Issues from 2022
Issue #349 – Science-Fantasy Month 6
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Special double-issue for BCS Science-Fantasy Month 6, featuring a bonus story, a bonus novella, and new science-fantasy cover art “Ancient Ones” by Jose Borges.

Bonsai Starships

Today Kei tended the three that had been given to her care in her first year. If she did well—if the bonsai starships matured into acceptable usefulness—she would be initiated; she would join the shrine's priesthood.

The third bonsai swayed to the bleak tides of distant and colliding black hole inspirals.
Blood Grains Scream in Memories

That dying anchor said some mysterious ‘he’ was looking for her. Chakatie tried to think of who that could be. When she’d been an anchor in charge of her own land, she’d thought she’d been even-handed. But traveling with the day-fellows had revealed to her the painful reality of being on the receiving end of the grains’ anger and punishments—pains she’d once inflicted on far too many people to count.

Chakatie had figured that’s what the grains would demand.
Rich Growth

But now, as I age and see the beginning of personal withering, I find I want to know that this patch will be tended once I lie down and die. So I’ve saved enough for a child of my own. Thirty gemflowers. There must surely be somebody out there who will exchange their own treasure for such a fortune.

Let this growth be the start of a stalk that reaches the roof of the dome and spreads its seeds across the high jeweled panels.
Burying the Seeds of Spider Gods

“We are not afraid,” said one man with greying hair—I remembered him as a younger man, wielding an axe that had severed my legs from my body. “But the seasons have grown harsh. There is not much food.” The silence that followed served as grim confirmation.

I looked down at the seeds. In my head the voices of my caretakers suddenly rang. 
Audio Fiction Podcast:
Bonsai Starships

Podcast: Download (Duration: 30:27 — 20.91MB)
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The third bonsai swayed to the bleak tides of distant and colliding black hole inspirals.
From the Archives:
Blood Grains Speak Through Memories
Even though the chilled spring day promised nothing but beauty, the grains in Frere-Jones's body shivered to her sadness as she looked at the nearby dirt road.
Issue #348
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Clay

Emmanuel 7.18 finds himself a glorified errand-boy, hauling the local riverbed clay up from the basement where it is kept cool and wet in sealed containers. It's more physical labor than he’s used to while on his Debt, but he finds he doesn’t mind. It reminds him of being home—when he’s home with his batch-sibs, he’s the default heavy lifter. He has two good arms and no gash in his chest.

“That’s a kiln?” Emmanuel 7.18 asks. “Do you... Do you make... prosthetics?”
Godmaker

The godmaker smiled pleasantly and made his way home quickly as he could. He shut the doors of his shop and lay in his bed, telling himself again and again about the power of coincidence. Belief did strange things to the mind, made patterns appear where there were none, made three incidents seem a certainty. He was a craftsman, nothing more. He sold icons and idols, nothing more. “I cannot make gods,” he said, though there was nobody to hear him.

There was silence in the workshop, and for a terrible moment, he was afraid he would receive an answer.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
Godmaker

Podcast: Download (Duration: 33:02 — 22.69MB)
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There was silence in the workshop, and for a terrible moment, he was afraid he would receive an answer.
From the Archives:
The Gods Come to Sredna
Like the log stockades of Sredna, it would hold a ceratopsid until she decided to leave.
Issue #347
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Chrysalis

It was not for the knife to judge. Today it had fulfilled its purpose. Tomorrow, next year, a century from now, it would do the same, until it too was broken.

Hidden in its cocoon, the obsidian butterfly waited to become.
Three Songs to Fill Up the Shadow

“That would be a fine thing, to hear that fiddle played as it should be,” the ferryman said, mostly to hisself. He cast an eye over the dark expanse of river, dotted with white ice cakes. “You sure, jacks? A trip like this, it rarely takes you where you’re planning.”

There’s other ways to start this one, but this time, we'll start with the ferryman.
Audio Vault:
The Three Feats of Agani

Podcast: Download (Duration: 35:37 — 24.46MB)
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Introduced by the author, posing questions as to who stories belong to and whether they matter.
From the Archives:
Unrest
We are borne up by fate like leaves on the wind, and sometimes carried home.
Issue #346
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Featuring new cover art: “Walking Away” by Viktor Mukhin.

Redfin Spine

The words came out like he'd tumbled them over and over, sharp rocks in the sand, until the edges wore down and he found them comfortable. He stood back by the rudder's long arm, tense and unsure, as far as he could get from me and his weapons. In his way he feared me almost as much as I feared him.

I thought I saw a smile flicker past in the dark, quick as one of his sharktooth arrows.
To Embody a Wildfire Starting

He stayed awake for three days, using pencil and paint and volcanic pigment and anything else he had to hand, to render what he'd seen in journalistic detail. In lieu of signature, he scribbled the demi-asuric precept at the base, we shall embody a wildfire starting, and shortly afterwards a dissident mole in the Hegemony central command arranged for it to appear in an official pamphlet. It spread, like a wildfire starting. He was arrested four days later.

He stayed awake for three days, using pencil and paint and volcanic pigment and anything else he had to hand, to render what he'd seen.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
Redfin Spine

Podcast: Download (Duration: 23:34 — 16.19MB)
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I thought I saw a smile flicker past in the dark, quick as one of his sharktooth arrows.
From the Archives:
February Moon
My children have spent so much time living with terrible realities that I’m afraid they no longer take the world’s dangers seriously.
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