Beautifully written science fiction and fantasy.

An Aftertaste of Earth – Pauline Yates

The arrival of delegates from the Planetary Migration Program raised false hope in my district. Not only has the maximum age for entry to the off-world colony been lowered, we were given less than a week to prepare a concept to prove worth of passage. But with the demise of earth a certainty, hope is all I have left. This event is my last chance to secure a future for my family. With my eligibility…

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Oven Game – Paul A. Hamilton

The oven door creaks open, revealing the grimy, sweat-tracked face of a girl just past her seventh birthday. Opening an oven from the inside is difficult for a child, but Drea Kane has had practice. She crawls into the unfamiliar house and dusts off her black knit dress. Her grease-caked tights are living up to their name, squeezing her calves. She rubs the underside of her nose with a wrist; the streak of wetness finds…

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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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