I'm chasing him from world to world, to stop him before he kills again. Before he destroys another of the beacons and releases the agents of chaos.
This time, I'm early. This time, I'll get to the beacon first.
Too bad I landed in you.
I'm chasing him from world to world, to stop him before he kills again. Before he destroys another of the beacons and releases the agents of chaos.
This time, I'm early. This time, I'll get to the beacon first.
Too bad I landed in you.
Time is running out.
After saving the world twice, Xander, Jameson and friends plunge headlong into a new crisis. The ithani―the aliens who broke the world―have reawakened from their hundred millennia-long slumber. When Xander and Jameson disappear in a flash, an already fractured world is thrown into chaos.
The ithani plans, laid a hundred thousand years before, are finally coming to pass, and they threaten all life on Erro. Venin and Alix go on a desperate search for their missing and find more than they bargained for. And Quince, Robin and Jessa discover a secret as old as the skythane themselves.
Will alien technology, unexpected help from the distant past, destiny and some good old-fashioned firepower be enough to defeat an enemy with the ability to split a world? The final battle of the epic science fiction adventure that began in Skythane will decide the fate of lander and skythane alike.
And in the north, the ithani rise….
Now it is the time of night
That the graves all gaping wide,
Every one lets forth his sprite,
In the church-way paths to glide:
And we fairies, that do run
By the triple Hecate’s team,
From the presence of the sun,
Following darkness like a dream.
William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Erina’s iridescent wings fluttered in distress.
The time of the Great Migration was almost upon them. Overhead, the sun turned redder day by day. Soon it would unleash a torrent of heat and radiation that would destroy the ithani, the Heart, and Erro itself.
Ze had foreseen the end of the war years before and had passed zer knowledge on to Thshnel’Jirron, trusting zi to protect them all. But zis plan had gone too far, and soon the ithani would destroy themselves in a bid for immortality.
Only zi would survive, immensely more powerful than now. A virtual vengeful god.
Ze had seen that, too, but it had come to zer far too late.
Each generation of the ithani had a seer, and ze had been born from the Heart with that heavy responsibility upon zer small shoulders. Even a seer didn’t know everything about what was to pass. Only the bits and pieces that were passed on to zer from the athrà. Besides Jirron, no one else knew ze had the gift.
Something, or someone, was coming, ze didn’t know what yet, but ze could feel it in zer bones.
Ze was at a loss for what to do next. Ze let out a whoosh of breath, resigned to waiting. It would come to zer, the vision she needed. When the gods thought it was time.
Until then, ze would keep zer wings low to the ground and do nothing further to draw attention.
Joscelyn Smith on Goodreads wrote:
"This book is magical in its reach and edifying in the joy and depth of its conclusion... an absolute tour de force... That’s just the way this whole novel goes…like dancing lights above a lake. It will entrance you, pull you in, leave you to wonder at it all. And then make you want to take the journey all over again."
"FINALLY! This was an absolutely brilliant ending to the Oberon series. The cliffhanger ending of Lander left me desperate for more but Ithani more than made up for the wait. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, my only complaint is that this is the end and I'm going to miss these amazing characters. I have no doubt that I'll be rereading this series more than once."
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.
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."READ MORE
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
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.
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.”READ MORE
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…
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 CoatsworthCOLLAPSE
The world needs saving, again.
Xander and Jameson thought they’d fulfilled their destiny when they brought the worlds of Oberon and Titania back together, but their short-lived moment of triumph is over.Reunification has thrown the world into chaos. A great storm ravaged Xander's kingdom of Gaelan, leaving the winged skythane people struggling to survive.
Their old enemy, Obercorp, is biding its time, waiting to strike. And to the north, a dangerous new adversary gathers strength, while an unexpected ally awaits them. In the midst of it all, Xander’s ex Alix returns, and Xander and Jameson discover that their love for each other may have been drug-induced.
Are they truly destined for each other, or is what they feel artificial? And can they face an even greater challenge when their world needs them most?
As the epic trilogy hurtles toward its conclusion, the fight for the future isn’t over yet. It could lead to a new beginning, or it might spell the end for the last vestiges of humankind.
The generation ship Forever has left Earth behind, but a piece of the old civilization lives on in the Inthworld—a virtual realm that retains memories of Earth's technological wonders and vices. A being named Lilith leads the uprising, and if she succeeds in setting its inhabitants free, they could destroy Forever.
But during the generation ship's decades-long voyage, humanity has evolved. Liminals with the ability to connect with the world mind and the Inthworld provide a glimmer of hope. They'll have to face not only Lilith’s minions, but also the mistrust of their own kind and persecution from a new government as homotypicals continue to fear what they can't understand.
The invasion must be stopped, the Inthworld must be healed, and the people of Forever must let go of their past and embrace what they’re meant to become.
The Earth is dead.
Five years after the Collapse, the remnants of humanity travel through the stars inside Forever: a living, ever-evolving, self-contained generation ship.
When Eddy Tremaine and Andrissa “Andy” Hammond find a hidden world-within-a-world under the mountains, the discovery triggers a chain of events that could fundamentally alter or extinguish life as they know it, culminate in the takeover of the world mind, and end free will for humankind.
Eddy, Andy, and a handful of other unlikely heroes must find the courage and ingenuity to stand against the rising tide. Otherwise they might be living through the end days of human history.
