Issues
Five-Time Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine
Issue #226May 25, 2017

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In Memory of Jianhong, Snake-Devil

Father may have been a scholar of the Tao, but he was not above invoking the teachings of Kong Fuzi when it suited him, usually where I was concerned. It was my place to be the innocent, obedient daughter, except in our role of devil hunters when I had to use my martial training to kill something. I took a moment to loosen my jian in its scabbard across my back. This accomplished little except to make me feel a bit better.

Whatever Knight Comes

But she is special. That first night, when you land together on the roof of the north tower, she hops off the wyvern as easy as dismounting a horse. Her skin is burned from the high sun and chapped from the hard wind, but she spins on her heel and hugs the wyvern around its huge neck. It turns to look at you, with a slightly tilted head, a confusion in its eyes.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
In Memory of Jianhong, Snake-Devil
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“Honored Father Pan Bao,” I asked, “Please tell me again why we are on this freezing mountain? I haven’t seen the sun since we entered this forest.”
From the Archives:
Where Virtue Lives
“‘Great and virtuous’? No, boy, I’m Doctor Adoulla Makhslood, the best belcher in Dhamsawaat.”
Issue #225May 11, 2017

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Carnival Nine

The train took us to the maker's bench, and we laid out our son's body, chest open. Tonight the maker would give him a mainspring and wind him for the very first time. "Should we name him now, or after we've gotten to know him?" My parents had waited to name me until my second day, because they wanted to be sure the name would fit.

A Place to Grow

There was a small, insistent part of her that wouldn't let her give up so easily. The tiny part of her that had put down roots outside of her uncles' laboratories and workshops. She'd poured hours into learning how to make things grow, how to keep them alive, and she had succeeded. She could spend an entire day in her garden with Marci and Gil, weeding, watering, laughing and it never felt like wasted time.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Carnival Nine
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I wanted to be angry with her, but she was a stranger, she'd never really been a part of my life.
From the Archives:
A Spoonful of Salt
He tasted of salt. Naomi half-expected to see him melting in the places where her mouth had been.
Issue #224April 27, 2017
That Lingering Sweetness

We found my dog by the eastern overlook, sniffing the floor beneath a table with her pink nose. As Deng and I approached, I greeted the spirit of Dog echoing within my mind with a reverent thought. Your visit surprises yet honors me, Lord Dog.

A Marvelous Deal

"No, I will not. I cannot. I do not have a baby and even if I did, I would not give it to such a dreadful little monster as you!" Sylvie thrust the carrot back into the dirt and ran into the house. She slammed the door and secured each of Mother Dar's seven locks.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
That Lingering Sweetness
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I greeted the spirit of Dog echoing within my mind with a reverent thought. Your visit surprises yet honors me, Lord Dog.
From the Archives:
In the Palace of the Jade Lion
Somewhat to his own surprise, Xu Jian awoke the next morning on the hard ground—chilled, weak, but alive.
Issue #223April 13, 2017

I Have Been Drowned in Rain

Jared studied her, her sopping hair and gaunt face. She was nothing to him, or shouldn't have been. The story she told—he might have ridden past the field where she worked a hundred times and never noticed her, not even her face, because it was bent to the earth.

When We Go

"At the end, where else?" Streamers of greasy black smoke leaked from her cloak to vanish in the wind, her body like dry grass in my arms. I shook her, but she, the god of the dead, was dead herself and my hands empty but for her cloak of feathers.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
I Have Been Drowned in Rain
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Jared studied her, her sopping hair and gaunt face.
From the Archives:
How the Wicker Knight Would Not Move
"And yet Now is upon us," said Tvarn Wind-Tamer. "For the Perfection is moving. Look."
Issue #222March 30, 2017

The Shark God’s Child

There had been seventy islets when Mei came to Deleur six years ago. There were more than eighty now. The aliki, the nobles of Deleur, would never be done building their city: they always wanted more platforms for their palaces, more storehouses for tribute, more training grounds for the feathered warriors, more stone pyramids to house their dead

Nightshade

There is greater magic still he could deploy. He could weave an illusion that would swallow the tree from sight. Or let his heartbeat ease down into a shallow nothing—the stillness of the grave—so no sound or motion could betray him. But he resists. Ezekiel is curious. Lyla was sure-footed on the journey, in the dark. How long will it take for her to learn his hiding-place?

