Archive | Fiction

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 ~ 3 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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01 December 2017 ~ 2 Comments

DP FICTION #34A: “Hakim Vs. the Sweater Curse” by Rachael K. Jones

For our one-year anniversary, my boyfriend Kit gives me a knobbly sweater knit in irregular rows of beige, dark beige, and light beige, studded with white yarn blobs shaped like aborted ponies. The left arm—clearly shorter than the right—is tourniqueted midway by red plastic gift ribbon knotted into a bad bow.

Everything but that arm gently undulates of its own volition like jellyfish tentacles, simultaneously guileless and sinister.

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15 November 2017 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #33B: “Shoots and Ladders” by Charles Payseur

This is a game. There are rules that must be followed. Isn’t that what you told me when you gave me the gun, when you pointed me at the universe and fired? They are easy:
1. There is a reality where you are the winner. Where you never fear and never want and never lose.
2. The gun destroys realities.

Easy. But I didn’t learn until later, until after you were gone and I was alone, what you meant. Because who would believe it from a man you met at a hotel bar, a tired man with a fading glint in his eye who you still took back to your room despite the crazy shit he was saying? Or maybe I slept with you because of the crazy shit you were saying. Maybe that’s why you gave me the gun, because you saw that I was looking for something in you, something I couldn’t explain until you put that cold length of iron in my hand.

You were smiling when I pulled the trigger. Just for laughs, I told myself, just to make sure it wasn’t real, though the voice in the back of my mind was already asking what if? What if? The most dangerous question in the universe. In any universe. Click.

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01 November 2017 ~ 3 Comments

DP FICTION #33A: “When One Door Shuts” by Aimee Ogden

The whole family wants to know when Mia is going to walk through the door, but no one has asked her about it. No one will.

The front door of Mia’s parents’ house is painted emerald green on the outside, off-white on the inside, with a knob contrived to look like real brass. No one has opened it for six months. Mia hates that door, has hated it for its full half-year of disuse. Ever since the front door of every house on the street became a portal into death.

Or a portal to somewhere else, at least. But it’s the dead who walk through from the other side. The Garcias’ stillborn little boy was the first one to come back, crawling through their open door as a fat, cheerful one-year-old. George Bojanek, who died of a heart attack three years ago in May and who was buried in the military cemetery at Fort Custer, strolled through one day. None of them have anything to say about where they’ve been and how they came back, certainly not the one-year-old and not old George and no one in between.

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