Category Archives: Beneath Ceaseless Skies

A Look at Beneath Ceaseless Skies #120

It’s been a little while since I last reviewed an issue of BCS.  The current issue contains the usual two stories, one with steampunk themes, which is a little different than what you usually find here. 

First up, “The Clockwork Trollop” by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald.  A scientist in Victorian England try to reduce the number of women engaging in prostitution by creating an untiring and hygienic lady of the night.  (He envisions training the current prostitutes to maintain their replacements.)  Like much social engineering, this one has some serious unexpected consequences.

This was a relatively short story, and the general way things end up isn’t exactly unexpected.  Still, Doyle and Macdonald do a good job of capturing the feel of the times.  This one had an aura of Arthur Conan Doyle  hanging over it.

The longer of the two stories was “The Drowned Man” by Laura E. Price.  This is a complex tale about two sisters who are returning from an island that isn’t entirely in this world.  They’ve recovered an artifact for a museum and are hoping the museum will hire them in this capacity on a regular basis.  While in the middle of the ocean, they spot a man in the water.  At first they think he’s drowned, but when the ship’s crew pulls him onboard they discover he’s still alive.

They should be asking themselves why he’s still alive if he’s in the middle of the ocean…

The thing I liked most about this one were the hints regarding the two sisters.  Ms. Price seems to have worked out the backstory quite thoroughly.  I’m not sure if “The Drowned Man” is a stand alone with a detailed background, the inaugural installment of a new series, or only the most recent episode of a series already begun.  I rather hope there are either other stories about these characters out there, more to come, of both.  The sisters aren’t exactly lady-like nor are the the kind of women warmly welcomed in polite society.  The author hints they may have been raised by a witch, so that probably has something to do with it.

Anyway, an enjoyable issue, although the subject matter of “The Clockwork Trollop” might not be to everyone’s taste.  The next issue should be out within a few days, so look for another review soon.


2012 in Retrospect: Short Fiction

This past year was a good year overall for short fiction.  And some of the most exciting short fiction was published online with or without the option of subscribing.  There were also the usual print venues, both periodicals and anthologies.  In this post, I’m going to try to provide an admittedly incomplete overview of the short fiction field in 2012, emphasizing online venues.  I didn’t read thoroughly enough in the print periodicals (Asimov’s, Analog, Hitchcock’s, Ellery Queen, or F&SF) to have a feel for them.  And there were enough original anthologies that flew past my radar that I’m not even going to try to discuss any of them.

And as for the electronic magazines, with one exception, I’m only going to mention the ones I read at least once this year.  I’m not going to discuss individual stories; I don’t have that kind of time.  Rather, I’m going to try to give a general idea of what the magazine was like.  Links and subcription information (where applicable) will be provided.

The year didn’t start off all that well.  The electronic magazine Something Wicked ceased publication.  I’m not sure how well known this title was in the States.  I’m not certain, but I think it was out of South Aftrica.  It started as a print magazine before moving to electronic only.  With a focus on science fiction and horror, it published three short stories and one novella plus some nonfiction each issue.  I had a subscription and got a few issues before it was canceled.  I hated to see it go, because it was different than what was being published here in the States, and I enjoyed what I read.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies was probably the go-to place online for high quality fantasy, with an issue every two weeks.  BCS had a great year, publishing their 100th issue.  They’re still going strong and required reading for anyone wanting to keep up with the field.  Subscription info here.

Heroic Fantasy Quarterly is your next best bet for great adventure fiction, especially if your tastes run to sword and sorcery.  It’s also the strongest competition BCS had at the first of the year; with Black Gate publishing fiction once a week, that’s changing.  I found the quality of work at HFQ to be on par with BCS and Black Gate.  If you aren’t reading this one, you should be.  It’s free and updates every three months, just like a quarterly should, not that all publications that call themselves that do.

In October, Black Gate, which had stopped publishing in print format, began posting a new piece of fiction every Sunday.  They’ve published a mix of new stories, reprints from the print incarnation, and excerpts from novels.  So far the quality has been high, which is what I would expect from BG

In my opinion, these were the best markets for sword and sorcery and adventure fiction, and are the top venues in the field.  They weren’t only markets for S&S, nor were they the only markets for great fiction of a fantastic nature.

