A Misunderstanding

Marshall Weisman didn’t bother perusing the files. He’d been tracking this maniac down for years now. The poor looking gent in the outer rings had no excuse, no recourse. It was clear to him and any other officer of the Outer Planetary Patrol. Weisman barged into the…

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My Angel Gabriel

“I don’t understand.” wrote Becky. Why did you ban Gabriel?” Becky had been on the forum for almost a year, and she was one of the most frequent posters. Rachel thought Becky was a bit like her when she was thirteen, nattering on about internet stars and how she had…

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A Lighthouse Through Time

No one knew how long Catherine Malone had been missing. Her absence was reported to the police after three weeks of unpaid rent, but neighbors admitted they hadn’t known that the apartment was occupied. “She kept to herself,” said the landlord. The universe does not…

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The Wall Street Cathedral

To Martin J. Weaver: Dear Spiritual Investor, This letter is a gift in the form of advanced notice concerning the change in management of your Temple in Manchester. Our organization, the American Church of God, has taken notice of the success of your Temple’s…

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The Things She Carried

When Lieutenant Carol Door stepped off the space ship she was carrying her laser knife, her unloaded rifle and the broken micro-cam that held the pictures of her family. She carried her starched grey uniform, and though it had never seen her home, it reacted to the…

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Antennae Don't Blink

The robot was no bigger than a diner roll, and had a tendency to shift on of its many stiff legs when it was processing. It was on the kitchen table now, and Megan lowered herself so that she was eye-level with it. It’s forward-motion sensor quivered when her face…

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Feeling Lucky

Lucian’s body had been cleansed to near perfection and his head shaved to remove any thread that might disrupt the process. Everything had to be perfect, or else the project might fail. They placed him in Dorm 12, a white-walled comfortable living space. He sat there…

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We Commit their Bodies to the Deep

Captain Ariella Claymore floated in the center of the cargo bay as Chief Bill Roberts manipulated the tractor beams to guide the lifeless spacecraft through the bay doors. “She’s an antique,” the captain’s voice crackled over the intercom. “There’s an American flag on…

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The Hype

Whoa, that was a long jump. What was that, a fifty foot drop? I don’t feel it right now, and that’s fine by me. This fucker running from me is going to taste my pain. My boots hit the floor and ignorance runs thirty miles an hour. My heart is producing what was…

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The Immortal

The Immortal danced. The colony world smelled like new spring, and the night air was cool on the Immortals skin. He whirled around the bonfire the settlers had made to rejoice in the spring and celebrate the barn raising. The immortal flung his feet in a wild and…

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Snakes On A Spaceship

The cryocrate rested unobtrusively in the corner of Sanitation Engineer Edward Holmes’s broom closet. It was metal, like most cryocrates, and marked only by the blinking temperature meter and a yellow sticker declaring CAUTION: MAN-EATING SNAKES to those who cared to…

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The Public Air

I have a fine grandson named Lorenzo, and he and his mother and father came down to visit me. He brought his wonderful burnished helmet and beautiful, shiny aeroboard with him when they came. I felt very proud, and I thought at last I would be able to interest him in…

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The Hero of Port Walden

Before we go any further, let me stop to ask you some questions. I’m so excited to have met you, but there’s something I want to tell you before you enter the port. You see, I haven’t really been honest with you and you must have wondered why I was out here all alone….

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The Fog of Venus

Venusians do not worry about being on time, and I think I know why. It’s the fog—the dense fog that permeates the atmosphere and keeps visibility so low. Every terraformed planet has its quirks, and this is ours: though the poisonous gases have been removed, the…

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Squibbers

When Countess bit Zimin on the playground, her mom and dad got called in for a parent-teacher conference. Everybody was trying to pretend they weren’t upset by putting on smiley faces, but they were mad, Countess could tell. She wasn’t supposed to bite people till…

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Order in the Court

The judge pounded his gavel three times on the sound block. “Next case!” The bailiff stood at attention. “Sol versus Robert J. Walsh. Case Number 28769-807.61. Mr. Walsh was clocked doing 121,546 kilometers per hour within the ecliptic.” The judge scanned the arrest…

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The Difference Salt Makes

Carlos didn’t want to appear suspicious, so he stayed in a doorway three houses down from the corner. He tried to distract himself, thinking about the possibilities of using curry sauce in chicken Kiev, but he kept looking at the corner. Carlos wanted this to be over…

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Sugar and Spice

“It’s not that you’re boring,” John protested, even though it was. He hated conversations like this, and they always seemed to happen to him. This was his third uncomfortable breakup in as many months. “Then what is it?” Lila demanded, her pout twitching…

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  • Sample #1

    Author: David Hartley Perhaps it would have been better, somehow, …
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