Abandonware — Fantasy Magazine, June 2010
The file was gibberish to me. The one thing I could identify was a function library, but even knowing what it was, I couldn't make sense of it. It called double- and triple-variables, set up regular expressions which took up hundreds of lines, had functions so deeply recursive and such a complex net of file requires and cross-references that the entire thing was one big knot. It could've been a map of the universe.
All That Touches the Air — Lightspeed Magazine, April 2011
Menley was mad. Colonist's dementia. Born on Earth, he was one of the unlucky six-point-three percent who set down outside the solar system in strange atmospheres, gravities, rates of orbit and rotation, and just snapped because everything was almost like Earth, but wasn't quite right. In his dementia, he'd defecated somewhere public; uncouth of him, but it wouldn't have got him thrown to the Ocean except that the governors were fed up with limited resources and strict colonial bylaws and Earth's fuck off on your own attitude, and Menley crapping on the communal lawns was the last insult they could take. He was nobody, here on Predonia. He was a madman. No one would miss him.
And Wash Out by Tides of War — Clarkesworld, February 2014
The hhaellesh stand at least six feet tall, and usually closer to seven or eight. Their skin is glossy black. Their digitigrade feet end in small, grasping pads; their hands end in two fingers and two opposing thumbs which are thin enough to fit into cracks and gaps and strong enough to pierce titanium composite and tear apart the alloys of landships. They are streamlined and swift, with aquiline profiles and a leaping, running gait like a cat or an impala. They can fall from high atmosphere and suffer no injury. They can jump sixteen meters in a bound. They are war machines and killing machines.
They are also human sacrifices.
I envy them.
Drowning in the Flood — Offline Magazine, July 2014
Jarec smiled. His expression was carefully rehearsed, and had charmed diplomats, generals, and heads of state on a constellation of different worlds. It had as much effect on Pari as a blank screen. This was the problem with people who knew him. "I need a reason to come home?"
"You need a gun to your head to come home," Pari said.
Frozen Voice — Clarkesworld, July 2011
The things that brought us Hlerig are called mklimme. Us humans, they call hummke, and all our languages share the descriptor rhlk, a term which means soft or runny. I use rhlk terms to describe Hlerig: Viscous in rhlk English, lipkiy in rhlk Russian, klebrig in rhlk German. They mean that Hlerig sticks like glue in your mouth.
We have a term for mklimme, too: daddy longlegs.
God in the Sky — Asimov's, March 2011
Three hours after the light flared into the sky, I finally got in touch with Dad. We were frantic, both talking at once: he said, "But we don't have much information yet," while I was saying, "There are already theories on the internet"; I said, "This isn't the Dark Ages, this isn't an omen," when he started laughing, saying "People are lining up at church already." That was Tuesday.
Two hours after that, when I reached my grandfather, we spoke in similar breathless terms. After he invited me to his ranch home, though, just before he hung up, he said words I'd only heard before in pop politics.
If The Mountain Comes — Clarkesworld, June 2012
François and Papa were outside, discussing what to do if the water rose. I was in, scrubbing blood from the walls with a palmful of sand.
In Metal, In Bone — Eclipse Online, March 2013
"The President is a believer in witchcraft," the Colonel said. "And he feels strongly about pacifying the dead of this war. Do you know why you're out here?"
"It's because I can read the history of things," Benine said, and inhaled the smell of the sun-baked dirt to chase off the last vestiges of the cottage.
"Things like bones," the Colonel said.
Jessamine — Reflection's Edge, June 2010
Morning came as it came in those days, a slow lightening of the eastern sky without fire or fanfare. Twilights, in those days, we called akk-ha-mam: "when the sky gathers dust."
I found her that morning on a balcony, watching the eastern sky. "They say the dawns were red once," she said.
Of Men And Wolves — Fantasy Magazine, February 2011
The sun had yet to rise. In the dim light a furred body hunched against the ground, jaws working in my husband's back. Blood had scattered around them, arrayed in a half-halo. Yellow eyes glinted, and I froze in the manner of deer.
While I slept this beast had come and ripped out my husband's throat.
So ended my first night in the City of Wolves.
Outsider — Meeting Infinity, December 2015
There was a warmth to Io's transmission out. [I'm bringing Mota. She's the expert on ancient Earth.]
Which had always been a useless, hobbyist's expertise. Mota sat up.
