Android stared at me, confused. Said I had a brain like his. Told him I was paralysed, once. He shrugged, but welcomed me in. His first human guest.
Scientists from Jülich together with colleagues from Aachen and Turin have produced a memristive element made from nanowires that functions in much the same way as a biological nerve cell. The component is able to both save and process information, as well as receive numerous signals in parallel. Mahyuddin Zin takes this discovery and crafts a story that makes us question what it is to be human.
//Mahyuddin Zin is a Bruneian illustrator and author. They make comics, paintings and novels. You can find their work at patreon.com/mayuzane and inprnt.com/gallery/mayuzane/.//
I’m a child of impossibility: both my parents died before I was born. But impossibility is the first step to invention, and those who chose me shield me from the foggy sun. We survive, impossibly.
In December 2018, a woman who received a uterus transplanted from a deceased donor gave birth to a healthy child. Uterine transplants from living donors have succeeded in the past; at least 11 babies have been born this way since 2013. From death came life, and so it was that Arizona Jonson was inspired to write this story of impossibilities.
//Arizona Jonson (@arijonsontweets) is a bi woman with chronic pain who makes sci-fi podcasts such as @dininginthevoid and @maryandmaryintime.//
They adjust the wrist bands before slipping into the damp desert club. Beethoven for the hip hop age is born in the midst of a mass of mad humanity.
In September 2018, a concert served as the Beta test site for new wearable technology. Music: Not Impossible (M:NI) allows deaf and hearing users alike to experience musical vibrations through their skin for a true “surround body” experience. Clem Weston was excited for a piece of tech that would allow those that are deaf to take part in the simple pleasures the majority of the world takes for granted, and maybe even bring humanity as a whole closer together.
//Clem Weston is a bi, bearded fancy lad who lives between the desert and the mountains with his wife and cat, both of whom he loves dearly.//
There was a click as the machine came to life – the second citizen of the Autocracy of Mars. We had sent SeeD, our first AI-powered rover, to prepare Mars for human colonization.
It had other plans.
We’ve already made a habit out of sending robots to Mars, with four rovers and a multitude of probes marking our presence on the red planet. With A.I. research advancing at leaps and bounds, it’s only a matter of time until we start using it for spacefaring purposes — we just have to hope they’re not the willful creatures scores of SciFi authors have painted them to be.
// Francisco is a Mechanical Engineering student and an English teacher. He talks about completely unrelated things @chicochegou //
Follow us, fluke and flipper, shape and splash in the sunlit waves.
Befriend us: humpback, fin and grey.
Fail us. Bones sink to the seafloor, unseen.
In November, 2018, UK scientists demonstrated the practicality of counting whales from space. The researchers, from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS), used the highest resolution satellite pictures available. Even when taken from 620km up, this imagery is sharp enough to capture the distinctive shapes of different species. Morgan Parks weaves this new data collection technique into an eerie whale song, of discovery and loss.
//Morgan Parks is a speculative fiction writer with a PhD in Geophysics and no creative writing qualifications. Distract her at @MorganJParks.//
We glide over the city, sticks smoldering in our claws. At alpha’s cry, our talons open. Fire falls from the sky, our greatest predator now prey.
For some time I’ve been captivated by this story about firehawk raptors, birds of prey in Australia that use fire as a tool to smoke vermin out of the forest. They pick up burning sticks from a fire and drop them into unburned sections of the forest, confounding human fire containment efforts in order to feed themselves. I wondered what would happen if they used the same strategies to curb the destruction of the most dangerous species on the planet: humans.
//Tara Campbell (www.taracampbell.com): author of www.thetreevolution.net & www.circesbicycle.com; a fiction ed @ Barrelhouse; MFA cand @ American Univ//
“Ready?” calls Dad from downstairs. I check the seal on my net-suit and try not to smudge lipstick as I put on the hood. Mum attaches the bridal veil.
In October this year, the Pentagon announced a controversial new project called “Insect Allies”. Funded by DARPA, researchers will use gene-editing techniques like CRISPR to infect insects with modified viruses that could make crops more resilient. However, the scientific community is skeptical and has voiced concerns that the project could be easily exploited as a biological weapon. Inspired by this news, A. J. Nicol added a twist to a scene normally filled with nostalgia and love – a bride getting ready for their wedding. Living in Australia, A. J. is used to keeping an eye out for dangerous creatures. The idea of adding virus-laden grasshoppers to the mix is not appealing.
//A.J. Nicol likes to write short stuff. She’s on Twitter @manicol1//
He had known this moment would come, but that didn’t make it any easier. He leaned against the flank, felt the familiar coolness against his cheek as the world’s last glacier melted into nothingness.
The ice is melting. Regardless of future cuts to emissions, the current level of greenhouse gas has set in motion an irreversible melting of glaciers. In other words – some glaciers may already be doomed to disappear. In the same week that this glacier study came out, Sarah DeWeerdt was contemplating the death of Sudan, the last male northern white rhinoceros. Reading of their possible extinction, she wondered: What if disappearing glaciers also had human caretakers who became attached to them? // Alex Massey
//Sarah DeWeerdt is a freelance science journalist based in Seattle. Follow her on Twitter at @DeWeerdt_Sarah.//
Her parents drone followed her always. Drone-watched kids hung out together, not speaking, the only sound the buzz of the swarm above them.
In China some classrooms broadcast live streams allowing parents—or anyone on the internet—to watch students, from kindergarten to university. This has raised controversy, with many raising the issues of violated rights, harm to personal growth, and the potential harassing comments from strangers. Mass media may focus on the government spying on citizens, but should we not also be asking what harm is caused when we start surveilling our loved ones?
//Zebadiah Mina is a comics writer obsessed with standup comedy & climate change. They write at medium.com/@Zebadiah, and live in Vancouver.//
Don checked his earphones and gun.
The rebels had turned over the latest mind-controlled keyboards to their toddlers.
Time to fight or die.
In the last decade, brain-computer interfaces (BCIs) have been used to provide biofeedback on the brain, translating brain activity into images or audible tones. Advances in this technology have enabled finer control over the readouts, allowing users to move objects with more finesse, including robotic limbs and the Encephalophone, a musical keyboard. The Encephalophone could be used to rehabilitate stroke victims, or with the power of Zoe Perrenoud’s imagination – to act as a weapon of mass distraction. // Alex Massey
//Zoe Perrenoud @zoper is a freelance writer and translator with a mission to inspire.//