by Sunil Patel
Sunil Patel is a Bay Area fiction writer and playwright who has written about everything from ghostly cows to talking beer. His plays have been performed at San Francisco Theater Pub and San Francisco Olympians Festival, and his fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in Fireside Magazine, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, Flash Fiction Online, The Book Smugglers, and Asimov’s Science Fiction. He also reviews books for Lightspeed and is Assistant Editor of Mothership Zeta. His favorite things to consume include nachos, milkshakes, and narrative. Learn more at ghostwritingcow.com, where you can watch his plays, or follow him @ghostwritingcow, where he’s been described as “engaging,” “exclamatory,” and “crispy, crunchy, peanut buttery.”
My attic craves memories, hungers for them. Jacinda, it whispers, show me the universe. So I do.
On Rydan I meet a Terran expatriate named Janessa. We laugh at the similarity in our names and share a cup of warm hungus, a local drink made by grinding an aquamarine flower until it turns crimson. It tastes of cinnamon and honey, though neither can be found on that world. I place the taste into a box to bring home.
On the way to Seraglia the starship is attacked by pirates. They board the ship and swarm the corridors, pointing a blaster at each passenger and demanding valuables. I hide beneath my cot, huddled up like a baby in the womb, and dare not make a sound.
A blaster shot. A body falls.
The door slides open and a pirate pokes his reptilian head in, sniffing the air. Then sneezing. He shakes his head and leaves, and the door slides closed. I let out the breath I’ve been holding, but not before I put my fear into a box.
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You can view the Table of Contents and read excerpts from these stories here.
- Fiction: “The Attic of Memories” by Sunil Patel — A bucket list with a life of its own.
- Fiction: “I Miss Flowers” by Alexandra Grunberg— When living forever isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
- Fiction: “Elvis has Left the Building” by Dario Ciriello— The King was only the opening act.
- Fiction: “Cartographer’s Ink” by Beth Cato — Conquering a map, literally.
- Fiction: “Ro-Sham-Bot” by Effie Seiberg — What do you do with an old, obsolete robot’s heart?
- Reviews: “The Fan: Virgin Ghosts, Virgin Priestesses, and Virgin Vampires” by Carole McDonnell — In this month’s column, Carole McDonnell reviews the American film A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night, the Korean series Oh My Ghostess!, the 2012 film Chanthaly directed by Mattie Do, the first female Laotian horror film maker, and Abengoni, Charles Saunders African-inspired sword and sorcery novel.
- Reviews: “The Magic Lantern: Erasing the Origins” by Adam-Troy Castro— Adam-Troy Castro uses the Western as a model for what should and shouldn’t be done to cope with the modern comic book movie epidemic. Err. Renaissance! Full disclosure: A-T C writes comics, as well as other things, and his opinions are fascinating.
- Reviews: “Area 51 1/2 September-October 2015” by Steven Sawicki — In this issue our resident Alien reviews novels by John Scalzi, Adam Christopher, John C. Wright, short fiction by Kelly Link, and the animated short THE OCEANMAKER, written and directed by Lucas Martell.
- Reviews: “New & Noteworthy Short Genre Fiction: September-October 2015” by Gillian Daniels— Gillian reviews stories by C.S.E. Cooney, Jei D. Marcade, Arie Coleman, Sofia Samatar, and Charlie Jane Anders.