Issues
Five-Time Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine
Issue #221March 16, 2017

In the Shade of the Pixie Tree

Bekka snorted at the absurdity, then clamped a hand over her mouth at the unladylike noise. Joakem didn’t notice. "I’m an apprentice, not a familiar. And Miriam Cow-nose doesn’t have enough sense to fill a baby’s belly-button. The witch chose me because I’m smart and talented."

Crescendo

“Slowly now,” Thalie said. The children knew the danger of the ever-opening and quickly closed Holes of the City. They had seen safety nets go up, springing from the ground like whiteclusters after rain. Last summer, a Hole had opened right in front of Three-Hill Nest, and the crib-siblings had spent an afternoon watching Fillers pour wagonloads of dirt-brown forget into a Hole no larger than a loaf of black bread.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
In the Shade of the Pixie Tree
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She closes tear-drenched eyes, thinks back to a time when a word, a look, a nod could have made a difference.
From the Archives:
Over a Narrow Sea
It's not mutton burning, of course; it's all my uncle's counselors, champions, and guests trapped under the rubble of the fortress.
Issue #220March 02, 2017

Featuring new cover art, “Pillars of the Gods” by Ward Lindhout, and a giveaway for a signed Tina Connolly short fiction collection.


Suddenwall

In the amnesty-city of Vannat, Aln Panette has let guilt go. The city of Vannat is a strict and inscrutable rulemaster, so Panette doesn't question the rules. She lives a plain, clean life. Keeps her recollections as free of the war as she can.

Ghosts of Amarana

Too many voices in my head; too many visions. But I swear Kaeler opens a small hatch in his bottom jaw, and from it he withdraws a narrow jeweler's blade, and, with a quick glance up, cuts off the top of his left middle finger.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Suddenwall
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In the amnesty-city of Vannat, Aln Panette has let guilt go.
From the Archives:
Murder Goes Hungry
"She has her vows, and too many of us veterans are too scarred to be any sort of decent companion."
Issue #219February 16, 2017

Gravity’s Exile

She eased herself over the edge, bare toes feeling for footholds. As in most villages, these had been deeply carved to make getting around easy, and even supplemented with metal bars in places or flat ledges for resting. Every few fathoms there was a round eyebolt for attaching a child’s tether. It was a trivial climb, and in no time Jeone was down among the trees.

The Last Dinosaur Rider of Benessa County

Black Jonas secures Essie, his pleesaur, to a ring occupied by a massive, rusted droop-chain and walks down the promenade, noting the old storefronts. Brackysaur bays still line the boardwalk where land meets canal, big ol' rectangular cutouts in the once-white stone, used for loading and unloading back in the days of the dinosaur riders.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Men of the Ashen Morrow
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Sal stood alone in the field, feeling the absence of her friend's touch. Being open to death was the cost of living free.
From the Archives:
Sinking Among Lilies
With the clawmarks as a warning, I'd slept in my clothes.
Issue #218February 02, 2017
Out of the Woods

None of us took a wound, none of them. And Eirik's men made it out of the forest, and we made it back to our cave, and King Harald was still dead, still not coming back to save us.  The nuthatch still trilled its descending wippling notes in the trees, unconcerned by the arrows. Nothing changed.

Men of the Ashen Morrow

The doe's blood melted and burned the earth. The smell of old rot poured into the forest. The ground collapsed, pulling the saplings and ferns down into the underworld, and Sal and her company stepped back. A single segmented leg, infinitely thin and long, crept out from the hole. First one, then another.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Out of the Woods
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And Eirik's men made it out of the forest, and we made it back to our cave, and King Harald was still dead, still not coming back to save us.
From the Archives:
Sightwolf
I was exploring the Other Forest, the place I always went to in the strange steady dream world, when the father wolf found me.
Issue #217January 19, 2017

Proteus Lost

"Antlion's mirror-writing. He was Leonardo da Vinci when he wrote this book, and favoured writing that way because he was left-handed. It made less of a smudge and also serves as a deterrent to others who cannot easily read the words in reverse.  They are needed for navigating the many paths through the Codex. The first protean seal is like the entrance to the maze."

