Welcome To The Hotel Kraken

Carmina Claypool didn’t look much like a madam. She looked more like a fishmonger, which, Allie had to admit, was awfully appropriate. She was a powerfully large woman – soft and muscular simultaneously – and her clothing seemed to make her even larger. The gargantuan…

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Mzee

There was a young lady at the door. They were always sending young ladies. She rang the doorbell again. Mzee looked at the screen for a few more minutes. She was very pretty, well groomed, her hair black and shiny, like India ink. She was holding a bouquet of flowers,…

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Skin Deep

I know that Amy is in there. I can see her, in the smirks and smiles and the way she shoves her hair away from her eyes. She’s still the same person. She has to be. There’s no reason that this should feel wrong. In a cinderblock building over the river, my fourteen…

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The Gun Show

“Mom! Mom, I wanna look at this one!” Stephen was pulling on his mother’s arm, straining against it with that eight-year-old lean that kept him just within the bounds of parental supervision, since he wasn’t allowed to let go of his mother’s hand, but…

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The Life Of A Venusian Cowgirl

The life of every Venusian Cowgirl is circular. Moxie was told this repeatedly when she signed up. To drive the point home, a silk-screened sampler saying as much was set on the opposite wall of the entrance portal to her new apartment. Moxie put down the boxes of…

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Time to Remember

Don’t wake up yet, Mischa. Please, please don’t wake up. At nineteen, Christopher Malloy was the youngest person on Io to receive his degree in neuronanotechnology. It was quite an accomplishment, according to his parents and teachers and friends, but at that moment,…

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The Beloved Uncle

The worst had happened. I was in the care of Beloved Uncle, the public face of the Eastern Police. He had been appointed as a Machiavellian move, the political men who installed him meant to allow him a reign of outrageous violence to quell the populists and then kill…

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Smooth and Steady

It’d be funny if I could still laugh. Instead I sit here smiling, waiting for the nurse, smiling at the white and the clean and the pure. I hate smiling. She’s smiling back at me too, her teeth as white as the walls, undoubtedly brushed with the same sanitizer. I…

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Roll

It didn’t look like much of a robot. It was soft and lumpy and didn’t have any flashing lights or make any noises beyond a low hum. But it could hold a drink tray steady enough to entertain at parties, so she was satisfied. Its warm battery was also a comfort on…

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Six Days After Impact

April was a maintenance worker, so she lived on the inner ring. The cheaper quarters meant less gravity and thinner air, but it rarely bothered her. In fact, after five years in the belly of the satellite she found herself nauseated by the full gravity of the outer…

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Some Girls They Got Natural Ease

For Naru, and for Mae’s bedroom wall. I had a scrambler at home, up on the shelf where it wouldn’t be noticed even if someone was looking. It was long and thin, like the baton they used to wave over your body when you set off the metal detectors at airline…

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What Mechanics Do

“No, I don’t think you understand. Let me tell you about death.” The mechanic’s subject blinked. The mechanic allowed himself a bit of wonder at the ingenuity behind that movement. It did nothing; the subject’s glass eyes were not cleaned or refreshed with…

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Feeling Blue

Riktor ducked beneath a broken beam in the house and kept his live porta-mic on at his side. The satchel strapped around his left shoulder hugged him tightly. “This is Rik Vance with Underground Union reporting to you from housing project 56.” He heard the groans…

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A World Without Stairs

Two weeks ago Forsythia moved into a new apartment in a beautiful old high-rise. Everything there was antique, from the dark wood paneling to the rich carpeting. It was a far cry from the decaying 20th century-style cinderblock tower that Forsythia used to live in….

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Rebirth

Her hair is wet and stringy with amniogel and the tips of her fingers are wrinkled. She is thrashing around as much as the restraints will let her, choking and vomiting the pink nutrient liquid. This one is well-preserved. The centuries have left her untouched. Her…

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Imagine

Kadence smiled, looking over the vast rolling hills of sun soaked wheat. Her hair waved in the wind and the world seemed to pause to give her innocent beauty notice. Palestine approached from behind with soft footsteps, coming to watch the same glorious picture….

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The Wish

When Ren won the global lottery he thought his handheld had been hacked. He knew his chances of winning were small but he bought his tickets daily just like everyone else. The ads said that you paid for the excitement of playing and Ren knew it was true. As soon as he…

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Sum of Her Parts

We are using your ankles, he said. She sat in the cold plastic chair, watching the scientist twirl the vial of her blood. Only my ankles? You have strong ankles. They hold your feet well. He put the tube in a plastic holder. The top of the tube was red and black…

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