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"Science Fiction" means—to us—everything found in the science fiction section of a bookstore, or at a science fiction convention, or amongst the winners of the Hugo awards given by the World Science Fiction Society. This includes the genres of science fiction (or sci-fi), fantasy, slipstream, alternative history, and even stories with lighter speculative elements. We hope you enjoy the broad range that SF has to offer.

All About the Eye

The party was for 'signed only; no naturals allowed. Charoll kept her pearled face mask on at first.
She'd gotten so many adverse reactions all her life on the unruly growths that popped up all over her body when they were a child, that it felt weird and scary to take it off here.
But once she saw the crowd inside, dancing and laughing and playing with their 'signed qualities, she felt braver. She took off the mask and stuffed it in my pocket.
Charoll had had the 'signed infrastructure all her life, but only when they'd turned eighteen, they'd been allowed to start using it. Tonight she'd chosen to go female and grow her eyes out. The coaches advised trying out one sensory organ at the time, so her brain could learn to regulate the signal load.
With her many clusters of eyes, like blue-purple grapes, she could see the whole party at once. Before she could process the colors and the sound and the scents, her center eye chose that moment to die. It was always the first to signal a cascade of renewal all around her head. She plucked it off and looked around, momentarily dizzy as her other eyes distributed the signal load anew, trying to find a burn basket. They'd all signed an NDR, promising to destroy any genetic evidence so the copyright was protected.
The eyes settled down and Charoll drank in the sight. She loved the view from the back of her head the best, it was high up enough that she had some overview, and it danced differently to her walk than the view from the front.
A Skin swayed by. Charoll was in awe of Skins, people who dared to be vulnerable enough to multiply their skin surface. The Skin smiled at Charoll and invited her to touch their arm. Charoll gently stroked a roll of skin and was rewarded by a flush from the Skin and a flash of feedback to her implants. Wow. One day she'd do this too.
A deafening explosion of sound. Charoll felt her ears die. In the eerie, ringing silence that followed she pivoted around, frantically trying to see the direction of the threat through the shocked throngs of ' signed. An unenhanced man ran by, his goggled face drawn in a rictus of anger. He threw something to the ground and the world went white.
Charoll was blind. She remembered she'd seen a table just behind her before the bomb and crawled there, coughing from the stink bomb that had silently and invisibly followed the Bang and the Flash. Her hands met a mound of quivering flesh. The Skin she'd just sensed, moments before. She patted them for reassurance.
She understood their fear. If the Natural attacked Touch next, they would likely die from the massive attack on their senses.
Charoll felt a burning, tickling sensation on the tip of her finger. She knew what that was, from all those embarrassing childhood moments when sensory organs would sprout everywhere at will. A sensory organ wanting to come out. It popped with a bit of wetness and a huge sense of relief.
Something grey and fuzzy came into view. The floor. It was an eye!
That was perfect.
She lifted the finger to see what was going on.
The baby eye's sight was still unfocused and grainy, and Charoll waited for it to sharpen. There, she'd caught sight of the terrorist. He alternated between yelling to nobody and everybody and kicking someone who lay face down in the middle of the dance floor.
Zoom in, zoom in, Charoll silently begged her eye. It grew as fast as it could and managed to zoom in on the man's feet. Just as she thought. In between his footgloves and his pants she caught enough of a barcode to upload to the police. For good measure she published the barcode on the Stream and added an unlike and the grainy footage from the baby eye.
The police would arrive any moment now.
The eye caught a glimpse of the stick the Natural man was waving around. He was truly sick. He might start shooting people instead of disabling them.
She could do more.
Charoll ordered her teeth to die and fall out. One by one they dropped on her tongue, a little bloody from her gums. She spat them into her eyeless hand. She waited until the Natural stomped close and tossed the teeth in his path.
He crushed the first.
He stepped on the second one and his front foot slid from under him. His skull thudded onto the floor with a sickening crack. He stopped moving.
Charoll lay back. She' d done enough.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, January 13th, 2021
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