QSFer Cody Sisco has a new queer sci fi short out:
Mía Barrias is taking a break from managing the governor’s re-election campaign to honeymoon in Carmichael, a small resort town in Semiautonomous California. But she wakes up to a nightmare—sleeping gas wafts through the town, self-driving cars run people down in the streets, and a man clad in black is killing people with a stunstick as he tells them to “Believe and Live.”
Can Mía survive long enough to outwit the man behind the massacre and bring help to the people of Carmichael, including a special four-year-old named Victor Eastmore?
Believe and Live is a horrific short story and the explosive prelude to Broken Mirror.
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At the crest of the ridge, Mía stopped, gasping at the scene below her. The skies were cloudy with smoke and an oddly bright white fog seemed to be moving through the town in clumps, forming almost as fast as the breeze thinned it. What the thinned-out fog revealed left her gaping.
Three separate conflagrations were roaring through houses and shops. Another fire was burning elm trees lining the town square, blazing like giant torches. One fire ripped through a block of bars, restaurants, and shops where she and Claudio had walked just last night. Homes on fire on the other side of the low-rise town sent black smoke billowing up, blending with haze from the other fires, rising toward one inky confluence.
Why couldn’t she hear any sirens? Why wasn’t anyone coming to put out the fires?
The answer lay at the foot of the hill. A small blaze engulfed a fire truck, split in two like a broken toy. The main cabin rested on its side fifty meters from the carriage, but there were no other vehicles on the street, no sign of what had caused the accident.
Oh laws, the parade! Today was Repartition Day. The townspeople would have gathered on Main Street. Could a bomb have gone off? But then there would be survivors, people helping the injured. There should be scores of police investigating, helping people, but she saw none. Where was everyone?
The tragedy, she realized, went far beyond her own horribly painful slice of it. It was as if someone had torn the cover off a book, revealing a different image and a tale much darker than the one that had been promised. No one was safe, she realized. After this day, how could anyone in SeCa feel safe again?
Cody Sisco is the author of speculative fiction that straddles the divide between plausible and extraordinary. “Tortured Echoes” is his second novel and continues the series that began in “Broken Mirror,” which focuses on Victor Eastmore’s journeys on Resonant Earth and beyond.
An avid reader of Frank Herbert, Haruki Murakami, and Kim Stanley Robinson, Sisco strives to create worlds that sit in the “uncanny valley”—discomfortingly odd yet familiar, where morality is not clear-cut, technology bestows blessings and curses, and outsiders struggle to find their niche. He lives in Los Angeles.