A Final Resting Place – Matt Hornsby

The lander sloped down from orbit towards the jagged peninsula that leaked westwards from Earth’s great landmass. Salzmann’s eyes tracked across the surface as they broke the cloud cover. It stretched brown-green to the limits of his vision, shorn of angles and straight lines. He heard Nguyen grumble under her breath as she wrestled with the command console, urging the craft towards a suitable landing site. When he had offered to co-pilot, she declined, and …

Favorites from Here and Abroad – Peter T. Donahue

Two giant polyps were nibbling at the husk of a shopping mall some miles off. I was focused on a sludge-tower, though, just a half mile down the hill from me. I’d have to pass it. From where I stood, on the street that zig-zagged down to the basin of the valley, I couldn’t see the tower’s base. A ridge, wearing a row of rotting condo roofs like an epaulet, was in the way. For …

The Propagator – Simone Kern

There’s a packet of powder taped to my inner thigh, and it feels like the plastic is burning a hole through my leg. Two police officers wave me towards the chem-detecting archway—one last hurdle before I can board the ferry. Sweat pools in the pits of my cooling suit, and my breath comes fast and hot through my respirator. I tell myself they’re just city cops, not agents of VerdiCorp. They’re just looking for drugs …

A Bear, or a Spider, or an Elephant – Edward Ashton

“The night sky is beautiful,” Seven says. “Deep and dark, blue-black and starless. It has a certain ineffable purity to it, don’t you think?” Mara glances up. This world is a young one, snugged tight against the galactic core. The stars above her are so fat and bright and crowded together that this can barely be called a proper night at all. She looks back to Seven, one eyebrow raised. “Not here,” he says, his …

The Offshore – Josh Taylor

Jesper Torus had been standing on the same spot on the sidewalk for almost thirty minutes. The building in front of him was older but well-maintained, with marble latticework and gold-tipped iron railings on the terraces. He held up the letter with both hands. His fingers had left dark smudges, and dried sweat curled the corners. This was the right address. Women in makeup and clean-shaven men walked in and out, chatting energetically, striding with …

Communication Breakdown – Andrew Knighton

“No.” I pushed my chair back from the conference table. I could see myself in the window opposite, Herrje’s deep night sky turning the glass wall into a giant mirror. Beyond that window was one of the most amazing cities in the universe, a melting pot in which dozens of races and cultures mixed, their mingled architectural styles creating a cityscape like no other. But all I could see was myself, looking angry and in …