Kat Beyer’s Cabal story “A Change In Government” has been nominated for a BSFA award for best short fiction.

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

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

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

Archive for December, 2010


Friday, December 31st, 2010

George stood on the edge of the viewing platform and looked down at the city.  Farther away he heard the crowd chanting the countdown for the New Year.  They did not see him; nevertheless, it sounded like a timer ticking down on his ruined life.  Family gone, his old life gone, his hopes and dreams, all gone.

“Anything has to be better than this,” he breathed to the night and leaned forward.  He fell.  The January cold ripped at him, howling in his ears as he fell, faster and faster.  But before he reached the pavement he heard the strangest sound–

“You’re my last one, then,” came a rough voice in George’s ear.  “Congratulations.”

George realized he was standing in the street.  Beside him was a strange creature, a ruined mockery of a human being.  The creature smiled at him.  “No time like the present,” it said.  “You can start with, well, yourself.”  It pushed a bundle of rags on the ground with a toe, rags which George realized a moment later were his mortal remains.

“What the hell is going on?” said George.  He felt like he was breathing mud.

“It’s a simple job, really.  I did it, you can do it.”  The creature pointed down at George’s corpse.  “Pick it up.”  Then it pointed past George.  He turned; not far away stood a horse-drawn wagon.  The horse appeared to be an iron statue, until it stamped a hoof and gave a spinechilling whinny.  A wisp of flame flared from its nostrils.  “Don’t make it angry,” said the creature in quiet tones.

Still in disbelief, George bent and picked up his crumpled body.  He paused by the side of the wagon, wondering how careful he should be before finally tossing the body into the wagon.

“Well done.”  It smacked George on the arm. “Goodbye, then.”

“Wait,” said George. “Who are you?”

“I don’t remember.  Doesn’t matter.  I’ve collected the souls of everyone who’s died this past year.  Everyone.”  It made a grin of broken teeth.  “Last one in gets the job for the coming year.”

“You mean–”

“Yep.”  The creature nodded, then turned away.  “It’ll be a long year.  But it’ll end eventually.”

“What happens to you now?” said George.

As the creature faded into nothing, it shrugged. “Doesn’t matter.  Anything has to be better than this.”

Items She’d Need to Save the World and Get the Guy

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

1. Alfa-Romeo Spider sporty convertible to whip her hair around and make her look cool (not to mention the nifty oil slick and auto-lock rotating machine gun to wipe counter-agents off her tail):  Check.

2. Suction cups to scale the walls of Castle Darkmater:  Check.

3. Finger sleeves of the richest, most handsome villain in the world, Victor Maximilian, (sleeves copied digitally off a wine glass at soiree she’d crashed) to key open the foyer:  Check.

4. Minty fresh, super-stick, highly-elastic, chewing gum to stretch across the corridor for when the guards chase after her, trip and fall into the thin, fine web, wrapped in its snare:  Check.

5. Scout bots to scour the directions to the secret passage (behind the tapestry) leading to the dungeon where he hid the doom’s-day device:  Check.

6. Electric grenades to short-circuit his giant robo-snakes patrolling the passage to the dungeon:  Check.

7. Key-codes to shutting down the doom’s-day device which three agents had died retrieving, which will fail because he had changed the codes (Mu-a-a-a-a-a!):  Check.

8. Fail-safe codes which three more agents had died retrieving, which will launch the doom’s-day beam into empty space:  Check.

9. Stun gun (she didn’t want to kill Victor but to reform him):  Check.

10. Low-cut blouse, pumps, and skirt:  Uncheck.  (Damn.  She knew she’d forgotten something.)

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