"Quality, innovative worldbuilding grounds this volume in the “Liminal Sky” series. Fans of The Expanse will find plenty to enjoy here as different groups with widely varying goals and beliefs come together in a struggle to survive the vastness of space and one another." -Library Journal
Ana closed her eyes, visualizing the seed ship’s current trajectory. They’d rendezvous with 42 Isis in five days, their last stop in the solar system that had birthed mankind. Five years past, it had nearly been the location of its destruction.
The asteroid contained a high percentage of olivine, a mineral high in useful elements like oxygen, iron, magnesium, and silicon—a veritable feast.
Around Ana, the clean white laboratory that was her personal vee space domain was in perfect order, every surface spotless. A swipe of her virtual hand brought up an image of Forever, the long cylindrical generation ship hanging in the dark void of space between Mars and Jupiter.READ MORE
The world sails had been pulled in, and Ana was in the process of nudging Forever into alignment with the asteroid, firing off excess bits of waste mate‐ rial to bring her into the proper trajectory. If all went well, Forever would end up with enough mass to finish build-out, along with a shield to help absorb space radiation on the journey to their new home.
Ana shook her head. That was clearly one of Jackson’s thoughts. She even picked up some of Lex’s thoughts at times. The original world mind veered off into philosophical territory to a degree that often surprised Ana—how an AI had become a philosopher poet.
The three Immortals, as they had jokingly taken to calling one another, were bleeding into each other more and more. It worried her.
This new second life was a gift beyond measure, certainly nothing she had ever expected. A chance to go with her creation across the stark divide, between the stars. But if the ultimate price was her own individuality, was it worth it?
She made a minor adjustment in the world trajectory, then shut off that part of her awareness. If she were needed, the system would let her know.
She slipped off through the conduits of the world mind to find Jackson.
The three Immortals had created a number of virtual worlds in vee space to pass the time when their skills weren’t needed. While it was possible to create AI personalities to populate each of their various worlds, these constructs took a lot of processing power, and the Immortals had quickly grown tired of that game.
The worlds they built now were usually empty except for the three of them.
She found Jackson in Frontier Station, sitting all alone in the gardens. The blue-green ball of Earth, as it once had been, stretched out below him.
“You’re bleeding into me again.” Ana took a seat on the bench next to him.
He glanced up, his face drawn, his nose red and puffy. He concentrated, and the tears and puffiness went away. “Was I? Sorry. I was just thinking of Glory.”
Even in vee space, we emulate our old human selves.
His wife, Gloria, had just passed away a few days before, after a protracted battle with cancer that the new world’s facilities weren’t set up to treat. So much had been lost in the flight from Earth.
They had agonized over whether to bring Glory into the world mind.
Jackson had requested it, but Ana and Lex, the other two Immortals, had both been against it. Their little team worked well enough together, and adding additional human minds was likely to muddy the waters. Besides, the mind only had so much capacity. It couldn’t hold everyone within its confines. It hadn’t been created for that purpose.
Ana sighed. She wasn’t blind to the human cost of that decision. “She liked it here.” She squeezed his shoulder. Jackson’s vee space was beautiful, though it broke her heart to see Earth once again as it had looked before the Collapse.
Jackson nodded. “This is where we first met.”
He must have been just as annoyed at her bleed-through thoughts. She was being insensitive again, considering all he was dealing with.
Being effectively immortal was turning out to be harder than she’d ever imagined. She put an arm around his shoulders and hugged him. “I am so sorry about Glory.”
He regarded her in surprise. “Thank you. That means a lot.”
“Ours is a lonely path. We must make sure they get where they are going. Nothing else matters.”
He nodded. “I know. But it’s hard. Good Lord, guide me.”
Although she didn’t believe in a higher power, she squeezed his arm gently. “I hope he does.”
This is an amazing story, the world building, the character story development which keeps you gripped as you discover what’s happening, are so fully fleshed out that you get immersed in their world, you feel for the guys as they struggle to put their world to rights and battle an evil that wants to rule with an iron grip to serve his wants and whims... I recommend this to those who love deep science fiction stories, who adore a storyline that pulls you along in its wake, who love interesting characters, who love the sheer instinct to survive, and an ending that leaves you feeling fulfilled but wondering what could be next for our intrepid survivors.
Some stories are epic.
The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.
Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.
From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, The Stark Divide tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.
This book is not a romance per se, but does have queer relationships.
Mr. Coatsworth continues to delight me with each book he writes. I am whisked off to reaches unknown, or reminded of places I’d like to see. He spins tales of longing, despair, faith (not always in the religious sense), and hope. Hope being the key feature of all of his stories. Hope keeps you young. Faith keeps you believing in hope. These are lessons we forget or we become too cynical to carry.
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.
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.”READ MORE
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?”
“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
Colton is a trans man living in a climate-changed world. He plies the canals that used to be city streets, earning a living taking tourists on illicit journeys through San Francisco's flooded edges beneath the imposing bulk of the Wall.
Tris is an elf who comes through the veil to the City by the Bay - the Caille - on a coming of age pilgrimage called the Cailleadhama. He is searching for his brother Laris, who went missing after crossing through the Caille years before.
The two men find they have common cause, and together they set off to find Laris in a world transformed by the twin forces of greed and climate change. And in the end, they find out more than they ever expected, both about the warming world and their own selves.
Note: This story was originally published in the "Myths Untold: Faery" anthology from Wilde City Press. It is presented here in its original form.
I loved how the author wove action with mythology and romance and gave us a very detailed story that I just couldn’t put down until it ended! Colton and Tris were both amazing on their own, but together they seemed unstoppable and I was very happy with how their relationship progressed and the resolution in the end.