DFF Reprint: Bitter Water

In 2014 I had a secondary world adventure story called ‘Bitter Water’ published in the anthology Triangulation: Parched (ed. Stephen V. Ramey), featuring sand, bandits, extremely aggrieved merchants, alarming spirit-haunted mountains and some rather unkind practical jokers. Now it’s been reprinted by Digital Fantasy Fiction as an e-book, which I am delighted about, because the characters in it remain among my personal favourites. You can get it both on its own and as part of an anthology of ten awesome fantasy stories. So, you know. Why not?

DFF cover - short story

DFF cover - anthology

Short Story in 3LBE #28

I have a new short story in 3LBE #28: Delia’s Door, a piece about music, escapism and the power of inertia. It’s a little melancholic, but on the plus side: no body horror.

The first time I saw the summer country was when the first fugue of Vivaldi’s Dixit came together, finally, for a single perfect moment one wintry night. The rain beat against the drafty windows and fifty voices sang out together, split into two choirs, which means eight different harmony lines, which is quite hard when you’ve only got six tenors and seven basses to start with, and for once, for once it sounded as if we were really singing what Vivaldi had written.

I saw it then. A wash of blue and gold lit up the old school hall turned community centre, splashing raggedly across the choir notice boards and institutional paint and hundred-year-old prize lists full of familiar names, and through a hole as evanescent as a soap bubble I saw a new horizon: green hills, summer sunset skies, a long perspective onto light and color and a different country, far away — yet one I could reach if I could just step through the door our singing had opened up…

I may as well admit now that the quickest way to get my attention is to have a really good singing voice, preferably bass. For this reason, my favourite dragon is Fafner. (Sorry, Glaurung; sorry, Smaug.) Anyway, you should certainly check out the issue! The full table of contents is:

Short Story in The Sockdolager

I have a new story up in The Sockdolager: Tongueless, a small, nasty story about small, nasty people. It’s SF horror, as you might expect at this time of year.

There was a white light in the dark where there shouldn’t have been. It lit up the window and glowed around the door, so I said, “Hello? Is someone out there?” and no one replied. I wrestled the bolt back and stepped out into the porch on my bare toes, shivering as the breeze pushed up my cotton nightie.

I haven’t had a chance to read the issue, but the TOC looks great! It is:

Two Queens of the River • Aimee Ogden
Butter-Daughters • Nin Harris
The Dust Gate • Marissa Lingen
Tongueless • Julia August
Wolfswood • Becky Allyn Johnson
The Three Lives of Truck the Red • Naru Dames Sundar
The Beachings • JY Yang
We’re All Friends Here • Michelle Ann King

Actually, the issue has been out for days. Like an idiot, I got it into my head it was coming out at the end of the month, and it was only Charles Payseur’s characteristically thoughtful review that alerted me. Check him out for an overview (with spoilers).

Short Story in LampLight

Afterwards I heard it said that lightning struck the soldiers disembarking at Dyrrachium and wolves came into the City that stayed. This was not true, however. The only tracks I saw doubled back on themselves after pissing on the boundary stones…

I have a short piece of Roman weird in LampLight vol. 4 issue 4, alongside work by Jonathan Janz, Kevin Lucia, Kate Dollarhyde and Emily Vakos. You can get the issue on Amazon and Smashwords right now and should be able to get it for Nook, Kobo and iBooks in due course. I love the LampLight covers; as someone who obsessively photographs street lights, they get me on a subliminal level.

The serious title is ‘City of Wolves and Lightning’; the alternative title is ‘Sorry Caesar But Our City Is In Another Country!’ Reference notes: (1) it was a Bad Omen for Gaius Gracchus when the wolves ran off with the boundary-markers from his colony at Carthage; (2) Cicero, Letters to Atticus 7.11.3, on Pompey’s plan. The actual entity not within house walls is res publica, but I chose to render this ‘city’ throughout to spare myself having to decide how to translate res publica and everyone else a long dissertation on whatever my reasoning would have been.

Lackington’s #9 free to read

In case you missed it, Lackington’s #9 is now free to read, including my story Under Dead Marsh, gorgeously illustrated by Random House. The whole issue is great and Ranylt Richildis is an unsung hero (again!) for putting up with my experiments in formatting, among other things.

I may as well repeat what I said about this story when the issue first appeared: Under Dead Marsh may be the only true hard sci-fi story I ever write! It is likely to be of particular interest to three types of people: people trying to get planning permission; people trying to stop other people getting planning permission; and local councillors. Oh, and Dylan Thomas fans. I hope you like Dylan Thomas. I do too.

Note: Issue 10 will be available to buy from 12 May! It looks very exciting. Did you think about getting a subscription?

Short Story in Lackington’s #9

Lackingtons #9 (theme: architecture) is available to buy and I have a new short story in it, alongside the wonderful Arkady Martine, Sara Saab, Y.X. Acs and Natalia Theodoridou, with illustrations by Carrion House, Derek Newman-Stille, Paula Arwen Owen, Random Dreaming, Gregory St. John, and Kat Weaver. I am indebted, as ever, to Ranylt Richildis for a lot of very wise editorial direction. Thanks, Ranylt. I owe you, uh, three now. ❤️

Under Dead Marsh may be the only true hard sci-fi story I ever write! It is likely to be of particular interest to three types of people: people trying to get planning permission; people trying to stop other people getting planning permission; and local councillors. Oh, and Dylan Thomas fans. I hope you like Dylan Thomas. I do too.

Around the Internet (September 2015)

In case you missed it, I had a couple of short stories out this month: (1) Voice and Silence appeared in The Sockdolager this month. It’s a dark little piece featuring kittens being horrible to even smaller animals, among other things. If you cohabit with cats, you may appreciate it. (2) Rites of Passage appeared in Kaleidotrope. It’s a dusty desert adventure featuring empire-building, false amber, Ann and a dragon, among other things. (Helpful note: when I say “dragon”, I’m thinking of something that looks rather like this.)

FICTION

The Unicorn by Amanda C. Davis (poem, unicorn, magic)

Your Future and Mine by John Grey (poem, space, not so glamorous as you thought)

Ghostalker by T.L. Huchu (practical necromancy, vivid landscapes, cultural references)

The Closest Thing to Animals by Sofia Samatar (artists, jealousy, friendship)

Prospero by Bruno Dias and Edgar Allen Poe (interactive, red death, masque)

The Peal Divers by Francesca Forrest (poetry, sunken churches, sound)

Grandmother by Leslianne Wilder (poetry, grandmother, ageing wolfishly)

Note to the Caretaker by Lisa Bellamy (poetry, mole, earth artistry)

Scythia by Marinelle G. Ringer (poetry, myths, Greece and Rome)

Hide Behind by Jason Kimble (monster, mystery, jackalopes)

Storm on Solar Seas by T.L. Huchu (space shipwreck, cannibalism, unhappy ending)

Lock and Key by Mike Reeves (assassination attempts, vizier, lady alchemist)

Dustbaby by Alix E. Harrow (end times, dust bowl, old worlds)

The Oiran’s Song by Isabella Yap (war, abuse, prostitution, demon)

OTHER THINGS

Plasma Frequency are holding a kickstarter to fund their return.

The Strange Horizons 2015 fund drive has launched.

Lightspeed is open to fantasy subs until 31 October.

The Book Smugglers have a call for novellas.

Lackington’s Magazine editor Ranylt Richildis went to Nantes and saw a clockwork elephant!