Wonderland

Life After the Zombie Apocalypse

Wonderland - J. Scott Coatsworth
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 2.99 USD
Pages: 238
Paperback - First: $ 7.99 USD
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 102

Zeke is a hermit in his late forties who lives a quiet life in a small cabin in the Western Montana mountains, a few miles outside of Thompson Falls. He’s gotten used to being alone since the end of the world, and has everything he needs. Everything but someone to talk to.

Nathan is a younger man on a cross-country trek, searching the country for someone... anyone still alive. Saddled with a ghost from his old life and a case of OCD, he stumbles upon Thompson Falls and a pack of rabid dogs.

Rescued by Zeke, he has to figure out how to be human again. And with Christmas just a week away, both men have to figure out if there’s something left to be hopeful for, and if they might have a future together.

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Publisher: Other Worlds Ink
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Zeke returned to the kitchen and pulled a couple dirty plates from the sink.

Nathan had flinched when Zeke had hugged him. He had started to shake.

Did that mean Nathan liked him? Was afraid of him, disgusted by him? He didn’t know how to read the signs. He'd always been crap with all that touchy feely stuff.

He glared at the stacks of dirty dishes. He hadn't quite finished cleaning the place, but maybe he could keep Nathan out of there until he had a chance to get things organized.

His visitor seemed like a nice guy. Zeke wished his gaydar was better.

He washed the plates with some dish soap, giving them a good scrub, and dried them with some of his precious paper towels. He pulled out the last of his smoked salmon and put it on the plates, along with the fruit salad. "I have a few Snapples left," he called. "Lemon or peach?"

"Peach is fine."

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Zeke hauled the plates and a couple forks out into the living room and presented one of them to Nathan with a flourish. "Compliments of the chef."

Nathan laughed. "What I wouldn't give to go to a nice restaurant again." He took the plate and set it on his lap.

"I would love to have cheese again. Especially mozzarella."

"I would die for a Hershey's Special Dark chocolate bar."

"I loved dark chocolate." Zeke returned with the drinks and a couple more paper towels and took a seat on the floor against the wall by the fireplace where he could see Nathan properly. "Where did you start out on your journey?"

"Vermont. Seems like I've been walking forever." Nathan took a bite of the salmon. "What about you? Ooh, this is delicious."

Zeke looked around the old cabin. So many memories. "I grew up here. This was my Dad's place. He passed away a few years ago."

"It's... nice." Nathan took a drag on the bottle of Peach Snapple.

"It's a pack-rat's heaven," Zeke corrected him.

"Yeah." Nathan smiled wanly. "Sorry. My OCD is getting the better of me. I thought I had it under control, but the dog attack, and being in a place like this... Stress is a big trigger for me."

"Oh man. I'm sorry." A light went on in Zeke's head. "That's why you wanted the Xanax." He glanced outside. It was getting dark. "I can run to town right now—"

"It's all right. I can cope until tomorrow. The Xanax just helps take the edge off for a few hours; gives me time to cope. I've learned other ways to manage it."

"So... OCD. Like that TV detective, Monk?"

Nathan winced. "Yeah. Kinda. It's more complicated than that."

"How long have you had it?" Zeke's gaze lingered on Nathan's naked chest. He was feeling warmer than he ought to.

"Since I was ten." Nathan looked at the piles of stuff around the room.

Poor guy looked nervous as hell. "You think hoarding is a kind of OCD?" Zeke joked to lighten the mood.

Nathan snorted. "This isn't hoarding. It's survival."

"Yeah, I suppose you're right." Nathan was handsome, even dirty as he was. Zeke decided that he wanted to kiss him rather badly.

He shifted his trousers. He wasn't usually so out of control like this.

Of course, Nathan had the whole only other living human being on the face of the Earth thing going for him too.