Lightspeed is probably the main online source for fantastic fiction.  In January, it combined with Fantasy.  This is the publication I had the most trouble fitting into my schedule this year, managing to read only one or two stories.  Edited by John Joseph Adams, it’s going strong, publishing the top names in both science fiction and fantasy.  Subscription info here.  I promise I’ll do a better job of reading this one in 2013.

Clarkesworld published some solid science fiction this year, although most of what I read was more literary than than action orieinted.  I don’t recall seeing any fantasy, but I wasn’t able to read each issue.  Subscription info here.

Apex publishes stuff on the darker side of the fantastic.  Lynn Thomas took over as editor from Cathrynne Valente near the beginning of the year.  It’s another one I intend to read more of next year.  What little I managed to fit in was good stuff. Subscription info here

Subterranean had another great year.  This is a quarterly publication.  They went from publishing their content over a period of weeks to putting it all online at once.  There is no subscription option like there is for some of the titles listed above, but I wish there were.  I’d rather read on an ereader than a screen. 

Combine these publications with the traditional print ones, and it’s hard not to conclude the short fiction market is healthy.  There were several new publications that started up this year as well. 

First there was Swords and Sorcery Magazine, an online-only publication that premiered in February.  Publishing two stories per issue, it met its publication schedule, something that new publications don’t always do.  It’s not a professional paying market at the moment, although I hope it can achieve that status soon.  As a result, the quality of the fiction wasn’t up to what you find in BCS or HFQ.  In spite of that, the issues I read were quite readable, and I enjoyed the fiction I found there.  It was certainly the most promising debut as far as S&S is concerned.  In spite of the fact that it can’t yet pay professional rates, there’s nothing unprofessional about the editorial tone.  This is one worth supporting.

Another new publication was Nightmare Magazine.  Edited by John Joseph When-Does-the-Man-Sleep? Adams, this magazine was crowdfunded by Kickstarter and has taken off.  It’s one of the best, if not the best, publications devoted solely to horror fiction out there.  I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve found.  Subscription info here.

Another Kickstarter magazine was Fireside.  This quarterly hasn’t taken off like Nightmare, and I hope it does.  It doesn’t limit itself to any particular genre, which is both a strength and a weakness.  A strength because it can publish those cool stories that defy classification, and a weakness because it will probably take a little longer to find its core readership that a genre publication would.  Subscription info here

Another high profile debut, which publishes both fantasy and science fiction, is Eclipse Online.  Edited by Jonathan Strahan, it’s a continuation of the critically acclaimed anthology series of the same title.  It publishes fiction twice a month and is worth checking out.

In many ways the most anticipated debut, and certainly the most controversial, was the relaunch of Weird Tales with Marvin Kaye as the editor.  Kaye wanted to return the magazine to its roots, something that didn’t sit well in certain circles.  The first issue was IMO a success.  Here’s hoping the best days of the publication are ahead of it.  Subscription info here.

In the interest of being balanced, I’m going to mention Shimmer, even though I haven’t read it yet.  As part of the reaction to Marvin Kaye replacing Ann Vandermeer as editor of Weird Tales, Mary Robinette Kowal underwrote the magazine so that it can pay professional rates.  The idea is that this will attract writers who would have submitted to Vandermeer had she continued to edit WT.  In other words, what we have here is a literary smackdown.  Like WT, Shimmer is a quarterly publication.  I’m going to review this one, probably after the next issue is published.   I want to evaluate it on the basis of what it publishes after paying pro rates.  Subscription info here.

These weren’t all of the fiction outlets, but with the exception of Shimmer, these were the ones I at least attempted to read.  Other major venues included, but weren’t limited to, and Strange Horizons.  These two are also on the list to read next year.

So anyway, that’s a (very) lopsided look at the electronic world of fantastic fiction in the year 2012.  There was a great deal of good stuff published.  I’m going to try to do more reading at short lengths in 2013.  For one thing, I like short fiction.  It fits my time contraints better than doorstopper novels.  Also, with my new gig at Amazing Stories (TM), I’m not going to have as much time to read novels for my personal blogs.


A Look at Beneath Ceaseless Skies #109

I’m trying to get caught up on periodical reading before diving back into some novels.  It’s been a while since I looked at Beneath Ceaseless SkiesBCS is one of the best publications for short adventure fantasy out there.  I try to read every issue, even if I don’t review all of them.  I’m a little behind right now, but I hope to get caught up during the Christmas break.

