Archive | Fiction

16 April 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #38B: “Her February Face” by Christie Yant

In her youth the doors to the shrine of Elena’s heart were wide open for all to see. Some kept their hearts in private spaces, secret and hidden, but not Elena. She kept hers in the front room, because what good is a bright heart if it can’t be shared? 

Every morning she polished the shrine, and dressed her heart with fresh flowers that filled the air with the scent of jasmine and violet. She hung small crystals that caught her heart’s light and refracted it into every color, filling the room with rainbows. 

On the wall above her heart Elena kept her collection of smiles. Smiles for celebrations, for sunrises and sunsets, for soft sheets and warm limbs, for surprise and wonder at her extraordinary good fortune. It was an impractical placement; it would make more sense to store them near her vanity, but she liked having them out where visitors could appreciate them and where she could select exactly the right one at the last minute, before she walked out the door.

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02 April 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #38A: “Giant Robot and the Infinite Sunset” by Derrick Boden

Giant Robot stands alone on the battlefield. Its hulking titanium shoulders slouch. Its articulated polymer knees bow inward. Its blazing fiberoptic gaze falters, downturned. But Giant Robot experiences neither regret nor remorse while surveying the wreckage at its feet.

It knows only aloneness.

Giant Robot scours the battlefield. It scrutinizes the meat and metal carcasses that litter this desert torched to glass. Servos click a nervous rhythm beneath its knuckled joints. It relocates corpses with the utmost delicacy, but still they crumble in its hands. Underneath, there is only ash. Its gaze sags—

There. A patch of sand between two corpses, shielded by an overturned transport. A desert bloom sprouts, an improbable splay of color. Lavender? Periwinkle?

No. Amethyst.

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16 March 2018 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #37B: “Soft Clay” by Seth Chambers

I wander the Chicago streets unseen. I’m plain, drab, faceless. I’m a shadow drifting through the world of form. It isn’t all bad, being this way. I ghost into theaters and museums and concerts without paying. Guards see me bypass the lines and slip through the doors, but somehow I never quite register.

Being nobody has its perks but now I hunger to be somebody once again, to have a name again. To do this I must find the right man to follow. I wander the Chicago Loop looking for certain telltale signs of pain, longing, emptiness.

We live in a world of grief and so it doesn’t take long to find him. He carries himself with an undefined heaviness and peers through a fog of yesterdays. His emptiness drags me along.

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12 March 2018 ~ 0 Comments

The Best of Strange Horizons 2017

Strange Horizons is a freely available online speculative fiction zine that also publishes nonfiction and poetry.  Their editors-in-chief are Jane Crowley and Kate Dollardhyde.  Their senior fiction editors are Lila Garrott, Catherine Krahe, An Owomoyela, and Vajra Chandresekera, and their podcast is edited, hosted, and usually read by Anaea Lay.  They publish a variety of styles of stories and have regularly attracted award nominations in recent years.  All of the stories and poetry in the zine are published in the podcast.  This list covers all of the stories published since the last Best of Strange Horizons list posted here on November 9, 2015.  In that timeframe, Strange Horizons published about 53 stories (it’s hard to get an exact count because the poetry podcasts are mixed in the same feed).

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02 March 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #37A: “What Monsters Prowl Above the Waves” by Jo Miles

We emerged, inching forth from the sea’s safe haven into the bright void above.

We had done it.

Sharp-edged light flooded the vehicle, casting disturbing shadows through the water within. Three of our arms, drifting lazily in a moment’s rest, merged shadows like a new menace from without. One arm whipped about in alarm, and we spun, searching, assuring our whole self that no danger was near. But that arm refused to calm. The interior of the vessel was safe – our other arms, questing, found nothing but smooth walls and each other, confirming we were alone – but the cloudy surface of our vehicle revealed only dim and distant shapes.

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16 February 2018 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #36B: “Artful Intelligence” by G.H. Finn

It was the worst of times. It was the beast of times. It was 1888.

A time of hammered steel, arcane runes and ivory towers. A city of steam. And ghosts.

Such was Londome. A place filled with Angels of despair and Daemons of delight.

We lived in a bold new world of gleaming brass cogs, delicate silks, spellcast iron and intoxicating spices. More than half of which we’d looted from countries we had conquered and ground beneath our feet. All in the name of civilisation, of course.

Beneath the crystal-paned glass of the dome, throughout this most ancient and modern of cities, cobbled streets were filled with glowing gaslights, grinding gears, bloodstained steel, fractal lace and enchanted metal.

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02 February 2018 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #36A: “9 Things the Mainstream Media Got Wrong About the Ansaj Incident” by Willem Myra

1. Jeter and Amir were neither thugs nor terrorists. They were dumb kids, plain and simple. They meant no harm to anybody, human or alien. They were armed with blatantly obvious toy guns and throughout the whole ordeal they used PG language.

2. They weren’t turned into ash. Weren’t deleted from existence with the pull of a trigger. There was no disintegration ray involved. The alien guarding the main gate used vasoconstrictor-based pistols. That’s how Jeter and Amir died, from internal bleeding. The medical report that wasn’t shown on TV confirmed it.

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15 January 2018 ~ 4 Comments

DP FICTION #35B: “Brooklyn Fantasia” by Marcy Arlin

Griffin was an undocumented immigrant griffin from Cardiff, Wales. He lived with Bringer of Dreams, a semi-materialized entity from Albuquerque, and Fossil Leaf, an animate rock, on the first floor of a run-down salt box row house in Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn.

Griffin had golden fur and an emerald beak and was extremely vain about his fingernails. Rumor had it that he had known Richard the Lion-Hearted, but since he had started the rumor, no one believed him.

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01 January 2018 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #35A: “Six Hundred Universes of Jenny Zars” by Wendy Nikel

Sometimes I forget which universe I’m in.

It happens most often on days like today. I’ve spent the last twelve hours in the makeshift lab I threw together in the basement of the University, tucked away in some long-forgotten storage closet where the boxes of toilet paper are so old that the brands that produced them don’t exist anymore.

All I want to do now is go home, nuke myself one of those Salisbury steak meals that always burns my tongue, boil a pot of tea, and curl up with a good book. Something fluffy and filled with the kind of one-liners that transcend dimensions, jokes that I can laugh at without worrying whether they have a deeper meaning somewhere else or what my shrink would say.

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15 December 2017 ~ 1 Comment

DP FICTION #34B: “The Leviathans Have Fled the Sea” by Jon Lasser

Aye, Lass, I recall the first I saw a mermaid. I was young then, and captain of a whaler — Captain Elizabeth Jackson has a nice ring to it, I always thought. You’d never guess to look at this old lady that I was a whaler once, would you? Bring me a cup o’ the bumbo and I’ll tell you all about the siren: her flashing metal fluke, the cold fishy gleam in her eyes.

Thank you for the bumbo. That’s the stuff! Show me what you brought?

Aye, she was one of mine: the scales overlap just so, like I took them yesterday off the lathe. More than a hundred scales for each tail. No wonder my hands ache so. It’s not just age but the work, too.

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