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A double-issue to celebrate our twelfth anniversary, with two bonus stories, a bonus podcast episode, and new cover art: Colossus by Vladimir Manyukhin.

Many Mansions

There's no higher incidence of witchcraft in the gentry, and so the oppressed-and-victimised theory doesn't convince me. Myself, I figure that anyone, man or woman, who has the talent but isn't identified and whisked off to the Studium at age ten to be taught polite behaviour would naturally use such powers to bully and torment others because that's human nature for you. Let any man pick up a stick and he'll use it to hit someone else, unless the other man's got a stick too.

My colleagues and I, however, are civilised, educated men.
A Minor Exorcism

I couldn’t blame Kenji for that. The weight of my current position could only be avoided temporarily, not put aside at will. I was now the head of my own clan and responsible for a vast estate. My life was no longer solely my own, and in truth I would not have changed that fact for the world, but sometimes it was pleasant, for a little while, to pretend otherwise.

A more tunnel-like hole had been dug into some of the graves, possibly to test them for the freshness of the corpses.
The Heart That Saves You May Be Your Own

You eat and you eat, too hungered to fuss over the blood scent in your nose. Though what’s a little blood between you and the prairie? Blood is the binding between hunting and womanhood, and yet, and yet, the dress the virgin bride wears is white, no matter how much she hunts or menstruates. White dresses are impossible to keep clean on the prairie. White dresses lie.

You carry a rifle and a dream of a white dress. You sleep under the stars. You hunt.
A Tally of What Remains

They died, or they didn’t, and Helena burned them or handed their things back before they headed down the road to fight for a place among the farmsteads and ranches that didn’t want the cities’ survivors. Her oldest brother and sister-in-law, they’d been good at celebrating the small victories, but she didn’t have the knack.

They died, or they didn’t, and Helena burned them or handed their things back before they headed down the road.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
A Minor Exorcism

Podcast: Download (Duration: 39:23 — 27.05MB)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

A more tunnel-like hole had been dug into some of the graves, possibly to test them for the freshness of the corpses.
Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Heart That Saves You May Be Your Own

Podcast: Download (Duration: 31:46 — 21.82MB)
Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Android | Google Podcasts | RSS | More

You carry a rifle and a dream of a white dress. You sleep under the stars. You hunt.
From the Archives:
Told By An Idiot
He put his head on one side and thought for a moment. Rather, he acted thought; I wouldn't have given him a job.