Laws of Night and Silk
Kavian can pretend this girl is her daughter through drought and deluge, but the truth is the truth: Irasht is a weapon, and never any more.
Magic is bound by the laws a wizard carries. Day and night, air and gravity, the right place of highborn and low. The lay of words in language. The turn of the stars above high isu-Cter, the only civilization that has ever endured. All these are laws a wizard may know.
A child raised in a stone cell knows no laws. Only the dark.
And Kavian gave her daughter to the dark. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Morrigan in Shadow
She’s falling into the singularity.
Straight off her nose, shrouded in the warp of its mass, is the black hole that ate a hundred million colonists and the hope of all mankind.
So Laporte throttles up. Her fighter rattles with the fury of its final burn.
A love and war story. On Clarkesworld.
Please Undo This Hurt
I don’t want to hurt anyone. I don’t want to get on Twitter and read about all the atrocities I’m complicit in. I don’t want to trick wonderful women into spending a few months figuring out what a shithead I really am. I don’t want to raise little cats to be coyote food. I don’t want to worry about whether I’m dragging my friends down. I just want to undo all the harm I’ve ever done. Remove the fact of my birth.
Do you think that’s possible? Not a suicide, that’s selfish, it hurts people. But a really selfless way out?
Nico and Dominga go drinking. Nico’s cat just died. Dominga just went through a bad breakup, and her job as an EMT is killing her. Nico starts talking about selfless ways out. And Dominga is terrified to realize she has one. On Tor.com.
Three Bodies At Mitanni
A techno-tyranny might take the crude step of creating slave castes who derive conscious pleasure from their functions. But a clever state will go one step further and eliminate the cause of these inefficiencies at the root. They will sever thought from awareness.
Anyahera, Thienne, and Shinobu fly a centuries-long mission: locate Earth’s lost colonies, and exterminate civilizations that pose an existential threat to mankind. They have to put that mission above everything else. Even their morals. Even their marriage. In Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Print only.
You asked me why you are alive, and this is the answer: because I was asked to do the impossible, to choose someone to die. And I loved them all, loved them as I loved Kumara, as I loved myself. I could not bear the choice.
You should let go. You can’t. In Escape Pod.
Anna Saves Them All
Anna spoke to an alien once before, a man who might have been born Homo sapiens but who wasn’t anything human. A beast in a red beret, servant of Ali Hassan al-Majid, who devised al-Anfal at his cousin’s request.
He didn’t believe that she was human either. He asked:
Are you an animal, daughter of Serhing Rekani?
Sealed in the poison viscera of a fallen starship, Kurdish expatriate Anna Rekani faces a terrible and familiar choice: commit a small atrocity, or permit a vast one. In Shimmer.
Sekhmet Hunts the Dying Gnosis: A Computation
Behold Sekhmet! Blood and brawn, fang and claw, shoulders caked in salt. Risen from the anaerobic sea, the ancient broth, to hunt and kill her foe.
Sekhmet devours. A myth of origin and transcendence. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
Economies of Force
The drones began to flock. First Rade saw only one, a high white cross that roamed the clouds. When it caught the sun the lenses of its eyes glinted like calm water.
“Is it the Loom?” he asked his father.
“No, Rade,” he said, snipping at the shaggy mass of Rade’s hair. “That’s our protection.”
The enigmatic Loom spreads from mind to mind, transmitted by anything that carries information: gesture, word, art. With any human defense compromised, the government of Harinder’s World resorts to a harsher kind of oversight. In Apex.
Morrigan in the Sunglare
Things Laporte says, during the war –
Cast into the hellfire of humanity’s civil war, young pilot Noemi Laporte discovers a terrifying, preternatural instinct for killing. A love and war story. In Clarkesworld. Thanks to the Blue Planet crew.
Never Dreaming, in Four Burns
If she doesn’t kill herself first, she’ll enter terminal dementia, withdraw from all outside stimulation, and die. Every time she wakes up from a dream she thinks: it hasn’t started yet. And: that could have been the last one.
She’s never going to see her engine fly.
Nur Zaleha binti Abdul Samad is right on the edge of inventing an engine that will give mankind the stars. But she has sporadic fatal insomnia: she’s going to lose the ability to dream, and then she’s going to die. There’s an impossible way out, but it has a price. In Clarkesworld.
Testimony Before an Emergency Session of the Naval Cephalopod Command
The squid is a solipsistic psychopathic God with a lust for submarine hull and a mandate from Ronald Reagan branded on its hunting tentacles.
A rogue Navy squid destroys a Soviet submarine and brings the world to the edge of nuclear war. One acid-washed cephalopod psychologist knows why. In Drabblecast.
A Tank Only Fears Four Things
When Tereshkova wakes up from the surgery, she is a tank. She knows it in her hull.
Love, trauma, uncertainty: all much easier to handle as a Soviet main battle tank. In Lightspeed.
Our Fire, Given Freely
Now that tribute sings in Bray’s veins, burns in the sweat upon her brow, alloys her bone and breath. Six years she has been sworn and still this power dizzies her.
Fire flows from the people to the monarch, so that she may rule unsleeping; from the monarch to the şövalye, so that they will fight unvanquished. These are the rules of civilization on the Black Atora. Until now. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
A Plant (Whose Name is Destroyed)
Hayden opens the blinds and leaves them that way. “I don’t like theology much,” he says. “It makes me self-conscious.”
Naveen needs to learn whether his boyfriend is actually a Sumerian deity, and how much you can love someone before you stop being yourself. In Strange Horizons.
Worth of Crows
Death comes for her in the night, drawn by hypothermia, and she turns it away with an upraised hand. It lopes under the dancing sky, circling her, trampling the reflections of ten thousand stars.
You are mine, it says. You are mine four times over, now. Come with me.
She came alone, with Death, to kill the dragon that ate the spring. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant, Her Field-General, and Their Wounds
Baru Cormorant’s wound swallows half her world. She sorts her existence left and right, so that she can forget the proper things by turning.
Treachery, neuroscience, and doomed love. In Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Thanks to Rachel Sobel.
Cronus and the Ships
Titans moved in the dark. Self-replicating behemoths. An ancient ecosystem that swallowed rock and starlight and, above all, sought out the radio cries of newborn species. Jealous gods evolved to extinguish competitors in the cradle. Cronus machines.
A very short story of AI starships and self-replicating machines. In Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Print only.