The rain fell everywhere, ruining our crops, flooding our homes, making rivers of the streets. We gathered, hundreds of us, thousands, half in hope and half because nothing else was left for us to do. I like to imagine how we looked from the tower: the crowd stretching like a turbulent and dark sea toward […]
“Change your life,” the poster says. “With one simple surgery, you can live fully in the moment. No stress, no worries, no lies.” The text is accompanied by the usual images. Smiling adults, laughing children, a couple on a sunset beach walking and holding hands. That’s all, but I pick up a brochure anyway–if nothing […]
The man who smelt of electricity was shown into the drawing room while the maid looked for Mrs Darwin. Emma Darwin was doing the household accounts but was glad to stop. The man’s card read: Andrew.J.Salt Creation Museum Petersburg, KY She bustled into the drawing room and offered her hand, Americans, she knew, being less […]
“Captain, it’s not physically possible—” “Lieutenant, as long as I command this vessel, we will recognize everyone’s beliefs, is that clear?” Lt. Yuwono, who’d spent the last two days measuring every object required to honor someone’s holiday beliefs, passed a hand through her frazzled hair. “Sir, we’ve only the one meeting room—” “That’s the idea! […]
Near the end of his fifteenth orbit as Greenland slipped by noiselessly below, he made the routine measurements that tested the operation of his space capsule and checked the automatic instruments which would transmit their stored data to Earth on his next pass over Control. Everything normal; all mechanical devices were operating perfectly. This information […]
I found the piece of the alien ship out back, right on the marsh edge. I was out fishing, or least I was supposed to be, but mostly I was “lollygagging and woolgathering,” Pa would say. Pa don’t approve of gathering wool, nor gagging no lollies, either. He says a girl my age ought to […]
Jude and Immogen float in their ship’s sensorium, holding hands and viewing the Schwarzschild radius stamped on the star field before them. The ring of detoured light surrounds a profound blackness that whispers faintly with Hawking radiation. Jude has pondered this quantum flaw in relativity for a long time, as he has pondered death and love.
The girl behind the counter is a waif with mottled cheeks, swaddled in a blue barista’s apron. Her nametag, scratched half-bare, tells me only that she is a trainee. She offers me a timid smile, thin sparkle-glossed lips closed tight. She wears augmentation lenses, red plastic frames that glitter, a cheap pair that clash with her yellow blouse and leave her looking like a deflated circus tent. Through them, she squints at me, perhaps seeking common ground, but more likely gauging the level of customer service I’ll expect.