Comes the Tinker – Karl Dandenell

As always, they heard the children first. Even in the strictest, most conservative towns, somehow, a few of the youngest or bravest managed to slip out to the road and wait for them. In other places, the whole of the population turned out, led by the mayor, or captain, or caliph, holding forth banners and flags and flowers to welcome the Tinker and his wagon, drawn by the steel horses that never tired. “The Tinker!”…

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Showtime – Jamie Brindle

Week One The adverts are compelling, but you tell yourself you only watch the show because Mary wants to. Your wife has always loved reality TV. So on day one you tune in like half the nation, and you are hooked. The ten contestants are pretty awful, they always are on these things. But it’s different this time. When this show ends, only one of these people will survive. Though of course, sims aren’t classed…

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Shiplight – Benjamin C. Kinney

“Right there, any moment now. Their future,” Jacob said, resentment thick and sour in his mouth. He pointed up into the night sky, above the heads of the close-packed crowd on the porch. Everyone was silent. Despite everything, Jacob and all the other Sea-born natives held their breath. A fresh pinprick appeared in the night’s threadbare shroud. A new star, flickering and bright with the flare of the decelerating pulse drive. Shiplight. Voices erupted in…

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So, You’re In an Alternate Universe – Jeremy Packert Burke

So, you’re in an alternate universe. It doesn’t feel alternate. Your mom is still your mom, who smells like fennel, with red-rubbed knuckles. Your dad still has his large tie collection: his wooden tie, his Yellow Submarine tie, his tie that looks like a large fish. Hitler was still Hitler, and Stalin, Stalin. The sun outside is very yellow—is it too yellow? Is that the difference? The scar on your knee is still there. Eileen…

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Out Where the Rivenbuds Grow – Mark Rookyard

The second sun sat low in the sky, its pale red light smeared through a blanket of grey clouds. The winter had been a long one; five years, and the rivenbuds were a rare splash of colour in the world. Caitlin fed the plants, her hands wet and dirty. The winding stems twisted above her, green and bright. The flowers of the rivenbuds were blue, red and white, and a score of colours in between.…

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Duet for Unaccompanied Cello – Chanel Earl

My favorite place to practice the cello will always be the observatory. My friend Jamie, an astronomer, first let me in one day when the sun was up and visibility was nil. I practiced for hours under its high dome, right next to the telescope. The echo of music in the observatory was singular: less vibrant than a racquetball court, more round than a stadium stairwell, a fuller sound than I have found in any…

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