Issues from 2012
2013, 2014, 2015 Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine
Issue #111December 27, 2012

‘His Crowning Glory': a new tale of the Antique Lands

Jon went back tomorrow and the next day, to find that she had no news. On the third day, Iánheh was not at the Bab-ál-Lámeh at all. And so he worried. As did Pendergast, whose private fretting about 'His crowning glory' became more intense, at least in Jon's presence. "Here I am working to possibly no end, and you—you sniff around the place like a street dog!" he snapped when Jon came 'round on the third day and would not leave the office. "Don't you have some child to tutor, some view to photograph, somewhere else to be—something to look for?"

"distinctive narrative voice... with a strong personality of its own. The tone is light and salted with nice little nuggets of wit. Recommended." —Lois Tilton, Locus online

The Giants of Galtares

Sardamira courteously relented, secretly resentful. The servants brought a beautiful chess board with pieces made of bone and dark wood. Pinela knew the rules but no strategy. She made basic mistakes against the giant and suddenly excused herself and left halfway through. The giant seemed disappointed. Sardamira gathered up her courage and her desire to out-do Pinela. "If it pleases you, I shall take over her game."

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Seeking The Great Raymundo
Podcast: Download (Duration: 26:34 — 18.24MB)
“Why in the world do you want to be a magician, if that’s the life they lead?” he asked me after one particularly bloodcurdling story about an angry mother.
From the Archives:
More Full of Weeping Than You Can Understand
As with Papa, she knew Thomas was gone and felt no regret, for she had changed equally.
Issue #110December 13, 2012

The BCS Audio Fiction Podcasts are on hiatus for a few issues. In the meantime, peruse our episodes from last winter for audio fiction by E. Catherine Tobler, Tom Crosshill, Yoon Ha Lee, and more.

The Storms in Arisbat

Semira made her way to him, unsteady as if on a rocking deck. He took her outstretched hand, and the point of contact became an anchor, and axis; something steady to work around. The fear didn’t abate, but its quality changed: from dread to dizzy panic to the icy clutch of despair. Semira thought of rushing winds, coming and abating, and of sudden downpours of rain. Of storms.

"a lot of detail here that enriches this story–elements of myth and history, the working of magic and its cost, philosophical meditation on death. Recommended." —Lois Tilton, Locus online


For a frozen moment, I glanced between the murder-sharp blade of my athame and Bastien's stricken expression, trying to reconcile the two. Part of me wasn't sure why I hadn't slit his throat for everything he'd done and all the people he'd betrayed. Because he didn't do any of that, the rational part of me insisted. Trouble was, I remembered him stabbing Annie in the arm on the Day of Glass, and what Gretchen had become after he got to her in Gabbleford.

From the Archives:
Bread and Circuses
She and I made bread every day knowing that if the grain didn't ripen, we were next in line to be cut down.
Issue #109November 29, 2012

The BCS Audio Fiction Podcasts are on hiatus for a few issues. In the meantime, peruse our episodes from last winter for audio fiction by E. Catherine Tobler, Tom Crosshill, Yoon Ha Lee, and more.

The Telling

The bees' solemn procession across pillow and cheek had been silent, their wings folded and still; when they crept back out over the sash they had disappeared as if not flying but falling into the darkness.  Their feet had pricked, Mel remembered, and their fur had tickled as they worked their way through lips, teeth, and tongue.  They had smelled of barley and clover and a dark musk that made Mel think of Travelers’ wagons on market day.

Winner, 2013 World Fantasy Award, Short Story

"...apian metaphors abound. But other secrets need to be answered... The telling is rewarding. Recommended." —Lois Tilton, Locus online

The Scorn of the Peregrinator

The next noise I knew quite well; a sword drawn through a belt-ring. And there stood a small man, lost in a vast feathered cloak-and-cowl with a great ash-roc plume curling up from a thick combed headband, pointing a long needle of steel at me, his arm shod in small quills like an ant-hunter. I swear I heard a tinny, whistling call as my eyes took him in.

