Love Toys of the Gods
The seduction of abduction
by Pat Cadigan

Jimmy-Ray said he was taken by a UFO. His friends believed him
In the Month of Athyr
Gender war on a decrepit space station — by Elizabeth Hand
Rebel, Rebel
Think you could be Katniss? Test yourself against four dystopian futures
Some Strange Desire

You meet all kinds in the club scene. Eccentrics, fetishists, people into bondage or vinyl clothing. And even those not exactly human.

The hru-tesh is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship. Mother says he can remember Grandmother taking him, while still very small, to watch Josias Cunningham, Gunsmith by Appointment, of Fleet Street at work on it. In that small shop, in those small hours when the city slept, Josias Cunningham worked away while the spires and domes of Wren's dream of London rose from the ashes of the Great Fire, chasing and filing and boring and inlaying. It was a work of love, I suppose. A masterpiece he could never disclose to another living soul, for it was the work of demons. . . . [read more]

How Westworld Turns

"Bring her back online," a deep, male baritone commands. A dim glow rises in a darkened room, revealing a young woman, blonde and silhouetted in shadow. She’s vulnerable and alone, surrounded by mirrors on all sides, creating a chilling effect that’s somehow cavernous and claustrophobic at once. She sits in a chair, nude, her feet shoulder-width apart, her knees demurely pressed together in child-like fashion. Her shaky, Southern lilt breaks the silence, but her lips don't move; she remains as still as a mannequin. The robot-themed amusement park reflects our modern darkness, our violent urges, and a deep-seated doubt that the future will turn out well. Reimagined every generation. .. . . . [read more]

Stranger Things in Real Life

In the summer of 1983, I turned sixteen. It was a significant year for all the usual reasons, and a few unusual ones. I had my first kiss. I got my driver’s license. I bought my first car, a 1973 Mercury Comet with a faulty alternator which often had to be push-started. All summer, I worked full-time at the pancake house along the highway. Early one Sunday I served breakfast to an unexpected busload of British and Canadian soldiers, just me and the fry cook tending to sixty hungry men all by ourselves. Significant as 1983 was, it was also a horrifying year, a year when all my illusions of security and safety were ripped away. .. . . . [read more]

The Cave Painting

We had hoped to reach the cave by noon. The long drive across the Gibson Desert had made us testy and irritable. Somewhere along the gravel road, chips of stone had shattered the windscreen of the Honda; turning it into glass hail which the wind blew into the car. Janet was cut a little around the cheeks, and Mace, who had been driving, had specks of blood like a rash of measles over his whole face. I was in the back-seat and consequently escaped unhurt. . . . [read more]

At Reparata

Everyone remembers where they were when they first heard that Queen Josette had died. I was standing in twilight on that cliff known as The Cold Shoulder, fly-fishing for bats. Beneath me, the lights of the palace shone with a soft glow that dissolved decrepitude into beauty, and a breeze was blowing in from the south, carrying with it the remnants of a storm at sea. I had just caught a glimpse of a star, streaking down behind the distant mountains when there was a tug at my line followed hard by a cry that came, like the shout of the earth, up from the palace. I heard it first in my chest. Words would have failed to convince me of the fact, but that desperate scream told me plainly she was dead. . . . [read more]

Zika Defense

If you were a child living in Central Africa, you wouldn’t pay any attention to Zika virus. In Uganda, in Nigeria, in the Central African Republic, where the virus has been lurking for decades or centuries, you’d get bitten by a mosquito when you were running through a field or playing among the trees. You’d have come down with a low fever and a little rash. Or you’d have felt nothing at all — and that would be that. When you got pregnant, years later, you’d never fear that your child might be born with a small head and tragically-damaged brain, because that wasn’t anything you’d ever seen. You, and all your friends, wouldn’t be susceptible to Zika virus infection while you were pregnant because, very likely, you’d already be immune . . . [read more]


Stumblebum was not his real name, but Norman had taken early to playing lots of solitaire and not paying much attention to his surroundings or anything else except cards. Early means seven years old and understandably this warped his thinking. When other kids were playing Cowboys and Indians, a popular pursuit in 1956, SB was making sure his playing surface was clean and dry so as not to gum up the cards, and took care to avoid windy places which meant that he was usually inside with the windows shut. . . . [read more]

Angst Boards the Enterprise

Early on in Justin Lin’s slick and entertaining Star Trek Beyond, Captain James T. Kirk — our intrepid but increasingly world-weary hero — addresses a gathering of volatile pint-sized aliens. “My name is Captain James Tiberius Kirk of the United Federation of Planets,” he declares. “I bring you a message of goodwill and present to you, esteemed members of the Teenaxi delegation, a gift from the Foboden high council, with the highest regards.” Then he produces a funky-looking doodad that seems like something that might sell for $19.99 (plus shipping and handling) on a late-night infomercial. . . . [read more]

E. O. Wilson on Genetic Destiny

The publication of E. O. Wilson’s Sociobiology in 1975 was — to use a cliché — a landmark event in the history of biology. This enormous volume (697 oversize pages) is a truly remarkable compendium of a vast, widely dispersed literature on the relationship between biology and social behavior throughout the animal kingdom. It ranges from Homo sapiens to the social insects (Wilson is by trade an entomologist: his speciality — he calls them his “totem animal” — is ants). He intended it to be a scientifically respectable, thorough review, so it is full of tables and charts . . . [read more]

A Kiss, a Wink, a Grassy Knoll

Edgar met Natalie when they worked together reprocessing the Zapruder film for use in a music video. He enhanced the images and she edited them anew into an unending loop. They were entwined within their own conspiracy before the job was done.

Not long after, he invited me to his Twenty-fourth Street apartment for dinner, to meet Natalie as well. With trepidation I agreed. Since high school I’d watched him perform his rituals with the blind regularity of a tribe which offered up its virgins without remembering why. A woman showed interest in him, he’d thrust his head into the maw of love; yet, if his feelings were reciprocated, the couple soon found themselves unable to develop their tryst into more than a brief corresponding of mutual obsessions; for as the woman’s lessened, his grew, and after so long she would pass again ghostlike into the night. . . . [read more]