Twins – Gregory Kane

Our twins visit once a month. They arrive one at a time, passing one another as they move up and down the path dividing the manicured campus. Years ago, we’d gather to watch from the laboratory’s third floor as they ran free on the grass below, dancing and jumping and tumbling, swinging in their parents’ arms like tiny trapeze artists. We rose to our tiptoes and pressed our palms and noses against the cold glass, …

Reproduction in a Closed Loop – Andrew M LeBlanc

The first iteration of General’s life ends with the extinction of the human race. The third, fourth, and fifth iterations fare better, but even knowledge of its past iterations is not enough for General (Gen for short) to change the course of the war. The invaders arrive in endless viral flocks; while Gen can improve its strategies over unlimited iterations, it is not enough to stop the alien tide. By the end of iteration five …

Graven Image – B. Morris Allen

It’s about impressions. First impressions, last impressions, the creased and corrugated impressions that life leaves on our skin as it wears us down to our essentials, and eventually to nothing. I know about impressions; I’m in sales now. Back then I was a lonely xenoarchaeologist, chasing down one more faded rumour, one more mystery worn flat by repetition and examination. Study, publish, repeat, as postgrads say, until there’s nothing left to say, no iota of …

It Feels Like Déjà Vu – Phong Quan

I open my eyes and do the first thing I always do after running the gravitational field generator: remember my name. “My name is Jon, I’m a physicist,” I say. Nothing comes after that. Thoughts begin to form and rise, and just as quickly sink back down; I feel like I’m struggling to stay afloat in a river that’s slowly dragging me under, trapped in its constantly shifting currents. But I fight it. I know …

Time’s Arrow – C. Heidmann

In 2130 the Nelari began resurrecting the dead. In 2133 Talia’s father called for the first time in five years. “You want to bring her back, Dad?” After all this time, after what you did? Talia wanted to add, but didn’t. Couldn’t. Not to his face. Not anymore. She barely recognized the white-haired, eighty-three-year old figure; the holo-projectors in her quarters relayed every etch-mark of time, his still-bright blue eyes peering at her out of …

Strangers in the Night – David Whitaker

Emptiness. A vast, frozen void, stretching out in all directions, extending to the infinite. Like a colossal blank canvas, it was mammoth in scope, yet almost entirely devoid of life, thought, or purpose. The probe was an exception. Easing its way slowly but surely between the solar systems, it glided determinedly forth. In the immense cosmic scale of things, it was nothing; just a slim metal construct a couple of metres across, utterly insignificant in …