Issues
2013, 2014, 2015 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine
Issue #171April 16, 2015
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The Fires of Mercy

The sandstorm had blanketed the world the night before. Sand hung still on the leaves of the palm trees; sand sat on a skim atop the water; sand pillowed against rocks. Grains swept the crevices of palm trees, shone like jewels in the sun.

Sinseerly A Friend & Yr. Obed’t

Mr. Stutley Northup is not a magistrate. Why, he's not even a lawyer. But if people are free to come to him with their controversies, he is just as free to offer his opinion; and if they choose to act on it, well, that's their own lookout.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Fires of Mercy
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The assassin, the mother, and the child fled into the desert.
Audio Vault:
Hangman
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Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
The Book of Autumn
I made the truth something those duty old men couldn’t ignore.
Issue #170April 02, 2015
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Featuring new cover art: “Twisted Mountain Valley” by Christopher Balaskas. Enter giveaways to win a signed copy of Cat Rambo’s new novel Beasts of Tabat, set in the same world as “Primaflora’s Journey,” or a signed copy of her collection Near + Far.


Primaflora’s Journey

After that it became an act of defiance, growing out her hair. Every morning she lay in her cell amid the mass of it she had strained to produce over the course of the night, feeling herself drawn thinner, tighter, counting the sweet hay smell surrounding her a victory.

Wild Things Got to Go Free

My cousin Ren was waiting for Mama in the kitchen, pacing. When he looked at me, I saw the flickering light in his eyes, just like Mama's. He was going away, too. It looked like nobody would get to say goodbye to him properly, either. I hated the soldiers so much it hurt.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Sixth Day
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Except one day, Cassie ain't telling me what will vanish. She tells me something's coming.
From the Archives:
Of Thinking Being and Beast
Boreas crushed the keys in his palm to silence them.
Issue #169March 19, 2015
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Sun, Stone, Spear

I don't remember whose idea this was, mine or Elu's. We talked about leaving for years, so much that we had to either do it or stop talking about it at all. Then Elu's mother died. We saw her burned, her ashes put in the tomb with our ancestors, a spiral carved in the rock to mark her passage from this world, and found that nothing else was holding us there. So here we are.

The Sixth Day

If I take my shoes off and curl my toes deep into the dirt when I walk around the field, I can raise the corn a quarter inch a day, so long as I make sure to touch all stalks I pass. You'd think that's an amazing talent, especially in a place where the other fields around our farm lie dead. But ain't nobody noticing a lick of what I do—not when my sister can travel into the ahead and tell us how to keep the stretch away.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Sun, Stone, Spear
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We wait until there is only the sound of blowing wind and the cry of a jackdaw. I nod, Elu nods back.
Audio Vault:
Blighted Heart
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Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
Blood, Stone, Water
"And just what do you fathom about my thoughts?"
Issue #168March 05, 2015
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Steady on Her Feet

Holliday's face grew hot. "I go to the schoolhouse, same as anyone here in the up-there, and the marms give us history lessons. I know all about revolutions and what like. And guess what? We all will live in real houses someday. One of Runsdown's mudlarkers will get too angry, and they'll start everything, and you and everyone else in the up-there will be sorry."

A Screech of Gulls

"Rattle, Milkring, Caul." The names of Tutti's gulls are all remnants from a time before he lived under the docks, before he sold caught birds at Benechiaro's merport to indebted sailors on shore leave, and to the whores who serviced them, and to the thieves who shadowed them.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
A Screech of Gulls
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Tutti loves only three things in this world, and he loves them well: his birds, his liquor, and Gemma, the junkmonger who keeps the stall next to his barrel.
From the Archives:
The Tinyman and Caroline
“Ain’t hiding nothing,” said Jabey, freshly conscious of the slave collar scars at his neck.
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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“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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
Worth of Crows
It should be spring, the crows' dead eyes protest. It should be spring.