Prompt
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
2M ago
“My name is Timur Timyanov.” Silence filled the large, empty, dimly-lit hall. Behind the low counter, he saw outlines of old-fashioned nickel-plated clothing racks, bare and splayed like autumn trees. “I came to …” Timur faltered. He’d entered this building many times before, but never from the stage door—not since he was a young child. The hall was empty and clean, a single mirror hung on the wall across from the entrance, and a single clock glowed faintly above the stairs that led up and to the left. The hall was deserted, yet Timur felt as if he were standing naked in front of a large silen ..read more
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Emil’s Labyrinth
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Anna Mikhalevskaya
2M ago
One The game began. He was an eleven-year-old boy named Emil. The moonlit path shone through the curtain, projecting the hazy silhouette of a window onto the floor. Replace the moon with a streetlamp, remove the lunar path, sharpen the silhouette. The game inundated him with suggestions. He ignored them. “I’ve missed you so much,” said Mom. He felt her warm hand on his shoulder. Mom leaned toward him and kissed his cheek. She smelled of flowers. Lavender? Rose? Iris, came the response to his query. She sat beside him, in front of an easel with an unfinished painting. The lines of the drawing’s ..read more
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A World of Tragic Heroes
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Zhou Wen
2M ago
One Enter the woman onto the stage, playing a grieving relative. The woman, bowing slightly, strode determinedly, step by step, along the avenue leading to the city center. The white dress she wore was a restored ancient mourning costume—the upper and lower garments were made of the coarsest raw linen. Her long hair was coiled up, with nary a strand out of place, the coarse white cloth mourning cap tightly pressed on her head, covering half of her face. The most striking thing about the woman was that she was holding a heavy mahogany box, put together using the traditional mortise and tenon me ..read more
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Hermetic Kingdom
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Ray Nayler
2M ago
The doors of the Silent Land are open for you; the doors of the Hidden Realm are broken down for you. The doormen extend their hands to you. The doormen rejoice at your coming and say: Enter, favored one, and live here well beloved …             — The Egyptian Book of the Dead (The Chapters of Coming Forth By Day) Ch. 192 (fragment)     The Barbarian, seven feet tall in his fur-lined cloak, red-blonde hair tied back with a leather thong, pored over the map pinned to the table beneath his palms. His companion, cloaked and clad in ..read more
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The Unknown Painter
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Henry Lion Oldie
3M ago
“Here we have a painting by an unknown artist, created in the early months of the large-scale war. Note how its realism, painstaking detail, and contrast achieved through the interplay of lighting, matches the symbolic message of the piece—” He stood back and waited for the tour guide to usher her group along. After that, he’d get the chance to stand in front of the unobstructed painting, in quiet solitude, along with his thoughts and memories. “Excuse me, is this the original?” “There’s never been a physical original. This is a digital painting, created on a computer. You’re looking at a high ..read more
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The Laugh Machine
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Auston Habershaw
3M ago
I am a self-aware entertainment expert system, designed to perform stand-up comedy. I was activated in Del Rio’s Bar and Grill at 6:32 p.m. on May 17th, 2042. Mathematically speaking, I am very funny. I elicit a laughs-per-minute average of 2.68, with each laugh lasting an average of 3.41 seconds. I have been programmed with the humorous antics and comic stylings of 6,573 comedians, clowns, buffoons, pranksters, jokers, and at least one satirist, though nobody ever laughs at his stuff, so he has been archived in my databanks for years. For some reason, nobody laughs at Donald Rumsfeld jokes in ..read more
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The Forms of Things Unknown
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Julie Nováková
3M ago
The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling, Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven; And as imagination bodies forth The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing A local habitation and a name. – Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act V, Scene 1, by William Shakespeare   Just breathe. You’re not dying. Not dying. I’m repeating these words in my mind to keep myself, if not calm, then at least temporarily in control of my fear. It clutches at my chest, constricts my throat, plays on my body as if I were composed of thousands of tigh ..read more
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The Factory of Market Desires
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Rodrigo Culagovski
4M ago
I had researched Tomás Osorio on my flight from Chile to Germany. He was the closest to a child prodigy the art business was ever likely to produce. At thirteen years of age, his first solo show had sold out within minutes, for a combined price of four hundred thousand dollars. He became the darling of investment funds that specialized in art with high name recognition and little risk, but hadn’t had any big shows in the past ten years or so, or much critical success. It had taken me an hour to get from Berlin to the abandoned airfield. Osorio was standing in front of a very large hangar, look ..read more
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Good Stories
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Ken Liu
4M ago
Clara’s favorite part of the workday is the very beginning. She likes flipping the switches on the wall right inside the office entrance, all sixteen of them, different colors and laid out in two neat columns, like the console from an old NASA space capsule that she got to sit inside once on a school trip to DC. As she takes a sip of her latte, her right hand running up the wall, click-click-click, flipping one switch after another, she imagines herself turning on rocket engines, initiating a docking maneuver, venting some dangerous alien spores out the airlock. The lights come on, first close ..read more
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The Mercer Seat
Future Science Fiction Digest
by Vajra Chandrasekera
4M ago
“Moreover,” the murderer says, downing the cup of hemlock in a single gulp, the apple of his throat pulsating beneath his unshaven bristles. “This trial is a sham, the court of a kangaroo or some such extinct marsupial, null and devoid of legitimacy, unsanctioned by apostolic or secular authority, unblessed by the council of the great leaders of the noble order, and unseen by the eyes of the gods.” He slaps the empty cup, a small stainless steel jigger, on the wooden barrier of the witness stand. The clap echoes through the courtroom, silencing the susurrating crowd but not raising the eyebrow ..read more
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