David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Jonathan Wood’s story “Notes on the Dissection of an Imaginary Beetle” from Electric Velocipede 15/16 is available online.

Alex Dally MacFarlane’s story “The Devonshire Arms” is available online at Clarkesworld.

Jason Fischer has a story appearing in Jack Dann’s new anthology Dreaming Again.

Excerpts from Goodwife Python’s Bestiary of Wonderful Flowers

by Susannah Mandel

Sixth Ed., Vols. A-C.

Aconitum (Aconite). Also known as monkshood, wolfsbane, leopard’s bane, women’s bane, or Devil’s helmet.

An unassuming cousin of the buttercup, aconite thrives in mountain meadows and is much sought after by herbalists for its defensive properties. As its nicknames suggest, it is viewed as effective in warding off the dangers of a) wolves; b) leopards[1]; and c) women — thus its popularity among monks.

As with all mountain flowers, aconite may be less potent at lower altitudes. If it fails against a woman, the wielder can resort to force-feeding her the virulently poisonous root. This method is of questionable effectiveness against leopards or wolves.

Aconite is contraindicated in confrontations with the Devil. Do not give him back his hat.

[1] Or possibly giraffes. The Latin tractates are unclear on this point, and practical experiments have yielded inconclusive — if interesting — results.

Alopecurus (Foxtail).
Foxtails thrive in many climates, from the semidesert plains of North Africa (A. fennecus, notable for its large ears) up to the Arctic tundra (A. thulensis, which is buff-colored throughout the short summer months but produces white spikelets in winter).

Alopecurus is a gregarious grass, and travels in large packs, hunting by night. During the day it digs a burrow for resting, presenting in the tail-upward position for which it is known. Although not normally aggressive toward humans, Alopecurus will bite if disturbed. Therefore pulling it up is not recommended, unless provision has been made to anesthetize it first.

Creamcups (Platystemon californicus).
This New World poppy is densest on the American west coast, especially on the littoral between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Traditionally, the flower is harvested for its thick, rich juice, which can be added to coffee (north of the Oregon border), used in cooking, or whipped.

Recent report has it that new uses for the creamcup have developed in the California pornography industry, but Goodwife Python has no further details on this. (Much to her regret. She welcomes updated information, and video, via the usual channels.)

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2 Responses to “Excerpts from Goodwife Python’s Bestiary of Wonderful Flowers”

  1. Sonja Ryst Says:

    February 16th, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Pencilygo: any section of interesting, original work by Susannah Mandel. (Not to be confused with the Pencigo Mountains in the Betelgeuse galaxy.)

  2. Howard Lovecraft Says:

    February 17th, 2009 at 1:14 am

    The human mind was not designed to assimilate information as ghastly and perverted as what the author has presented above. It is with tremulous fingers that I type this warning: Do not be drawn into Mandel’s vortex of nightmare and terror, her shadow-world of “gregarious grasses” and “thick rich juices.” Do not be seduced by her musings on abhorrent botany. Flee from this webpage, with its otherworldly-fungus-colored sides, before you too feel the icy grip of madness on your cortex! Flee, and pray that your mind is not permanently branded by the abomination known as “flash fiction”!