The Projectionist

Author: Helen Merrick Cigarette smoke. No doubt about it. What idiot was smoking in the cinema? I take the steps two at a time determined to find the culprit before the smoke alarms go off. Bursting through the door, I intend to head for the toilets – the usual hiding place ...

Clarissa, Outsmarted

Author: Hillary Lyon Clarissa shuffled into the kitchen, grumbling. Her new boss was a perfectionist and demanded all those under her were too, and with all the road construction, her drive home was so tense even her favorite songs on repeat didn’t help. Her stress level ...

Quilts

Author: James Sallis “The sound of cicadas in the trees. Sunsets that look as though they’ll never end. Unexpected laughter. The way shallow pools of water look when sunlight breaks through again after a shower. The smell of fresh coffee.” Our litany of lost things ...

Budget Surplus

Author: David K Scholes Federal Houses of Parliament Canberra Australia Early 2096 “Let’s run over those policy proposals again,” said the dominant AI “we have to get the Federal budget into surplus.” It was only referring to the human part of the budget of course. ...

Target Acquisition

Author: Roger Ley ‘Cadmus,’ his codename for the purposes of this mission, lay motionless on top of the dune. His ghillie skin made him indistinguishable from a clump of the scrubby local vegetation, which wasn’t surprising considering the amount of it he’d incorporated ...

A Dancer, To Dance, Is Dancing

Author: Steve Smith, Staff Writer "What is it doing?" Cerulean shimmered into the environment, overlapping the space Fuscia already occupied, though they didn't seem to mind. "It's dancing," Fuscia replied, moving to fully envelop Cerulean, their resulting colour an ...

The Gantry

Author: Morrow Brady For years, the travellers, with their grimy little lives, laboured their way up through the pillar engine, in a vain hope of reaching the great power chamber. Long lives of suffering through industrial tunnel networks, chain powered lift corporations ...

Jessica’s Gone

Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer The net curtains in the window are blowing free today. You used to sit there, batting them aside whenever they came between you and whatever you were reading. Camille whispers: “What about these?” It’s like she’s scared to disturb the ...

What Is The World Coming To?

Author: David Barber The man in the armchair by the window is Frank Chappel. He’s been widowed for some years now; he walks a little stiffly because of his knee but is determined not to use a stick; his hair may be white but at least he’s not gone bald like some men his ...

Eudora Pennifer and the Calabi Yau Manifolds

Author: Janet Shell Anderson “The extra dimensions of spacetime are sometimes conjectured to take the form of a six-dimensional Calabi Yau Manifold.” I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t mean a lot to me right now when there’re riots in West Palm and I’m nearby at my ...

Sweet Nothings

Author: Kevlin Henney You get all types here — the good and the bad. The ugly? No, it's all the beautiful types here at the Nakamoto. You want ugly you go to Zom Zom's. Gets real ugly. You wouldn't want to be seen dead there. But seen then dead is how you'd be. Rough ...

Best Served Cold

Author: Ben Coppin The only thing protecting me from Titan’s vicious cold is my fourth generation spacesuit, the result of decades of experimentation, engineering and design work. Suit sales have been in decline lately, and my marketing people assure me that a ...

Dying Light

Author: Katlina Sommerberg Snow piled over trees, rendering them unidentifiable lumps. In the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, it was early spring, but Charlotte thought of Christmas. Over eggnog, Grandma always gave her lessons in writing Traditional Chinese, often with ...

The Exhibition

Author: Mark Renney People were talking about the exhibition and not just on the Net. Everyone, it seemed, knew someone who knew someone who had visited and who had a story to tell. Someone who enthused excitedly about their experience and how the images that they had seen ...

Up Above the World So High

Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer Unit KB428 XNG is going slowly tonight. Is there a problem? The habitual Thursday night stop at the supermarket was only 2.8 minutes longer than usual. Traffic is moving steadily. If the underspeed persists, I’ll have to notify traffic ...

The Decision

Author: R. J. Erbacher I looked in the bathroom mirror but couldn’t see him. I saw just my reflection. My every-man, cleanshaven angular face. And the gold and lavender custom marble tiles of the wall behind me. The matching lavender Egyptian cotton towel draped over the ...

Wolf Planet

Author: Jeremy Marks "Are we seeing some wholesale return of the dead?" -Thomas Pynchon When homo sapiens expired, at last, it was not by fire, nor by a virus, as the species’ own wits and prophets had predicted. Rather, it succumbed to boredom. The last days ...

Animal Control

Author: Bruce McAllister and Patrick Smith What does a county animal control officer do when people throw away the pets they’ve ordered, had designed for absurd amounts of money, but no longer want? The Purple Poodles, the Forever Kittens, the Songbirds Just for You. What ...

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