Anyway, the latest issue is live, so let’s look at it.

There are two stories, as usual unless it’s a special issue.

The Telling” is the first, and longest, tale in the issue.  The author is Gregory Norman Bossert, a writer whose work I’ve not previously read.  That’s one thing I really appreciate about BCS.  The opportunity to discover new voices.

The Telling” is about a child named Mel, who lives with the servants in a manor house.  The story opens just after the death of the manor’s lord.  The lord had no wife, and some question exists as to what will become of the manor and estate.  There seems to be some connection between Mel and the deceased lord, but what that connection is isn’t clear, at least not to Mel.  One of the first duties, according to tradition, after the death of a lord is to tell the bees, who will spread the word far and wise.  This task falls to Mel, but things don’t go as planned.  It turns out there may also be a connection between Mel and the bees. 

This is a story of dark secrets, some of which are disturbing.  I’m still processing this story.  I liked the writing and the supporting cast of characters. I think I like the ending, but to be honest, I haven’t made up my mind yet.

The other piece of fiction is “The Scorn of the Peregrinator” from John E. O. Stevens.  This was the author’s first sale to, as he calls it, a “major publication.”  I found it to be inventive and original.  Stevens shows promise as a writer.

The society here is oriented around birds.  Whether the people are part bird or humans who pattern themselves after birds and use avian-based magic isn’t entirely clear to me.  It’s the tale of what happens when an emissary for the government, in this case the Nine Kings, shows up at an isolated village in a harsh landscape to impose conscription and new terms of service on a peace loving people.  Just because they’re peace loving doesn’t mean they won’t defend themselves, and at great cost.  I thought this was one the more original concept between the two stories, and I would love to see more of this world.

So, once again, Beneath Ceaseless Skies has published a pair of quality fantasies.  As usual, the stories are available online for free, but if you like what you read, consider supporting BCS by subscribing.  Being able to read BCS on an ereader is worth the cost of a subscription, at least to me.


Well another page on the calendar had turned, and I’m more behind than ever.  Some things never change.  Here’s what I’ve got on the plate for October.  First, sometime tomorrow, I’ll announce the winner of the James Enge book giveaway.  I’ve got a dentist appointment in the morning along with my son, followed by a three hour class, so it might be later in the day before that announcement goes up.

The next novel on the agenda is Steel and Sorrow by Joshua P. Simon.  I’ll probably start it sometime this weekend.  I’ll refrain from saying what novel is after that; I’m going to play it by ear.  I’ve got several I’m going to read this month, but I haven’t decided on the final order.

There are a couple of items that are seasonal in nature that I want to sprinkle in the mix, so I’m not going to lock myself down to any particular sequence.

One thing I am going to read a great deal of over the next few months is short fiction.  In the next week, I want to review the premier issue of Nightmare magazine (I’m about a third of the way through now, and it’s great), the new fiction being posted on Black Gate, the anniversary double sized issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies (it’s not live as of this writing, but I have a subscription and have already downloaded it), plus the inaugural stories in Eclipse Online.  Jonathan Strahan was kind enough to send me advance copies of the first two stories, and I’ll be reading those over the next day or two.  Plus I have a number of anthologies and single author collections sitting on the shelves I’ve been wanting to finish.

That’s plenty to keep me busy.

Beneath Ceasesless Skies is Having a Subscription Drive

One of the best online magazines of any genre, period, and a great source for adventure fantasy is Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  Right now they’re having a subscription drive.  A one-year subscription (26 issues, one every other week) is only $13.99.  The formats available are mobi, epub, pdf, and prc.  To sweeten the pot, when you subscribe during the drive, you will get a free copy of The Best of BCS, Year One or The Best of BCS, Year Two.  Your choice. That’s hard to beat.  I renewed my subscription tonight.

If you’re not familiar with Beneath Ceaseless Skies, you can find reviews here, here, here, here, here, and here

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Hits 100 Issues

Beneath Ceaseless Skies 
Cover art by Raphael Lacoste

The one hundredth issue of BCS won’t go live for another day or so, which means I’ll have to put the links in for the individual stories later (done), but I wanted to try and create a bit of advance buzz for the issue.  (Having a subscription, I got my copy early.)  Beneath Ceaseless Skies is one of the best fantasy markets out there, and it publishes every other week.