From the Archives:
The Orangery
Flanked by my brother and sister, I opened the orangery door and was enveloped in sweet-scented air.
Issue #108November 15, 2012

Enter to win a signed copy of the Ann VanderMeer anthology Steampunk Revolution.

Liaisons Galantes: A Scientific Romance

Zéphine followed Mme. Dumouchel into the living room, Madame’s galanterie for her husband padding contentedly along beside them.  It was a docile little thing, with a cute pug nose and large soulful eyes, and Zéphine could not fail to notice with a pang of envy how similar it was to its counterpart, M. Dumouchel’s galanterie for his wife, which dozed placidly at Monsieur's feet.

"Quite charming. The galanteries are a happy creation, very French, as is the solution." —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Seeking The Great Raymundo

He’d signed his note “The Fabulous Frederick.”  He hadn’t called himself that in years.  I smiled and stroked the soft leather of the journal's cover. In it he explained his familiar tricks with complicated diagrams that made things that I’d always just felt were right become suddenly understandable. Freddy really had been fabulous once.  I wondered what happened.  Why had I never bothered to ask?

Audio Fiction Podcast:
They Make of You a Monster
Podcast: Download (Duration: 22:43 — 15.61MB)
By the time they snap her fifth finger, she doesn't have the strength to struggle anymore.
From the Archives:
Pawn’s Gambit
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.
Issue #107November 01, 2012

After Compline, Silence Falls

But even so, when we gather for vespers and again for compline, I cannot help but look at my brothers with uncharitable suspicions in my mind.  Did one of them get up in the night? I heard nothing—not even the snoring of Frère Bruno—so any one of them might have done so. But why? And what did the cat have to do with anything? Even if one of the brothers were sneaking into the pantry, I cannot fathom why anyone would want to strip a cat of her flesh.

"at its heart it’s a story of what it means to live in a community of brothers. The convincing setting is enhanced by its strong connections to actual history." Recommended —Lois Tilton, Locus online

They Make of You a Monster

After the last snap fills the air, the Healers weave a spell to fuse the bones of her fingers back together. To fill her up with something new. When they let her go, she crawls to the corner of her cell, holds her ruined hands to her chest, and sobs into the filthy straw.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Luck Fish
Podcast: Download (Duration: 34:09 — 23.45MB)
He slices through the thong on the cover of the fish basket. Hundreds of sunken eyes stare accusingly up at him.
From the Archives:
Sorrow’s Blade
Green life gave him more comfort than the image of a man nailed to a cross.
Issue #106October 18, 2012

Enter to win a signed personalized copy of Tina Connolly‘s new novel Ironskin.

A Song of Blackness

I had never before met this man, this gnarled old usurper who lounged on furniture emblazoned with my ancestors' crest.  I had never seen those flint-sharp eyes floating in a sea of overlapping wrinkles.  And yet within that crumpled flesh I read hatred and bitterness and treachery.  This man had murdered my grandfather, and his face bore the guilt of it.

Hold a Candle to The Devil

“Miss Em?” Florence called softly from the doorway.  The woman—perhaps it was a woman—in the bed was fragile and hollow as a teacup. Her white hair wisped and curled around her skull, and her eyes looked like stones dropped in deep snow. She opened her mouth and made a weak, kitten-ish sound. Florence nodded and bent to adjust the pillow.

"...following the career of Florence, a memorable character you wouldn’t want to cross. There’s some nasty black magic here, with care taken in its working." —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Cursed Motives
Podcast: Download (Duration: 33:39 — 23.11MB)
Safy laughed despite herself. "Unnatural? Of course I am."
From the Archives:
Invitation of the Queen
Tahileh was mine, and had been working for Leuhovesen instead for far too long.
Issue #105, Fourth Anniversary Double-IssueOctober 04, 2012

Featuring new cover art: “Lost Citadel,” by Jonas De Ro. The second and fourth stories and the free ebook versions will be released next Thursday, Oct. 11. The complete issue is available now on Kindle and at Weightless Books.

