Choice – Tomas Marcantonio

The giant apartment complex was unfinished, like almost everything else in Pyongyang. It loomed over the city, a grey, oval-shaped mass rising like a fungal growth on the bank of the Taedong River, swarming with half-lived lives. The western side was wall-less, held together with sagging electrical wires and iron bones stripped of their skin. Multitudes of drones hovered outside windows, transporting deliveries or simply spying, like mechanical wasps searching for a nectar that no …

Notes from the Laocoön Program – Phoenix Alexander

The orbital module fails to detach and we ignite in the full-mouth kiss of the planet’s atmosphere, spinning with a velocity that pushes us to the black brink of unconsciousness. G-force grinds us into seats molded for our forms. There is the view through the porthole in my periphery – of jittering flame and cartwheeling stars and the glowing edges of unfamiliar continents – and the interior of the capsule in front of me. My …

What Lies in Light – Laura Duerr

I dream about the volcano again. The broad bowl of its crater is filled with shimmering light. I am standing at the rim like always, watching the warm and welcoming glow eddy and dance just a few feet below me in a swirling ocean of opal. I keep thinking I can see something beyond, or under, or within the lights, but it’s too distant to view clearly. I hear voices, too. That’s new. The voice …

The Martian in the Greenhouse – Geoffrey W. Cole

“Can you sit?” Honoré awoke to find herself lying on a cot in a little room full of mostly empty boxes of medicine and medical supplies. The woman who had asked the question loomed over Honoré. Pale, oily skin stretched tight over thick bones. Grey hair tied up in a bun. Ice-blue eyes set deep. “Shush,” the woman said. Honoré realized she’d been moaning in pain. It felt like she was steeping her extremities in …

Rooks on Sundays – Jack Neel Waddell

“You never liked to play chess with me,” she says. The board lies on a tray across her bed. Pillows prop her up slightly, just enough to see the pieces. She reaches out a wrinkled hand, skin both pale and blotched brown, like the flesh of an apple left out too long. She grabs a rook that she carved, perhaps twenty-five years ago, from purpleheart wood. Today she remembers how it moves. “I know how …

Misalignment – Erik Goldsmith

When Levy Green awoke, he looked around for a few blinking moments, and did not try to remember. He was alone. Through an open window, he could see it was day. Something, somewhere was beeping. An ache began to throb in his forehead and, after a bit of searching, he discovered an unfamiliar incision just below his hairline. The words What if I came into his mind. What if I what? he asked himself and …