To reiterate from our Part I Teasers post: it was Mike Resnick’s hope in starting Galaxy’s Edge magazine that: “Most of the new stories are by less-well-know (but not less talented) authors.” In keeping with that spirit, our Editor Lezli Robyn filled this final, and extra-large issue ~ Issue Sixty-Two: May 2023 ~ with twenty-two spectacular stories.
This week we’re bringing you a second taste, more teasers, the next bite of the second eleven stories of those stories, and our hope still? That you’ll read on, fall in love, and find your next favorite author! ♥
FIVE STAGES OF WHEN THE STARS WENT OUT
by Samantha Murray
Samantha Murray’s fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld, Strange Horizons, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Lightspeed, Interzone, Fantasy Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies and Escape Pod, among other fine places, and been collected in The Best Science Fiction of the Year. Samantha is a two-time Aurealis Award winner, and her work has been translated into Chinese and Vietnamese. You can find her on twitter @SamanthaNMurray. Samantha lives in Western Australia in a household of unruly boys.
You make a list of the things you will do when the stars come back.
- Have a big party with all of your friends. A star-party; outside, on the side of the grassy hill that slopes down towards the creek, where you can lay on a blanket and be filled up with the night air and look up and up and up and feel thankful and glorious. Of course it won’t actually be a big party though, because if you invite all of your friends it will only be two of you since you only have one friend. But it will still be awesome.
- You’ll make more effort at school. You won’t copy Lise’s answers in Chemistry anymore. You’ll study for the tests. You’ll complete all of your homework, instead of ignoring it or leaving it to the last minute or losing it scrunched up in the bottom of your bag. You’ll do it during the day because at night time you’ll climb onto the roof and talk to the stars like you used to do.
- You’ll teach your little brother to play chess, like he’s been bugging you to do for ages. You’ll be kinder and nicer and have more patience with him in general even when he’s annoying. You promise you will
if only the starswhen the stars come back.
- You’ll kiss your friend Lise. If she wants to. At the star-party when you are both looking up at the sky. You will definitely do this when the stars come back …
by Auston Habershaw
Auston Habershaw is a science fiction and fantasy author whose stories have been published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Analog, and other places. He lives and works in Boston, MA. Find him on his website at aahabershaw.com
I climbed down into the dark canyons of Sadura with Hito Ghiasi’s head in a mesh sack.
This far down into the frontier planet’s abyssal crevasses, only a vestige of civilization was in evidence. Indelible spray paint marked the stone walls in Dryth characters—signs for construction crews, planetary geologists, and so on. Here and there was a seismic sensor spiked into a fault line—a little nub of steel with a blinking green light, reminding the locals that they were no longer alone.
Between these marks and strung between the canyon walls stretched kilometers of semi-organic cables, crisscrossing at crazy angles and fused together with crystalized binding agents in a complex network of webs. The work of the Quinix, the locals—the arachnids. The people paying me for the head.
My meeting with the arachnids wasn’t for an hour. I always arrive early—best way to stay alive in the contract killing business …
PROBABLY THE MOST AMAZING KISS EVER
by Robert P. Switzer
Robert P. Switzer lives and writes in London, Ontario, Canada. His fiction has been published in Tales of the Unanticipated, On Spec, Neo-opsis, Andromeda Spaceways, and Space & Time. Robert’s story “Vibrations of the Wishful Kind” appeared in Issue Forty-Two of Galaxy’s Edge.
Being friends was great, but being more than friends would be even better, and as Zoe watched Ange innocently lick her lips, she imagined a kiss, a hellishly good kiss, probably the most amazing kiss ever.
They were both almost through their third beer, which meant they would soon call it a night and head their separate ways. It was looking a lot like the other dozen times they’d gone out for drinks, except that tonight Zoe had decided to be honest.
“Hey,” she said. “I really enjoy spending time with you.”
Ange smiled. “I enjoy spending time with you too.”
