They say time’s arrow points both ways.
But as I stare up at the night sky, what are the odds? Of a photon leaving my eye, traveling light years out into the cosmos, and colliding with a waiting star?
They say time’s arrow points both ways.
But as I stare up at the night sky, what are the odds? Of a photon leaving my eye, traveling light years out into the cosmos, and colliding with a waiting star?
Liam Hogan is an award winning short story writer, with stories in Best of British Science Fiction 2016, and Best of British Fantasy 2018 (NewCon Press). He’s been published by Analog, Daily Science Fiction, and Flametree Press, among others. He helps host Liars’ League London, volunteers at the creative writing charity Ministry of Stories, and lives and avoids work in London.
The jar had held pickles, once. Now, it was full of stars. She’d soaked the label off, then buffed the inside and outside until, at the right angle, it looked like the lid was just floating on air. Aside from the stars.
“Mom, Oni’s got fireflies,” said her brother. “Make her let them out!” But they came and saw nothing, and went away muttering hopeful words like “imagination” and “savant”.
“Whatcha got in there, weirdo?” giggled Yakini, the playground bully. “Invisible fairies?” She and her cronies fell down laughing, laughing, at the girl with the empty jar.
After school, she lay in the shadowed house with the jar by her bed, letting the light of the stars play across her face. “Capella,” she said, pointing at her favorite. “Algol,” she named another as it swept past in its swirling dance.
At night, with the village asleep but the dogs awake, she crept out to the commons. She lay back against hard, dusty ground, and sought out a thinly-populated stretch of sky just down from Cassiopeia. With a smile on her lips, and a pickle jar held close to her heart, she willed one more star into being.
B. Morris Allen is a biochemist turned activist turned lawyer turned foreign aid consultant, and frequently wonders whether it's time for a new career. He's been traveling since birth, and has lived on five of seven continents. When he can, he makes his home on the Oregon coast. In between journeys, he edits Metaphorosis magazine, and works on his own speculative stories of love and disaster.
All I can see of you now is a star.
When your children, or your children’s children, return, perhaps there will be something left of those of us who stayed behind. Perhaps they will find their cousins, separated by generations and time, but still kin close enough to recognise. Perhaps we will have made a paradise of this dying Earth, restored it to life and health, or perhaps they will find only the messages we left behind us.
We fought. We tried. We lived, even if it was only for a little time.
And you. You who I love best, you who I raised and taught and marvelled at as you became the teacher and I the student. You and those like you, the brilliant and the young who will take the ships into the stars to find a second home for humanity. Your journey is my gift to you, just as you are my gift to the future.
And now your star is fading as the distance grows between us. Now you are a dot, now a pinprick, now nothing but an afterimage. I carry you, burned on my retinas, long after you are gone from sight.
Jude lives in Scotland and writes to fill the gaps between full time work, wrangling her kids and trying to wear out a border collie. She's currently studying for her black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
Masha is a neuro-artist, so she can’t just send a break-up message like a normal person. That’s why a memory of last night, cropped and augmented, is blinking in Bess’s inbox. She knows she should delete it. She doesn’t.
They’re in a car together, winter swirling past the windows. She sees herself in profile, wearing her recycled pink coat, rubbing balm on her chapped lips then leaning in to rub it on Masha’s.
The car maneuvers onto a frozen field, tires squealing and crunching. They pile out. Her face is electric with excitement, but even though she’s deep in the memory now she can’t feel anything from Masha. Not when her arms wrap around her from behind, not when their heads nestle together.
“I wonder if any of these stars are already gone,” her voice says. “Like, gone, burned out, but we’re still seeing the after-images.”
Finally, she feels Masha feel something: realization and dread and resignation all mixed together. Masha’s head tips up to the heavens, the glowing constellations, but Bess knows now she was only seeing the after-images of something bright and beautiful.
She tastes her own cold lips when Masha kisses her. She exits the memory.
Rich Larson was born in Galmi, Niger, has lived in Canada, USA, and Spain, and is now based in Prague, Czech Republic. He is the author of the novel ANNEX and the collection TOMORROW FACTORY, which contains some of the best of his +150 published stories. His work has appeared in numerous Year's Best anthologies and been translated into Polish, Czech, French, Italian, Vietnamese and Chinese.
Sunlight had grown dimmer each day until it was a dark orange tinge in the sky. A gloom across the horizon: Earth’s yellow sun in its last throes. Thousands had already made their way to Helionous, the Earth-like exoplanet; the wealthiest already evacuated, a randomly-selected worker lottery followed.