COLLAPSE

Fix the World Anthology

twelve sci-fi writers save the future

Fix the World Anthology
Part of the Liminal Fiction Anthologies series:
  • Fix the World Anthology
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 6.99 USD
Pages: 238
Paperback - First: $ 16.99 USD
ISBN: 978-1-7323075-8-2
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 238

We’re a world beset by crises. Climate change, income inequality, racism, pandemics,  an almost unmanageable tangle of issues. Sometimes it’s hard to look ahead and see a hopeful future.

We asked sci-fi writers to send us stories about ways to fix what’s wrong with the world.  From the sixty-five stories we received, we chose twelve most amazing (and hopefully prescient) tales.

Dive in and find out how we might mitigate climate change, make war obsolete, switch to alternative forms of energy, and restructure the very foundations of our society,

The future’s not going to fix itself.

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Publisher: Other Worlds Ink
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The rumbling increased to a roar, and more dark patches appeared in the green lagoon waters. So expensive. So laborious to stabilize what was left. But every bit worth it, in this moment.

A great spume of water sprayed high enough to throw a shimmer of mist across her face as the first part of the old city broke the surface. As the spume cleared, the top of the Campanile di San Marco rose above the water, green roof gleaming like new. A nice touch. The Restoration Guild must have worked overtime on that one. Its golden weathervane was gone, but the bas relief of the lion of St. Mark made her clutch her heart.

“Mamma, what’s the lion for?” She licked chocolate off her hands, desperate to make her afternoon snack last just a little longer.

“It’s the symbol of the city.” Mamma put her hand on Cinzia’s chest, patting it—boom boom, boom boom. “The beating heart of who we are.”

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Cinzia stumbled. It felt like yesterday.

“You okay?” Gio’s brow creased.

“I… sorry, yes. So many memories.”

Skipping over the bridges. The bad days of the quarantine. The corner market where mamma used to do her grocery shopping…

The Flood.

Another building broke the surface nearby—the Santa Maria della Salute, the beautiful basilica. Water poured off the gorgeous green domes in a thundering flood. They were mostly intact, though one of the smaller ones had a gaping hole—water poured out of it, cascading down to the lagoon like a waterfall, joining the general uproar of the Rise.

“Look, Kendra. You can see the outlines of the Canal Grande now.” The old waterway—the pulsing artery of the city—snaked away from them like a backwards ’S.’ In the distance, she could make out the edge of the Sestriere Cannaregio, the district where her mamma had lived in a modest apartment in an old stone palazzo that looked out on a concrete courtyard.

Waters rising, as it rained for close on a month, coming ever closer to their own second-floor balcony.

What if the water doesn’t stop coming?” Cinzia stared out at the concrete courtyard, where the seawater swirled and churned.

“Don’t worry about that, tesoro. The water always stops, eventually. Now come here and help me with dinner.”

She had been lucky. She had survived.

All across the lagoon, the buildings of Venice were rising from the water. Many were broken, piles of bricks and debris covered with algae and surprised fish that flopped around on suddenly exposed land. The outlines of the city were becoming clear as water poured out of the buildings, churning the lagoon into a muddy, frothy mess.

A row of palazzos along the edge of the Canal Grande collapsed, sending up a deafening roar as they crumbled into rubble. Cinzia stepped back instinctively, pulling Kendra with her as the platform rose thirty meters into the air to avoid the cloud of debris that briefly rose above the lagoon before settling back to earth.

“Nothing to be alarmed about. Not all buildings were stabilized prior to the Rise.” Doctor Horvat’s lined face nodded reassuringly from the hovering screen before them, her voice broadcast across the world and to the Lunar colonies far above. “We expected some collapses. We will keep you away from the dangerous areas.”

“What if the city doesn’t stop rising?” Kendra grasped the railing, her gaze locked on the scene below.

Gio knelt next to the girl. “There’s no chance of that. The polyps have a very short lifetime…”

Cinzia was grateful to him. He probably understood the science behind all of this far better than she.

