty of my work, Daniel thought. “I’m not charging for their memories. I’m charging for the reconstruction. Every one of my clients is special—every food memory is unique, and […]

The Odyssey Problem

FICTION by Chris Willrich in Issue 189 – June 2022

When the sparkling golden glow fades and my skin stops feeling like mites are crawling all over it, the Room is gone, and I am shivering in a vast bright chamber and strange people clad in orange, red, and blue pajamas are asking me how I am. I don’t know what to say. I feel […]

Inhuman Lovers

FICTION by Chen Qian, translated by Carmen Yiling Yan in Issue 189 – June 2022

It was never a good sign when Song Mike came looking for me at the end of the workday. “You, come out here for a sec.” He leaned against the doorway, nodding in my direction. I stuck my head out from behind my computer monitor and looked him up and down. The guy was red […]

We Built This City

FICTION by Marie Vibbert in Issue 189 – June 2022

Every sunset, Julia climbs the city her mother built. It feels enormous, on the outside. Inside, it’s cramped, a human anthill. It didn’t used to be, but Julia doesn’t remember what it felt like when there was room enough for everyone. In the locker room, Rafael’s elbow scissors into her personal space as Julia zips […]

Marsbodies

FICTION by Adele Gardner in Issue 189 – June 2022

The Seven Minutes of Terror had never been so terrifying. Or exhilarating. We hurtled down, our heat shields roaring. In my capsule, despite being harnessed in, my Marsbody trembled in the relentless vibration that accompanied the sound of the inferno. I raced down at a thousand miles an hour. The supersonic parachute deployed with a […]

Wants Pawn Term

FICTION by Rich Larson in Issue 188 – May 2022

Red’s body is asleep in the protoplasmic muck, dreamless, when Mother’s cable wriggles down under the surface to find her. It pushes through the membrane of her neural stoma and pipes a cold tingling slurry inside. A sliver of Mother becomes Red, and Red       wakes             up! Synapses crackle; electric fireworks of thought and intention pinwheel […]

Tea Parties around Nebula-55

FICTION by Adriana C. Grigore in Issue 188 – May 2022

“Ava made mud pie!” “Yes, you did. Careful, don’t spill it.” People would never have guessed what a feat of engineering making mud on a spaceship was. Filter the air, make the water, grind dirt, add silt, scatter sand, and not the kind with glass in it. Make sure to divide it all up again […]

Hatching

FICTION by Bo Balder in Issue 188 – May 2022

The Official Summons buzzer jolted Alzey out of her hungover daze. This had to be the results of her hearing. Now that she’d signed herself out of therapy, normal adult duties would resume. Might as well hear the verdict right away. The computer voice reeled off her SSN, age, et cetera, all her identifiers, the […]

Kora Is Life

FICTION by David D. Levine in Issue 188 – May 2022

I banked into a climbing clockwise turn, my wing’s fabric snapping, my jet’s exhaust hot on my backside. A beautiful panorama of Shuwash Island spread out below me, black beaches and orange jungles rising from a white fringe of surf to the gray and treeless volcanic peaks. Beyond those peaks, across the sea, lay the […]

The Possibly Brief Life of Guang Hansheng

FICTION by Liang Qingsan, translated by Andy Dudak in Issue 188 – May 2022

My discovery of Guang Hansheng was probably down to random chance, in the end. It was a rainy afternoon, and I was headed for the library, striding across wet asphalt and feeling dizzy. Inside they were hosting a quiet, desolate little exhibition—just a few exhibits and a drowsy admin under bright stage lighting. Of course, […]

A Manual on Different Options of How to Bring A Loved One to Life

FICTION by Oyedotun Damilola Muees in Issue 188 – May 2022

11. Join A Telegram Cyberware Group. Tutu arranged the meeting between Harafat and the haberdasher at the end of the clustering shops in Balogun Market. Harafat squeezed through the crowds as traders called out their wares. Several times, sweaty teenage boys asked if she was interested in a new phone. Harafat ignored them, walking into […]

Gamma

FICTION by Oskar Källner, translated by Gordon James Jones in Issue 188 – May 2022

Gamma stretched out through the quantum foam. Virtual photons and electrons tickled her subtime body. If she were to reduce her mass to pure quanta then, hypothetically speaking, she would be able to touch the entire universe at once. Practically speaking, she possessed barely enough energy for her subtime body to reach a diameter of […]

Doc Luckless and the Stationmistress

FICTION by Thoraiya Dyer in Issue 187 – April 2022

A plague flag flutters from the houseboat’s prow as it half-motors, half-drifts toward the dark side of the lake. Harald hastily pokes the last of his jellyfish breakfast into his mouth, chopsticks trembling. Always trepidation, first, followed by a deep sense of failure if things don’t go to plan. If he can actually help the […]

Two Spacesuits

FICTION by Leonard Richardson in Issue 187 – April 2022

A four-hour drive between me and my parents is a distance that works well for everybody. I can come back for a weekend, but they don’t call me back for every little thing. So when Mom did call me at work in the middle of the day and said, “Your father is acting weird,” I […]

