"And Their Lips Rang With the Sun" by Amal El-Mohtar
Look at them! Are they not beautiful? Had cinnamon been ground and rubbed into their skin, they could not have been more brown, more fragrant, more beloved of the wine-bright sky.
The author is known as an award-winning poet and poetry editor, but her published stories have been all too rare thus far. I hope you find this one as moving -- and, naturally, poetic! -- as I do.
"A Safe Place to Be" by Carol Emshwiller
The bio at the end of her story only points to Carol's SFWA page, but if you are interested in knowing more about the author (and who wouldn't be?) you may wish to check out some of the goodies Small Beer Press has collected, such as a fan letter to her from Alice Sheldon/James Tiptree, links to more of her work, interviews, and a lovely review of her novel Ledoyt by Ursula Le Guin (found, to complete the circuit, at Strange Horizons).
"And This Also Has Been One of the Dark Places of the Earth" by Anna Feruglio Dal Dan
"Charms" by Shweta Narayan
It’s too easy, the tide of war washing these feckless, smiling girls up, drowning Edith in the bile and brine of the past. And she’s hardly old, not yet. Not yet. She shakes her head tiredly. Women’s magic, she says, is like everything else. Not good enough for girls these days.
And check out last week's story too:
"Origins" by Ari Goelman
"Finisterre" by Maria Deira
Prima, she said to me, if you see a man with dilated pupils, a man who smells like mildew, a man with fingernails that are stained yellow and teeth that are uneven and broken, prima, if you see that man--run. Run! Because that man is a pinche werewolf.
Previously: "Salt's Father" by Eric Gregory
For a moment there was only silence. The old man wondered if the servitor had died of hunger. Then it crawled out of shadow, its head swiveling left and right with a high, hurtful screech of metal on metal. Sensors and little pincers dangled out of its too-wide-open mouth.
"Bespoke" by Genevieve Valentine
The floors were real dateverified oak, the velvet curtains shipped from Paris in a Chinese junk during the six weeks in '58 when one of the Vagabonder boys slept with a Wright brother and planes hadn't been invented.
Ms. Valentine is quite the multi-faceted writer. I've mentioned her Questionable Taste Theatre here before, and if you haven't checked it out yet, I strongly encourage you to do so now.
"The Ghost of Onions" by Marcie Lynn Tentchoff
"Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs" by Leonard Richardson
"Humans won't pay to watch dinosaurs ride motocross bikes forever," said Tark. "I'm gonna branch out. Target shooting. I'll be like those tough guys in the action movies."
"Dude Watchin' with the Brontës" (click to read full-sized)
Secondly: artist Sydney Padua imagines a team-up of Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace: they fight crime! My favorite bit is the origin story, linked below. Even more of a treat is the assortment of Babbage and Lovelace links and factual trivia scattered around her site, with observations like "As a rule, Babbage looks way happier in photographs than he does in portraits, I guess because there's a gadget in the room." It's funny cos it's probably true. (Click to read the full comic)
"On the Destruction of Copenhagen by the War-Machines of the Merfolk" by Peter M. Ball
"Another End of the Empire" by Tim Pratt
He sighed. "So I'm expected to send my Fell Rangers to the mountains, raze the village, leave no stone upon a stone, enslave the women, and kill all the younglings to stop this dire prophecy from coming to pass."
Fans of Tim Pratt's writing, and especially his Marla Mason series, may be interested to know that he's currently posting a prequel novella online: Bone Shop, featuring the early adventures of Marla Mason. (Sorceress. Crime Boss. Badass.) The author explains:
As for why I'm doing this...
My wife was laid off on June 23, 2009, and this novella is an attempt to bring in some extra income while also telling a story I'm passionate about. Your donations will help keep a roof over our heads, and pay our son's medical bills (he has congenital glaucoma, so you can help keep him from going blind). Pay whatever you think the story's worth. Enjoy!Times are tough for everyone, and writers are working without a net. Even successful, prolific, award-winning authors like Tim rarely make much money, and the job doesn't come with health insurance. Tim and Heather (an excellent writer in her own right) are good people, and I can attest to the fact that their baby River is the sweetest kid possible. I mean, look at this little guy:
So do yourself a favor and pick up Tim's series, and if you've got a little you can donate, please chip in to help support not only the author, but his utterly lovable kid.