Sisip’s family had all passed on, and, without the sun, the land would soon wither unrecognizable, bleached, silent. Every night she stared into the darkness, looking for Skitekmujewawti in the haze. Amethyst stacked on gold: the star-ringed Milky Way galaxy, humming in the vast void, stretching itself over the evergreen hills of her reserve. It was the road to the Spirit World, where her ancestors lived, and it would be behind her on her journey through The World Beyond The Sky.
Sisip furiously wrote the constellation songs and stories her family had told her on a scrap of birchbark and smuggled it into the Helionous Employee manual. A deep breath: almost boarding time.
Gesasijig gloqowejg wa’so’q wela’gw. The stars shine bright in the heavens at night. She took a last look above. Soon there would be new stories stretched out above her, and she would sing these ancient words to her new and glittering heaven.
Tiffany Morris is a Mi'kmaw speculative fiction and poetry writer from K'jipuktuk (Halifax), Nova Scotia. She is the author of the chapbooks Havoc In Silence (Molten Molecular Minutiae, 2019) and It Came From Seca Lake! Horror Poems from Sweet Valley High (Ghost City Press, 2019). Her work has also appeared in Eye to the Telescope, Room Magazine, and Prairie Fire, among others.
Between blinks, time passes at an astronomical pace, but the ache remains. Across the reinforced window pane, Sharon sees the stars rearranging themselves in a strange, stop-motion procession. She had volunteered for the capsule as soon as Vicky handed her the divorce papers:
I love you, Sharon. But you don’t want to put in the work.
Vicky’s words linger as she skirts the edge of the galaxy. Inside her altered womb, she feels what will be the seeds of a new humanity stir softly, as if to comfort her. She thinks of Vicky, as she sat across from her in the clinic’s waiting room:
I won’t have your baby by my damn self.
Sharon has broken away from the grip of the Milky Way. She thinks of Vicky, young and still in love, a hundred million years dead, whispering:
You’re worth it in her ear.
In the blackness, Sharon cries: it’s a long, geological weeping but it does her ancient heart good. By the time the soft blue light of an alien star begins to seep through her window, the pain has dulled, somewhat.
In another ten million years, Sharon hopes, she will be over her.
Konstantine Paradias is a writer by choice, with over 150 publications across 5 languages in videogames, anthologies and magazines. People tell him he has a writing problem but he can like, quit whenever he wants, man. His short story collection, Sorry Wrong Country, is published by Rooster Republic Press.
The aliens had made a map on her skin at first contact: a thousand bio-luminescent moles to help her people find them in the sky. This had been a huge drag during debrief, and worse when Ezzie got home and found she couldn’t sleep.
“Haven’t had a nightlight in years,” said Anka, snuggling close to help.
“Figures we’d land a species with no sense of boundaries,” Ezzie sighed. She set a hand over the brightest nuisance. Her palm smothered its light, but her knuckles bore three more. “At least the biopsies came back clean.”
Anka traced what the experts had thought was a stellar nursery along Ezzie’s right hip. “But if they can throw their minds across the cosmos? Light up your skin with directions to come over?”
“A gesture of peace, an invitation, and… a reminder of their power. Couldn’t’ve been a better message on their part.”
“So how do we answer? What show of force could possibly compete?”
Ezzie shrugged; the coronal mass ejection the experts planned to trigger, once the home-star’s location was pinned down, was confidential.
Even she would only know of its success months later: one mole–the brightest–winking out.
It wouldn’t help her sleep.
M. L. Clark is a Canadian SF&F writer based in Medellín, Colombia.
The control room was empty, but it usually was when Arrie started her work. The chair dropped hard when she sat down and Arrie wasn’t surprised that her calls to maintenance had gone unanswered, just disappointed.
Maybe that’s why she did this work. There was so much disappointment in her own life that it felt good to drop a little wonder into someone else’s. Even if that someone else barely met the definition of sentience and had descended from primates on a savage, little planet.
Arrie typed in her access codes, and with the quick brush of her fingers, the planet on her screen spun until she stopped it with a light tap. Another flick and she’d zoomed all the way in to the planet’s surface, topography expanding, beings becoming clearer, until she found him. The boy with the telescope.
