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Current IssueIssue 130Short Fiction

An Arc of Electric Skin

It was during his weeks of torment that something broke in Akachi. To be treated that way by those who were meant to protect and serve you, to know that they could kill you and nothing would happen, it does something to your mind. Pain can clarify things. He told me later that after hours of unrelenting terror and agony, he’d stopped fearing death, that he’d realized then that he’d been so focused on surviving the system that he hadn’t ever truly been alive, that he was doing nothing but dying slowly and had been doing so for a long time. He told me that when he was released, he’d resolved to ensure things changed.

Issue 130Short Fiction

To Live and Die in Dixieland

The subtext stings with a scary familiarity: how he longs to be seen, how he justifies his loneliness, how he conflates abuse with affection, as Kamara had done time and time again with past boyfriends—and would be still if her therapist didn’t guide her to a path of self-worth.

Current IssueIssue 130Nonfiction

Always and Forever

The reality is that there had always been Black authors and readers in speculative fiction, reaching as far back as the 19th century. Samuel Delany won the Nebula award in 1966, and there are very few people who are not familiar with the amazing work of Octavia Butler. However, despite their presence, the number of Black speculative fiction authors was sparse. Some surmised this was because there were few writing such works, but those of us who understand know that this lack of representation was seeded by those making the decisions of who would or would not be published.

Current IssueIssue 130Short Fiction

Strata

The People agreed, his excitement raw and misplaced. She ignored his estimates on cancer and other human problems that interested him. She was only interested in if the humans were recovering coltan. USNAiSDA3 pinged the open network with its own question and as much excitement as the old military AI could muster: would the humans attack?