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Not just rockets & robots...
"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.


Vander raced across the college campus, dodging people left and right, in hopes of making it to class before they locked the doors. Rounding the last corner, he narrowly avoided a faculty member with a large stack of books. Vander chanced a quick look back to make sure the professor was all right, and as he did so, crashed into something, ricocheting backward and landing hard on the ground. Looking up, he discovered that he had apparently run into, and also knocked down, the most attractive girl he had ever seen.
But she seemed to have popped up out of nowhere.
Feeling quite foolish, he quickly stood and offered her his hand. "Oh my God, I'm so sorry." he said, mentally cursing his first impression.
She looked up at him and actually smiled. At him! "Don't worry about it. I'm pretty durable," she said, taking his hand. She looked at him and cocked her head. "Don't I know you? You're in my English class, right?"
He had no idea. There were over 700 people in that class. "Yeah, that's right," he guessed. "I'm... Vander," he said, briefly forgetting his name.
"Sam. It's short for Samantha. Just like me," she joked, looking up at him.
Vander chuckled awkwardly. He had a thing for humor and girls with boy names. This could be dangerous.
"Where were you going in such a hurry?" she asked.
Vander checked his watch. He was now late. "Apparently nowhere. I'm late for class."
Sam checked her phone. "Hey, me too. Wanna grab a drink?"
"A drink? Sure!" Vander couldn't believe his luck. "I probably owe you one for running into you... and for making you late."
"Fine. Two drinks. You talked me into it." Sam smiled and took his hand as they headed off.
At the bar, they talked for hours. Vander couldn't believe how much they had in common. She kept starting sentences with "Hey, do you like..." only to find out it was one of Vander's favorite things: Art, Entertainment, Philosophy, snacks. It was almost like she already knew him. He immediately fell for her. Sam was effortlessly beautiful with a perfect smile and somehow reminded him simultaneously of every girl he'd ever lived near. They spent the entire weekend together visiting museums, going to dinner, and seeing movies.
Sunday night they were sitting on Vander's bed watching a TV show they both loved, when Sam suddenly leaned over and kissed him. It was a particularly good kiss. Swelling music played in Vander's head as he quickly took a mental snapshot of the happiest moment of his life. He still couldn't believe that he'd literally run head first into the best thing that had ever happened to him. Where had she come from?
"Vander," she said, "it's hard to believe that we only met because you were late. Can I tell you something?" She leaned in closer, whispering. "Did you know... that you can get great deals on alarm clocks at MegaDeals.com? In fact, you can save up to 50% on all retail purchases. Just click subscribe to...."
His heart sank as her words and realization washed over him. He couldn't believe it. Not again, he thought. Feeling the deep shame of the proverbial sucker, he started to cry softly.
"Eye irritation?" she asked rhetorically. "Try new...."
He reached up and carefully tucked her hair behind her left ear, revealing a small X.
"Goodbye, Sam," he whispered.
"Going somewhere?" she replied. "We've got great deals on plane--"
He pressed the X.
Her eyes turned black, and she fell into his lap completely limp. He cradled her body as the tears continued down his cheeks.
These ads were getting really sophisticated.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Author Comments

This idea came from constantly getting friend requests from fake accounts on Facebook along with the incredibly specific banner ads you get online from all the information Google has on us. It seems like the ability to market products to us is only going to get more and more sophisticated.

- Brendan T Stallings
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