I’m behind on reading the short fiction magazines I subscribe to, or I would have reviewed some of the preceding issues.  I may still.  But 100 issues is a milestone that deserves to be celebrated.  Instead of the usual two pieces of fiction, there are four, just like in the issue marking the three year anniversary of the magazine (reviewed here).  Here’s what you’ll find.

In the Palace of the Jade Lion” by Richard Parks is a quiet combination of ghost story and love story.  It’s the longest story in this issue, and well worth your time. It’s set in China or a country very much like it, a departure from his series of stories set in ancient Japan.  Parks is one of the best practitioners of fantasy working today, and if a magazine or anthology has a story by him, and it’s not one of the publications I subscribe to, his name alone usually is enough to make me pick it up.

Next is “Ratcatcher” by Garth Upshaw.  In this tale, clockwork creations have taken over, forcing humans to hide in holes.  They subsist on a number of foodstuffs  at which most people who eat Western diets would turn their noses up.  One day a ratcatcher decides he’s had enough and fights back.

Christie Yant is an up-and-coming writer of science fiction and fantasy.  “The Three Feats of Agani”  was the second story of hers I’ve read (the first being”Temperance” in the inaugural issue of Fireside, reviewed here).  While “Temperance” was science fiction, this is core fantasy.  It’s about a nine year old girl hearing the story of the god Agani at her father’s cremation.  It’s dark, morally complex, and powerful, a mature work.

If the name Amanda M. Olson isn’t familiar to you, it’s because “Virtue’s Ghosts” is her first published story.  You couldn’t tell it by reading it; I only know that because it says so in the brief author bio at the end of the story.  This may have been my favorite solely for the narrator’s voice.  It’s the first person account of a girl who lives with her mother and two aunts.  The mother and one of the aunts run a boarding house, and the second aunt comes to live with them.  In this world, people are required to undergo a coming of age ceremony in which they are given a magical pendant that prevents suppresses their greatest character flaw.  In this story, they take in a boarder who has a shocking secret.

As I said, this issue won’t go live for another day or two, but you should keep your eye out for it  (I’ll add links and any other updates when that happens.).  Beneath Ceaseless Skies is one of the most consistently high quality pure fantasy publications around.  Here’s hoping we see another hundred issues.  And another hundred after that.  And another…

New Issue (#96) of Beneath Ceaseless Skies Now Available

Beneath Ceaseless Skies
free online or through electronic subscription

A new issue of BCS went live today, unless you subscribe, in which case you’ve had it since Sunday night/Monday morning.  But I digress.

This issue contains two stories.  Let’s take a brief look at them.

The first is “The Magic of Dark and Hollow Places” by Adam Callaway.  It’s a creepy story about the Inked Man, who is dying.  His body is parchment.  He has the ability to tear a strip off his body, write on it, and what he writes comes into existance.  Wings, for example.  Parallel to it are the epistles of an exiled miner to his beloved.  He’s trying to save up enough money to buy passage home.  The two storylines are related, but just how I’ll let you discover for yourself.  I loved the concept of the Inked Man.  He’s creepy and horrifying in just the correct measure.

My favorite story, though, was Kenneth Schneyer‘s “Serkers and Sleep“.  It’s the longer of the two offerings this month.  It’s the story of a young boy.  His family owns a book that has been passed down so long that its origins are lost.  No one, not even the local sorcerer, can read the writing.  Then one day the boy discovers that he can read one of the sentences.  No one else can, only him.  But only one or two sentences.  And only for a brief time.  The sentences relate directly to things he’s dealing with.  The book begins to give him advice and show solutions to problems.  Ultimately, it will lead him on a journey of loss and discovery and a heartrending sacrifice.

I think I liked “Serkers and Sleep” better than “Places” because I could relate to the protagonist, Scuffer, better.  Let’s face it, the Inked Man is a really cool character, but there’s not much in my experience that’s similar to his.  We’ve all loved someone we’ve lost, which is why I think Scuffer’s story speaks to me on such a deep level.  I highly recommend this one.

Once again BCS has provided excellent fantasy short fiction.  It’s worth your time to check it.  And if you like it, get a subscription.  This is a publication, I’d like to see stick around for a while.