The smile encouraged Zoe. “Sometimes I wonder what it would feel like to kiss you.”
Time seemed to slow right down, and Zoe had a chance to imagine ways Ange could respond. Maybe she would lean forward and say, “Come over here and find out.” Alternatively, maybe she would reach across the table and slap Zoe in the face. Other responses were no doubt possible, but for some reason Zoe was convinced it would be one of those two …
by Stephen Lawson
Stephen Lawson is a veteran of the Navy and of the Army National Guard. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky, with his wife. Stephen’s writing has appeared in Writers of the Future, Galaxy’s Edge, Daily Science Fiction, and several anthologies. He won the Jim Baen Memorial Short Story Award in 2018.
Alexander Northcott floated in space in his EVA suit. He’d watched his ship, the Arrow, disintegrate into nothing just minutes ago. Only he had survived—fortunate that he’d been doing hull repairs, but now doomed to die alone in the vacuum. The Arrow had been on an exploratory mission, far from any known inhabitable world, and well out of range of anyone who would hear a distress call.
He watched his oxygen reserve diminish—sixty percent, then forty, then twenty. He considered pulling off his helmet in the vacuum to speed the process, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Available oxygen gave way to carbon dioxide, and Alexander Northcott’s vision grew black at the edges. Soon, he was unconscious …
THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN
by Mike Resnick
Mike Resnick, along with editing the first seven years of Galaxy’s Edge magazine, was the winner of five Hugo Awards from a record thirty-seven nominations and was, according to Locus, the all-time leading award winner, living or dead, for short fiction. He was the author of over eighty novels, around 300 stories, three screenplays, and the editor of over forty anthologies. He was Guest of Honor at the 2012 Worldcon.
What am I doing here?
We have no servants, we never go out, we never have company. The furniture is all decrepit and ugly, the place always smells musty, and although the rest of the village has electrical power, Victor refuses to run it up the hill to the castle. We read by candlelight and we heat with fireplaces.
This is not the future I had envisioned for myself.
Oh, I know, we made the usual bargain—he got my money and my body, and I got his title. I don’t know what I thought being the Baroness von Frankenstein would be like, but this isn’t it. I knew he owned a centuries-old castle with no improvements, but I didn’t think we’d live in it full-time.
Victor can be so annoying. He constantly whistles this tuneless song, and when I complain he apologizes and then starts humming it instead. He never stands up to that ill-mannered little hunchback that he’s always sending out on errands. And he’s a coward. He can never just come to me and say “I need money again.” Oh, no, not Victor. Instead he sends that ugly little toady who’s rude to me and always smells like he hasn’t washed …
THE BLEEDING MOON
by Monte Lin
While being rained on in Oregon, Monte Lin edits, writes, and plays tabletop roleplaying games. He has stories in Cossmass Infinities, Cast of Wonders, Flame Tree Press, Dark Matter, and Ignyte-nominated nonfiction at Strange Horizons. He is also Managing Editor of Uncanny Magazine and Staff Editor for Angry Hamster Press.
The Moon was bleeding again. Selene’s mother gestured to the crimson circle high in the sky, her silver chain in her hands, whispering a hurried prayer. Selene merely shrugged.
To Selene, the Moon had always bled, a carmine drop slowly forming every month underneath. People held a collective breath before each plump drop fell onto their world. And then she would hear rumors of an ichorthing rampaging through the land. Once, when she was small, Selene had wished aloud to see an ichorthing, and her mother clamped her hand on her arm and shook her, shouting, “Never say that! This is why we live out here. Let the ichorthings demolish those fools, collecting in the village like so much bait.” So now, Selene kept her wishes to herself …
SLOW BLOW CIRCUIT
by Lisa Short
Lisa Short is a Texas-born, Kansas-bred writer of fantasy, science fiction and horror. She currently lives in Maryland with her husband, youngest child, father-in-law, two cats and a puppy. Lisa is a member of SFWA and HWA and can be found online at lisashortauthor.com and on Twitter and Instagram @Lisa_K_Short.