Three Little Foxes

I snapped the flute in half across my knee. Junko’s scream drowned out the faint whistle and much louder crack of the flute coming apart. He dove toward me, nearly incoherent in rage. Kenji managed to trip him as he hurtled past, and Junko went sprawling, though he quickly scrambled back to his feet. “I’ll kill—”

"It’s not Yamada’s ability to discern the spirits that reveals the nature of the mystery, but his way of seeing into human hearts." —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Cursed Motives

"An Imperial Princess uses her curses sparingly," said Tib, but the narrow-eyed look she gave Safy was more skeptical than remonstrative. Safy knew that Tib doubted her affection for the arrogant Phenole very much--even more so since she had just met him--and could not see how such a curse would help Safy or anyone she did care about. Safy smiled. Let her wonder.

"An amusing fantasy that casts a new light on the nature of the curse. "  —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Luck Fish

Masozi holds the twitching fish carcass above his head, out of Themba's reach. "Make your own luck this year, little lion." He takes another bite and tries to grin, but it's all he can do not to cringe as a single fish scale cuts into the gum between his two front teeth.


Something deep within her stilled and she thought she would fall, because the world was tilting.  But there was solid stone beneath her, and she set one foot upon it, then another, and then she was running back to the palace, heedless of everything but reaching her rooms.  There were doors in her way; she flung them aside and halted only to snatch up the crown.

"A complex web of stories, held together by love.... Beginning as a story of court intrigue, it grows in scope to embrace divinity. The costs of learning what is truly valuable are tragic, because some things can’t be recovered or compensated for." Recommended —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Worth of Crows
Podcast: Download (Duration: 29:04 — 19.97MB)
It should be spring, the crows' dead eyes protest. It should be spring.
From the Archives:
The Land of Empty Shells
Dziko shaped their son, and Terra shaped their daughter.
Issue #104September 20, 2012

The Ascent of Unreason

By now the rumors had spread; half the population of the Shreds seemed to know that Tolyat the scholar was trying something mad, and most of them had come to watch.  They parted, though, to allow Last through—along with the cart he was dragging behind him. Tolyat paused to stare.  "What in the name of everybody else's god is that?"

"pure adventure, celebrating the wonder that is Driftwood" —Lois Tilton, Locus online

Worth of Crows

Death circles the tent. She sees the shadow of antlers, tangled like the grove beneath her study in the towers she betrayed. You cannot save him, Death whispers; not forever. But perhaps you can save yourself. Is that why you nurse him with the warmth of the souls of crows? So that you may save his life, and offer it to me? Will he be the payment for your debt?

"The best story of the month, well conceived and well written" —Lois Tilton, Locus online

"'Worth of Crows' was excellent" —Lou Anders, Hugo Award-winning editor of Pyr Books

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Ascent of Unreason
Podcast: Download (Duration: 37:22 — 25.66MB)
If Tolyat wanted to see the whole of Driftwood at once, he had to get close to the Crush.
From the Archives:
Remembering Light
“Nothing in Driftwood is free. What do you want?”
Issue #103September 06, 2012

When Averly Fell from the Sky

My host studiously ignored the open portfolios of photographs that had been retrieved from my carriage.  Presented therein were proofs from the aforementioned exhibit ("mechano-erotica", it had been dubbed by the artistic community).  Androgynous waifs posed in the controlled symmetry of Machines; the hair on their heads and elsewhere thickly woven with industrial cable; black metallic powders darkening eyes and lips.

"This mixture of steampunk and horror goes in surprising directions" —Tangent Online

Bandit and the Seventy Raccoon War

Next morning, they'd hardly gone a mile when the boy found something dead. He crouched over it. He called Jacsen over. "It's a raccoon, ain't it?" the boy said. Jacsen stared at the carcass from his saddle. "It looks just like you," the boy said, awestruck. His words rang ill and Jacsen felt suddenly sick. Heat sick maybe and he needed some water.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
When Averly Fell from the Sky
Podcast: Download (Duration: 34:59 — 24.02MB)
Only then did I discover two alarming facts about my own person: I was naked beneath the scratchy blanket, and my wrists and ankles were bound in chains.
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.