Broad! submissions close on May 15

call for submissions

Rays of light through the open white door on orange wall

The door(s theme issue submissions period) is closing on May 15.

For this issue, we seek writing on “limitations or opportunities; borderlands; renovation; drifting; hotels; identity; closure; home; transition; porches and stoops; security; fear. Or submit something else. Submit what resonates with you.”

Sound like a perfect fit? Send us your best by midnight on May 15, 2016.

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Pushcart Prize Nominations for 2016

Uncategorized

pushcartprize1

Broads, this has been an amazing year for us. Between our science fiction issue, sexy robot web series, and forthcoming winter issue, we’ve had the delight of adding heaps of uniquely dazzling voices, both fresh and established, to the pages of our journal.

As always, selecting just six works to nominate for the Pushcart Prize was a difficult process. In the end, though, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to throw some sunshine on the following authors:

Kate Jonuska, “Desire Designed,” Sexy Robot Web Special 3.0

Julia Dixon Evans, “Autoclave,” Sexy Robot Web Special 4.0

Diana Clark, “Singed,” Science Fiction and Speculative Issue

Libba Hockley, “Weaning,” forthcoming Winter 2015

Hillary Katz, “After Injury,” and “Because You Want a Love Poem,” forthcoming Winter 2015

 

Thanks for another great year of reading women and nonbinary writers! To check out these pieces and more, point yo’self this way.

Sexy Robot Month 3.0: “Desire Designed” by Kate Jonuska

web special

Dear our readers: stop being so impressive.

It’s been a long, sexy month of robots here at Broad! From Elise R.’s violently comic engineering romp and Heather‘s achingly beautiful personal exploration of sexy robothood in VOUDRAIS, dear broads, we tiptoe now into Kate Jonuska’s realm of design, asymmetrical and the poignancy of “master-planned lovemaking.”

(You guys are knocking my socks off. You are knocking them CLEAN OFF.)

xx,

Kendra

image credit: visboo.com

image credit: visboo.com

Desire Designed
By Kate Jonuska

Her toenails were French manicured, a sliver of white on each shapely toe. Her ears were pierced four times on the right side along an almost elven curve of upper cartilage. Her ass was ripe, smooth and unquestionably amazing. Seen from behind, it cast an alluring shadow where the thighs met below, as if what lay there was unknown territory to be explored. Even if Sarah knew exactly what lay there.

“That’s our Alexia. She’s beautiful,” said David, delighted by the sex robot, a gift for one another on their anniversary.

Finishing her 360-degree tour, Sarah said, “Just Alex, I think. But yes. She’s perfect.”

For weeks, they’d poured over specifications online. David had gravitated toward the bullet-pointed lists and diagrams: upgraded labial design, hand-painted latex, vibration speeds, joint calibrations and the world’s most adaptive neural nets.

But for Sarah, this was an opportunity for creation. She’d gotten lost in the online 3D planner. She changed the robot’s nipple size, hip girth, coloring and hair style, and enjoyed seeing her in and out of different clothes. It felt like meeting hundreds of different women.

Hello, you. How do you do? How would we do?

And now here Alex was, and Sarah glowed with pleasure, dazzled by the ability to construct reality out of something as unsubstantial as a desire.

“Hello there,” she said.

David answered, “She’s not turned on, babe.”

He inserted a silver pin — reminiscent of a tool to fix eyeglasses — into a mole on the robot’s neck. Sarah and David each had such a key; Sarah’s currently hung on a hook in the kitchen by the cars’ keys. Another expensive toy. David denied Sarah nothing.

Alex’s eyes blinked open, an earthy brown, because Sarah was sick and tired of movie actresses or heroines in books with eyes only of blue or green, unrealistic purple or ‘flecked with gold.’ She’d wanted beauty in her robot, but also personality and humanity and vulnerability. A real woman rather than a porny bottle-blond whose breasts looked like flotation devices.

