The year seems to be racing away fast, in 2015. Perhaps it’s a function of getting older, or with how busy you get with life and work. Knowing this, it’s great to see how many people drop by to get their reading fix in little short moments.
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I am very proud to announce another of last year’s stories is being honoured by being selected for Ticonderoga Publishing’s The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy and Horror, edited by the dedicated Liz Grzyb and Talie Helene. Congratulations to Jason Franks on the inclusion of Metempsychosis. The story was originally submitted for our Australiana edition, but wasn’t quite right in the feel of the rest of the edition, so we found a place for it elsewhere (as we try to do with great fiction). Find the original in Edition 15 or take a look at Jason’s blog talking about not giving up until you find that right home for your story.
Engine works in the service of all machine kind, but finds its processing power diverted to thoughts of discoveries and the past. When this little robotic intelligence discovers what was thought long gone, it sparks a break away of the engine to the ideal of a new future. Jason Lairamore captures a fascinating interaction in this robotic science fiction. SY
Everything is easy, Engine thought as it fed a trickle of its stored power into the massive drill that was eating its way ever deeper into the warm comfort of the Earth’s crust. The geothermal energy that Engine and the drill uncovered would one day serve as a very nice power source.
Still, it was a shame solar energy wasn’t more readily available. The Engines on the Moon must have reached new levels on their power stores. Engine would have to check the stats once it was finished with the hundred-hour shift it was currently working.
The giant drill beeped a warning, breaking Engine from its other processes. A void was imminent. They were about to fall, and only the Judges themselves might have known for how long and for how far. Engine enjoyed hitting these subterranean areas. There was no telling what they’d find. Once, Engine had found a cache of flying creatures it had later learned were called bats. The Enforcers had killed the entire biological lot, of course. Anything biological went against the potentialities clause of the Anti-Human law.
That big ol’ sun is so round and yellow and flat it looks like Mom’s hat the time she sat on it. Everyone had laughed, ’cept for her, but then after awhile she did too. That was a long time ago, over a year…
That big ol’ sun is right in front of us, filling the highway as if we’re driving right into it, though I know we’re not, unless Dad is tricking us again. Dad’s like that, saying one day we’re driving to China, the next day to Mars, the next day to home. We don’t go any of those places.
“Hanged Men,” Maddy announces.
Maddy’s my older brother and he’s buckled in next to me, smacking gum and blowing bubbles. One bursts every couple of minutes, sounding like a wet towel snapping your butt in gym class.
Reviewed by Sophie Yorkston
There’s an outdated perception that women, either as characters or writers in the Lovecraftian realms, don’t belong. She Walks in Shadows comes off the back of a quite successful Indiegogo campaign, suggesting that the reading public are looking for this myth to be dispelled.
Editors Silvia Moreno-Garcia and Paula R. Stiles of Innsmouth Free Press looked at the disparity in this well-loved section of speculative fiction and put together a list of authors with ties to Lovecraftian mythos from all over the globe, and a significant inclusion of writers of colour.
Mantisia experiences time differently to everyone else, and it slips away faster than grains of sand. Sacrificing her years, she journeys into a world she barely knows to face a force she cannot possibly understand. First part of Lindsey Duncan’s two-part mythic fantasy. SY
Mantisia, Age Seven
Time is more important to me than it is to anyone else. My mother says that’s impossible because I haven’t had as much of it, but I have. It’s all bunched up into a tiny space, like when you curl in your limbs and tuck your head to hide from the world. You still know you’re there, though. People talk to me about seasons and tell me it’s summer, but that doesn’t really mean anything to me.
I don’t want to talk about me. I want to talk about Sarbeth and his sideways-turned leg and his dog, the pretty hound with silver fur. The hound is important because they’re best friends. They can talk to each other by looking. Anyone can, if you know how to listen to eyes. I’ve been teaching myself, because there’s so much space in my head when I’m the only thing moving.
Reviewed by Damien Smith
I’ve just finished reading an awesome movie. At least that’s what it felt like. Zer0es is the latest in the growing bibliography spawned by Chuck Wendig, and for every fan of cyberpunk, well worth the effort. Throughout the book I found myself harking back to various TV shows and movies rather than other novels, which lead me to the conclusion that this should absolutely join the ranks of cinematics.
I’m going home and you won’t change my mind. Since Julia’s death, I hate London. Too many things remind me of her. I have to leave.
I guess you already know this. You’ve known for weeks, tried to stop me like a good friend should, but I’ve made my decision.
As far as business is concerned, I’ll sell you my shares. I need the money, Daryl. Restoring my old family home will take everything I own…I need to do this—Julia always wanted it.
Don’t be stubborn and refuse my offer because I’d prefer to sell my shares to you instead of an outsider.
You’ve been a friend and more. I’ll miss you.
Will call soon as I’ve settled in.
Spring had stretched the daylight hours and dried the damp-weather rot in my hands by the time the old woman, Emmeline, began visiting the orange grove. By then, I knew enough to see she wasn’t well. I had been placed in the grove to scare away the mynahs pecking incessantly at the fruit. At first, I couldn’t remember being made, or recall the hands that sewed my body and my clothes. Who was it that stuffed me full so I plumped out like a real man?
I was much more than an ordinary scarecrow, though, beyond all the rags and lopsided limbs. It wasn’t straw or old newspaper inside me. The tokens that shape me are the memories of others. Dried lavender, tickets stubs from concerts and train journeys, remnants of wedding veils, locks of hair from mourning rings. Even a tiny bird’s nest brought home by a child for his ailing mother sitting in the centre of my chest. Carefully stowed cogs from music boxes and wind-up toys served as my ballast.
I’m the only memory-keeper there is.
It’s the old letters—some only fragments, some pages and pages long—that made me who I am, words flowing through me akin to blood. I was their guardian and the tales coursing through me were my teachers. At the close of each day, I was more than I had been the day before.
Edition 22: Book Review: The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath: From the Peculiar Adventures of John Lovehart, Esq.
Reviewed by Mysti Parker
I’m always on the search for a unique speculative fiction experience that I can introduce SQ Mag readers to. This time round I discovered The Peculiar Adventures of John Loveheart, Esq. series by author Ishbelle Bee. Indeed, The Singular & Extraordinary Tale of Mirror & Goliath proved to be written in a different way to anything else I’ve read. While experimentation can be good, in this case, it didn’t always work in favor of the story.