Her mind drifted.

They ate the last of the almond cantucci, savoring the hard cookies even though they were stale. Cinzia was still hungry, but she knew better than to ask for more. There was no more.

Outside, the rain had finally slowed to a constant drizzle.

Mamma ruffled her hair, managing a wan smile. “I need you to stay here, Cinzia. Someone will come for you, I promise. I will find us help.”

The helicopters had stopped coming days before, and the boats that had been plentiful the first few days, with men telling them to stay put, had bypassed their part of the city ever since.

The rumbling subsided.

Cinzia opened her eyes and looked around. For just a moment, there was absolute silence on the traghetto, along the shore, and on the sky board.

She looked over the railing.

Venice—her Venice—lay before her. It was in sad shape. Many of the landmarks she remembered were tarnished or broken. Whole zones of the city had collapsed, and except for Piazza San Marco, a green film covered the risen city. She was a ghost of her former glory.

But she was there, as solid and real as the hand before Cinzia’s face.

—From "Rise," by J. Scott Coatsworth

COLLAPSE

Innovation

Queer Sci Fi's Flash Fiction Contest Book 6

Innovation
Part of the QSF Flash Fiction series:
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 4.99 USD
Pages: 249
Paperback (Abkhazian) - First: $ 16.99 USD
Pages: 248

IN-NO-VA-TION (Noun)

1) A new idea, method, or device.

2) The introduction of something new.

3) The application of better solutions to meet unarticulated needs.

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

Migration feaures 300-word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Excerpt:

The Serpent and His Summoner

Matt Doyle (300 Words)

 

“Why?” Kourt whined, his feathered, serpentine tail tensing in shock. “Why would you do this?”

David smiled and willed himself forward, traversing the electric haze of the containment unit with ease. “For us.”

“No,” the demon replied, turning his head away. “You died. And now you are trapped.”

“I don’t view it as being trapped,” David replied, crossing his arms and shooting his companion an indignant look. “You once told me that you would do anything to be with me. Was that true, or just part of the summoning contract?”

“It was true,” Kourt huffed. “Not that it would matter if it were not.”

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David nodded, turned, and tapped three times on the wall. After a few seconds, three more answered and the wall faded from view. “Two taps would mean I made a mistake and I’m coming out,” he explained. “Three means I stay, and the exit can be shut down.”

“Fool! Bring it back!”

David shrugged. “I can’t. My assistants can use the tech I created, but I was the only one with magic. Without me, they can’t even redraw the summoning circle.”

“So this is your machine. Damned new-age wizard, combining magic and nature into something less efficient. What if the power cuts?”

“Back-up generator.”

“And if it cuts permanently?”

“We’re free. You return to Hell, and I do whatever human spirits do.” David ran his hand along Kourt’s tail, raising it gently to his face so he could breathe his scent. “I know this isn’t forever. But it’s more time that we would have had otherwise.”

Kourt frowned. “It no longer hurts you to touch me?”

David smiled. “I am electricity now. In a way, I’m yours to command, oh feathered, electric serpent.”

Kourt sighed, and finally, smiled. “Then…let us find ways to enjoy our time.”

COLLAPSE

Migration

QSF Flash Fiction Book 5

Migration
Part of the QSF Flash Fiction series:
Editions:Kindle - First: $ 4.99 USD
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 258
Paperback (Abkhazian) - First: $ 16.99 USD
Size: 8.50 x 5.50 in
Pages: 258

MI-GRA-TION (Noun)

1) Seasonal movement of animals from one region to another.

2) Movement of people to a new area or country in order to find work or better living conditions.

3) Movement from one part of something to another.

Three definitions to inspire writers around the world and an unlimited number of possible stories to tell. Here are 120 of our favorites.

Migration feaures 300-word speculative flash fiction stories from across the rainbow spectrum, from the minds of the writers of Queer Sci Fi.

Excerpt: