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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.

My Uncle's Legacy

Krishan Coupland is a graduate from the University of East Anglia MA Creative Writing programme. He writes, makes games, runs a small press, and sometimes busks with a typewriter. He has won the Manchester Fiction Prize, and the Bare Fiction Prize. He is unduly preoccupied with service stations. His website is: krishancoupland.co.uk.

My uncle made butterflies for a living. Other custom creatures too, if the commission was high enough, but butterflies were his speciality. They would unfurl from their cocoons and shake out wet wings to reveal the most intricate patterns imaginable. A perfectly-rendered dollar bill print. Tube maps. Family photographs. Intricate leaves complete with veins.
He was an artist, but not everybody recognized him as such. Daily there were protests outside the lab. Frankenstein, they called him, as though he were crafting something monstrous rather than beautiful. The eco-radicals claimed he was playing god, meddling with nature. They called his work an abomination. And, eventually, they killed him.
It was a bomb that did it. Placed outside his house in the dead of night. It detonated when he opened his front door, and blew away the whole front half of the building. Until that moment nobody realized that my uncle had been taking his work home with him. From the shattered ruins a thousand butterflies arose, drifting away on the wind. Released from captivity, they spread like fire.
The End
This story was first published on Thursday, December 31st, 2020

Author Comments

This story started with the image of a bomb going off... but giving rise to a cloud of butterflies rather than shrapnel and fire. It was an image that stuck with me for a while, but I could never find a home for it until I paired it with the idea of a brilliant scientist working on a secret project.

- Krishan Coupland
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