Her fingers hovered over the keyboard, hesitant. She’d be risking punishment if she allowed another shower in this quadrant. But the boy’s eyes full of hope were enough to make her almost remember the feeling. Maybe that’s why she did this work.
“Make a wish,” she murmured as she typed in the command, sure she’d be reprimanded this time.
Diane Dubas is a speculative fiction author hailing from Ontario, Canada. When not writing, she spends time daydreaming about space, dragons, and dragons in space. Her work has appeared in numerous online and print publications, including Circuits & Slippers, an anthology of science fiction fairytale retellings, and Wings of Renewal, a solarpunk dragon anthology. She is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers and The Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University.
She walked in like she owned the place, but I pegged her for a spoiled-wealthy tourist. “I need a ticket to Proxima Centauri. Immediately.”
“Of course! We at Intergalactic…”
“Never mind all that. How much?”
“It depends, of course, but…”
“Don’t patronize me, sir!”
Our company manual on client relations says When in difficulty, remember to smile. I’m not sure I pulled it off. “I’m very sorry if it came off like that, Ms. …?”
“Campbell. Tricia Campbell.”
“Ms. Campbell. See, the costs do differ significantly, depending on whether you intend us to send all of you, or just your head. Mass considerations…”
“Are you daft??!”
I blinked in surprise. “Sorry?”
“’Send just my head’?? I’d be dead!”
“Oh, no ma’am. We’d induce suspended animation and get you—well, your head—there quickly, and just clone a new rest-of-you when you’re there. Be much cheaper that way than shipping you whole.”
“Absurd!” She bit her lower lip. “But that would save on cost?”
“Yes ma’am. This way, we just take a little off the top.” I carefully didn’t smile.
I would swear I saw steam puff from her ears; she gave me the finger, and left.
David is a multiclass surgeon/writer with the time management feat. He's had stories published with Grim Dark Magazine, Flame Tree Publishing, Cast of Wonders, and others. He has published a novel-told-through-surreal-verse-and-art with Oscillate Wildly Press, called Queen To His King. He is editing his first novel, at somewhat slower than the speed of light. He's also a soul-gem carrying member of the HWA.
The night before she lost her mind, Lady M, alone in her chamber, looked down at her hands. Blinked. Clutched her fingers into fists, unfurled them slowly, looked again.
What there, in her palms? A premonition.
Dark and slick and flecked with light. Night sky spread against flesh. Stars made of sinew, celestial bodies of spatter. In the time it took the light to reach her eyes, she saw a thousand daughters born to a hundred mothers, all powerful and beautiful just like her, all made of starlight and magic.
The galaxy pulsed along her lifeline. A dozen moons and suns and countless stars, all beckoning to her to choose the future. And she might have, yes, she might have chosen the sky and the stars and a power that outlived her body, had not her chamber door swung open.
“My lady—it is time.”
She curled her fingers inward. Closed the stars up tight in the prison of her palms. Felt them squeeze and ooze between her fingers, dripping onto the chamber floor. From her dressing table she drew a dagger, passed it to her husband. Another kind of darkness already staining her palms red.
Kim Harbridge writes weird little stories from her home in Surrey, British Columbia. Her writing has appeared online and in print at Accenti Magazine and The Vancouver Observer, and has been awarded a Burnaby Writer’s Society Prize and a Chester Macnaghten Prize.
She was the first.
The first born of nine. The first in her family to study the dark art of science.
But not the first in size.
She was tiny–not good for climbing the great mountain with a metal tank of brightgas in tow.
Few people had ever been this close to the sky, to the endless bed of clouds that shrouded the planet. A single cohesive layer that never opened. That never cracked.
She stood far above the cities engulfed in petty struggles. Myopia and vindictiveness as thick as the sky.
She pushed a dirty wisp of hair from her face and arched her back. She lowered her glass shield over her eyes.
She reached to ignite the brightgas–that very substance used for trading and fueling and even killing in the cities below. For turning the wheels of factories and war machines.
But never before to power a human projectile.
And then a spark.
In a sudden rush the cities below were out of sight. Then the mountain too.
There were only clouds.
And then she saw the other side of the soft gray sky.
She saw the stars.
She was the first.
Ken Gerber and Brian Hirt are brothers who collaborate across an international boundary. Ken teaches math in Montreal; Brian is a transportation researcher in Missouri. Their stories have appeared in past issues of AE, and their work has also appeared in the New Decameron and in Daily Science Fiction.
