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.