Issues
Five-Time Hugo Award Finalist for Best Semiprozine
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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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.
Issue #212November 10, 2016

The Aeroliths

We walked through the empty, echoing corridors of my family’s manor. I watched the Is flow by the manicured gardens where my ancestors had walked and dined. Through the wide windows of the manor’s upper levels, I looked for the shape of mountains in the distance, beyond the ivory teeth of the Capital’s broken walls. I wanted to go home.

The Uncarved Heart

I used to dream of the heart our masters would give me; spend my days sketching rough cordiform shapes in the corners of Father's quota sheets and the backs of letters Mother sent from the front. I was sure all the other girls back at the Roost already had their hearts, that the Volant had carved each of them for a special purpose just as they'd carved my Mother, my Father, everyone but me.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Uncarved Heart
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I used to dream of the heart our masters would give me.
From the Archives:
Serkers and Sleep
I could see it in my mind: the desperate sorcerer, obliterating the host of the eastern plains but fearing that he would turn on his own kin.
Issue #211October 27, 2016

The Garden of Ending

But the lock had finally crumbled, and the door had fallen open, and the nothing-garden beyond was revealed to her sacred eyes. Doors are only left open for her when they lead to every-day gardens that she can freely enter and exit, so she, poor innocent lamb, saw the newly open door and naively entered.

Dearly Departed

Perdita gripped Grandfather Mandrake’s shotgun and closed in on the slew with a cautious but unfaltering step. Whoever had been caught by it was still struggling, much to Perdita’s admiring surprise. She could see the dark red striae pulsing in its almost-body where it clung to the victim, leeching the lifeblood away in what she knew to be painful sips.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Garden of Ending
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 23:59 — 16.47MB)
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Everyone stopped in front of the tree, staring at its asymmetrical horror.
From the Archives:
For Lost Time
“You think I’m mad,” Aniver said. “But pay the small courtesy of not thinking me a fool.”
Issue #210October 13, 2016

A Cup of Comfort

“Of course I will come,” said the Dragon Queen. Her voice was muted beneath the layers of dark cloth that covered her, but a ripple of amusement sounded as she added, “I should hope my old friend has not forgotten my favorite blend, after all these decades. I shall be disappointed if there isn’t a fresh pot awaiting me.”

A Glass Kiss for the Little Prince of Pain

His grip tightens. He looks up at me with an honesty reserved for saints and the soon to be executed. "If you do this, it'll ruin you. Please, come back with me to the school, give up this alliance with the Empress, and together we can find a way to save the boy. Armila, please, this kind of murder, to one so young? You can't come back from that kind of corruption."

Audio Fiction Podcast:
A Cup of Comfort
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 28:08 — 19.32MB)
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“Nonsense. You are my guest.” The dragon reached out with long, sharp, delicately curving claws and tipped the teapot.
From the Archives:
In the Gardens of the Night
If the General wants her dead, he must agree to my requests.
Issue #209, Eighth Anniversary Double-IssueSeptember 29, 2016
The Boy Who Would Not Be Enchanted

Too late, of course. They pried my mouth open. The old lady spooned a morsel of something—barley, I think—into my mouth. When I spat it back at them, they caught the pieces on a piece of bamboo cut into a jigsaw puzzle piece. This they gave to a spellscribe, who wrote my full name at the top in grass-green ink.

The Wind Shall Blow

She sang those lines with a fierce, forlorn glee. The ballads took her that way, wherever they would, be they sad or glad. It was that blinding, unearthly intensity in her singing, her ability to sway thoughts and glances, that was the reason the townfolk looked sideways and crossed themselves or made the old warding signs. Part of the reason.

The Book of How to Live

Zilpit-nai-Rinah hit steel against tinder, harder than she’d intended. Her lantern, unreliable and imperfect though it was, would provide enough light for her purpose. She pulled out a pen, her own clever mechanical design that allowed ink to be stored in a small cartridge equipped with a pumping mechanism. She’d used her jeweler’s tools to construct it—more useful than jewelry perhaps, though she had no intention of selling it at market.

A Courtship of Beasts

The fire inside Shams was turning, filling him with a bursting hot hunger, and he would have gulped down every leaf and every tree, the stones and earth, the home and the hill and world for his want of her. “Stay,” he said, and the low branches blackened and curled by his breath. “Stay. Stay. Stay.” She sat with him, sweating but unmoved, and she let him hold her and she let him kiss her, and no more. His hunger remained inside.

Audio Fiction Podcast:
The Wind Shall Blow
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Podcast: Download (Duration: 38:47 — 26.64MB)
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While she sang, the crowded room was quiet, through her gift the audience made into unlikely brothers.
From the Archives:
Boat in Shadows, Crossing
"Child of fish and ghost," said Bue. "What could be quicker?"