More Science Fantasy at Beneath Ceaseless Skies

I’ve been swamped lately between dayjobbery and trying to finish a novel for review at Futures Past and Present, which is why I’ve not posted anything for almost a week.  The current issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies went out to subscribers nearly two weeks ago and live on the web a few days after that; I finished reading the stories last weekend.  It’s late Friday night and I’m just now getting time to sit down and write it.

Not that you want to hear about my chronological issues.  You want to know if the current issue is worth reading.  The answer is, of course.  The real question is, what are the stories about and how do they compare with the previous issue, which kicked off the science fantasy month?
While I enjoyed this issue’s stories, I didn’t think they were quite as good as “Scry” by Anne Ivy, which I consider to be outstanding, they were better than what you find in many publications these days. 

The first story is “The Book of Locked Doors” by Yoon Ha Lee.  It’s set in an occupied country that could be in Southeast Asia in the future or on another planet.  The author didn’t say, and I’m not familiar enough with the mythology and religion from that part of the world to know based on what was included in the story. 

The story concerns a woman who is a resistance fighter.  She carries a book along with her written by her dead sister.  Only this book talks to her.  Sometimes she takes its advice, and sometimes she doesn’t.  During a mission, one of the priests, who have been outlawed and killed by the conquerors manifests.  The death and destruction are appalling, affecting both conquerors and conquered. 

It took me a while to get into this one, but before it was over, I was hooked.  As the crisis of conscience the protagonist experiences grows, I was compelled to follow along on her search for answers.  I’ve not read much of Ms. Lee’s work up to this point, but I will gladly read more of it.

The second selection of the issue is “Juggernaut” by Megan Arkenberg.  This one had more of a space opera feel to it.  Normally that would be a big draw for me, but I had trouble buying into some of the setup.  The story is told from the point of view of a young man who, through fear of being arrested and tortured to death by the conquering evil space empire, allows himself to be used as a pawn in a political maneuver by the woman who controls the mines in one of the last free areas of this particular solar system.

I had trouble believing some of the decisions the nonviewpoint characters made.  The villains struck me as being a little too over the top evil for the sake of being evil.  Maybe I didn’t pick up on the political details well, but I struggled with suspending my disbelief for this one.

Still, the story was well written, the pacing was good, and to the extent I could buy into the characters’ actions, the character development had some depth to it.  While not my favorite, I would certainly give Arkenberg’s work another try.  I’ve discovered that my level of fatigue makes a huge difference in how well I enjoy fiction.  My fatigue levels have been growing for the past couple of weeks, in part due to allergies and in part due to an overload of commitments.  I’ve been so busy in the evenings that I’ve not been able to do much reading without staying up later than I normally would, and this has made a difference in more than one area.  My point is that you might have a more positive impression than I did.

So, while I didn’t like this issue of BCS as much as I liked the previous one, I still think it was worth the time invested.  “Scry” was an outstanding story, and I know on some level I’m comparing these two stories against it in a semi-subconscious evaluation of the Science Fantasy emphasis this month.  The author interviews were interesting and informative.  And BCS provides some of the most varied and interesting fantasy around. Furthermore, I think the Science Fantasy Month was a great idea and should be done again.

While it’s free on the web, I’ve found I prefer to pay a small amount for the convenience of reading the magazine on my ereader.  All proceeds of subscriptions go to pay authors and artists for their work, which was a major reason why I decided to subscribe.  Subscription information is here

Science Fantasy Emphasis at Beneath Ceaseless Skies

If you check out the current issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies and happen to be paying attention, you might notice references being made to Science-Fantasy Month.  This in my opinion is a good thing since science-fantasy is one of the subgenres we don’t see much of these days.  And since BCS is published every two weeks, and this is the first issue of March, there should be another issue with this emphasis next week.  So how does this issue hold up?

The first story is “The Mote-Dancer and the Firelife” by Chris Willrich.  It’s the story of I-Chen, a widow who has journeyed to the homeworld of the aliens who killed her husband on what appears to be a mission of revenge.  Of course it’s much more than that.  Willrich comes up with an interesting alien culture, and while we don’t get a great deal of detail about how that culture works (this is short fiction, after all), what he does show us is original and intriguing.  For instance, in order to determine who picks up the check in a restaurant, patrons solve a puzzle of dried noodles, and the one who makes it collapse buys. 