Dream Factory

FICTION by Greg Egan in Issue 187 – April 2022

1 “Any pets?” Justine asked, glancing up from the checklist on her phone. “No,” James replied, hopeful that this might count in his favor, though it was hard to read his interrogator’s demeanor. She’d said she was a law student, and he could already imagine her in a courtroom, calmly trapping duplicitous witnesses in the […]

Hanuman the Monkey King

FICTION by Pan Haitian, translated by Emily Jin in Issue 187 – April 2022

The breaking news of the day came before dawn: a starship from Planet Monkey plunged into the port of Orange Town. When it came crashing down, it knocked over the chicken pen and laundry line of Lady Charla’s tavern, as well as the enormous sign of the local bar “Twister” and the town’s communication antenna […]

An Expression of Silence

FICTION by Beth Goder in Issue 187 – April 2022

Three Seconds Before The last nectarine from the spaceship glistens in Riley’s palm, an imperfect globe smelling like summer. She nestles among the blue-tinted ferns of Ekara C, cupping the nectarine like a tiny sun. The first bite is primal, her mouth swollen with juice that rushes past her chin, taste everywhere, submerging her. She […]

An Urge To Create Honey

FICTION by Martin Cahill in Issue 187 – April 2022

You stand in the airlock, wondering when they’re going to let you come back home. As you wait, the new, delicate hairs on your body twitch, thousands of silent cilia sipping at this new vacuum, processing data at a rate nearly twenty times faster than your meat-brain. We can feel you trying to understand, trying […]

The Carrion Droid, Zoe, and a Small Flame

FICTION by Parker Ragland in Issue 187 – April 2022

The carrion droid brushes its synthetic fingers through Aanya Ruiz’s branches. She has grown so much since it buried the egg-shaped pod that contained her corpse. Ninety years, seventeen days, fifteen hours, thirty-one minutes, and twelve seconds have elapsed. Her leaves bask in the sunbeams that filter into Flatirons Biodome, where the air always smells […]

The Dragon Project

FICTION by Naomi Kritzer in Issue 186 – March 2022

“I want you to make a dragon for me,” the client said. “I need it ready to go by February first.” Dragon, Feb 1, I wrote down on the paper pad I use to take notes during video meetings. Also to doodle. I’ve always had trouble paying attention in client meetings, which is why I’m […]

Saturn Devouring His Son

FICTION by EA Mylonas in Issue 186 – March 2022

The first time Pa lost an arm was when I was eight. It was his left. Amputated at the shoulder when his sleeve got caught in a band saw for cutting pig carcasses. The Company, of course, got him the prosthetic, like it had done for every single one of its employees who had lost […]

Rain of Days

FICTION by Ray Nayler in Issue 186 – March 2022

Deadwife picked this place, not me. She loved the beach. People who didn’t grow up near the ocean think the beach is paradise. They think of it as a destination. They aspire to living on the beach. To being near the water. They think they’ll walk along the sand every morning, barefoot, in some lazy […]

The Memory of Water

FICTION by Tegan Moore in Issue 186 – March 2022

James had always been able to tell when Camille was eavesdropping. Even though she kept her eyes carefully focused on the messages on her band while she poked at the remains of her salad, it would not have fooled him. He wouldn’t scold her in public, but as soon as she scraped out of her […]

Wanting Things

FICTION by Cal Ritterhoff in Issue 186 – March 2022

Warning: This story contains dangerous, almost radioactive levels of sincerity. Also, a sex scene between a smart house and a toaster. There are nights when she twists like a tree in the breeze. Hair falling wildly in brown curls around her shoulders, she dances in the dark kitchen, dress twirling as she spins. On those […]

It Takes a Village

FICTION by Priya Chand in Issue 186 – March 2022

A generation of traumatized fathers was raising a generation of children with trauma in their bones. We bobbed on Velcro tethers, children clutched against our chests, faces pale in the filtered sunlight reflecting off the planet below. Our gravitational generator always shut off first. Next were the ship’s main systems, everything except emergency life support. […]

Meddling Fields

FICTION by R.T. Ester in Issue 186 – March 2022

History gave the people of August little to look back on. Whenever a report came that one of them had been spreading their own version of it, one of us had to pay those storied steppes a visit. The latest offender lived on one of the strewn fields left by a meteorite that came down […]

Commencement Address

FICTION by Arthur Liu, translated by Stella Jiayue Zhu in Issue 186 – March 2022

 . . . The first step to decoding memory is the insertion of liquid nanoprobes, which travel through blood vessels and membranes via interstitial fluid until they are evenly distributed along the body’s central nervous system and form a sensor network. Their dense surveillance enables the brain to transform into an intricate server that decodes requests and […]

The Massage Lady at Munjeong Road Bathhouse

FICTION by Isabel J. Kim in Issue 185 – February 2022

Kim Jinah has worked at the Munjeong Road bathhouse for six years. She’s scrubbed the tiles of the large baths. She’s manned the counter that sells squeeze packs of shampoo, baked eggs, and cold drinks. Jinah is now a massage lady. It’s not a glamorous job. Jinah stands in her old underwear and scrapes the […]
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