Where Would You Be Now?

The world as they know it is ending; a new one is taking its place. Among the doctors and nurses of a clinic-turned-fortress, Kath is coming of age in this new world, and helping define it. But that doesn’t make letting go of the old any easier.

 

 

Kath sat on the roof of the beat-up Tesla S, legs draped down the back window, shotgun in both hands, looking out into the dark for whatever might hurt them. They’d come forty miles or so to an encampment in what had once been a park with a picnic area and duck pond. A playground with a plastic slide and jungle gym was still intact, though weeds came up through the bark mulch footing. A collection of trucks and campers clustered here, circled together with space for a campfire in the middle. The fire was banked now. Some tents and lean-tos ...

Alchemy

nevertheless_janson

On International Women’s Day, several of the best writers in SF/F today reveal new stories inspired by the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted”, raising their voice in response to a phrase originally meant to silence.

The stories publish on Tor.com all throughout the day of March 8th. They are collected here.

 

Alchemy

 

She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

Performed endless experiments, recorded measurements and observations in careful writing on lined paper, pages and pages sewn up in books and neatly stored. How much of this acid added drop by drop to a powder of carbon, a scraping of iron, caused the reaction she desired? When that combination failed, she tried lithium and lead. Copper, in a glass bulb filled with nitrogen. Titration, oxidation, precipitation and solutions. A careful test with flames, producing an analysis of light. Practice practice practice. (“You’ll never find what ...

carrievaughn-helensittig-crop

Alchemy

nevertheless_janson

On International Women’s Day, several of the best writers in SF/F today reveal new stories inspired by the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted”, raising their voice in response to a phrase originally meant to silence.

The stories publish on Tor.com all throughout the day of March 8th. They are collected here.

 

Alchemy

 

She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.

Performed endless experiments, recorded measurements and observations in careful writing on lined paper, pages and pages sewn up in books and neatly stored. How much of this acid added drop by drop to a powder of carbon, a scraping of iron, caused the reaction she desired? When that combination failed, she tried lithium and lead. Copper, in a glass bulb filled with nitrogen. Titration, oxidation, precipitation and solutions. A careful test with flames, producing an analysis of light. Practice practice practice. (“You’ll never find what ...

carrievaughn-helensittig-crop

Five Books That Make Living and Working in Space Seem Ordinary

martiansabroad-header During the height of NASA’s shuttle program, some commentators occasionally asked the question: Is space travel becoming too routine? Had we stopped paying enough attention? I think they were nostalgic for the heady days of the Apollo program when every flight was an event, every mission marked a milestone, and ticker tape parades for astronauts were the norm. We’ve gotten to a point where orbital missions don’t even make the evening news. Every time I’ve heard this question—Is space flight becoming too routine?—I think: But that’s exactly what we want! We want space travel to become entirely routine, so we don’t even think of it anymore! Aren’t we aiming for a point where we, the ordinary public, don’t pay any more attention to the launch of an interplanetary ship than we do the daily flights leaving our local airport? Why yes, I’m spending a couple of weeks on holiday ...
finitys-end
leviathan-wakes
The Vor Game
Long Way to a Small Angry Planet robot rights Becky Chambers
stars-destination
martiansabroad-thumbnail

Iain M. Banks’ Use of Weapons and an Extreme Sense of Wonder

useofweapons Most science fiction and fantasy novels have a breaking point past which they would strain suspension of disbelief past bearing. Too many big ideas that don’t quite fit together, too much weirdness to process. Too many boundaries crossed for the fictional world to seem real. Good novels don’t get to that point. Great ones get close without crossing over. Iain M. Banks’s novels of the Culture don’t actually seem to have that breaking point to begin with. Banks created a universe where the unbelievable and astonishing are part of the world, and suspension of disbelief isn’t needed because believing a constant stream of unbelievable worldbuilding is, in fact, part of the worldbuilding. From giant self-contained, sentient ships with too-whimsical names (the GSV Congenital Optimist) to characters existing in two places at once because cloned doppelgangers are a matter of course to far-out technology and extreme cultures and … actually, ...
martiansabroad

The Thing About Growing up in Jokertown

jokertown_full

< p class="frontmatter">The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years. In Carrie Vaughn’s “The Thing about Growing Up in Jokertown,” a group of teenage jokers yearn to explore outside the confines of their strange little neighborhood and get a real taste of the Big Apple.   The thing about growing up in Jokertown is it gives you some weird ideas about what’s normal. Ma got me a job that summer at Antoine’s Corner Store, just a couple of hours a day. She’s been working there for I don’t know how long. Like twenty years. Forever. She wants me working because she says I need to do something, maybe to keep me out of trouble. She and Dad are apparently worried I’m going to join a gang, like the Werewolves or the Killer Geeks, because those are the ones they read about in the papers. They read all ...

Martians Abroad

martiansabroad

< p class="frontmatter">Polly Newton has one single-minded dream, to be a starship pilot and travel the galaxy. Her mother, the Director of the Mars Colony, derails Polly’s plans when she sends Polly and her genius twin brother, Charles, to Galileo Academy on Earth.

Homesick and cut off from her plans for her future, Polly cannot seem to fit into life on Earth. Strange, unexplained, dangerous coincidences centered on their high-profile classmates begin piling up. Charles may be right—there’s more going on than would appear, and the stakes are high. With the help of Charles, Polly is determined to find the truth, no matter the cost.

Carrie Vaughn’s science fiction debut, Martians Abroad, is available January 17th from Tor Books.

   

Chapter 1

There are a thousand shades of brown. My scooter skimmed above the surface so fast the ground blurred, kicking up a wake of dust that hazed from the ...

That Game We Played During the War

thatgameweplayed_full

< p class="frontmatter">The people of Gaant are telepaths. The people of Enith are not. The two countries have been at war for decades, but now peace has fallen, and Calla of Enith seeks to renew an unlikely friendship with Gaantish officer Valk over an even more unlikely game of chess.   From the moment she left the train station, absolutely everybody stopped to look at Calla. They watched her walk across the plaza and up the steps of the Northward Military Hospital. In her dull gray uniform she was like a storm cloud moving among the khaki of the Gaantish soldiers and officials. The peace between their peoples was holding; seeing her should not have been such a shock. And yet, she might very well have been the first citizen of Enith to walk across this plaza without being a prisoner. Calla wasn’t telepathic, but she could guess what every one of ...