I’m not sure I would have labeled this one as science-fantasy if the story didn’t involve an application of Clarke’s Law.  There are remnants of alien technology, and one of these is dust that creates a telepathy like state.  It’s common affect in the Spinies, the aliens in the story, but rare in humans.  I-Chen is one of the rare cases of the dust having this effect in humans.  It’s the reason why she can still see and talk to her dead husband.  And that’s the driving element in the story.

Willrich is a writer whose name I’ve seen, but I don’t recall having read anything by him.  I may have, but nothing comes to mind at this point.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for his work in the future.  Hopefully we’ll see more of this universe.  The Glyph Lords, the aliens who’ve left the relics and vanished are intriguing.  And the division among the Spinies between the Sanchos and the Quioxites is clever and original.  And totally believable the way it’s presented.  There’s also a podcast version of the story available.

The second story is “Scry” by a collaborative sister team writing as Anne Ivy.  This is the tale of Eyre Isri Esthe, a woman with the ability to see the future who is abandoned by her husband when he flees with the prince from an invading warlord.  He leaves her in the house thinking he has provided her with a way out.  Instead, he leaves her a vial of poison while takes off with the prince and his mistress. 

Esthe decides that just because she is going to die doesn’t mean her death can’t be on her own terms.  What follows is a dark and surprisingly moving story of a strong but damaged woman making the most of a difficult situation.  There are multiple layers to what one sees in the future, as well as what one doesn’t see.  This is one of the more powerful stories I’ve read in quite a while.  The authors are working on a novel featuring the warlord, Karnon Dae.  He’s not human, but what exactly he is, well, we’re given hints but never enough to make an exact conclusion about him.  I’m looking forward to the novel.

This story clearly falls into the science-fantasy camp, what with the scrying, even if it does seem to have a scientific basis of some sort..  It’s never stated upon what world the story takes place.  It could be a future earth, but I don’t think so.  Some of the hints about Karnon Dae make me think this is a far future tale.  Whichever, it’s still a top-notch piece of short fiction.

Also included in this issue are interviews with the authors of both of the stories.  The interview with Chris Willrich is only available in the subscription edition.  Speaking of which, although the stories are available for free, you can subscribe to Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  It’s available in both epub and Kindle formats.  The convenience of having it on your ereader more than makes up for the cost.  If you like what BCS publishes, then consider supporting them so they can continue to do what they do.  I consider Beneath Ceaseless Skies to be one of the top fantasy publications, print or electronic, currently in existence.  Subscription information is here

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Celebrates Three Years

 Beneath Ceaseless Skies has been publishing some of the best fantasy to be found on the web or anywhere else for three years now.  Adventures Fantastic would like to congratulate BCS for three great years and wish them many more.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies marked its three year anniversary with its current issue, a double issue.  If you’re wondering what a double issue for an electronic magazine is, you get twice the amount of fiction.  And it’s good fiction, which is what you expect from this publication.  That’s one of the reasons I decided to start the Seven Days of Online Fiction with Beneath Ceaseless Skies

It’s been a while since we looked at BCS, so here’s a quick overview of the contents. 

Leading off is “The Tiger’s Turn” by Richard Parks.  This is the latest installment in his series about Lord Yamada in feudal Japan.  I looked at an earlier installment in this series, “The Ghost of Shinoda Forest”, back in February.  I’ve always liked Parks work since was introduced to it after meeting him at a Conestoga around the turn of the millennium.  He’s primarily a short story writer, but he’s worth the trouble of seeking out.  The latest installment in this series didn’t disappoint me.

Second was Kat Howard‘s “The Calendar of Saints“,  an alternate history fantasy, where among other things different, the Church embraced Galileo’s teachings.  This one concerns a swordswoman who is not a believer who finds herself defending the Church.  The ending was original and unexpected.

Nicole M. Taylor tells the story about a woman whose sailor husband doesn’t come home from the sea but something resembling him does and the “A Spoonful of Salt” that results from their union.  This one was quiet and disturbing.

The final story is one of judgment and mercy.  J. S. Bangs‘ “The Judge’s Right Hand” was dark and compelling, and again, the ending was original and unexpected.

Finally, Garth Upshaw’s “Butterfly” from the September 22, 2011 issue is available in MP3 format.

There’s not a bad story in the bunch.  Check ’em out.