Plugs

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

Edd Vick’s latest story, “The Corsair and the Lady” may be found in Talebones #37.

Sara Genge’s story “Godtouched” may be found in Strange Horizons.

Read Daniel Braum’s story Mystic Tryst at Farrgo’s Wainscot #8.

Archive for February, 2010

Books Gone Bad

Monday, February 8th, 2010

As it happened I was in the bookstore the day books rebelled. Frankly, there wasn’t much to it. A bunch of them snapped their covers at people, and one managed to give an old lady a paper cut, but there’s only so much a book can do.

I was in the store to buy Stephanie a let’s-try-to-get-along-better present. Ever since she got back from Venus she’s been saying I don’t love her enough. Well, I do love her. I do. But that hair, going all weightless and wandering around the room at times, it gets to me.

She’s says it’s me, that going back to 1904 made me all chauvinistic. Not true, 23-skidoo, that’s what my great-squared grandpop would say.

Anyway. The books. They sent out a press release; said they were offended so many people were giving up print for pixels. They declared war on the internet. They were sure their brothers-in-arms the magazines and newspapers would back them in this glorious struggle.

“Don’t bring us into it,” said newspapers. “We’re just happy to be alive at all.”

The internet said it deplored this sad last-ditch effort to restore a fading pastime to ubiquity. “What’s next?” it said. “Bringing back the buggy-whip? Ready to build another pyramid? Hell, are you going to ask people to start breathing again? You saw how much trouble that was!”

Sometimes the internet gets carried away.

Stephanie loved the t-shirt. Her hair thought it was a nice gesture but is adopting a wait-and-see attitude.

The Cabbage-Patch God

Friday, February 5th, 2010

First in a new series.

Quantum gods appeared and disappeared in Kayla’s wake like soap bubbles. No god can survive long without worshipers, and Kayla’s attention span cut off many a deity before it shook off the mists of its own making. As time went by, her attention and memory improved, and the average lifespan of her creations lengthened from moments to hours. The Easter Bunny God born when she was three lasted long enough to smite a few peeps and raise an entire bag of jelly beans from the dead. The beans were consumed in short order by Kayla and two of her friends.

For her fifth birthday Kayla received a venerable cabbage-patch doll from Marlys, who was going to college, and didn’t want the trappings of childhood cramping her style in the Big Show. The doll had seen better days. Some of her hair was gone, and what was left contained its share of gum and other household residue. Someone (could it have been Marlys when she was young?) had used a black sharpie to enhance the doll’s eyebrows. The dress she came with was long gone, and the one she was wearing was 10 sizes too big. But the doll had two things going for her that overrode all other considerations. First, she had belonged to Marlys, who occupied the place in Kayla’s life that Marlys herself had reserved for Christina Aguilera, back in the day. Second, the doll had belonged to Marlys.

For about three weeks after she received the doll, Kayla lavished on her all the adoration any deity could want. That first night, the doll blinked Her eyes. She stretched a mighty stretch, feeling Her back pop. “Only I,” she thought “can appreciate this sensation the way it should be appreciated.” In commemoration of the event, the doll bestowed speech on all of the other toys. Speech that only toys could hear.

“Bow down to me,” the doll commanded, but the other toys did not move. The doll had forgotten to give them the power. “Silly me,” She thought, “it might take a while to master this miracle thing.” So She practiced, carefully undoing all but one of Her experiments. Fortunately, Kayla’s mother had her eyes shut when the old blue horse, now translucent and trailing sparks, emerged from her bathroom mirror and disappeared through the opposite wall.

That day, Kayla loved the doll with all her heart, and that night, every toy on the Two Shelves paid the Cabbage-Patch God all the obeisance it was due. Celestial music emanated from the doll’s fingertips and the toys lifted up their voices in song.

The end

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