Category Archives: Story

A Gift from the Culture • 1987 • Space Opera short story by Iain M. Banks

First sentence: Money is a sign of poverty. Synopsis:  Wrobik Sennkil lives as a gambler in a world which isn’t far more advanced in technology as ours. He’s a transgender alien in that world, a renegade citizen of the far advanced … Continue reading

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The Butcher of Anderson Station • 2011 • Military SF novelette by James S.A. Corey

Synopsis:  Colonel Frederick Lucius Johnson from Earth subsequently visits Belter bars obviously trying to get himself killed by OPA (Outer Planets Alliance) people. They only know him as the “Butcher of Anderson Station” while at the same time he is celebrated … Continue reading

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Rachel in Love • 1987 • Transhumanism novelette by Pat Murphy

First sentence: It is a Sunday morning in summer and a small brown chimpanzee named Rachel sits on the living room floor of a remote ranch house on the edge of the Painted Desert. She is watching a Tarzan movie on … Continue reading

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Turquoise Days • 2002 • Planetary Romance novella by Alastair Reynolds

Synopsis: Naqi lives on planet Turquoise, an oceanic world where the Pattern Jugglers live. They are aquatic alien entities capable of storing the neural patterns of human swimmers, preserving their memories and consciousness forever.Naqi’s sister is a rare case of … Continue reading

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New Light on the Drake Equation • 2001 • Near Future SF novella by Ian R. MacLeod

★★★☆☆ First sentence:  As he did on the first Wednesday of every month, after first finishing off the bottle of wine he’d fallen asleep with, then drinking three bleary fingers of absinthe, and with an extra slug for good measure, Tom … Continue reading

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Tendeléo’s Story • 2000 • First contact novella by Ian McDonald

Synopsis: The Chaga, an alien lifeform spreads out on the Southern hemisphere, eat up the native flora and fauna and turn it into a completely different landscape. Each day, it moves forward 50 meters. and nothing can stop the alien … Continue reading

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Oceanic • 1998 • Planetary Romance novella by Greg Egan

★★★★☆ First paragraph:  The swell was gently lifting and lowering the boat. My breathing grew slower, falling into step with the creaking of the hull, until I could no longer tell the difference between the faint rhythmic motion of the … Continue reading

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The Cost to Be Wise • 1996 • Planetary Romance novella by Maureen F. McHugh

Synopsis: Veronique is an anthropologist who has been sent from Earth to a long separated planet to finish her studies and help restore contact to the primitive people. The people of Sckarline reject technology like plastic which they can’t produce … Continue reading

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Forgiveness Day • 1994 • Planetary Romance novella by Ursula K. Le Guin

★★★★☆ Synopsis: Solly is the strong-minded Envoy of the galaxy-spanning united nations Ekumen down on planet Werel. Werel isn’t yet an Ekumen partner but desperately wants to. That’s why Solly is in high regard even though she is a female … Continue reading

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Monster • 2020 • Thriller novelette by Naomi Kritzer

First sentence: No one at the Guiyang airport speaks English.  Synopsis: Cecily is a gene editing professor who searches her best friend Andrew from high school. He’s hiding in a remote province of China (“like the Oklohama of China”) where … Continue reading

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