It is not the dust that brings her tears. The Lachrymist’s house is dusty, fragments of time and memory fallen everywhere, a living blanket that drapes itself over tables and chairs and things even stranger. But time and memory are to be expected anywhere the dead gather, and even in this abundance, they do not drive her to weeping. Neither is her weeping caused by the voices, calling to each other from shadowy ceiling corners, memories still embodied, repeating phrases into the cold air. | Copyright 2020 by Kat Howard. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
It took twice as long to get to the third deck from the first as it did to get to the first deck from the fifth. Alice was quite certain there was no mechanism in existence capable of adding fractional decks to the ship, and so was chalking this up to another aspect of the ongoing computer malfunction. She supposed a way to validate this was to ask that the elevator stop at, say, deck two-and-five-sixteenths, but she also didn’t want to encourage the computer’s departures from reality any more than necessary. | Copyright 2020 by Gene Doucette. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
Things began to go badly for the crew of the USFS Erwin around the time Dr. Marchere’s coffee mug spontaneously reassembled itself. Dr. Louis Marchere was not, at that moment, conducting some manner of experiment. Well, he was, only not on entropy and the nature of time. He was running several other tests, of the kind that make perfect sense on a scientific vessel such as the Erwin. About half of them were biological in nature, concerning how small samples of cellular material react to certain deep-space factors. | Copyright 2020 by Gene Doucette. Narrated by Justine Eyre, Stefan Rudnicki.
Gopal knew before he booted up the game---a Christmas present from his dad---that his character would be some form of elf or human, because the other races were all ugly, and he didn’t play games to be ugly. And he knew too, although he didn’t say it, that his character would be a girl. He always played girls online, although he’d be ashamed if anyone knew it, precisely because it played into the online belief that most girls in most games were “really” men. | Copyright 2020 by Naomi Kanakia. Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki.
Start with a romance: a man and a woman who are wildly and irrevocably in love with each other. Or two men. Or two women. Or two people, because life is beautiful and complex. Just know that these Lovers are important. The fate of the galaxy rests on their shoulders---because, of course, the fate of an entire portion of known space can be determined by two people in love. The laws of physics are remarkably vulnerable to the laws of love. | Copyright 2020 by Jenny Rae Rappaport. Narrated by Justine Eyre.
Vivian sat at a café opposite Cass. Everything around her had a gritty, dingy quality. Even Cass looked run down, their face deeply tanned and distressingly wrinkled. They were old now, many decades past being the child that Vivian remembered. She looked down at her hands, so different than the black shadows that she’d grown accustomed to seeing during all her years as a Shade---the skin was covered in age spots and hung loose on the bones. | 2020 by Caroline M. Yoachim. Originally published in OR ELSE THE LIGHT, edited by John Joseph Adams, Christie Yant, and Hugh Howey. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.
My parents’ farm has shrunk, as old things tend to do. The shed, the workshop, the paddock with its doubled wire fences and chicken coop---all squat and rain-blackened, coming into focus as I step from the car as if I have put on glasses or wiped rain from a window. The house itself stands straight-spined beyond the pear tree, gray in the drizzle, more withdrawn than the last time I visited. The tree has not changed. | Copyright 2017 by Stephanie Malia Morris. Previously published in FIYAH. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Janina Edwards.
Narrated by Judy Young.
Isabelle Winters once saw a fairy. For real. It was little, like a hummingbird, with a hummingbird’s frantic wings, and it was moving through the garden, shaking the rosebuds open for the bees. She’s just told this to Polly, though not exactly in those words. The sarcastic for real, for instance, is all Polly. If there was ever a girl primed to see fairies, Isabelle Winters is that girl. | Copyright 2017 by Karen Joy Fowler. Originally published in ASIMOV'S SCIENCE FICTION. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Judy Young.
With the right overlays, the city was charming---apartment buildings done up like giant row houses, seamlessly blending Victorian and modern sensibilities, boutiques and cafés on tree-lined streets, parks bathed in sunshine. Vivian Watanabe had lived on this block, once, in a high-rise apartment painted cornflower blue with trim in teal and white. She couldn’t see it now, not the way she used to. | Copyright 2020 by Caroline M. Yoachim. Previously published in BURN THE ASHES, edited by John Joseph Adams, Christie Yant, and Hugh Howey. Reprinted by permission of the author. Narrated by Susan Hanfield.