Rain on glass was the first sound he heard. The drops beat an unsteady rhythm, pushed gently by soft gusts of wind. He woke slowly, stretching out in the bed. He unfurled his legs from the foetal position and rolled from his side onto his back. His hands moved apart and out, his arms untangled, fingers stretched apart. He yawned heavily and blinked his eyes open. His mouth tasted strange. The room was in darkness, a pale light attempted to squeeze around the curtains. The man sat up in bed. His mind was empty. He did not know who he

Certainly, if ever a man found a guinea when he was looking for a pin it is my good friend Professor Gibberne. I have heard before of investigators overshooting the mark, but never quite to the extent that he has done. He has really, this time at any rate, without any touch of exaggeration in the phrase, found something to revolutionise human life. And that when he was simply seeking an all-round nervous stimulant to bring languid people up to the stresses of these pushful days. I have tasted the stuff now several times, and I cannot do better than

How much has really changed in Los Angeles? It’s true that our visitors are very free with their favorite weapon, the good old-fashioned mind control ray from outer space, but is it really so different? I wake up again, Echo Park, it is one o’clock in the afternoon and I have nothing to do. No one will hire someone with a history of mental illness. The irony is that now we should all be insane, we should all be crackers. But it’s as though alien occupation is only a mild heat wave. As though the “Stasi” of 2012 (From the

In the moment before Saskia Brandt awoke, she had a vision of red chrysanthemums falling. The flowers looked unreal. Their stems were too straight and their falls too slow. Their Gestalt was artful sadness. Then the sky beyond them wintered and the dream faded. She awoke to freezing darkness. Her throat was dry. She turned and coughed. The edge of her breast touched a cold surface and, with a shock that stopped her coughing, she understood that she was lying on a metal tray, naked but for a loose shroud. She raised her knees until they bumped metal. She passed

Now Sam realized that for the first time in years, he was actually scared. The sensation, however, had not been inspired by the automatic gunfire ringing in his ears, nor was it attached to the potential for death that the noise represented. Sam hadn’t even wanted to be alive for a very long time. What was really getting to him right now, though, was the glass. The enormous hospital windows that overlooked the southern parking lot were shattering and spraying everywhere… just like the night when his entire world had turned into a nightmare. # One year ago “It’s just

You don’t love me. He says. His voice is red wine, whiskey and fermented onions. He’s random: cigarette draped between his tar-blackened lips, eye liner days old from the Halloween Black Sabbath party, and the funky “MOM” tattoo screaming at him to watch the road as it dangles out the driver side window of his 2012 Ford Focus. I change the radio from Sex Pistols to Dolly Parton. I crack open two more pistachio nuts. I eye the tight sash around my Betsey Johnson gown and think I’ll be puking later. And then I spit out every nut into the

Beneath the creeping ice of an uncomfortable planet in the constellation of Cassiopeia, the Caph had sifted for centuries through the endless dimensions. The seemingly hopeless quest was devoted to what had become their Holy Grail. With technology of reality-scrambling complexity they interrogated the infinite chaos and sought out warps in the fabric of Time, Space, and Otherthings, that might have given away its existence. Much closer to home, things were happening they would have found very interesting, even when shrouded under the tediousness of Derek (the humanoid to which these interesting things were happening). Derek was a boring fart

I worked all night trying to find trying to find a quicker, less expensive cure. The colourful boxes of anti-viral agents, tailored bacteria, and antibiotics littered the work surface. In the corner of the sick bay the radiation lamp flickered, blood-coloured light over a tray of discarded Petri dishes. As the night wore on, my treatments became increasingly experimental. I tried the wilder, alien technologies. I placed the smooth mites of the Pincer world onto the faces of the crew in the hope that the burrowing insects would seek out and consume the infection. I pounded strange aromatic herbs. I

Elin was supposed to be writing. That was the idea behind her continuing to stay at home even though Henry was in Kindergarten now. With the little guy at school and her schedule clear of other commitments, she should be able to focus and write that novel she’d been talking about so long. Her husband was very supportive of the idea, she had bragged to all her friends. Her friends had all been pleased for her, joking that she’d be the next Stephen King in no time. But Elin found this was harder than it might seem. All this open

At first, you make it easy for yourself. You possess a member of a clade on the outskirts, away from the dark, looming presence of the London Mind. You barely have to stretch yourself: the clade’s small village is halfway to your boundaries, and your ride ­– a woman named nDevan323 – shares genetic material with the last Receptive you’ve colonised. As you slip into her bloodstreams, assimilating nanite after nanite, you taste familiar code, with the slightly acrid aftertaste of decay – the never-ending fight of the immune system against cancerous, decaying cells, the hundred infections dormant in the