Miz Igwe kept Nolly late after class. Usually Nolly didn’t mind that, because Miz Igwe always had a lot of interesting things to say, but today it did bother her. She tried not to show it, though, smiling her best all through Miz Igwe’s speech about still haven’t heard back from your mama ’bout enrolling you in those special classes! til her cheeks were tight and sore.
Mama didn’t mind if Nolly took the special classes, not at all, but Mama wasn’t so good about returning people’s messages. As Nolly broke into a trot towards Halcyon Complex’s Main Terminal, she tried to fix it in her head to tell Mama to talk to Miz Igwe when she got home, but thoughts of Ivory kept intruding—Ivory, who had won that week’s class game for the first time ever, and the prize, too. There weren’t always prizes for winning one of the class games, and sometimes even when there were, the prizes were boring; Nolly had won enough of them herself to know all about that. But this one was Ivory’s prize, and Nolly had wanted to see it more than anything. Even then, she hadn’t managed it; the other kids had crowded too tight around Ivory, clamoring to see it themselves, and then Miz Igwe had held Nolly back when the end-of-class bell had rung …
SIX WAYS TO GET PAST THE SHADOW SHOGUN’S GOONS,
AND ONE THING TO DO WHEN YOU GET THERE
by Stewart C Baker
Stewart C Baker is an academic librarian and author of speculative fiction and poetry, along with the occasional piece of interactive fiction. His fiction has appeared in Nature, Lightspeed, and Galaxy’s Edge, among other places, and his poetry has appeared in Fantasy, Asimov’s, and numerous haiku magazines. Stewart was born in England, has lived in South Carolina, Japan, and California, and now lives within the traditional homelands of the Luckiamute Band of Kalapuya in western Oregon, along with his family—although if anyone asks, he’ll usually say he’s from the Internet.
1. Dust ’em
“Listen, little lady,” the guy in front of the door is saying with a sneer. “There’s two types of swordsman …”
Chiyome’s already heard enough to peg his type, so she tunes out his braggadocio and pulls out a bag of nanite dust. She’d hoped to use her status as the Shingen warlord’s only child to bluff her way in to the Shadow Shogun’s presence, but the dust works too. She blows a handful in his face and he shrieks, drops his sword, then follows it to the floor, thrashing in the station’s artificial gravity.
Behind her, Rui whistles. “What’d you give him?” The other woman asks.
“You know how my father’s always talking about unsanctioned violence and other threats to order?”
“Sure, but I always figured he only says it because he’s the one doing the sanctioning. No offense.”
“None taken. The point is, every time this guy even thinks about violence for the next 4 hours, this will happen.”
“Not bad? It’ll take you longer to beat the next one with your naginata, I bet.”
“A bet, eh?” Rui cups Chiyome’s chin in one long, slender hand and tilts her head up. “Well and good, then. We’ll bet a favor.”
“A favor and a kiss.”
by Storm Humbert
Storm Humbert is a writer currently living in Michigan. He has an MFA from Temple University, where he studied with Samuel R. (Chip) Delany, Don Lee, and other awesome faculty. Storm has been published in Andromeda Spaceways, Apex, Interzone, and many anthologies, including Writers of the Future #36.
When Dibsy Parkin was twelve, walking home from school, she saw a turkey buzzard struggling in the ditch on the side of the road. It was struggling because I’d worked good and hard to get a piece of my body from the tomb in the woods out into the open, and that piece was lodged in the buzzard’s throat. Not many have gotten to smell a buzzard’s throat (and fewer still know that spirits can smell), but I was inclined to believe I was suffering more than the bird.
Dibsy rushed over, undaunted by the buzzard’s raised wings. It was too weak to hurt her, but she had no way to know that. Dibsy was good, and Dibsy was brave. Say what you want about her life choices, but she had that going for her.
