Marco crouched next to his master in the shadow of two leering demon statues standing sentry at Bongeunsa Temple’s arched gates. His hand rested on the hilt of a dagger tucked into his belt, and he gazed down the one thousand steps leading to the sacred summit. The slender woman had emerged from the tree line in her steep ascent up the temple’s stone stairs. When she finally stood before Marco and his master, her pale skin bore a light sheen of sweat, and she breathed heavily from the exertion of reaching the high peak. “I am honored to be...

This content is for members only. To read the full story, join today for just £1 a month!
Log In Register

Susan always had Chatty Katty, Canada’s favorite gossip hour, on the wall screens on Tuesdays, and “Celebrity Crashes” on Thursdays. Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays were Elijah’s days. Then it was CNNetNews in the bedroom, the bathroom’s HUD holo-mirror and the kitchen’s wall screen. The rest of their home was wired for audio only. Elijah knew she hated that. There seemed to be a lot of things Susan hated these last few years. It wasn’t something they ever talked about; but sometimes the notion that something was wrong would take hold of him, but something else always seemed to come up...

This content is for members only. To read the full story, join today for just £1 a month!
Log In Register

The walls around the town of Bootstrap are mostly old cars stacked one on top of the other and welded together. Outside Bootstrap, market stalls made from patchwork tarps and rusty pipes lean on either side of the wide gate. They are temporary places for the people who live inside to trade goods with the people stuck outside who need in. People like Pup. He looks up at the guard by the gate, who is thicker, but not much older. Probably grew up inside the walls. He looks as if he’s been well-fed, even during bad years. His skin is...

This content is for members only. To read the full story, join today for just £1 a month!
Log In Register

Some claim that the Creator has infinite facets, that every deity ever prayed to is one and the same. Following that line of thought, one might conclude that every temple ever constructed is equally valid, that He of Infinite Aspects exists in every church and sanctum, and can be praised and pleaded with pretty much wherever. Such an assertion is surprisingly accurate, but only up to a point. Similarly, in the realm of quantum mechanics, there exists a many-worlds interpretation, which states that every single event—from stomping a snail to detonating a thermonuclear weapon—acts as a branch point, birthing parallel...

This content is for members only. To read the full story, join today for just £1 a month!
Log In Register

Man, as history had known man, was dead to Earth. For a generation and a half, the blue-green planet had been ravaged by a world-encompassing plague the likes of which had never been dreamt of in the wildest of fictions. The plague had thieved away from its victims the capacity to communicate through any form of language, oral, written, or sign, like some demented anti-Prometheus. Now the ruins of civilization were, in the general consensus of the Martian populace, no more than a playground for savage beasts, human only in physical appearance, to wage battle against one another over the...

This content is for members only. To read the full story, join today for just £1 a month!
Log In Register

They say that hell is other people, but that isn’t true. Hell is no one. It is being completely, totally, and utterly alone. Anyone who has been to space knows this. And few people know what it means to be alone in space the way that I do. They also say that war is hell, and that is very true – I know this from experience. If you are familiar with the history of Gliese Prime, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. I’m from Zarmina, the smaller of the two inhabited planets in the system. Librus is the...

This content is for members only. To read the full story, join today for just £1 a month!
Log In Register

The cool summer air caressed Alder’s face as if to cleanse his overwhelming guilt. The burden of the past few days melted away into a new found freedom. He stood in front of his apartment building, his backpack heavy with a few necessary accessories of living, pondering his next move. Well this is it. Should I go right or left? Since his building faced east on a north-south street he felt more drawn to go south than north. Right it is. I’ve made the first decision of my new life. He turned, and with little trepidation, began making his way...

This content is for members only. To read the full story, join today for just £1 a month!
Log In Register

Five billion kilometers from Earth, Ishtar hurtled through the abyss, her antimatter reactor burning with the relentless energy of a miniature star, her lidar arrays sweeping the frozen darkness ahead, her astrogation systems parsing terabytes of positional data each fraction of a second. For long, lightless years she had traversed the desolate void, heeding a faint voice from the other end of the Solar System, racing toward a black enigma at the very edge of interstellar space. Closer and closer now; the strobing lasers plucked a signal out of the nothingness. An impulse raced through Ishtar’s artificial neural network. The...

This content is for members only. To read the full story, join today for just £1 a month!
Log In Register

Twelve lives would end if she kept spinning in a chaotic orbit around the Madeira instead of finishing her job. Zadie watched the cosmos blur into spinning streaks of light as she twirled away from her starship. Pulling her body into a ball, her star-belly spacesuit retracted its starfish nubbin arms and legs into its torso. Like a seed, she was soon enclosed at the center of a round, protective shell. She was breathing in quick gasps of jiangtek. No idea of her surroundings. Space just space. The voice of the Madeira’s commander boomed through the signal static: “What happened?”...

This content is for members only. To read the full story, join today for just £1 a month!
Log In Register

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