Tag: Science fiction

What Chloe does in the metaverse without you is about you by Salena Casha

Chloe mentions that she got her new track pants in the metaverse when she went shopping with Alessa and you hate to think that they’re hanging out without you in some virtual Ivy Park and getting matching tattoos while you’re sitting at home eating salmon salad with your parents. She told you she’d get a matching tattoo with you, a real one when you both graduate – two halves of a butterfly – but you’ve heard that in the verse when you have tattoos like that and you line up the ink, the blue outline will shiver and crawl right out of your skin, hover above you as you hold onto each other on a roller coaster at Cedar Point even though you’ve never left Florida.

Shit is so much cooler in there. Tattoos mean something in there. People go places in there.

A Spaceman Came Travelling by Matthew J. Richardson

Jude Parker’s head is poking out from beneath the fly sheet. Grass rustles around his jug ears but through the noise he can hear muttering. The two brothers in the tent do not like him. They have mocked him for the way he speaks, for taking his tea onto the sofa rather than into the dining room, and for the dogeared sleeping bag he has brought. None of this concerns Jude now, though. Where he has grown up a person doesn’t see the night sky, not like this.

If Jude knew what the word ‘festoon’ meant he would use it, because stars and planets and space dust festoon the sky above the suburban garden. Jude does not, so he simply stares. His foster parents have arranged this sleepover so that he can make friends at his new school (and – whispered for some reason – so that they can get a break). Their reasoning doesn’t bother Jude, just as the reasoning of his next foster parents won’t either. What will bother him is if he falls asleep out here and gives the lads another reason to rip the piss out of him. It is time to retreat inside and get some sleep.

Time Lord by Jennifer Benningfield

The ceaseless circle of life.

The sour-spirited myth of timelessness.

Not enough people think about those things.

Remember when you learned to count to ten? Big accomplishment. Right up there with potty training and first steps. From early on, the importance of numbers is pressed into us.

“Time flies”….”time drags”…mind tricks. The Egyptians would be wildly disappointed in us.

Spirit of Curiosity by David Clémenceau

About the time when Perseverance landed on Big Red, the board of directors of Caltech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory had reached the rather unspectacular general consensus that their initial hopes for the Curiosity Mars rover to function for at least one Martian year, or 687 Earth days, had been amply satisfied. The data sent back to Earth so far was judged invaluable.

Emboldened by these results, the board decided, still unspectacularly, to send another rover on a complementary mission to Mars, but covertly. Unlike its older twin, Spirit of Curiosity, or Soc, would conduct the exploration of the Red Planet’s surface through mathematical deduction based on data fed into its memory banks. An autonomous robot with an open-ended AI on Mars was then ruled spectacular enough to keep it secret. If anything went wrong and word got out, they could still say it was all about the original rover.

White by J.T. Bundy

Her briefcase thudded against the stairs as Elise went up into the house. The client’s son Wade led the way. Despite his age – early thirties, she guessed – there was a white streak in his hair like he’d suffered a terrible fright and never recovered. “Not many female operators these days,” he offered – the typical preamble.

“Not many operators full stop,” she replied. “And mostly freelance since the HC downsized.”

“Indeed.”

Doing Better by Caragh Medlicott

The doctor fitted the silicone bracelet to my wrist on a Friday afternoon. Her silver-rimmed glasses slid down her nose as she sealed the clip with a foreign electronic device. It was new to her too, doing this, but the results were undeniable. That’s what she said.  

I walked out the building unusually alert to the sound of my footsteps, to the weight of my body pressing down in my rubber-soled shoes. There were birds chittering somewhere nearby, I thought in the bushes, and I smiled in their general direction. It was the kind of pacifying smile you give to a mother whose child is playing up, one which says: It’s okay, I understand.

Flung to the Winds Like Rain by Rick Hollon

“Tell me about my other lives, Mama.”

“That’s not a good idea, Elm.”

“I’m not a child.” I stomped away from Mother and pressed my nose against the station window. I saw my eyes, brown, angry, reflected above fog and black rocks. If I looked at the horizon I could pretend not to see the other reflections, the vast white curve of Mother’s body behind me, the other girls tumbling around me. I could pretend to be alone on this empty wet and dreary world.

Apartment 307 by E.J. Nash

I didn’t expect my upstairs neighbors to have tentacles, or to have such great taste in music. 

All I wanted was to sleep. It didn’t seem like too much to ask, but the people in the apartment above mine were constantly partying. The only upside was the music. The bass that throbbed from my ceiling was endless, although at least they chose good songs. 

I wanted to be the cool neighbor. I would pop upstairs, compliment them on their musical taste, and ask them to be quieter. No problem.