Fiction

Xochiquetzal and the Vengeance Fleet

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by Gerson Lodi-Ribeiro

“My Lord, the Zamorin of Calicut has imprisoned thy subjects, has killed one of thy Captains and has made mock of us throughout all the Indies. If we do not return to avenge this outrage, he will certainly carry out much worse ones, for which reason I have the greatest desire and will in my heart to destroy him and his city”.

– Vasco da Gama in Letter to the King Dom Manuel in 1521

 

After months and months of crossing the World Ocean, and several stops in strange lands, we have finally reached the legendary Calicut!

Before my very eyes exists a city without walls or defenses, which lies around the beach of the round inlet like a ring interlaced in silver and copper. The houses have white walls covered with beautiful reliefs, and roofs made of graying palm leaves. Continue Reading »

The Apprentice’s Kaleidoscope

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by Juan Antonio Fernández Madrigal

Lègere

Like a burst. Lègere has closed his eyes for a moment, hardly a second, and a whole story has been projected onto his eyelids. He has distinguished a cliff and a dance of dark colors with a rhythm marked by the arpeggio of an imaginary clavichord. The arpeggio threads the warp of a large tapestry of music. Continue Reading »

Contaminated People

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by Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

I touched the wall with my fingers. I felt a thick, oily texture, and I pulled back my hand. It’s useless, I said to myself; I’ll never get there on my own. I walked a few meters unsteadily; I slipped, fell, bumped into something solid, maybe a lamppost, and got myself totally filthy in a puddle. With difficulty, I sat up. Continue Reading »

The City Under the Seas

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by Sven Klöpping

„Water, water, everywhere, And all the boards did shrink. Water, water everywhere, Nor any drop to drink.“

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

 

Water.

Burbling, gurgling water.

Prickling in Yakuzo’s ears, binding his body to the liquid underworld he had just dived into, a fiercely quiet ocean surrounded him and fulfilled him with fear. He just wanted to scream. Something wild in the mild nothing at least, but he knew too well that it was impossible and useless, as no one would ever hear him. Hurrying upwards, bubbles — not syllables — escaped from his oxygen mask. If he had put off opening his mouth to scream, the ocean would have swallowed him in less than a second. Continue Reading »

Mark of the Beast

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by Steve Stanton

Zakariah Davis surveyed the V-net booth from across a darkened, deserted boulevard. The night was calm, but he felt a prickly unease like a static charge on the nape of his neck, a promise of adrenaline and strange neurotransmitters. A waft of air carried a faint odour of exhaust and mouldering refuse as a pregnant moon waxing gibbous laid a gossamer sheen on the suburban cityscape. The streetlights were long dead victims of power entropy, but the V-net terminal was still fully functional, an early public booth without the usual armaments, about a dozen years old school. A field technician had tested the electronics down to Sublevel Zero the previous day. Continue Reading »

Three-Fingered Joe

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by Robert Derie

Even from the back of the bar Aaron Blackman could see the thin mangled digits strum and pick at the strings. The plain white handkerchief wrestled the neck of the old guitar, concealing the tapered, mutilated fingers of Three-Fingered Joe’s left hand; his right hand was bare. A callused thumb struck the final chord of the second-to-last song in the set as Aaron checked his watch: quarter past eleven. Time enough to see Joe with the broken hands do his last song. Continue Reading »

The Castaway

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by Sergio Gaut vel Hartman

I had lived inside that body for over sixty years and it was very difficult for me to accept this new state of being, one in which the body can be discarded after use, like an empty, useless vessel.

“What are you going to do with… it?” I didn’t know what to call it; we had been one for a long time. The bio-technician shrugged his shoulders; surely, he would answer the same question several times a day, every day. Continue Reading »

A Peace of Sorts

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by Ahmed A. Khan

The relaxation exercises are not working. Neither is meditation. It is 2 AM, I am tense and jittery as I sit on my bed in a room in Hotel Guignol.

My room is small. It is on the top floor. I have the lights shut off and am looking at the night sky out of the huge bay window. A meteor shower has been predicted. Continue Reading »

I Thought I Saw a Pussy Cat

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by Eduardo Gallego & Guillem Sánchez

1

The computer knew he was dying. It was a matter of time, and not much at that; he would pass over within hours, a day at the most.

His mood had suffered some swings up and down, given the circumstances, but in general a stoic resignation prevailed. The idea of perishing irritated him, why deny it: in the end, bioquantic brains were potentially immortal. A fine piece of work, but there was no sense complaining. The damage was done. Continue Reading »

Watch Your Colors

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by Bruno Vitiello

That evening, while I was on my way to my friend Matt’s party, I could never have imagined that my life would change. It was a simple party compared with the usual ones that Matt threw at his beautiful villa. It would have been better for me if I had stayed home that evening and parked myself in front of the 3-D screen. But how could I have known then what I’m realizing now? I was calm, sure of myself without the least suspicion of what was about to happen to me… But let’s start at the beginning. Continue Reading »

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