Hence Alex instead of the manufacturer-given Alexia. Hence the pixie hair cut and the only C-cup breasts, which Sarah had spent hours with in the 3D-modeling UI, wanting them to obey gravity like everyone else’s. The nipples — the areolae replete with tiny ducts and perfectly crafted imperfections — seemed locked in hard arousal, but Sarah supposed she could live with that. The robot also didn’t speak, but that was for the best. Too uncanny, they’d both agreed.

Sarah met the robot’s gaze, searching the depths of Alex’s eyes.

“The tattoo is fucking amazing, babe,” David said.

Alex blinked and looked down at her naked body for the first time, then over her shoulder at her back. A flock of blown dandelion seeds parachuted from the shoulder toward her buttocks, gradually becoming smaller until an unseen wind wrapped the stream around the hip and spiraled them all the way down to her ankle.

“Thanks,” Sarah answered with pride. The robot was just as unique and feminine and lovely as she’d hoped.

“She’s just like a girl we would really bring home for a threesome,” David said, though they’d never before done so. He loved the idea of the act more than the messy reality of courting a human. Just as even though he was conservative, he loved the idea of his wife being bisexual. Sarah bristled at that word. Sex was about connection rather than genitals.

“All the fun,” David continued, “but without the drama. Without —” He drew Sarah toward him, an arm around her waist. “— threatening this.”

He kissed Sarah’s cheek. Alex, watching carefully, brushed fingertips across her cheek, too. The robot shivered in delight at her own touch. Her permanently glossed lips parted, and she licked them and closed her eyes.

Sarah did the same, mimicking her model woman. So perfect and so sexy. Yet at that moment, she remembered the website’s claim of ‘a tongue lined with more than 100 sensors, which learn and adapt.’

David was already aroused. “So what do we…”

But instead, “May I?” Sarah asked the robot.

Blinking — the eyelashes were exquisite — Alex nodded and smiled warmly. The two women intertwined a hand, and with the other, Sarah traced the cheekbone where the robot had touched herself. The latex skin beneath her fingers flushed, soft and planted with life-like hairs that would never grow longer. She wished her own skin and body could be so easily programmed and tamed.

Again, Alex’s lips parted, and though she knew the robot’s sensors were processing the act as data, Sarah kissed her.

They took Alex to bed, and they tried everything they’d previously only fantasized. David seemed to flourish with the bit of kink. For Sarah, the third set of hands was a wonderful thing, and who didn’t like to play with a great set of breasts? Novelty gives everyone a hard-on.

Life returned to its comfortable grooves, only now with a robot, and Sarah felt inexplicably lonely. David had restricted his use of the upgraded, customizable vulva only once, to set his ideal tension. A sex-number vagina instead of a sleep-number bed. But Sarah had always loved to make her lovers, including David, scream. It made her feel powerful and alive. Alex, however, would part her glossed lips and gasp in a too-perfect way and the act was theatrical, even if the robot technically had climaxes.

“But they’re programmed into her,” David said. “It’s a little like winning a video game, no?”

As with a lover, Sarah tried to convince David to let the robot sleep with them. He objected, saying he needed his bed space and, given her weight, Alex had the appeal of cuddling a rock. He put the robot’s charging pad in the hall closet, next to the vacuum, which was also robotic. A pet for the pet. Alex’s powered-down countenance seemed despondent every time Sarah closed the closet door.

Then David took to cumming inside the robot rather than Sarah, and he didn’t scream for her anymore either.

“She’s self cleaning,” he explained, cuddling up to Sarah as they prepared to sleep. “And no birth control, eh?”

Mostly self cleaning, that is. Once a month Sarah would insert her key and do regular maintenance and check Alex’s logs. Emptying the robot’s Orifices Receptacle of the gray powder that was David’s processed sperm, Sarah again flashed to the manufacturer’s copy. ‘Three penetrable orifices.’ Men seemed to want emptiness in their women, places to fill with themselves.