Requiem for the Unchained

I swear that I hear it when the Star deploys her new lanterns. I feel it as a low vibration in all the mineral parts of my body and look out of the starboard window just in time to see the six cold iron cages slide out of her. They ignite one at a time, turning the faceless ether of the ghostmurk into a haze of green light. It's so bright that I have to turn my head. Raise my hand to shield my eyes. Can almost feel my own shadow burning into me.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Think Of Winter
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Folu has forgotten how to read the cards, but something is stirring.
From the Archives:
The God Thieves
Esoteric beasts were dangerous, even as disembodied brains. Mateo wouldn’t want to be trapped in his own skull with one that didn’t want to be there.
Issue #216January 05, 2017

Wooden Boxes Lined with the Tongues of Doves

We dry the tongues on butcher's paper beside the stove. Once desiccated, they barely have a scent. Uncle Sholert has shown me how to arrange them like tiny shingles or scales, overlapping. We fix them in place with a glue made from horses' hooves, and then we seal the boxes with beeswax.

Think Of Winter

Folu has forgotten how to read them, but something is stirring. The symbols start dancing again, even if only a little. The Lion, the Knight, the Sun. The Knight is finally here. The cards knew he was coming. He came to ruin everything, with his warm blanket and bright fire and hot soup. The Knight has brought the Sun. The Sun burns. The Grey Men’s Sun burnt Mother. Folu will never forget.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
Wooden Boxes Lined with the Tongues of Doves
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 23:19 — 16.02MB)
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We dry the tongues on butcher's paper beside the stove. Once desiccated, they barely have a scent.
From the Archives:
Bakemono, or The Thing That Changes
I realized in that moment that even my name is a lie.
Issue #215December 22, 2016

Where She Went

The numbness started in his toes. He was well into the afternoon when he realized what it meant—that he couldn’t feel the pain anymore. Dead nerves. Or something worse. Some sort of permanent damage that didn’t heal in a place like Twopenny Falls.

The True and Otherworldly Origins of the Name ‘Calamity Jane’

Jane whirled around, her shotgun leveled, and she found herself looking not at two fairies but into the dead eyes of her old partner, Earl. The witch and this fairy in the gallery were holding his head up by his light brown hair. They smiled at her until she lowered the barrel of her shotgun, and when she did, they dropped Earl's corpse to the floor.

From the Archives:
Swallowing Silver
John Halpern knew it should be a heavy weight on his conscience, to wake up and know that he was going to kill a thing that used to be a man.
Issue #214December 08, 2016

Featuring new cover art: “The Sacred Flames” by Jinxu Du.


The Orangery

After my rounds I paced the grounds thrice before retiring to my cottage beside the greenhouse to read stories I knew by heart. Little room in the Orangery meant the guardian's library was limited. The books on my shelves I had chosen as a young woman: stories of adventure and romance, stories that left me with a pitted longing.

The Jeweled Nawab Jungle Retreat

I’m the only person honest enough to chronicle what happened to Madam Coates. The hotel concierge, a bald and ever-sweating British man, gathered us staff in the Jewelled Nawab Jungle Retreat and swore us to secrecy about the rules that she had ignored. If we so much as breathed a word to a private detective or a pale-faced guest with glasses that turned out to be a journalist, we would be kicked out on the street with only the clothes on our back.

Audio Vault:
Everything Beneath You
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Introduced by the author.
From the Archives:
The Coffinmaker’s Love
It was a small, half-secret smile that hinted at private approval and a vast but encouraging amusement.
Issue #213November 22, 2016

Masks of the Mud God

"No," Miriam said. But there had been pain. There had been terrible pain. She had bit down on a twisted sheet as her insides knotted, as the thing in her lurched and fought to live, flexing in the throes of their shared agony. It had gone on far too long, and she remembered thinking that either it must die soon, or she would.

The Marvelous Inventions of Mr. Tock

Beneath the shop, Latch had to fight his way through a forest of dangling limbs. Hundreds of wooden arms and legs hung from the ceiling, fingers and toes low enough to brush Latch’s face as he pried his way through like some jungle explorer, all reaching out, grasping for him.

From the Archives:
Clockwork Heart, Clockwork Soul
The mechanical man stared at me with his unblinking eyes.