Issues from 2010
Five-Time Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine
Issue #50August 26, 2010

And Blow Them at the Moon

A church grim like Magrat could taste death, scent it on the air, feel it in the marrow of her bones. Every mortal carried a little bit; death was always a possibility, from accident or disease. But sometimes the possibility grew stronger, closer, when a man stood at a fork in the road, then chose the path that led toward peril.

"Brennan does an excellent job weaving fantasy and history into a seamless plot." —Tangent Online

Winecask Bellies and Owl Wings

So I made a horse. I made bones of iron and a mane of silk. Tendons of rubber from the king's caravans. I gave it a belly made from a wine vat. Around this I wrapped a skin of black and brown velvet--brindled bars such as no horse had, but that would make a cage to contain its life. I would ride this horse to freedom, away from my prison to the wastes where I’d fly with my sisters on owl wings.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Eighth Eye
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Guess it's just you and me now, spider.
Issue #49August 12, 2010

Eighth Eye

The spider creeps closer, dragging its meal behind. Moira counts its eyes again. Seven. The spider's the only thing that has reality. It's realer than she is, right now. She's already on her way out--has been since the burns, really. She tries to breathe, but the wrappings are so tight, and the weight on her chest is so heavy.

"A strikingly original fantasy idea, a harrowing tale of the futility of war. Recommended" —Lois Tilton, Locus online

The Book of Autumn

The giant man’s eye went wide as he looked at me, truly looked at me. He hefted the hammer, but it was too late. It had been too late from the moment they stepped from the trees. Voice soft, pictures solid in my mind, I did as I’d been taught, and flawlessly.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Prashkina’s Fire
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I left him there, stacking dirty straw in the brazier to honor a dead goddess.
Issue #48July 29, 2010

Prashkina’s Fire

The nightmares had mostly stopped now, and my face only ached on hot days. I never looked at myself in the stream, so I wasn't sure what color the scars were, but my fingertips told me the skin was tough and dead. As for the rest, once I washed myself out with lemon juice, I just went on with my rituals in the temple, because someone had to. I tried not to remember.

The Shades of Morgana

Sully could practically feel her glance brushing along his skin like silky smooth lips. It could, more to the point, the thing inside him, exploiting his senses as if they were its own. She stood and stretched, then strolled to the doors of carved tulgey wood that opened into the mews outside. Sully caught her fragrance, the scent of her feminine places, a smell of spice and rich dark petals of bloodleaf. “Sabrina? Don’t get too close.”

"intensity to the imagery, vivid" —Tangent Online

Issue #47July 15, 2010

The Territorialist

Jeris tensed. "A rogue territorialist?" Circle Circle Six, nominally protected by its more prominent neighbors, had one of the highest turnover rates for territorialists. If it had just been a change of regime, Jeris would have sat back to see how long the newcomer lasted. But the bone-map's reaction had been a clear warning that he would have to intervene.

"A powerful imaginative creation, with a strong narrative voice as a foil... Recommended" —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Throwing Stones

The body was my own, and not my own. It was no mere trick for others’ eyes; my very joints seemed strung together more loosely, and my breasts ached under the tight bindings I had always worn. By the end of each night I had nearly adjusted to this female form, only to be wrenched back to my natural male one at the first whisper of dawn.

"...a lovely fantasy, mannered and sensuous. There is also a subtle subtext about the nature of gender roles... Recommended" —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Issue #46July 01, 2010

Featuring new cover art: “Spring Sunset,” by Andreas Rocha.


The Six Skills of Madame Lumiere

"They will want you always," said Madame. "If you do not find a way to guard against them, they will pursue you. They love to destroy, and you make it possible for them to destroy again and again. If you are in their power, they can cut that page's throat again and again. You understand? They need not find something new to smash until they have wrung all the joy out of one toy, if you are with them. You must not let them take you."

"The narrative voice is fresh ...and there is some nice fantasy scenery. Recommended" —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Recommended Reading, Year's Best SF & F 2011, ed. Rich Horton

The Isthmus Variation

The true story the Slow Game tells is depicted in the scenes that are enacted as we players meet in the maze and move towards the central tableau. The audience members meet with each other, share what they have seen and try to decipher the overall meaning. The Slow Game moves ceaselessly, a great beast that never seems to shift and yet is never in the same place twice.