Sarah bought clothes for Alex and jewelry and fancy lingerie. David didn’t care about the expense, but didn’t understand the impulse. She dressed the robot this way and that. Alex proved malleable to fashion in a way Sarah never had been, inhabiting each look Sarah tried. Alex was a million women in one, yet not even one.

They stood side by side in front of the mirror. Alex’s tattoo was so artistic and perfectly placed. Sarah’s were hodgepodge in style and placement, the result of actually being different women at different points in her life. Twenty-year-old Sarah was unrecognizable to her now, but the memorial of her innocence was on her right ass cheek. Twenty six was here. Thirty one there and there. She wondered if she would feel as divorced from her current self in five years as she was from these past women.

How do you do? Yes, but how are you doing?

Sarah pictured herself inside a 3D-modeling UI. She imagined her face with a pixie hair cut, wondered if she could re-live her younger years now, if she’d do anything different. She had everything here with David, but she pictured something louder, bolder and messier. The thought was half scary, half thrilling, and the sex that night was amazing. Sarah directed the scene like a lion tamer, drunk on wielding power over two beings at once.

In general, though, David and Sarah’s solo sex was less urgent, as if the edge of their need had been blunted. She wondered if the beautiful robot was better than her in bed, at least for David.

Inserting her key to check the logs, Sarah noticed David had regular solo sessions with Alex, more often than he’d led on. Akin to masturbation, which had never bothered Sarah before but now made her wonder if she’d created her perfect replacement in her husband’s neat-edged life.

“Have some time alone with her, too,” David said, “and I don’t mean doing her make-up. For what she’s for.” He was only being logical.

With her adaptive neural net, however, Alex had learned exactly what Sarah liked. Her tongue was an amazing technological achievement, if nothing else, but despite the robot’s sophistication, Sarah could always feel the repetition of the movements. The motor-driven nature of her mouth, of Alex’s hand almost all the way inside her. It was all ebb and no flow. Master-planned lovemaking.

And Sarah wished that being a human — or the human she happened to be — was less complicated. That there was a way to shut down her brain and put it in the closet with the vacuum, to open up a drawer in her belly and clean out the swallowed cum and bullshit inside. The robot was a tidy container for its purpose, but Sarah never had that kind of border on her self. Her personality, her humanity, was amorphous. A bundle of fog never fully contained within skin.

Who are you? And why?

“You’re quiet lately,” David said to Sarah.

“Have I been?”

“Intensely,” he said, “but as long as everything is OK…”

Sarah nodded rather than answering. She’d picked up the speechlessness from spending time with Alex, she supposed.

After David went to work, Sarah would take the robot back to bed. Once Alex learned Sarah did not want her nipples fondled, the two would watch TV for hours. Every time she turned her head toward the robot, Alex would mimic Sarah’s facial expressions — grinning during comedies, eye rolling during sappy romances. Otherwise the robot sat mute but powered up. Wasting energy, David would say.

But humans wasted their energy, too, in a million different ways, Sarah knew, feeling so very hollow. All orifices and silences. So much perfection surrounded her, yet hard as she’d tried — combining her lovers and toys like a game of Tetris — she was still being fucked rather than doing the fucking. By lovers, by life. Sarah wished she could fill things instead. Sarah wanted to be big instead of slight, to create. And then she remembered the last time she’d felt alive.

When David returned home, she was in the kitchen with her laptop, knee-deep in the robot manufacturer’s 3D-planner, tweaking butt cheeks and choosing cheekbones.

“A male this time,” she said to David, who would deny her nothing.

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Kate Jonuska is a freelance writer based in Boulder, CO. Her features have been published in the Denver Post, the Boulder Daily Camera, The Colorado Springs Gazette, Boulder Magazine and more, and she’s currently working on her first novel. On Twitter at @kjonuska.

