The air reeked of cigarettes and alcohol along with other substances of an illegal nature. The counters of the bar were filled with men and women from the worst of humanity, hunched over the stained marble, ordering drinks to fit in or to simply wash away their sorrows. Men in the darkened corners sat with guns tucked underneath their smart jackets. This was not the place for a type of man like John. Then again, nowhere was quite the place for him, imposing in height, strength, and cybernetics, he would always be deemed a threat, even In a bar like this filled with men whose defining characteristics were threatening. He walked through the metal door frame that was about one foot too small for him, forcing him to duck underneath it. Four men and one woman turned their attention to John for a slight moment but quickly broke eye contact and went back to their drinks. John made his way against the crowd that danced and moved in rhythmic patterns, blanketed in a blue hue that reminded him of the old days of LCD monitors, which were now extinct technologically. The days of monitors and user-interfaces were coming to an end, replaced by cybernetics, just as the days of written letters were ended by the invention the email and social networks. John knew this; he knew it, in the moment during his college years studying law enforcement and cyber security when he saw a video of man use the power of his mind to operate a motor of a mechanical arm. So when the first augments hit the market he made the smart decision to receive them in the aftermath of an accident which the insurance paid for in its entirety. The operation ended with the amputation of his arms and legs, replaced by more powerful than what he had before. He was the man of the modern age, capable of any great feat that previously only possible by gods and demigods of myth and lore in works of fiction.
I open my eyes to a city whose extravagance perfectly parallels the mundane nature of Angele Emerald.
Eyes flutter open. Sun shines through glass wall. The bed wraps itself around him, trying to hold him in slumber just a little longer, but today is a new day. His upper body flings forward in a perfect 90 degree angle, with a smile.
Catch up here: ONE, TWO, THREE
Catch up here: ONE and TWO
Author Paolo Bacigalupi’s debut novel, The Windup Girl [published in 2009 by Night Shades Books], celebrates its 10th anniversary this fall. Critically acclaimed, it was named one of the top 10 fiction books in 2009 by TIME Magazine and won the 2010 Nebula Award, the Campbell Memorial Award, and the 2010 Hugo Award in a tie with China Miéville’s The City & the City. The novel has become one of the defining works of biopunk, a sub-genre of science fiction which explores dystopic worlds of genetic manipulation by power brokers.
The newly summoned Devil and White-Winged Angel are still fixated on another, pacing back and forth with their weapons drawn. The rest of us continue to grip our weapons in hopes that the White Angel will strike first.
After a long 12 hour shift day at the hospital, Rebecca returned home to an empty apartment. Lights were off due to the hurricane alert that has been over the city of Cleveland for three days. For three days, she was without power, which is okay with her—she had tons of candles her mother sent her every year for her birthday–she was dying of the light. She walked into her apartment, what welcomed her was broken windows, glass, and water everywhere in her apartment. Her cat Milo was crying at her closed bedroom door.
Science fiction comes in a number of flavours: Space opera, cyberpunk, post-apocalyptic, afrofuturism, etc. My favourite of these though is hard science fiction, stories in which the science parts are made as realistic as possible. The science might be speculative, the story might feature ideas and technology that doesn’t exist yet, but they should be possible based on the science of today.