The cradle of humanity was far enough away to be irrelevant. Any knowledge about it was historical or speculative: even the evidence of its planets, writ into the wobble of its star, was information that had been issued in light long before anyone on Se was born.
Portage — Apex Digest, September 2010
When it came time to carry her father's soul down from the mountain, she had nothing to carry it in. The bowl her mother had carved from heirloom ivory, fitted together like a puzzle mosaic and watertight without needing glue, had been shattered that morning in an argument with her father's retainer. No other bowl had been carved with the requisite love for him. But her father's soul couldn't be left up at the temple on Mount Ossus, so she went with the pilgrims to claim him before the sun did.
Small Monuments — Chizine, April 2008
On still days, sometimes, he thought he heard crying, hanging in the air. He'd been east and south and a little to the west, scoped out his desert and shared it with Anisha, but maybe he could have the north to himself.
He walked up the highway toward Los Alamos.
Swanskin Song — Expanded Horizons, April 2012
"I envy you," the girl admitted.
There was such sadness in her voice that the swan was moved. "I'll make a bargain with you," she said. "You who knows fish. Make me a dress for a tail, and I'll let you wear my skin for three nights and three days while I dance in the places all but the water have forgotten."
The Charge and the Storm — Asimov's, February 2016
"And what makes you think I'd agree to this?"
Amad's fingers curled around his jammer. "You used to be friends."
"Used to be."
"You're not that heartless," Amad said.
He was right. The Su had a casual disregard for life. If the life in question didn't serve their ambitions, they had no compunctions about casting it aside.
Petra, human, balked at that.
Yes, she resented Nash. Hated him, it felt like. She would have liked to see him suffer for screwing her over, years ago.
Seeing him die was a little much.
The Relative Densities of Seawater and Blood — Brain Harvest, January 2012
I went a little crazy when the squid washed up on Mission Beach, and not for the reasons everyone else did. I wasn't bothered by the oil-tanker size of the thing, or the eyes that kept roving even as it rotted. The tentacles, twining in and out of Euclidean space, gave me a headache but not the usual night terrors. No, I lost it because when I saw the squid, when I wandered, sleepless and caffeine-deprived, onto the morning-cold sand, I felt like I'd stumbled on the corpse of a cousin in an alley. Staring from a familiar dead face.
Three Points Masculine — Lightspeed Magazine, May 2016
Roughing someone up would’ve made my day, and my day needed making. Go figure that John stepped aside and said “Of course” in that tone people use at police, all placid and don’t shoot me. She pulled her license and handed it over—and yeah, there it was: non-transitioned male sex, last Gender Assessment Test no more than two years ago, certified female register—certified female enough for government work, right—all of it signed by a state assessor I didn’t just recognize as legit, I knew personally. The grainy photo even had her damn beard.
Unauthorized Access — Lightspeed Magazine
Undermarket Data — Lightspeed Magazine, August 2014
There was no ledge at the window, but good climbers never needed them. This window had a clothesline anchor, an outdated and rusting data satellite, a data network link, a lectric link, an illegal lectric link, and a canister full of mineral wool in which a few seeds were failing to germinate. He made the leap from the opposite building and caught the proper network’s lectric link—never could tell how the hack jobs would hold—and knocked on the window.
No one answered for a minute or so, then a shadow came up to the window grime and slid the plastic away. With that gone, the shadow became a young woman, who blinked blearily at him and then settled her eyes, as though by natural magnetism, on his arm.
“LEMR. What do you need?” Culin said, and shifted. If he hooked his foot against the bolts of the hydroponics pot he could lean away from the window. Give her some contage-free space to breathe.
She blinked at the band, then swallowed and looked at his eyes. “Data’s out.”
Water Rights — Edge of Infinity, November 2012
It was a beautiful explosion, and in a way Jordan was lucky to have such a good seat. She'd been watching the Earth swell up to fill and exceed her porthole, ignoring the thin strand of the space elevator and the wide modules of its ascender until one of them flashed and spilled its guts in a spray of diamonds.
Whose Drowned Face Sleeps (with Rachel Swirsky) — What The #@&%!
This is a ghost story. Did I say that?
No. It’s a love story. But all love stories become ghost stories if you watch them long enough.
Year of the Rabbit — Chizine, April 2012
It used to be that the sun would go down and the streetlamps would come on and make pools of this wet, yellow light. No matter where you stood, you could see the lights on somewhere. You could run from streetlamp to streetlamp and you could look down the streets and you'd never drown in the dark.