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Want to share your own sexy robot story, poem or essay? E-mail your work tobroadzine[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject line SEXY ROBOTS. (Now through July 31 only.)

SEXY ROBOT MONTH 1.0: “Sexy Robot A Go-Go 5000, or Safe Sex” by Elise R.

Readers Write

Once upon a time, Heather and I were like, “We’re going to drop this mad science fiction issue!” and one of our Twitter followers was like, “I hope there are sexy robots!” and Heather and I were like:

pants down

Fortunately, this selfsame reader, the inimitable Elise R., boldly accepted our challenge to help make right this terrible wrong, and so it is my great pleasure to present the first installation of SEXY ROBOT MONTH, “Sexy Robot A Go-Go 5000, or Safe Sex.”

“Sexy Robot A-Go-Go 5,000” or “Safe Sex”

by Elise R.

“Hey Jim, that’s one sexy robot!” A voice called down from the metal catwalk overhanging the lab.

Jim pushed back a hank of hair from his sweaty forehead and exhaled a sigh of exhaustion as he set a wrench down on his workbench. He gazed above at his TA from the massive concrete floor of the lab. “Thanks Leroy, I’m glad someone thinks she’s sexy. All I can see at this point is the hours of work still ahead of me. At this rate, I’ll never finish in time for my Sexy Robotics final exam!”

“She looks pretty good to me. What’s the problem?”

‘Her facade and female simulation are perfect but there’s some sort of weird bug in the Personality Core. I can’t find anything about it in your notes I borrowed either.”

Leroy lightly bounded down the catwalk stairs to the floor of the lab. “Well, why don’t you fire her up? I’ll see if I can troubleshoot!”

Jim slid aside the lucite panel in the robot’s mid-section that protected the glowing personhood modem and lightly sunk his fingertip into the soft plasticine gel to activate the awareness sector.

The robot gasped as she started into consciousness. It was an act programmed in the boilerplate code, but it always unsettling to Jim in its similarity to how his mother used to look when he would wake her up from her nap so she could get started on dinner.

The robot breathed again, this time in an earthy rapturous sigh. “Oh heeeelllloooo Jim, I’m so glad to see you.” Her fingertips lightly tapped the surface of the workbench, leaving tiny dimpled impressions in the galvanized steel surface.

Jim spoke into his pocket recorder. “Trial 27 on Final Project SR 101, Personality Core.” He then turned towards the robot, gently stroking up her arm in a purposeful manner “Now activating personality type, Innocent K-1.”

The robot shivered with pleasure, her movement loosening the rivets holding the steel bench to the lab floor. “Oooh, that feels good, Jim.”

Jim gestured quickly to the personhood modem at the pulsing orange light in the upper right hand of the cavity “See, look at that! And it’s supposed to be in Innocent mode!”

The robot arched her back and gave a low moan as she whispered “Jim, can’t we be alone right now, there are so many things I want us to do right now…sex things, Jim.”

Leroy cleared his throat and said “Welp, it’s not following the Innocent K-1 program, but the main… parts seem to be in order, I can’t see how Professor McCoy can count you off too much for personality in an intro class.”

Jim sighed and said, “That’s only part of it, watch this.”

Jim then leaned into the robot and murmured into its ear while sliding his hand up its inner thigh, “Okay, sweetheart, let’s get started, Level 3 Innocent K-1.”

The robot immediately screamed “JIM! BEFORE MARRIAGE!!!???” Her powerful metal infused arms ripped his lab coat off of his body in shreds and she attempted to cover her sumptuous silicon-coated bosom with the remnants. Jim was thrown backwards from the momentum, his head bouncing off the concrete floor.

“HOLY SHIT!” screamed Leroy.

Jim groaned and dusted himself off as he walked over to pull a fresh lab coat out of the locker. He felt like an average schlub without it. “Yeah, that’s the problem.”

Leroy furrowed his brow, “What about her other personality types?”

