Science Fiction

The Sleeper

“Welcome, Sleeper.”

Kora takes the blackberry water offered by the floating tray and shudders as she looks out the glass wall to the thirty-story drop. 

Silver buildings crowd the crosshatch of streets, huddling against one another for warmth. The river crawls between, lazy and black, a sheen of ice sweating on the surface. Above it, a train winds past, clinging to the tracks like a frostbitten tongue. An endless winter, a long and sunless scream, encapsules the city of Chicago.

Every Part of the Buffalo

“Gentlemen, I think we accomplished a lot for the morning session and I’m sure we’re all about ready for a bio-break.”

Nods of ascent went around the boardroom but before anyone could rise, the moderator held up a firm palm.

“But, before we do, Dr. Marjorie Allen from the research division has asked to say a few words. Dr. Allen?”


Wagner is sick to his stomach. His cheek is pressed up against a cold, corrugated metal floor, and everywhere around him there are others, moaning and clutching their stomachs. The entire room is pitching and heaving in great swells, over and over. He decides that he must be in the hold of a ship, a very large ship. He smells steel and powder and canvas and vomit, especially vomit. He retches, but nothing comes out except spittle. It feels like his throat will turn inside out and spill out of his mouth onto the deck.

Pest Control

The first signs of infestation emerged around container bay 12, where we stored uranium from the Onara 4 mines. A door panel had stopped working, and the duty engineer found chewed cables in the walls. Droppings in the cargo squad’s kitchen, next to ravaged packs of chocolate biscuits and beef jerky, were discovered soon after.

When I received the call, I went there at once. Pest control is an urgent task for the cleaning squad, second only to decontamination. I used the time it took to reach the container decks to refresh my knowledge of Onaran wildlife.

Flash Crash

Note: This story originally appeared in Escape Pod as Episode 683.


MAISIE was seven years old on the day she woke up and died.

Blame it on the algorithms, if you wish. The survivors — and there were not many of them — certainly did.

Welcome to Relationship Town, Population 2

GERT status update:

G-tube former embryo final failure rate: 100%. Restarting with H-tube embryos. Please advise.

**Incoming encrypted transmission: Geocoupled Extrasolar Report Transmitter key required**

**Key confirmed**

Origin transmission:

Affirmative. No change in colony deployment protocol. Proceed with H-tube embryo thawing, gestation, and rearing.

GERT status update:

H-tube former embryo final failure rate: 100%. Restarting with I-tube embryos. Please advise.