We built the star scullery, on the moor that used to be Wood Buffalo National Park. The land looked nothing like the boreal forest from great-grandmother’s tales of Canada’s final wildness.
It was scrub grass and deep pits with metal and concrete protruding at odd angles.
The scullery was a cloth house, with removable spines, we carried on our backs. If anyone had been interested in leaving the city, we’d have patented it.
Fairy tale sculleries had washstands. We had a telescope, an antique thought useless by our generation who doubted the existence of stars.
We arrived in July. During the brief night, the light clouds from Edmonton and Yellowknife kissed. We waited. Great-grandmother’s tales told of long nights in December. By late November, at midnight there was a thin piece of navy visible to the naked eye.
It was just a sliver, but enough that we thought it might be possible to wedge a bit of true darkness back to the earth.
In the false darkness of the scullery, we took turns looking through the telescope lens.
I was the first to see it. A star on December 21, 2145, an honest to goodness star.
Pearl Lorentzen is a reporter and photographer in Slave Lake, Alberta. She’s published seven poems and was third runner-up for the 2017 Dell Magazines Award for Undergraduate Excellence in Science Fiction and Fantasy Writing. She has an MA in creative writing the novel and a BA in linguistics and creative writing.
Look up, up at us. Then look us up.
You will not find her.
Looking up, you will count a little cluster of six.
Visible to the naked eye in a clear night sky.
Someone will say, there, the Seven Sisters. Though the seventh, of course, is invisible.
If you look us up in a book or online, you will learn many things, some of them true.
Our names, or who our father was, how he held up the sky.
How we are named after mother.
How “lustful” Orion chased us, back when we were mountain nymphs.
How Zeus intervened. Made us first birds, then stars.
Then, some theories about our sister’s conspicuous absence, why she might be hiding.
Is it shame for being the only one of us to have stooped to loving a mortal man?
Or maybe grief over mortals’ wars?
You can believe that if you like. But it’s not what happened.
The truth is: Our sister isn’t hiding with us. She is not here at all.
She is out there, knife in hand, facing down the rapist Orion and his disciples. Protecting us.
Every time she strikes, her blade’s sparks rain down as shooting stars.
Laura Theis grew up in a place in Germany where each street bears the name of a mythical creature or fairy tale character and now lives in Oxford with her little demon dog. Her writing has appeared in Strange Horizons, Abyss&Apex and Mslexia; and has been published in the UK, Ireland, Belgium, Germany, and the US. An AM Heath Prize recipient, she has also won the Mogford Short Story Prize, the Hammond House Literary Award and was a finalist in over twenty other international poetry and fiction competitions. Her forthcoming poetry debut was selected by Paul McGrane for the 2020 Brian Dempsey Memorial Pamphlet Prize.
The shuriken winks under the light of the moon, slipping from Saito’s fingers into his adversary’s back.
The enemy collapses inches from the riverbed; his blood spews into the water.
When his movement stills, Saito approaches, his katana drawn, footsteps cautious.
Saito rolls the body over to grasp the identity of his enemy and recognizes the face as his own.
In silence, he smears the clone’s face with thick mud and sets the body back in a downward position.
Suddenly, the sound of crackling leaves cuts through the silence and surrounds Saito.
He prepares to retreat when seven men step into view, the moonlight bathes them in a soft glow and paints them his allies.
Oda, his closest comrade, greets him mirthfully and the men regroup around a campfire.
The circle passes around tea, stories of war, and the great Legend of Starcopies, a chilling myth of celestial yokai stealing the form of men and haunting them to take their place.
Meanwhile, Oda sips the matcha in silence, his keen eyes glued to the scar on Saito’s right hand that used to be on his left.
ToJo digs scars and wouldn't mind having a cool one like Kakashi or someone from Dr. Stone.
They’ll be coming for me. Fine. Anyway, there’s something so satisfying about a high-speed chase through space involving a Crip at the helm.
Funny how our leadership brags that our planet’s a galactic god of tech, but they’re oblivious to the spirit of disabled sentients. Whatever. I’m here, alone for the moment, lights off but with life support, staring at the stars.
I’d been scheduled for “restructuring.” Well, the collective They felt people with legs that don’t leg were an impediment to their medical accolades. Being corralled to the Institute (read: institution) with about a hundred others was super fun. Thank goodness for Sheena. Our late-night convos from our bunks made everything bearable.
“You’re a star,” she’d sign. “You need to shine with your own kind.”
