Beautifully written science fiction and fantasy.

A Nightingale’s Map of the City – by Suzanne J. Willis

The white stone buildings of the city gleam like scattered pearls, their peaks and towers reaching for the vertiginous blue of the sky. Atop the spires and turrets and minarets, domes and curlicues of gold-leaf sparkle, making the city seem dusted with slow-burning embers. The ghost of the giant Gustav, the city’s architect and creator, walks cobbled alleyways that are carpeted in moss, skimming past the tiny ferns growing from arched doorways. It is the…

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Halfsies – Eric Del Carlo

The new word seemed somehow old-fashioned. Halfsies. Like how Tariq’s sun-shrunken, onetime surfer grandfather would say “rad” when he deemed some event or circumstance especially good. Halfsies, as a term, sounded funny and harmless. But it wasn’t meant to be funny, Tariq had learned. And it sure as hell wasn’t harmless, not according to Tariq’s friend from the liberated camp, Kayleigh, who explained to him, “It’s a prejudice word.” The human soldiers who had come…

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The Snow Queen’s Daughter – Sean R. Robinson

I extended my hand out the window, reaching as my mother had taught me since I was old enough to understand her words. Palm up, an invitation to the distant skies. The steppe ended in the distance, the horizon shattered by snow-choked mountains. From my window, I could see the clouds roiling white, the azurite sky behind it a challenge. Not a challenge, I reminded myself. I could hear my mother’s voice in my ears.…

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Be Prepared to Shoot the Nanny – Rachel Kolar

By the time her husband came downstairs, Miranda was nearly frantic trying to find a kill switch for the nanny. “Katie got herself eaten over the weekend,” she said without looking up, her fingers dancing across the surface of her smartphone. “Some drunk driver hit her car, and her boyfriend reanimated before she could get to the gun in her glove compartment. Honestly, what idiot keeps her gun that far out of reach?” Her husband…

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Business as Usual – N. R. Lambert

“Thank you for registering with, America’s #1 personalized munitions retailer…” The message arrived at 8:46 a.m. Andy was fixing his coffee for the drive to work when the alert dinged. He finished stirring and sat at the counter before flipping open his hybrid and tapping the tablet’s screen. “Thank you for registering with, America’s #1 personalized munitions retailer. As required by Section 80166 of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of…

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Snow Queen – T. R. North

“Do you remember the first time we met?” she asked, her voice thick and opium-drowsy, the slight thaw of early spring making her as lazy as the white-hot sun of high summer makes the old cows in their pastures. I did, but she didn’t, and I stopped my teeth with an embroidery thread instead of telling her. She watched me with those ice-pale eyes as I clipped the thread, a gold-scarlet against my lips, hardly…

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