io9 Newsstand: The Best Stories from the Week of May 10 - 16

This week’s stories are about remembrance, unearthing the past one note at a time, and finding freedom while floating away on giant alien tree seeds.


A Song For You By Jennifer Marie Brissett | TerraForm

“What happened to your body?” Maya asked as she sat down in front of it.

“That is a long story.”

“Tell me. I like stories.”

The head stared at her with a countenance the child would see again when she became older on the face of her own mother who while dying wanted to speak her last words. The head remained silent for a long moment and said, “Perhaps, it is time.”

Maya folded her legs and readied herself to listen.

This sweet little story holds the distinction of being the only story (so far) that I’ve really enjoyed from TerraForm, Vice Magazine’s speculative fiction magazine. But then Brissett’s fiction is pretty compelling, so it’s no surprise. It’s a nice meld of mythology and science fiction, with a dash of archaeology thrown in.

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Let Down, Set Free by Nino Cipri | Crossed Genres Magazine

So here’s the first thing: the floating trees. Have you been following this story? I wasn’t, though I know more about them now, obviously: big-ass seedpods that looked just like a milkweed fluff, only grown to the size of an oak tree. Grey-brown network of flat, feathery branches, dense as a cloud and just as light, carrying around a dark seed that’s the size of a truck tire. More of them after every full moon, floating in the air with the greatest of ease. They’ve been spotted everywhere from the Carolinas to Florida, but nobody’s sure exactly where they’re coming from, or what kind of plant they grow into.


Personally, I was too busy being miserable to pay much attention. Getting a divorce doesn’t leave much room for other concerns, at least for me. When you can see the rest of your lonely life stretching out ahead of you like some rusty railroad tracks, everything else sort of fades into the background. Until this afternoon, anyway.

I ended this story really wanting to know what these seedpods grow into.

Remembery Day by Sarah Pinsker | Apex Magazine

I woke at dawn on the holiday, so my grandmother put me to work polishing Mama’s army boots.


“Try not to let her see them,” Nana warned me. I already knew.

I took the boots to the bathroom with an old sock and the polish kit. ...

The door swung open, and I realized too late that I had forgotten to lock it. Mama didn’t often wake up this early on days she didn’t have to work.


“Whose are those?” my mother asked, yawning.

“Uh—” I didn’t know what to say, which lie I was supposed to tell.

Nana rescued me from the situation, coming up behind Mama. “Those were your father’s, Kima. I asked Clara to clean them for me.”


Mama’s gaze lingered on the boots for a moment. Did she think they were the wrong size for Grandpa? Did she recognize them?

In this country, we tend to forget our veterans until it’s convenient (or until Veteran’s Day). They can’t forget what they’ve seen and experienced, and it’s usually when that becomes a problem for them that civilians hear about it. This story explores the complexities of remembrance, and the ways of honoring service.


K. Tempest Bradford is a speculative fiction author and media critic. Follow her on Twitter, G+, Tumblr, or her blog.