I finally had the courage to sign back, “I love you,” the night before they took her away.
She wasn’t voiceless. I heard her screams. The restructuring didn’t take.
So, for the next weeks, I watched. Each security team, what they carried, when they took breaks.
They shouldn’t have left that hoverchair unattended.
Nor the Crip Carrier.
Gorgeous ship, too.
I’m with my own kind now, Sheena.
“I love you.”
Cait Gordon is a disability advocate who writes speculative fiction that celebrates the reality of diversity. She is the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. Her short story, The Hilltop Gathering, appears in the Prix Aurora Award nominated anthology, We Shall Be Monsters (Derek Newman-Stille). Cait also founded The Spoonie Authors Network and co-edited Nothing Without Us, a collection of 22 stories whose authors and protagonists identify as disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, and/or they manage mental illness.
“I know, sweetie. Don’t worry, when we get home we’ll crank up the heat and make ourselves nice and toasty, alright?”
Watching the mother and daughter approach, Hyp stood and held up his placard; ‘Energy’s not Infinite! Conserve and Preserve!’
The pair hurried past, avoiding eye-contact.
Watching them go, Hyp lowered the sign and sat back down on his patch of newspapers. It wasn’t a nice feeling, being ignored, but he was used to it by now.
Tilting his head, he gazed up at the sun shining dully in the clear blue sky. The light felt feeble and weak. So weak in fact, if he squinted he was convinced he could actually see the Dyson Pump on the solar surface; churning away, sucking up the star’s energy, beaming it down to the planet.
A persistent buzzing from his pocket pulled him from his thoughts. Reaching in, he withdrew a small communicator.
“Sir, it’s time.”
“Already? You’re sure?”
“Sector solar reserves are down to 20%. That’s the cut-off point; we all agreed.”
“Yeah, I know,” Ambassador Hyperius sighed. “Alright, switch to Plan B.”
“Kill all the humans?”
“Kill all the humans.”
David Whitaker is originally from the UK though has traveled around a bit and currently resides in Australia. He has a degree in Journalism, however decided that as he's always preferred making things up it should ultimately be a resource rather than a profession. His writing has found homes with, among others, Analog Science Fiction and Fact, AEscifi.ca, Helios Quarterly, and Andromeda Spaceways Magazine.
Every summer solstice, we trailed Father as he sought Lord Shiva’s home. The quest for the mythical place was his, yet he required us to be servants of a kind, carrying his gear and his hopes. We never bested the raging winds of a crevasse which looked like a frown from afar. In our teens we complained that we no longer wanted to climb Kanchenjunga. We much preferred to sing, dance, and drink beers.
We moved away, found love and heartbreak, and joked about Crazy Father. After returning home one summer, Father answered the door in furs, the only visible area his nose and round cheeks. He handed us picks and said there was little time left.
Climbing the mountain in silence, we trudged through chill winds. The frowning crevasse had been replaced by a flat bed of earthen snow. Father broke out into a run, a wild bear on a chase. When he reached the summit, we all looked out, clouds drenching our bodies. We looked above to an infinite abode of stars. Father fell on his knees and put his arms to the sky, letting out a roar. We did the same.
Vikram Ramakrishnan is a Tamil writer who was born in Bangalore, India and grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He writes fiction, and programs computers in New York City now. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and is working on his first novel.
Far from Earth, in a peculiar region of dead space, hang dark stars that somehow seem yet to blaze.
Ship pulled into orbit by groping gravity; sensors showing nothing – something strange – normality – nothing again. Crews’ minds’ eyes reveal more – mad shapes, contorted, longing for release – through the depthless void.
As they wait, watch, the dark star seems to snap open like a silent and lightless nova, revealing life at its heart. From within, a writhing black singularity takes form inside minds seeking to impose image, order upon something unimaginable, entirely alien.
It reaches out, desiring companionship, swallows the vessel whole.
DJ Tyrer is the person behind UK small press Atlantean Publishing and has been widely published in anthologies and magazines around the world, such as Amok! and Stomping Grounds (both April Moon Books), and issues of The New Accelerator, Planet Scumm, Broadswords and Blasters, and Awesome Tales, and in addition, has a comic horror e-novelette, A Trip to the Middle of the World, available from Alban Lake through Infinite Realms Bookstore.
In the weeks leading up to the visit from his other woman, my man buys the following things—an expensive telescope, a fold-out camping chair, a book of star maps—then sets up his makeshift observatory by the toolshed out back.
