The Force Exerted on the Mass of a Body

FICTION by Bo Balder in Issue 176 – May 2021

Sifan put her exoskeleton on after breakfast. Her private space in the IG-pod was cramped, and even an act as simple as eating drained her in Wenshi’s heavy gravity. That gravity demanded so much of her body she had to eat twice as much as she wanted to. She opened the door and stepped outside. […]

Vanishing Point

FICTION by Robert V.S. Redick in Issue 176 – May 2021

1. Eyepiece Disaster, betrayal, and the ship already blasting its horn. The family clusters around the packing crates, destitute, stunned. We must go regardless, says their father, this is the last ship, what else can we do? Their mother nods, frowning so as not to cry. The girl and the boy stand expressionless, shoulder to […]

Dancing With Ereshkigal

FICTION by Sameem Siddiqui in Issue 176 – May 2021

If only I could be as direct as you, Pyn. Like when you announced you’d carry my baby, and that I’d carry yours. I wish I had that clarity and confidence now. Back then I thought you might be clairvoyant because you were so decisive when you made arrangements to trade eggs. So decisive when […]

Spore

FICTION by Tang Fei, translated by Andy Dudak in Issue 176 – May 2021

This is a small story, so don’t expect too much from it. The tale proceeds directly from beginning to end and wastes no time about it. Truth be told, I never thought the day would come I’d write it down. The first time I saw her, I didn’t think anything would happen. Nothing worthwhile ever […]

A Star for Every Word Unspoken

FICTION by Kai Hudson in Issue 176 – May 2021

They say Omma’s in there, but she’s not, she’s not. It’s just an empty metal capsule they’re lowering into the ground, and the rain is too wet and the flowers too bright and the wailing of the mourners—it’s so much, too much, and Na-Yeong slaps Appa’s hand away and shuts her eyes and— Blink. She […]

Sarcophagus

FICTION by Ray Nayler in Issue 175 – April 2021

The causes of the disaster are these: First: The estimations of this planet’s temperature were incorrect. The beacon should never have been placed. This planet is no more capable of supporting human life than our own polar wastelands. Second: My companions are all dead. I do not know what happened for sure: Encoding errors in […]

The Field Tiger

FICTION by Endria Isa Richardson in Issue 175 – April 2021

They held Memorial fifty-six at midday in August, while the sun beat like a hammer in the hard, pale sky. The mourners stood. They had removed the broad-brimmed hats, which might have offered relief, out of respect. Sweat dripped from the uncovered foreheads, into the stoic, animal eyes. The dust-covered bandanas, wrapped around the face […]

Ouroboros

FICTION by Dean-Paul Stephens in Issue 175 – April 2021

Rama I know only an irrational panic. I try to collect myself only to find my faculties are not my own but that of an internal imperative guiding my, quite incomprehensible, actions. Run a parallel diagnostic, recalibrate magnetic relay B4, load the ballistic rod, I don’t understand but feel compelled to act. An equation, the […]

The Sheen of Her Carapace

FICTION by Richard Webb in Issue 175 – April 2021

Falling in love? Always wondered about that: falling, like it’s an accident, tripping over or something. Our ship, Perseverance, drifted into the orbit of a planet we called Big Yellow. We were wandering lonely as a dust-cloud, having jumped away from some bad heat back in Primus sector; got our shields busted up, lost most […]

Catching the K Beast

FICTION by Chen Qian, translated by Carmen Yiling Yan in Issue 175 – April 2021

July 9th, 2089 The beast-catching mission was off to a rocky start. Once our spaceship cut into Lamo’s planetary orbit, Old Liu and I sent down atmospheric sensors and language-recording equipment. The data they beamed back informed us that the atmosphere was breathable without mechanical assistance, that the locals were one hundred percent vegetarian, and […]

