Gustavo and Emiline

A perfect romance or a claustrophobic prison sentence? Elizabeth Stix brings the inarticulate paralysis and stifling compromise of a suffocating relationship to lurid life in her reality-warping short tale “Gustavo and Emiline.”

On the Beginnings of a Universe

The all-powerful child is a memorable and chilling figure in weird fiction — from the original Star Trek’s “Charlie X” to the Twilight Zone-adaptation of Jerome Bixby’s “It’s a Good Life.” Oakland writer Laur A. Freymiller updates the trope for the #MeToo era in this striking narrative of abuse, confrontation, and literal erasure.

Carpet

“I am a carpet of pornography formed by discarded sex worker advertisements along the Las Vegas strip, circa 1995.” So begins Joel Page’s blithely surreal tale of sex, commerce, and the personification of the object.

Stillness

Janie Le’s unsettling tale of postmortem injustice is, in its way, a seasonal telling for this solstice time of endings and renewal.

I Wasn’t Looking

In Arizona writer Dan Schwartz’s skewed yarn, sarcastically chatty animal spirits offer no easy answers to life’s existential dilemmas.

Memory of the Future

“Memory of the Future,” Tobey Hiller’s takedown of demagoguery and the cult of personality in American politics, is rich in symbolism and revels in its absurdity.