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

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

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).

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

Twice Nine Reasons to Return

by Rudi Dornemann

1. The houseboat in the river district, full of mementos of a long life.

2. The morning chaos of the market street.

3. The omnipresent icy light here in the dimension of misplaced djinn, so cold, so piercingly bright.

4. The quiet of the reading rooms in the Great Library.

5. The taste of fresh coffee.

6. The terms of the bargain, which seem, the more that you reflect on them (and what else is there to do in this place?) unfair.

7. The bonus wish you’re sure the djinni promised if you went along with the body swap.

8. The smell of fresh coffee.

9. That it wasn’t exactly a swap, since you were the only one with an actual body.

10. The taste or smell of anything.

11. Summer evenings on the roof of your brother’s house, looking out over the smoky, jagged cityscape horizon.

12. The way your nose itches even though you must be a roiling cloud of sourceless fire like the djinni was, and therefore lacking either a nose or anything to scratch it with.

13. The quiet back corner of the café into which you once fled to escape a downpour of winter rain, but could never find again later.

14. All the things you don’t remember regretting when you gave them up for a scholar’s life–a wife, family, a quiet life untainted by forbidden knowledge–that you realize now you do regret.

15. A song you heard in that café, the refrain of which keeps running through your mind.

16. Your mind which, although increased and expanded by having been translated into this fiery form, is still caught up in things like café songs you haven’t heard in a dozen years.

17. All the things that ancient and regretless being could be doing, right now, in your body, or rather the body that had been yours.

18. The likelihood, small, but worth pursuing, that someone else in this place is willing to make a bargain that will take you back to the world and life you traded away–all your accumulated secret knowledge must be worth something to the inhabitants of this in-between zone.

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