“In the Age of Iron and Ashes” by Aliette de Bodard.
They ran the girl down, in the grey light of dawn: a ring of copper-mailed horsemen, racing after her until her exhaustion finally felled her.
Yudhyana sat on his horse, shivering in the cold morning air, and thought of home—of the narrow, spice-filled streets of Rasamuri, and of his daughters shrieking with delight as he raced them in the courtyard. Anything to prevent him from focusing on what was happening.
Aliette de Bodard lives and works in Paris, where she has a day job as a System Engineer. In her spare time, she writes speculative fiction: her Aztec noir trilogy Obsidian and Blood is published by Angry Robot, and her short stories have appeared in markets such as Clarkesworld Magazine, Asimov’s and the Year’s Best Science Fiction. She has won a Nebula, a Locus and a British Science Fiction Association Award. Her latest release is the Vietnamese space opera On a Red Station, Drifting. Visit http://www.aliettedebodard.com for more information.
“A Hard Truth About Waste Management” by Sumanth Prabhaker.
The family liked so much to flush their trash down the toilet that they sold their TV and used the money to buy three chairs to arrange in their upstairs restroom. This was a time when trash flushing was not an uncommon practice, but even then this particular family’s enjoyment was rare.
Sumanth Prabhaker is the founding editor of Madras Press, a charitable publisher of short fiction whose titles include work by Donald Barthelme, Aimee Bender, Kelly Link, and Ben Marcus
Narrators: Steven Howell and Mark Kilfoil
After retiring from military service in 2013, Steven began working toward an MFA in creative writing at the University of Tampa. He writes short stories, and is working on his first novel. Steve also serves as a slush reader for the Tampa Review Online and assistant editor and occasional narrator for the growing collection of genre fiction podcasts at District of Wonders. He lives in Florida with his wife, two sons, and one hyperactive dog.
Mark “the Encaffeinated ONE” Kilfoil loves fiction, so much so that he’s written some (such as the Parsec-nominated Tainted Roses), read quite a lot (a library of over a thousand half-read books and growing) and now narrates them (sometimes actually recorded for others). He’s found that volunteering for a dozen years in radio was a decent way to get a full-time job as a Program Director at a community radio station in Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, but not such a great way to finish his thesis, so he stopped at a Masters in Computer Science. He can be heard frequently on CHSRfm.ca, and two of his shows regularly appear as podcasts, and can be found at encaffeinated.ca and theweirdshow.com. He likes cats enough to pet them but not enough to own one, and computers enough to own several but pet none of them. He will someday write a million words, but at this rate, that will require life extension, so he eagerly awaits the ability to upload into a computer, if that hasn’t already happened and this is all only a simulation.