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Nightshade
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“We’ll play, and if you can't find me, then Mother stays.”
From the Archives:
The Girl Who Welcomed Death to Svalgearyen
The flickers of firelight skipped over the ground and tickled Adda's feet, even through her heavy boots.
Issue #221March 16, 2017

In the Shade of the Pixie Tree

Bekka snorted at the absurdity, then clamped a hand over her mouth at the unladylike noise. Joakem didn’t notice. "I’m an apprentice, not a familiar. And Miriam Cow-nose doesn’t have enough sense to fill a baby’s belly-button. The witch chose me because I’m smart and talented."

Crescendo

“Slowly now,” Thalie said. The children knew the danger of the ever-opening and quickly closed Holes of the City. They had seen safety nets go up, springing from the ground like whiteclusters after rain. Last summer, a Hole had opened right in front of Three-Hill Nest, and the crib-siblings had spent an afternoon watching Fillers pour wagonloads of dirt-brown forget into a Hole no larger than a loaf of black bread.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
In the Shade of the Pixie Tree
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She closes tear-drenched eyes, thinks back to a time when a word, a look, a nod could have made a difference.
From the Archives:
Over a Narrow Sea
It's not mutton burning, of course; it's all my uncle's counselors, champions, and guests trapped under the rubble of the fortress.
Issue #220March 02, 2017

Featuring new cover art, “Pillars of the Gods” by Ward Lindhout, and a giveaway for a signed Tina Connolly short fiction collection.


Suddenwall

In the amnesty-city of Vannat, Aln Panette has let guilt go. The city of Vannat is a strict and inscrutable rulemaster, so Panette doesn't question the rules. She lives a plain, clean life. Keeps her recollections as free of the war as she can.

Ghosts of Amarana

Too many voices in my head; too many visions. But I swear Kaeler opens a small hatch in his bottom jaw, and from it he withdraws a narrow jeweler's blade, and, with a quick glance up, cuts off the top of his left middle finger.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Suddenwall
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In the amnesty-city of Vannat, Aln Panette has let guilt go.
From the Archives:
Murder Goes Hungry
"She has her vows, and too many of us veterans are too scarred to be any sort of decent companion."
Issue #219February 16, 2017

Gravity’s Exile

She eased herself over the edge, bare toes feeling for footholds. As in most villages, these had been deeply carved to make getting around easy, and even supplemented with metal bars in places or flat ledges for resting. Every few fathoms there was a round eyebolt for attaching a child’s tether. It was a trivial climb, and in no time Jeone was down among the trees.

The Last Dinosaur Rider of Benessa County

Black Jonas secures Essie, his pleesaur, to a ring occupied by a massive, rusted droop-chain and walks down the promenade, noting the old storefronts. Brackysaur bays still line the boardwalk where land meets canal, big ol' rectangular cutouts in the once-white stone, used for loading and unloading back in the days of the dinosaur riders.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Men of the Ashen Morrow
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Sal stood alone in the field, feeling the absence of her friend's touch. Being open to death was the cost of living free.
From the Archives:
Sinking Among Lilies
With the clawmarks as a warning, I'd slept in my clothes.
Issue #218February 02, 2017
Out of the Woods

None of us took a wound, none of them. And Eirik's men made it out of the forest, and we made it back to our cave, and King Harald was still dead, still not coming back to save us.  The nuthatch still trilled its descending wippling notes in the trees, unconcerned by the arrows. Nothing changed.

Men of the Ashen Morrow

The doe's blood melted and burned the earth. The smell of old rot poured into the forest. The ground collapsed, pulling the saplings and ferns down into the underworld, and Sal and her company stepped back. A single segmented leg, infinitely thin and long, crept out from the hole. First one, then another.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Out of the Woods
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And Eirik's men made it out of the forest, and we made it back to our cave, and King Harald was still dead, still not coming back to save us.
From the Archives:
Sightwolf
I was exploring the Other Forest, the place I always went to in the strange steady dream world, when the father wolf found me.