Category Archives: Christie Yant

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…

Relaxing with the Fireside

Fireside Magazine
electronic, $3.99 single issue, $8/yr subscription

No, that isn’t a typo in the title of this post.  That really is the word “with” rather than “by”.  I’m not talking about a literal fireside, but a figurative one.  In this case the first issue of Fireside Magazine, which went on sale just a few days ago as I write this. 

This is a new illustrated nongenre fiction magazine I told you about a couple of months ago. And by nongenre, I don’t mean a literary magazine.  Instead, the stories aren’t restricted to a particular type of genre.  Editor Brian White is looking for good stories, regardless of genre.

I think he succeeded.  Let’s take a closer look at what the issue contains, shall we?

There are four short stories and one comic story sandwiched in the middle.  The comic story (“Snow Ninjas of the Himalayas” by Adam P. Knave, D. J. Kirkbride, Michael Lee Harris, and Frank Cvetkovic) was the only thing that didn’t work for me.  The illustrations were fine, but I couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough to buy into the story, probably because it’s hard to cram a lot of story into a few pages.  The concept of a comic included in each issue, though, is a good one that should be continued.

Ken Liu‘s “To the Moon” is the cover story.  It’s a tale of a lawyer who has to defend a man seeking asylum in the states.  It’s probably the heaviest story in the issue, dealing with the legal system and the reasons we do and don’t allow immigrants into the country.  I’d classify this one as realism and magic realism because of the way Liu structures it.  It’s ultimately unsettling, which I mean as a compliment.  Liu challenged me to think and question my assumptions.

Next was “Emerald Lakes” by Chuck Wendig.  It features his character Atlanta Burns and is a prequel to Shotgun Gravy.  It’s a nice little piece of noir in which Atlanta metes out justice in a mental ward.  I enjoyed it enough to put Shotgun Gravy on my list.

The third story, and my favorite, was a science fiction story by Christie Yant, “Temperance”.  It’s a time travel story with a flawed protagonist.  It could easily become the inaugural story in a series, and I hope it does.  I’d like to know what happens next.

Tobias S. Buckell has the final offering in the issue, “Press Enter to Exectue”.  I got the sense Tobias’ spam filter has been active lately.  It’s about a hit man hired to go after spammers.  This one twists to the end and kept me on my toes.  The only quibble I have with it is a factual point.  One of the characters says that death row inmates in Texas are electrocuted.  Actually, we’ve had lethal injection for years and retired the electric chair some time ago.

Overall, this was a great first issue, and I’m glad I supported it on Kickstarter.  Brian White and his team have set themselves a high standard to match for coming issues.  If they can, and I have no doubt they will, then I expect to see stories from this magazine on the award ballots before too long.  The fact that stories from all genres will be printed has the potential to make this a major market with fierce competition among submissions.

That’s if White and his team can get enough support through sales to keep the magazine going.  Writers and artists cost money, you know.  Here’s where you can help.  Single issues are $3.99, and a one year subscription is $8 (for 4 issues).  Check this magazine out.  If you like what you see, tell a friend.  I’d like this one to stick around for a while.