Jim sighed again. “Go ahead, be my guest.”

Leroy moved forward and lightly stroked the robot arm again saying, “Now activating personality type Dominatrix L-2.”

Just as Jim started to scream out “No!” the robot lurched forward, ripped Leroy’s arm out of his socket and firmly spanked him on the behind with his detached arm.

“You’ve been soooo naughty,” she chirped as Jim screamed over and over again in horror.

Leroy slumped over onto the floor, his intact arm clutching at the newly made stump.

Jim, numb from the shock, looked at the robot with wide eyes as the robot picked up a metal chain from the workbench and lightly flicked it as if it were a riding crop. The end of the chain zoomed past Jim’s ear and felt relief at the near miss. He didn’t even notice the crowbar until it was too late. Just before the end, he managed to complete the thought, “We should have just bought porn.”
The image of the sexy robot arm swinging a crowbar down across the screen freezes as the voice of an elderly Liam Payne precedes the distinguished looking gentleman who walks into the shot. “This has been very special episode Jim-boy and Leroy’s Robot Adventures. As robotics advance and we approach singularity, one truth remains about mankind. Whatever we create, whatever we innovate; we want to have sex with it. While this is understandable, nay ADMIRABLE, we must also consider safety. If you create a 500 lb metal android and try to have sex with it, things can go wrong. Think safe. Act safe. Always activate the safety switch on your robotic sex android. Jim-boy and Leroy sure wish they did. God bless.”

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Elise writes about ’90s era Christian romance novels with her sister at http://undertherjg.blogspot.com. It gets pretty weird. Follow her on Twitter at @im_not_it

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Want to share a sexy robot story, poem or essay? E-mail your work to broadzine[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject line SEXY ROBOTS. (Now through July 31 only.)

Special Call for Subs (July only): SEXY ROBOTS

Readers Write

svedka-unsexy-robotDear Broads:

IMPORTANT ORDER OF BUSINESS #1: Our sci-fi issue is in the final stages of layout, and it is speculative-tacular. We’re talking lesbian apocalypses, disenfranchised worker classes on spaceships, dream experiments, and a temp job that will make your nails curl. So stay tuned for the launch in early July.

IMPORTANT ORDER OF BUSINESS #2: One of our Twitter followers pointed out that we had somehow failed to include any sexy robot pieces in the issue. To make up for this gross oversight, we’re declaring:

JULY IS SEXY ROBOT MONTH

For the month of July only, we’ll be featuring sexy robot writings on our website–microessays on Ex Machina, HAL 9000 slashfics, sonnets to Number 6. Be campy. Be sexy. Be the future.

Send your stories, art and poems to broadzine[at]gmail[dot]com with the subject line SEXY ROBOTS, now through July 31.

Note: Sexy Robots submissions are open to folks of all genders, because love wins, y’all.

image credit: ink361.com

image credit: ink361.com

(Side note: as always, Broad! is averse to the glorification of sexual violence against of any and all genders. Feel free to reach out with questions.)

Submissions are open for the Summer 2015 themed issue: SCI-FI AND THE SPECULATIVE

News

50 foot

You wake up and everyone is gone. You wake up and everyone is your mother. You wake up and your mother is made of sharks. You look into every mirror on earth and see yourself in none. You are living your life backward. You are a dream within a dreams. There are holograms. Clones. Evil clones. Clones that are not really evil but everyone sees them that way but who really would just like to get tea and talk about politics. Overlords. Underlords. Time travel. Space. Meeting your mother in 1965. Apocalypses. Post-apocalypses. Everyone is allergic to gluten now and it is terrible. There are unicorns and the unicorns are angry. Everyone is gay. No one is gay. Gender is dead. Gender is undead. Zombies are everywhere and they are demanding gender. The patriarchy has fallen! Print journalism is alive! The monster under your bed is real. You are the monster. Who is in the bed?

(We want all this and more. Submit.)