The world was peaceful in the dark. The moon was a waning crescent, overcome by clouds, and there was just enough light to catch the hoarfrost that lined the road. While Vadrik kept both eyes on the cobbles and the fields of grain for trouble, he was comfortable enough. Happy enough. Do a simple job, get home to his husband Hailin.
I turned thirty yesterday, and the thing about being part of a teenage death cult is that you’re not supposed to turn thirty. It was a personal failure on my part—the kind of personal failure that meant the ghouls of New Orleans were after me.
In a crumbling society, people turn escapism into alternative ways of living. Some of them decide they are orcs.
You all know the first part of the story: the song ended in blood. It was two years ago, the summer of 2023. Rick Green, the singer of Goblin Forest, crooned in his Ozbourne-esque voice to 15,000 goblin metal fans. A short man wearing green body paint and brown leather stepped out from backstage, drew a sword, and cut the singer down from behind. The last lyrics Green ever sang were “take me back / take me back / take me back to the Misty Mountains.”
Queer hackers using drones to fight ICE and private prisons.
I was just trying to boxtroll that asshole into quitting, like I’d gotten the two guys before him to do. I swear I wasn’t trying to get him all dead and shit. It wasn’t my box that did it. But I guess all drone-related crimes fall under federal jurisdiction, and when a civvie octocopter box put a bullet in Jonathan Sandelson’s front left tire and sent him careening into the ocean and the afterlife, the feds assumed it was me. Well, they assumed it was my handle, Jeje Cameron. They probably hadn’t made the connection between Jeje and real-world me, Jae Diana Diaz. Not yet.
One is the Lady of the Waking Waters, an immortal mermaid. The other is a thief, who steals lives until a wish can be fulfilled, and a life-changing choice must be made.
I only led the worst of men down to the Waking Waters and death, down to my love in the pool below the falls. I only led the foul men with filth on their tongues, the rich men who contrived to rule other men. I only led the men with hatred in their hearts and iron in their hands. I spurred them on with tales of hidden silver or the sight of my girlish thigh, down out from the mountain town of Scilla, down to the hills and the pines and the ruttish perfume of wildflowers.
All so that the Lady of the Waters might love me.
Well, that and so I could rob their corpses.
The 29th century treats the 21st like a prison colony. One convict, Maya, dreams of a jailbreak. Or, failing that, revenge.
“‘You know why they dump us here? You know why I think the twenty-first century is the prison century?’
‘Because the Corrective Council abolished the death penalty and couldn’t send any more people to Stalinist Russia without someone noticing?’
‘I bet they calculated that twenty-first century America was the worst placetime to live with the longest life expectancy. Highest rates of anxiety in recorded history, but they’re gonna cure cancer soon enough that we’ll have plenty of time to suffer.’ Maya tried to toe another brick off the edge, but it wouldn’t budge. She pulled back to kick it, changed her mind, stomped on the silver tar paper roof.”
A queer, antiauthortiarian fantasy story that is mostly just about survivor’s guilt. And demon gods.
The five hunters behind her breathed in deep, breathed in unison. They were close, their lips almost to her ears, and the wordless chant was heavy in the air. Four sets of lips belonged to men she cared not much for. The other belonged to Lelein, a woman who had breathed hard into her ear in other moments, passionate moments. The trees hung boughs high above the hunters, the moss of the ancient forest soft beneath their soft-heeled boots.
A story of adventure and love set in a post-apocalyptic tea-farming commune in the Pacific Northwest.
An autumnal smell broke my train of thought. Autumnal smells had no place during Beltane, but there it was, amidst the ambient scent of the tea fields, the iron sweat of the dancers, the pine smoke.
A voice carried through the evening’s scents: “Fire!”
Burning tea plants. The smell was burning tea plants.
A short horror story in the style of an online review of a campground.
I used to look forward to dying, back before I’d met the dead. The thought of death had been a comforting one. Death had felt like sleep, like oblivion. Oblivion is the place where forgotten things go. I’ve long wanted to forget, so I’ve always wanted to be forgotten.
My cynical critique of misanthropy, in science fiction form.
It was a shitty fucking mission. It was a volunteer mission that hadn’t had a single volunteer until Caroline. But on a backwater like Earth, she had a chance to make a name for herself and be left alone. All she had to do was try not to die on entry, find the terraforming team. Find a way to report back. If she wanted, find a way home.