She wrestled the bird’s mouth open, and there we came face-to-face for the first time. Well, face-to … sternum bone chip, let’s say. She went to work, but I’d been in there a while, and even though I’d already found a mark, I needed the bird to die. A lich can never absorb too much life energy. Plus, I could see it plain as death on her face—Dibsy cared about this bird. So, I kept my anchoring barbs in until the buzzard was beyond help, then I let Dibsy pry me free. Oh, anyone with a conscience might’ve cried if they’d heard her once I was out.
“Come on birdy,” she said. “Come on!”
THE WOMAN OF THE LAKE
by Marissa Tian
Marissa Tian is an Asian, first-generation immigrant. She works as a trader in the financial industry and writes in her free time for passion. Her work was a winner of Stories That Need to Be Told 2022 contest. She lives in Houston, TX with her husband and three fur babies.
The crickets and owl carrying on their nighttime dialogue outside and his wife’s breathing heavily in her dream next to him were Kang’s only company at midnight. He tossed and turned but couldn’t ease his mind.
Only two clay jars of rice were left. Would they last through the next harvest? Maybe he should plant more while it was still April … and add some cucumbers to the garden for pickling. They’d need much more food this year with their daughter growing up.
Kang stroked his wife’s long hair a few times and rolled gently out of bed, so the wooden bed wouldn’t squeak.
The room was roughly four times the size of their bed and contained all of their belongings—a loom, a wooden bucket, a three-foot-tall cabinet which double-functioned as a dining table, two stools, and a bamboo basket on the floor in the corner.
Kang tiptoed to the basket and squatted. His daughter was tucked in a blue blanket inside. Bright moonlight shone through the wooden window onto her smooth skin. Her eyes were closed to the world, and her tiny hands rested at her sides. In the corner of her lips, a thin line of drool dripped. Kang couldn’t help but smile. He reached out his hand to wipe it but stopped midway and pulled back. His hand was too rough for her skin …
YANG FENG PRESENTS—THE BLACK ZONE: MURDER IN THE LOCKED ROOM
by Fu Qiang, translation by Roy Gilham
Fu Qiang, a representative of the Chinese science fiction writers born in the 1980s, is a fan of science fiction, murder mysteries, and animation. He has a PhD in Physics from Beijing University, and his scientific research is currently focused on green energy and low-carbon management solutions. He has published the science fiction novels The Abyss of Time, Grab the Planet, and Her Secret, as well as a series of short novellas, The Loners’ Game.
This story recommended in this issue, “The Black Zone: Murder in the Locked Room,” was originally published in the 13th volume of the Chinese edition of Galaxy’s Edge. The detective partners Gao Yun and Fang Hui, however, made their first appearance in the Chinese edition’s very first volume, back in 2018. In this series of stories, this resourceful detective duo—with very different personalities—display a physicist’s understanding of advanced technology along with a deep love of science fiction, which has made them popular among readers.
Here, on a planet shielded within a black zone, in a forbidden region isolated from the outside world, what kind of cosmic mystery awaits to be solved?
Ai Er sat stiffly at the wooden table, shivering as the dry, cold wind blew in through the open window. If the deeds of this detective duo hadn’t been so legendary across the Internet, he wouldn’t have journeyed to such a remote asteroid to ask for help. He never imagined the famous detectives would work out of this nondescript wooden house. Looking at the room’s shabby furnishings, he wondered how they survived the winter here.
Gao Yun, a stout, muscular man with scars on his face and upper arms, was busy at the coffee machine. Ai Er guessed he was from military background. But it was the woman staring at him across the round table that made him uncomfortable, the greed in her eyes at odds with her beautiful face. Looking at Fang Hui, Ai Er felt less like a client, and more like a fat sheep thrown to the wolves.
There was a rumbling sound outside the window, and a blast of hot air rippled the curtains. Ai Er gazed out of the window. His company’s large spaceship had set sail, climbing into the sky at a slow, steady acceleration. He cleared his throat …