The latest issue of On Spec is out, featuring my very short story ‘The Opportunity Costs of Adventure: Unsent Emails from Stephen Greenwood’s Drafts Folder’. Did you ever wonder what it does to your career when you keep running off to save the world? Dr Greenwood (last seen in The Journal of Unlikely Academia‘s ‘Soteriology and Stephen Greenwood’) would really like to tell you! However, he’s not going to, because nothing ruins a reputation faster than emailing a professional mailing list about apocalypse and ancient prophecy. Maybe he’ll just save that email to Drafts.
Nothing comes from nothing; this is the cornerstone of all truth. The plague of Thucydides comes from Ethiopia; that of Procopius from Egypt; that of Boccaccio is sea-swept from the dawn toward the setting sun. Virgil’s descends from a diseased sky. Is it the East? Is it our malignant star? Is it the baneful air flying out of a foreign quarter of the heavens?
No: it is a manifestation. It is a sign.
Well, all right: plagues and plague-tropes. As my bio for this one says, I’m trying to give up plagues. Maybe that should be a new year’s resolution.
TOC, aka Other Stories You Should Read:
In The Beginning, All Our Hands Are Cold by Ephiny Gale
Mother Imago by Henry Stanton
When We Sleep We Kill The World by Adam Lock
The Fox, Expatriate by Emily Horner
Milk Teeth And Heartwood by Katherine McMahon
High, High Away by Hamilton Perez
Tales Without Fairies by Matthew F. Amati
The Spinnings by Rob Francis
Most of Grendelsong Issue 2 is now live on the website, including my piece The Wardrobe of Metaphysical Maps, featuring unsatisfactory relationships and maps of a non-geographical nature. This is in some respects a counterpart to a poisonous little flash piece from 2014, Aqua Vitalis. Anyway, you can now go and check out (almost) the whole issue! It is all great, though I think my favourite story is Octavia Cade’s Carnival Microbial; as I said before, it’s so inventively icky.
Issue 2 of the new Grendelsong is out and I have a piece of flash fiction in it: The Wardrobe of Metaphysical Maps, involving unsatisfactory relationships and maps of a non-geographical nature. The issue’s gone out to Patreon subscribers and will be available for Kindle/Nook shortly; in due course the content should appear on the website too. I’ll post again then.
Table of contents:
Editorial – Paul Jessup
The White Snake Part 1 – Humberto Maggi
We Ride the Stillness – Deborah Walker
Sisters – Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam
The Tale that Wrote Itself – Berit Ellingsen
On the Acquisition of a Very Fine Steed – Virginia Mohlere
Verses on St. Andrews – Berrien C Henderson
Carnival Microbial – Octavia Cade
Eat Me, Drink Me, Set Me Free – Julie Reeser
What the Hoffenphaafs Know – Samantha Henderson
Wardrobe of Metaphysical Maps – Julia August
A Lover’s Discourse: Five Fragments and a Memory of War – Fábio Fernandes
Lunching with the Sphinxes – Richard Bowes
(It’s all great. I love Octavia Cade’s ‘Carnival Microbial’ especially, though. It’s so inventively icky.)
I have a piece of drowned-town flash up at Unsung Stories: The Girl who Talked to the Sea.
The first storm hit Eccles-on-Sea on Jenny’s fourteenth birthday. She lay curled up counting her cold toes while the wind battered the roof tiles and knocked the bells about in the grey church steeple. Rain splattered against the shutters like a cat trying to claw its way inside. Shivering, Jenny pulled her blankets over her head and squeezed her eyes shut against the dark.
I find drowned towns creepy and fascinating, and although the drowned towns along the Norfolk coastline aren’t as dramatic as Helike, there’s a lot to be said for walking along grey beaches listening out for the church bells tolling under the sea.
Things seen and read this month (rather short, because it’s one of those busy months). Plus a review of my short stories from 2014, because it’s the end of the year, after all.
The Mercy of Theseus by Rachael K. Jones (road trip, paradox, podcast)
The Ravens’ Sister by Natalia Theodoridou (ravens, fairytale, war)
Pay Phobetor by Shale Nelson (mind hack)
Hibernal by Megan Arkenberg (poetry, summer boys, autumn a dark queen)
The Whalemaid, Singing by Sonya Taaffe (poetry, mermaids)
Cantor’s Dragon by Craig DeLancey (infinity, stairways to heaven)
The Deverry books were such a formative experience for me. I discovered them when I was still trawling for books in the children’s section of my local library, and when the series was still in an “oh, just a couple more to go!” state of “totally almost complete, you guys!” Anyone who reads ASOIAF will understand I spent the next ten years anxiously waiting for what eventually turned out to be another seven or eight books to appear. Between that and Kate Elliott’s annually expanding Crown of Stars series, I am now rather more wary of starting on things still being written, but the books themselves are wonderful and I will always have a very special place in my heart for both sets. So: go look? And consider supporting the fundraiser?
C.C. Finlay will be guest-editing another issue of F&SF. He writes lovely rejections and has a two-week submission window that accepts e-subs (!!!! If F&SF took e-subs as standard, I would submit everything to them. Unfortunately I have this aversion to posting paper mss. to America for the sake of a form rejection, so instead am quietly hoping Mr. Finlay ends up editing all the issues. Well, all right, two a year would be acceptable, I suppose).
Unlikely Story has a special call for an Unlikely Academia themed issue (ending 12 March).
MY FICTION FROM 2014
Featuring enchanted thread,* inventory management, creepy cat noises, inadvisable poetry,* poison,* desert jokers, aqueductpunk elephants. In that order.
The Words of the Maguš to Kūruš, King of Kings (Lightning Cake Lit, 24/09/2014)
7 Noises Heard While House-Sitting Alone, In The Dark, That Would Be Alarming If I Didn’t Know What They Were (Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi, 15/09/2014)
Aqua Vitalis (Lakeside Circus, Issue 2, August 2014).*
Bitter Water (Triangulation: Parch anthology, July 2014).
Elephants and Omnibuses (Lackington’s Magazine, Issue 2, 13/05/2014).
* Stories involving Ann, in one form or another. These are not in chronological order for Ann; at some point, when I have enough to make it worthwhile, I will put a list together.
Hello Monday morning! I have a new flash fiction up over at Goldfish Grimm’s Spicy Fiction Sushi: 7 Noises Heard While House-Sitting Alone, In the Dark, That Would Be Alarming If I Didn’t Know What They Were, a slightly Mythos-flavoured glimpse of country life WITH KITTENS. And certainly you should go and read the grisly longer story it’s paired up with, Twenty Aspects of Exhumation by Cameron Huntley, because it’s great.
I have a piece of flash fiction in Issue 2 of Lakeside Circus! Woke up this morning to find it’s gone up here: Aqua Vitalis, a poisonous little story in which, I’m afraid, the dog dies. It’s from the St. Ann collection, though, so you should expect that.