S’lisha traced her scaly claw over the transparent metal surface of the incubator. It was the most complex cargo crate that she’d ever seen — heating and cooling coils all around the sides, a humidifier built into the base, and brackets inside to hold all of the eggs carefully in place. It had come with detailed instructions for all the settings — cool at first, but warmer and moister over time. Continue reading “Many Tiny Feet”
The city stretches as far as I know in every direction. Some kids at school say it covers the entire world, wrapping the globe of our planet in concrete snakes and strangling tentacles, dimpling its surface with metal and glass towers. I don’t know if they’re right. The websites that would tell me for sure — the good, scientific, trustworthy ones — are behind paywalls, and my parents say we can’t trust what we read on the free sites.
1. I’ve consulted with the Oracle of Delphi and asked her whether you and I would ever be friends. She said we would be the best of friends, and Apollo would sing songs of our friendship on Mount Olympus. Hestia will smile, sweetly and secretly, as she stirs her hearth fires and thinks of our friendship. Bacchanals will be held in our friendship’s honor.
Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, January 2018
A metal behemoth cruised through the nebula, cool and casual, like it didn’t care about any of the frolicking younglings and their sing-song radio waves or the older starwhals jockeying for territory, rearranging the ambient dust into moats and walls.
Originally published in Shark Week: An Ocean Anthology, June 2021
Salty air tickled Commander Wilker’s long nose and whistled past his pointed ears. The light ocean breeze ruffled the long fur of his Collie mane. He placed a paw gently on the hull of his shuttle craft, parked on the small, sandy island in the middle of a yawning purple-blue sea. He was waiting for his co-pilot to join him, a local to this watery world.
Though he wouldn’t mind if they were running late. The Collie dog had seldom been anywhere as peaceful as the surface of Kallendria 7. There was an entire, technologically advanced society on this world, but it was all beneath the waves. Up here, he could have been standing on a completely untouched, unpopulated world. Nothing as far as the eye could see except for rolling purple waves, deep blue sky, and the occasional silver sand island. Continue reading “The Unshelled”
Originally published in Luna Station Quarterly, June 2019
Light glinted off the tips of the spires that rose from the rocky asteroid base of Kau Meti as Gerengelo’s shuttle approached. The yellow sunlight caught the metal of the spires in just the right way to gleam enticingly, like a wink and the promise of a shiny, exciting future. Gerangelo was not impressed. He was familiar with the promises humans made to themselves and others — with words, with shiny buildings, even with contracts filled with legally binding language. They made promises and broke them. Sometimes, though, when they wouldn’t break their own promises, Gerangelo had to break their promises for them — fight his way through with a machete of righteousness. Continue reading “Looking for Sentience”
Originally published in Daily Science Fiction, May 2021
When the snow began falling inside Crossroads Space Station, all of the aliens stopped what they were doing and held very still. The snowflakes caught on long fuzzy manes and feathered wings; they pinged lightly against hard insectile carapaces and shimmering reptilian scales. The white flakes hung in the air, stirred by the puffs of breath from snouts and beaks. The breaths themselves crystallized in the sudden chill.
First published in Nature Futures, December 2021, by Springer Nature
The concrete floor of the basement was freezing cold right through Becca’s socks, and the air smelled moldy. She hadn’t properly aired the basement out since it had flooded most of a year ago, last spring. Becca yanked on the corner of the old, beat-up cardboard box with the robotic Christmas tree in it, and the box scraped across the floor as it pulled out from under the tool shelves. Continue reading “The Christmas Tree Barn”
One arm sagged. Seven arms writhed and worked, puckering their sucker discs and pulling the joint-being they composed across the slippery rocks. The gaspingly dry, slippery rocks. But the sagging arm — as little as it helped with pulling, and as much as it acted like a dead weight needing to be pulled — had dreamed about crossing the rocks. It had dreamed of wonders on the other side. And seven other arms had listened to those dreams. Been compelled by those dreams, drawn to explore the rocks at the top edge of the ocean. Continue reading “The Dreaming Arm”