His other woman has an orbital period of 5.6 years. He told me an easy way to remember is it’s slightly longer than Kowal’s Comet. I said I’d only heard of the famous one, Halley’s. He frowned: “Oh, well, that one’s much longer, about 75.”
Caty’s man, Henry, his other woman has an orbital period of 0.63 years. That’s every seven and a half months. He doesn’t even bring his camping chair inside.
My man won’t tell me what it’s like, fucking a million tiny particles of ice and dust, just that she’s warmer than I’d think, smells cleaner too. Just that it’s a man’s right, I know that. A taste of the heavenly, periodically, allows them to tolerate their otherwise ordinary lives.
We call them the other women because our men don’t have names for them.
I like to imagine she’s named him, though. After herself, or something functional for cataloging. Alphanumeric, or her language’s version of that.
Kristina Ten is a Russian-American writer of short fiction and poetry, and a 2019 graduate of Clarion West Writers Workshop. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Lightspeed, Black Static, Flash Fiction Online, Witness, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Colorado, where she is an MFA candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder.
0. Don’t worry. The fact that you are reading this implies that your universe exists.
We recognize unease regarding the blink. This is normal. Anxiety is to be expected. The following list of considerations has been created to address this understandable concern.
1. Don’t worry. What you are about to experience, though becoming common, is not actually physically possible. It is a well established scientific principle that the amount of energy required to accelerate even a single colonizing vessel beyond light speed is more than the energy contained in the entire universe.
2. Nonetheless, it will take your vessel seven impossible blinks to reach one of the first-wave colony worlds. We are working to bring that number of impossibilities down to one or two, but for now things are gravitationally complex at either end of the journey. Smaller blinks are easier to calibrate.
3. Don’t worry. You will not feel anything. The thing you will not feel is the energy required for each impossible blink being siphoned from a network of neighboring universes.
4. Don’t worry. The drain is randomly distributed across universes that lie closest to our own on the higher-dimensional multiversal manifold. Some universes contribute very little of their total energy. Others contribute all of theirs. It is mathematically impossible to determine how much energy is contributed by any single neighboring universe.
5. Remember: the multiverse is an inexhaustible resource. Quantum mechanics implies that each minute variation in our own universe spawns a new one. This means in the moment it takes you to ponder the ethical implications of siphoning energy from neighboring universes, the processes of consciousness alone—the variations of the billions of quantum states involved in thinking—have generated another trillion universes.
6. Of course, if you are still troubled by the ethics of sacrificing entire realities for the sake of instantaneous travel, you are welcome to join the relativistic colonizers venturing outward in hibernation ships for the thousand-year journey to the first-wave colony worlds at a fraction of light-speed. You may find comfort in the knowledge that a centuries-long dreaming will birth billions of realities from variations in every conceivable aspect of your dreaming.
7. In addition, consider that there are countless universes in which you decided to board a relativistic colonizer vessel, even if in this reality you are choosing to blink. And there are billions of universes in which various versions of you are blinking.
8. Don’t worry. The statistical probability of any one particular universe (this one, for instance) being siphoned of energy to allow for a blink in a neighboring universe is effectively zero. (If you are still worried, please see the first item at the head of this list.)
9. Consider: this is the universe in which we get there. This is the reality that endures. Every decision creates universes that this you is not a part of, universes from which you are permanently excluded. Those alien universes for all intents and purposes do not exist for you and for everyone else in your own universe. You owe those universes nothing. Let them be the fodder that gets us to the stars.
10. The first-wave colony worlds are waiting. Don’t worry.
Stephen Case is a writer of speculative fictions and a historian of science living and working in the Midwest. He has published over thirty short stories in places like Shimmer, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Daily Science Fiction, and he reviews books at Strange Horizons. His book on nineteenth-century astronomy, Making Stars Physical, was published by University of Pittsburgh Press and shortlisted for the History of Science Society's Pfizer Award, and his essays have appeared at Aeon and American Scientist.
The Captain sighed. “By the time this lands, we’ll be out there, too.”
“Not a bad end.”
They watched the corpse shimmer in reflected starlight. In a century, it would be too far to be recognizable.
But their descendants would have a trail of stars pointing all the way back to Earth.
Priya Chand is a California transplant living in the Midwest. Her work is inspired by a background in biology and analytics, and has previously appeared in magazines including Analog SF and Clarkesworld.
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