Communist Computer Rap God

FICTION by Andrea Kriz in Issue 175 – April 2021

Fabien accidentally created the Communist Computer Rap God as part of his thirty second vid for YouTube Re:Rewind 2035. At first he tried to maintain it was entirely nonpolitical. But when the Communist Computer Rap God got into a prolonged argument about the merits of proletariat control over cryptocurrency blockchains on a popular AItuber’s livestream, […]

A House Is Not A Home

FICTION by L Chan in Issue 175 – April 2021

0747 Home brews coffee; black, no sugar. She maintains the temperature of the coffee at precisely sixty degrees Celsius. Most of the coffee sloshes over the jagged edges of the half-shattered mug. Rough holes have been torn through the matte plastic back of the coffee machine; twisted steel fléchettes still embedded in the wall behind. […]

Mamaborg's Milk and the Brilliance of Gems

FICTION by D.A. Xiaolin Spires in Issue 174 – March 2021

Luqiong jumps past the fence and she ducks under one of the ferrying carts of the communications warehouse. She taps on the pylo plating of the cart, making sure it’s thick enough. Her database analyzes the sound of the tap and accepts that it is. She sighs a relief. The drones following her can’t track […]

Homecoming is Just Another Word for the Sublimation of the Self

FICTION by Isabel J. Kim in Issue 174 – March 2021

You are waiting for your instance in the basement of the Shinsegae Department Store. This was as good as an amusement park when you were a kid; it was a wonderland of delicious food stalls and a typical weekend haunt because your grandfather lived two blocks away. Your grandfather is dead. Your instance gave you […]

The Orbiting Guan Erye

FICTION by Wang Zhenzhen, translated by Carmen Yiling Yan in Issue 174 – March 2021

“Old Liu, what do you say we keep a bird here in the space station?” I turned my head and asked, setting down my tablet. Old Liu’s full name was Liu Zixuan. He was three years older than me, the ranking officer in this humble little space station, commanding exactly one subordinate, one of the […]

Submergence

FICTION by Arula Ratnakar in Issue 174 – March 2021

As the people began to die, desperation drove us to the depths of the sea for cures. We mined mineral-rich vents until the tube worms went extinct, stripped polymetallic nodule fields bare, squeezed sludge out of sea sponges to treat the new diseases, these monstrous incurable plagues, born from our new climate, that spread through […]

55 Plaque

FICTION by Isabel Lee in Issue 174 – March 2021

There aren’t actually fifty-five plaques. I’ve found this to be a pretty common misconception in children, especially when parents neglect to talk about it at home. That’s why it’s one of the first points I go over when we begin our unit on the Didacts. There are only nine plaques that have arrived on Earth […]

Comments on Your Provisional Patent Application for an Eternal Spirit Core

FICTION by Wole Talabi in Issue 174 – March 2021

From: Emeka Nwobi Sent: Thursday, November 24, 2034 4:29 PM To: Chukwudi Nwobi <CNwobi@uh.edu> Subject: Emeka Nwobi has shared the file “Provisional Patent Application For An Eternal Spirit Core Final Draft” with you. Sender’s Note: Please Review The link below only works for direct recipients of this message. PROVISIONAL PATENT APPLICATION FOR AN ETERNAL SPIRIT […]

To Study the Old Masters in the Prado at the End of the World

FICTION by Sarah Pauling in Issue 174 – March 2021

You kissed her while Mom’s broken-down dishwasher roared from the next room over. Lucia had said it would be romantic: You, her, and a pitcher of tinto de verano whipped up from your brother’s old wine stash and a flat Sprite from the back of the fridge. Like it was still springtime. Like you were […]

The Failed Dianas

FICTION by Monique Laban in Issue 173 – February 2021

The hostess adjusts her glasses when I repeat my name and reservation time. “Of course,” she says. “We’ve switched you from the balcony seating to the chef’s table. We hope you don’t mind.” I follow her past the bar and four-tops to the back of the restaurant, where a row of line cooks mince parsley […]

