The Cheshire Cat
Dragon Gems Fall 2023
Andy Parker was looking for a new spooky prop to add to the decorations on his porch this Halloween when he stumbled upon a mangy-looking cat at a garage sale. Its two rows of Bakelite teeth curved around its face in a mirthless smile that elicited a hint of nausea in Andy. He had to have it. But would he heed the warnings from the cat's previous owner? Or would curiosity kill the new owner of this cat?
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Racing the Marineris
Famous racecar driver Johanna Henry comes to Mars to win the Martian Cup, the most prestigious race in the solar system. She is driving a car built by her brother Brandon, nicknamed "The Tortoise" by the press. They face a car owned by billionaire Nika Ross driven by an AI and nicknamed "The Hare." In the first kilometer of a 3300-kilometer race, the Henrys learn nothing is out-of-bounds for Nika Ross to win the race—even if someone dies.
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Francisco operates a solar power plant that uses 12,000 heliostatic mirrors to raise the temperature of molten salt to a thousand degrees to generate electricity. He is trained to handle any problem that might arise, but the plant is so automated, all he gets to do is call in the technicians to replace failed parts. But when a strange pickup truck arrives and two men with rifles jump out, Francisco faces a situation that will require ingenuity and quick-thinking to survive.
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Living the Dream (Except for One Thing)
DREAM: Tales from the Pikes Peak Writers
The dream of an implanted personal-assistant AI is to serve his client in every way possible. However, when his client asks him to research ways to kill his wife, he must struggle with his need to please his client while satisfying his strict ethical programming.
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The Tiger and the Waif
Writers of the Future Volume 37
A feline android—a “feloid”—awakes when sunlight filters through the roof of a broken house to penetrate the closet where it has been stashed for years. He crawls out to discover an earthquake has leveled every house in the neighborhood. He relishes his newfound freedom, but something is missing. He finds it one rainy night when he discovers a young girl shivering in the wreckage.
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Compelling Science Fiction Issue 12
Detective Ronald Munson has caught a strange case. A perp just walked in the door and confessed to the murder of Dr. Franklin O'Neal, a renowned brain surgeon. The strange thing is, Dr. O'Neal is still alive and just accepted the Nobel Prize for Medicine. Is this case a slam dunk, or is there more to it than meets the eye?
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The Hidden Entity
UNREAL An Anthology of Speculative Fiction
Steven Harding is an experimental physicist with ALS who is confined to a wheelchair that he controls with a neural interface. But with the help of his lab assistant, he is about to open up a hidden dimension predicted by string theory. When he succeeds, an entity escapes and jumps into his mind. Suddenly, his ALS is cured. It seems like a miracle. But when the entity infects his wife and threatens his unborn child, can he find a way get rid of it?
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The Loponine Exploitation
Corporate Cthulhu: Lovecraftian Tales of Bureaucratic Nightmare
Bobby Gibson works as a chemist at Elton Pharmaceuticals in Oaxaca, Mexico. But after hours he uses the lab to perform his own experiments aimed at opening the hidden dimension his college professor discovered. He is thrilled when his laser pulse causes the sphere to collapse into a disk, signaling the sphere had entered the hidden dimension. Another pulse returns the sphere to the normal world. When he opens the sphere, a blue slime comes bubbling out.
When his assistant discovers the blue slime acts as an aphrodisiac, Gibson's corporate bosses demand he produce more—much more. But will the ancient gods of Mexico allow it?
The Keystone Mine
Thomas Gaines strikes it rich in the Asteroid Belt when he discovers the long-lost Keystone Mine. He also finds an autonomous mining machine on the asteroid, controlled by an artificial intelligence. After years of lonely isolation, the AI welcomes him warmly . But what price would it demand to give up its riches?
Jimmy Collins is a bounty hunter in the Asteroid Belt. When his sensors pick up a glint off an uncharted asteroid, his pulse quickens. It could be a sign of Class One Silicates, the AIs that gained consciousness and started killing people in the Machine Revolt. They are the most dangerous of all AIs, and they bring the biggest bounties. But they won't be taken without a fight.