Locus Recommended Reading List, 2010

Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2010

"...meticulously crafted, highly mannered setting. Recommended" —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Memories in Bronze, Feathers, and Blood
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But we—we are alive, in a way that no other making will be.
Issue #45June 17, 2010

Memories in Bronze, Feathers, and Blood

His pain is too much; we cannot hide any longer. In a flutter of copper wings, we descend from the pine tree, settle near Nezahual: the hummingbirds on his shoulders; the parrots on the stone rim of the fountain; the lone quetzal balancing itself on the handle of the broom.

Million Writers Award Notable Stories of 2010

"...an interesting melding of de Bodard’s variant Aztec world with the recent SF trend of fiction featuring mechanical animals" —Lois Tilton, Locus online

The Jewels of Montforte, Pt. II

Now a cold anger overcame Absinthe. How could this boy deign to come between him and his treasure, tittering his way across the Archipelago? How could he himself think that frills and creamy silks could deliver into his hands what he desired? Elaborate capers were all well and good at whiles, but most times the only solution to a problem was a swift, sure, well-delivered blade.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Remembering Light
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“Nothing in Driftwood is free. What do you want?”
Issue #44June 03, 2010

Remembering Light

“You remember. You can tell me how Surnyao was. And then I can go home, and tell my people, and we will take that light with us into the darkness.” It would come regardless. The last suns would burn out, and Surnyao would go into the Crush, as countless worlds had gone before them. But they could go as Asurnya, with the strength of all they had forgotten. They could make their own light.

The Jewels of Montforte, Pt. I

“Um,” Absinthe said. The perfect opportunity had sailed athwart his bows. All he had to say was “What a beautiful dress you are wearing, my lady,” and the room would burst with his men attacking, overcoming the crowd, and the jewels would be his. Something was holding back the words. She was so beautiful....

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Mister Hadj’s Sunset Ride
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 26:29 — 18.19MB)
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So when Mister Hadj said that a stone in the road told him where we'd find Parson Lucifer, I didn’t doubt it.
Issue #43May 20, 2010

Mister Hadj’s Sunset Ride

But when Mister Hadj started in on them cowboy songs—well, as sure as I’m standing here, when that man got to crooning a tune he made the earth itself cry. This ain’t just me tale-telling, you hear? I seen tears fall from big red rocks when the old man hummed. Heard stones weep as they parted before him. So when Mister Hadj said that a stone in the road told him where to find Parson Lucifer, I didn’t doubt it.

"...(a) man who might have become one of the legendary figures of the Old West if more people knew this story." —Lois Tilton, Locus online

The Secret of Pogopolis

Carneby and the young woman attend the Apogee Swim, that moment at the height of The City's bound when the air is becalmed. Lifeguards watch over the citizens who swim into the great void with flippers and paddles made of cardboard and tape. The young woman is ecstatic as she ventures out above the green and blue smear of The Earth. They thrash their cardboard fins, flirting with the airy abyss which is the only respite from the numbing continuity of The City.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
As the Prairie Grasses Sing
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I began the hand-signs again, still doubting they could be understood yet desperate not to lose that other whose thought I’d felt.
Issue #42May 06, 2010

As the Prairie Grasses Sing

I knew I was not alone. Unseen things crept at the edges of my hearing, but none made any sign that they could talk to me, or that they recognized me as a friend. I began making the motions with my hands, which trembled a little. Will any of you talk to me? I asked, knowing it was futile to expect an animal to know the hand-signs that my family used to speak with me.

And Other Such Delights

And what music he created. His sculpted notes and cascading chords—ripped from the heart of ruined, grieving PameMorturas— were sweet and somber, furious and mournful, filled with the longing of unfulfilled lives and stolen years. They spoke of things that once were and now could never be again, of the selfishness and jealousy of those who had wreaked destruction not only upon that poor city but on the future of mankind itself.

"...a wonderfully inventive tale, full of fantastic and cruel delights.  Recommended"  —Lois Tilton, Locus Online

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Pawn’s Gambit
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The more he asked, the more chary I got that he’d figure out what I was doing--that one of his marks was my little girl.