Terra Rasa

FICTION by Anastasia Bookreyeva, translated by Ray Nayler in Issue 173 – February 2021

The train hurled along at such speed my ears kept popping. We rushed through Voronezh in minutes. More accurately—through what was left of Voronezh. Where there had been a river, there was an empty trough. The fire had burned away the flesh of humanity here and retreated—for a time. Back when trains went slower, I […]

Obelisker Adrift in the Desert

FICTION by K.H. Meridian in Issue 173 – February 2021

Hadrian rattled with the computer equivalent of an uncontrollable laugh for all of three minutes and thirty-seven seconds. That was the time interval required for me to redirect one of those ubiquitous errant titanium asteroids from low orbit and throttle it one hundred kilometers below the planet’s surface into his macro processor cluster. It took […]

Mercy and the Mollusc

FICTION by M. L. Clark in Issue 173 – February 2021

1. The Eggs The man woke on the wrong side of the shell and had to extricate himself carefully, lest he get any of the Oomu’s mucus over his nostrils and mouth. This was easier said than done, on account of all the bugs still hanging around topside. In his ride’s more amorous phases, its […]

“Remember The Washington,” They Said as They Fed the Ugoxli

FICTION by Jeff Reynolds in Issue 173 – February 2021

They took the baby, swaddled in a blanket made of soft, blue cotton, down the dirt track through vine-covered trees, deep into the swamp. Their boots splashed through puddles as they walked, and insects sent piercing squeals through the woods. The baby slept soundly until the end. Not even murmured conversation about the terrible things […]

We'll Always Have Two Versions of Pteros

FICTION by Dominica Phetteplace in Issue 173 – February 2021

1. Lily 1 Everything was going great until Barry announced one morning that he was in the wrong timestream. “The wrong what?” He seemed sluggish. Disoriented. In need of coffee. “I’m not supposed to be here.” The wedding was in three months. There had been multiple disagreements about the dessert platters and the dance numbers. […]

History in Pieces

FICTION by Beth Goder in Issue 173 – February 2021

Puzzle Piece 37 Cassandra steps onto the surface of the planet, her insulated boots making soft indentations in the dirt. The fan that keeps her spacesuit from overheating whirrs over the harsh cadence of her breath. She doesn’t see the Archivists, but they are already documenting, building the record that will express this historical moment, […]

Intentionalities

FICTION by Aimee Ogden in Issue 172 – January 2021

Sorrel never intended to confer a child to the Braxos Corporation. But Sorrel had never intended a lot of things that managed to happen with or without her say-so. She had scarcely marched across the auditorium, diploma in hand, when Congress passed the Protecting America’s Children Act. Education was handed over to the private sector; […]

Deep Music

FICTION by Elly Bangs in Issue 172 – January 2021

The emergency call came in before the seagulls had even started crying. It found Quinn lying sleepless on the leaky air mattress she’d set up in the back of the shop, balancing an untouched glass of hours-old scotch on her stomach. She fumbled for her phone and raised an eyebrow at the severity rating the […]

Philia, Eros, Storge, Agápe, Pragma

FICTION by R.S.A. Garcia in Issue 172 – January 2021

Brother-Adita paused at the top of the ridge and rotated one eye to take in the shells climbing the path behind them. They gestured beyond them with a limb, a habit picked up from their young, excitable sibling. “Quarter-march, west-north-west,” came their voice through the Kinnec. “Acknowledged,” the other two shells replied. Metal clacked against […]

The Last Civilian

FICTION by R. P. Sand in Issue 172 – January 2021

You, on the day of your birth. You blink into existence, and the first thing you hear is: We are at war with the Uilai. The Uilai must be eliminated. Well, “hear” is an understatement, for the sentiment is injected through multiple channels: auditory, visual, synaptic. These words are your prime truth. You are carte […]
subscribe
Best Science Fiction of the Year
Clarkesworld Year Twelve