Fiction

A Symphony of Drones

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by Harper Hull

There really wasn’t a word that Bastian Appenheimer could think of that depressed him as much as drone. It was a lifeless, soulless shell of a word which left slipstreams of flimsy grey choke in its wake should it ever be uttered out loud, before falling to the floor deflated and with a barely audible chink. He regarded the shiny boy standing at the gleaming steel counter, his head barely clearing it, and smiled kindly.

“The drone, you say?” repeated Bastian. Continue Reading »

The Saving Power

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by Luke Jackson

The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity. (One is unable to notice something because it is always before one’s eyes.) The real foundations of his enquiry do not strike a man at all. – Wittgenstein

The ideas swarmed around his head like angry bees. His writing hand was cramped from the pages he had scrawled trying to capture them all before they dissipated. He had at last propounded a solid theoretical framework that built upon the work of Martin Heidegger, but that also revealed several flaws he had found in the great philosopher’s work. More precisely, he had rejected the mind-body duality, as Heidegger had, but had managed to avoid some of the reductionism inherent in the concept of Being-in-the-world. He had also greatly developed Heidegger’s ontology beyond the ontological-ontic distinction.

His wife Althea had left him earlier that afternoon. It was probably best this way. She hadn’t understood the importance of the work. Continue Reading »

Patriotic Crimes. A Chronicle of Lost Wars

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by Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro

“Brazil expects every man to do his duty.”

(Admiral Francisco Manoel Barroso da Silva

– Sept. 29, 1804 – June 6, 1865)

 

In January 1873, on a sweltering summer afternoon in Rio de Janeiro, a young dark-bearded man with hair graying at the temples squatted behind the trunk of one of the many wide-canopied trees on the ample grounds surrounding the Palácio de São Cristóvão.

He was waiting and the wait was pure torture. It reminded him of the suffering and uncertainties he had endured in the dungeons of a military prison in Asunción.

In the intense, humid heat, the linen shirt stuck to his sweaty chest. Burs clung to his trousers and pricked his calves.

A loaded Spencer weighed heavily in his lap. An additional magazine complete with seven bullets dragged down the deep pocket of his jacket. The spirit of this former officer from the once proud Brazilian Imperial Navy had been broken during the years spent as a prisoner in Paraguay. Continue Reading »

An Elephant of a Different Color

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by Gustavo Bondoni

The nearest mammoth bull reared up, aggressive pose indicating that he was master of all he surveyed. Behind him, the lead female brushed aside a recalcitrant bush with her colossal head. Nothing would stand in the way of this herd.

And yet something had, millennia ago. Something had transformed these magnificent beasts of the northern steppes into nothing more than a memory. The man who’d created the life-sized holosculpture was a great artist, but he would have had to be much more to bring his subjects to life. Continue Reading »

The Presonic Man

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by Ahmed A. Khan

It was a bright spring morning when Gabriel’s life changed.

At the time, Gabriel was a moderately well-to-do writer and lived alone in a townhouse.

That morning, he switched on the TV. A cartoon was being shown but the sound he heard was not the sound of a cartoon but of news being read. Was something wrong with the TV? Had two channels somehow got mixed up? Then he heard the news reader announce the date. How could it be the 25th of May, today? Yesterday, when he had gone to sleep, it had been the 20th. What was going on? Had he slept for four days – a modern day Rip Van Winkle? He ran outside, picked up the newspaper lying on the doorstep and looked at the date. Twenty first of May. Continue Reading »

Kohl-lined

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by Shweta Narayan

Blue neon catches on chrome, on white shirts and sneakers, on the ashes smeared on my skin. Twin lights cast knife-shadows in rhythm, splitting and crashing together in a cartoon bruise. Like the group onstage, playing the colors.

She tours as Kali and the Backup Smurfs. The smurfs are gnomes in face paint: natural mutation, modification, or little people come out into the open, take your pick. No matter that modding is the likeliest explanation; our kind steps outside and urban legends grow into their predictable trinity — monster, freak, alien. Continue Reading »

Sex and the Deep-Sea Anglerfish

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by Aleksandar Žiljak

“What was I thinking, marrying a biomecha designer?”

“And what was I thinking, marrying an ichthyologist?”

“May I remind you,” Yagoda replies in her sweetest voice, “that without this ichthyologist here, you would be dead by now.”

“And may I remind you, my dear,” Peter answers, irritated, “that without this biomecha designer here, you would be dead, too.” Continue Reading »

Cataclysm

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by Charkrienorrathip

The bright stars had already littered the melanistic sky that blanketed the skyline of the city when Kat was finally able to leave his office. Although he was tired from the various meetings that he had had to attend that day, several points and issues raised during those grueling meetings still lingered in his mind as he drove his car out onto the street of the metropolis and headed for home. He thought to himself, how easy it would be to just leave the pile of work on the desk, like all his workmates do, and go home. But he realized that he would not be able to endure the worry-filled sleepless night, and the endless accusations he would throw at himself about lacking responsibility and abandoning his tasks. Continue Reading »

Haptic

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by Thorsten Küper

The guy crouching at the café table, looking up at me, seems like an inflatable homo-sapien imitation made of light rubber, deflated after somebody let out most of the air. „Really, I’m fine,“ he assures me again with faint mumbled words, whilst tiny saliva bubbles burst between his lips. „I just wanted to inquire.“ A nervous gesture with his right hand that holds a half-burned cigarette. The ash comes off and falls on the table. „I mean…I wanted to ask if…“

It’s his third attempt to utter the same question, again ending in mid-sentence. Continue Reading »

Poorly Formulated Questions

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by Cyril Simsa

He had done alright for himself, had PBL, Everard thought, as he sat on the old man’s porch sipping tea.

The cabin had been styled to look as old-fashioned as possible, with jet-black wooden shingles and exterior walls clad in the split trunks of logs as weathered and gnarled as dinosaur bones, but no doubt it would be more modern inside. And the setting was grand, tucked up high on the mountainside amongst stands of twisty, resinous pine and shimmery, pink granite rock formations. There had been deer and beaver in the woods on the way up, and the remains of a quince orchard, long since abandoned by the original homesteaders. Wild strawberries. There weren’t that many people who could still afford to live like this, surrounding themselves with over-priced faux-pioneer chic in a natural setting that was all too real and precious. Continue Reading »

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