Issues
2013, 2014 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine
Issue #167February 19, 2015
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Madonna

When I woke again, I was looking up into a face which, belonging as it now did to a girl, was much prettier than it had been when it belonged to a boy. It was more than that, however. The face was more willing to smile now, and to be as soft as in truth it was.   And when the face spoke, it relinquished all pretense of a voice other than its own--a relief to my ears and certainly to Bonifacio’s as well.

Y Brenin

The knight raised his eyes, tracing line from the quiet of the water to the mountain looming in the cloud. His breath tangled in his throat as an indistinct figure all but crawled over the ridge behind him. Until he saw the colour of the hair and the blackness of the eyes, the knight was certain that it was not the Red King that walked towards him out of the mist but his lord.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The King in the Cathedral
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 43:39 — 29.98MB)
“How disappointing I must seem,” he said at last. “I didn’t know I’d become a folk figure. I would have grown a great beard.”
From the Archives:
The Motor, the Mirror, the Mind
Whether we see visions in mirrors or hear voices in warbling electrical static, we must always interpret, extrapolate, confabulate.
Issue #166February 05, 2015
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Featuring new cover art “Floating Town” by Takeshi Oga.


The Wizard’s House

The clouds began to glow around us, and slowly the schools of jellies dropped and came into view. I had never seen them up close like this before. As the air cooled, they drifted farther down, toward the level where our kites rode with their wicker scoops. They were larger at this altitude, just as I had anticipated, some nearly as wide as my outstretched arm.

The King in the Cathedral

“Let me finish.” Fawkes’s bloodline must have still carried some authority to her, because she fell silent. “Your parents were loyal to the king, and no doubt wealthy. They lost everything when the Illusionist seized power. So your mother, dreaming of her filched finery, filled your head with fantastical nonsense about the rightful heir, here in exile, planning a glorious uprising from leagues and leagues away.”

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Metamorphoses of Narcissus
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 23:26 — 16.09MB)
I lay on the drowned grand piano, naked, my head that of a chess-horse, my hands and feet stumps oozing black-green blood onto the keys.
Audio Vault:
The Ascent of Unreason
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 39:04 — 26.83MB)
Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
The Five Days of Justice Merriwell
I see again my brothers’ grins beneath their iron helmets as my father released the holy fire upon the heretics.
Issue #165January 22, 2015
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For Lost Time

An undercurrent flowed that Semira couldn’t read: anger would be petty beside it, yet it was less animosity than the opposite, edged with fear and incredulity. What Aniver was suggesting was awesome and awful. And Semira, not being a wizard, didn’t understand half of it. She probably never would.

Day of the Dragonfly

With a shout Keftu took two mighty bounds and leaped into the air. He kicked his legs, spreading wide the wings that had been hidden in their case at his back. They were like insect wings, with veins of carved bone and membranes of golden resin, and he drove their gear box with chains linked to his greaves. "What do you think you're doing?" Yani cried.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Everything Beneath You
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 34:04 — 23.39MB)
I wanted to ask her more questions, about the way the world was made, about death and dreams, but did not want to know the answers.
Audio Vault:
Between Shifting Skin and Certainty
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 28:32 — 19.59MB)
Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
And Her Eyes Sewn Shut with Unicorn Hair
“That’s why I’ve never loved my sister. I’ve always known the last thing I’ll ever see is her sewing my eyes shut.”
Issue #164January 08, 2015
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Featuring a bonus excerpt from World Fantasy Award-winner James Morrow’s new novel Galápagos Regained, and a giveaway for a signed copy of the novel.


Everything Beneath You

I wanted to go, but I did not know where I was going. I wanted to stay and rub my hands all over her belly, but I did not like the thought of all that sand in the creases of my palms. I wanted to ask her more questions, about the way the world was made, about death and dreams, but did not want to know the answers, should they distract me from my destined future.

The Metamorphoses of Narcissus

And it didn’t matter. This was not my blood; it was but part of glamorous transfiguration. I was beautiful, or I believed I was. What did it matter, the beauty a woman was born with, my long fair hair that was now a wooden horse’s mane, my hands and feet that had once moved in the dance so skilfully? Beauty was a construction, a blueprint geniuses dictate to mere mortals who could not know for themselves what it meant.

Novel Excerpt: Galápagos Regained

Chloe’s first instinct was to hustle Willy and Annie out of the zoo, lest they learn prematurely there was such a thing as atheism, but she elected to stay, partly because the children seemed oblivious to the scientists’ chatter, but mostly because the phrase “ten thousand pounds” held an intrinsic allure. 

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Novel Excerpt Galápagos Regained
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 58:26 — 40.13MB)
Chloe’s first instinct was to hustle Willy and Annie out of the zoo, lest they learn prematurely there was such a thing as atheism.
Audio Vault:
Mr Morrow Becomes Acquainted with the Delicate Art of Squid Keeping
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 58:07 — 39.91MB)
Introduced by the narrator, T.D. Edge.
From the Archives:
The Orangery
Flanked by my brother and sister, I opened the orangery door and was enveloped in sweet-scented air.
Issue #163December 25, 2014
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Alloy Point

Sunlight made the metalman more frightening, not less. She could see how it had been assembled; could trace the human form inside. It was naked—no human clothing could ever fit such a jagged silhouette. She saw the iron rods added over time to stretch bone and muscle, giving it longer arms and an extended spine. What she had initially thought was fur was actually chestnut hair, cascading down from its head and knotted into every dark place where metal met flesh.

