Beautifully written science fiction and fantasy.

What Have You Done to be Happy Today? – Kimberly Kaufman

I guess it started with the robot talking to me at the front of Perfect Pizza. It was the check-out clerk, one of the humanoid ones, vaguely male with his square features, bald head and glass eyes. His pupils dilated when the clouds covered the sun, and he had specks of color in each iris: blue and grey, occasionally red. The ‘bot was just human enough to feel comfortable ordering a personal pizza from, yet…

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Shadows on Glass – Jamie Lackey

It seemed impossible that the war had left a single thing untouched. And yet, here she was, familiar boards creaking under her bare feet, familiar smell of hotcakes and burnt coffee wafting from the kitchen. And in front of her, corn swayed in the summer morning breeze, just like it always had. If she closed her eyes, she could almost hear her brothers shouting at each other. But she could also almost hear injured soldiers…

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Papa Pedro’s Children – Karl Dandenell

Peter Carlson held the gurgling two-month-old infant with one hand, while the other dug through a dresser drawer. “Bwa! Bah!” gurgled the baby. “Right as usual, Cassie,” Peter said, pulling out a bright red knit cap. It was too small. Peter shook his head. “I know this fit yesterday.” He found another cap, a patterned alpaca wool hat with big earflaps. He pulled it down firmly over Cassie’s head. “Command: weather,” he said. Twelve degrees,…

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HOPper – Charlotte H. Lee

HOPper shut off the light as his mistress left the kitchen, scrubbing at her eyes while she made her way down the hallway to the bedrooms. Just as Vanessa reached the girls’ door, he dimmed the hall light from the standard eight hundred lumens to three hundred so it wouldn’t wake the children. Once again, six-year-old Sadie’s book of fairy tales had fallen to the floor. HOPper kindled the desk lamp and waited until Vanessa…

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The Circe Test – Nora Mulligan

Circe knelt in front of the pig, holding its face so that its eyes looked into hers. “You are not really a pig,” she said to it. “You know that. Think. Remember who you are, what you are, and you will return to that form.” The pig’s eyes blinked. It struggled in a panic to escape from her. Look as she might, Circe could see no traces of human intelligence in its face. With a…

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BetaU – T. B. McKenzie

On Sunday, Janie’s com pinged with a message from her cousin who worked for Visage, one of the big city body-mod firms. You should go for this! read the underlined text, which took her to a minimalist page with the company name, BetaU in the middle and a single link at the bottom: Employment Opportunities. Only the fanciest places hired humans any more, and Janie’s curiosity sparked, if not her hope, for they’d only want…

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