Until The Moss Has Reached Our Lips

I help Little Anya into her coffin. I tell her to lie on her back so she does not have to look at the body beneath her. The littlest ones ask why we could not empty the coffins first. Pirro tells them, They will guide us out. These shrunken forms of our ancestors, our mothers and fathers, uncles and aunties. Their spirits will keep us safe once we make it out to sea.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Alloy Point
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 36:51 — 25.31MB)
The metalman had always been behind her, its steel hooks eager to split her open, for as far back as she could remember.
Audio Vault:
The Last Gorgon
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 37:44 — 25.91MB)
Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
Worth of Crows
It should be spring, the crows' dead eyes protest. It should be spring.
Issue #162December 11, 2014
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Featuring new cover art “Ancient Threshold” by Sam Burley.


A House of Gold and Steel

In the morning, after I'd gotten some of the thin porridge into Miss Aneta, I made my first try with a scrap of fabric torn from the cloth I used to wipe her brow. I positioned her like the whey-faced people had and did what I'd seen the day before. And there was the snap, the spark I'd felt, and suddenly I had a heavy, ragged-edged scrap of gold.

Goatskin

"Let me try something," I suggested, and slid into my goatskin and became a mouse. I winked at her—although I doubt she could see it—and skittered out into the front of the wagon, down into the ropes that held the ox to the cart. Akiiki and his man were discussing their impending fortunes. Whether they meant to sell the Lady Uduru off, or rent out her magic, I did not know and did not care. I wanted only to put a stop to it.

Audio Vault:
System, Magic, Spirit
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 33:38 — 23.1MB)
Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
Dying on the Elephant Road
Abe experienced the odd sensation of Madame Oljon inside his head aligning her face with his, pushing eyes and lips forward past his own.
Issue #161November 25, 2014
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The BCS Audio Fiction Podcast is on a brief hiatus. In the meantime, check out our past episodes and enjoy new episodes of The BCS Audio Vault, including one in this issue.


Sweet Death

Mieni closed her mouth so sharply I feared her fangs would cut her lips. "Just so, Mr. Swift," she muttered. A lone bee, moving drowsily in the cold, crawled out from under the shattered honeypot and stood on the dead Davala's broken eyesocket, waving its antennae as if lost. "Odd," she said. "Very odd."

We Were Once of the Sky

Zelhorn comes so close to me that the stench of rosewater is overpowering.  “Behind these masks, humans and Beta look the same. So Beta can be doctors without the humans knowing. Humans will let Beta doctors treat them. The plague will be contained. Change, not plague, will soon be in the air!”

Audio Vault:
Armistice Day
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 29:56 — 20.56MB)
Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
Bakemono, or The Thing That Changes
I realized in that moment that even my name is a lie.
Issue #160November 13, 2014
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A Guest of the Cockroach Club

Ugh, the Cockroach Club! They would pick a spot like this for their headquarters, as far as possible from Pennsylvania Avenue. They would like to make a United States senator walk for miles through muck and worse on a freezing February night. And they wouldn't mind the foreign and sinister stink of the place—oh no! They would only make it worse.

The Streetking

Found her down by the Kaltan corner next, and switched well. And better the next meeting. Wondered what her parents thought, her losing bits of shine like that, 'til I realized she was lifting them. I tried to tell her care, but she was paces ahead. "I take them in the gardens," she laughs like a trinket, "and the groomsmen search through the beds after, and the ladies shout around the hedges. 'Where's my necklace? Where's my anklet?'”

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Streetking
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 21:02 — 14.44MB)
I knew the streets. I were a quick strike and a wary eye, but this...
Audio Vault:
Ill-Met at Midnight
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 39:01 — 26.79MB)
Introduced by narrator John Meagher.
From the Archives:
Fleurs du Mal
She stroked the globe of one of the sickly plants. The fronds inside followed the motion of her fingers.
Issue #159October 30, 2014
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Enter to win a free copy of The Mammoth Book of Warriors and Wizardry, a new anthology featuring four BCS stories and nine other BCS authors.


Drawn Up From Deep Places

Midst-caught, Parry thought he saw those eyes change—their pupils slide sidelong, opening like a cuttlefish's, even as her hips slipped, knees gone triple-jointed, twining 'round his legs like two fishtail tentacles. While the inside of her grew scaled and stringent, scraping him tip to root, leaving her mark forever.

The Burned Man

When you are young you think that you will live forever and that no harm will ever come to you. Your friends will stay friends and your lovers lovers, and the most dangerous thing is spotting a wrinkle in your looking glass.  Ah, this is not true, my boy! There are worse things than a safe old age.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Rugmaker’s Lovers
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 25:37 — 17.59MB)
Something sat in the rugmaker's belly, small and solid and chill, and her husband's songs ceased to warm it.
Audio Vault:
The Suffering Gallery
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 49:41 — 34.11MB)
Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
In the Gardens of the Night
If the General wants her dead, he must agree to my requests.