Dr. Henderson’s continued absence was peculiar. The man was in love with the alien in vault sixty-two and the second anniversary of its capture was approaching.
Sixty-two was the only thing I could remember arousing Henderson’s passion in the three years I'd worked here. Ever since its craft was found in the middle of the Gobi desert, Henderson had made it a special case. The fool had even petitioned to have it released into his custody for a weekend in Las Vegas during some science fiction convention.
If the powers that be had granted that petition, Henderson would have come back with a marriage certificate.
I woke from nothing. No dreams had stirred me. I had been a hundred years in darkness. I was a stone, waiting roundly. Blank.
I thought, Perhaps it is all over.
(When the sun was high I used to stand in the garden, toss a little golden ball to watch it shine. I played for hours that way.
It is for the best I pricked my finger.)
The keep was suspended, spider-webs gleaming in the open mouths of the half-dead. The vines had covered everything. There was no light left. I thought, Perhaps the sun has gone out, and despaired.
The covers are hard to miss in the bookstore -- dark and shadowy in tone, they show a beautiful young woman, usually tattooed and dressed in revealing clothes. She’s armed and the accompanying cover blurb informs the reader that this character is prepared to kick supernatural butt all the way back to hell if necessary. Welcome to the brave new world of urban fantasy.
Once, this corner of the speculative universe had broader boundaries. The term ‘urban fantasy’ encompassed everything from Tanya Huff’s crazed pantheon in Summon the Keeper to the twisted version of London’s Underground in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and on to Tim Powers’ Cold War spies in Declare, or the alternate streets Charles DeLint created for his Newford tales. Some great new fantasies with urban settings have come along recently. For example, Elizabeth Bear’s Blood and Iron deals with the intersection of Faerie with the modern world. The Secret History of Moscow, by Ekaterina Sedia, blends Russian folklore and mythology with the gritty reality of post-Soviet life. But more and more these sorts of stories are called ‘contemporary fantasy’ to distinguish them from the publishing juggernaut of urban fantasy.
March 8, 2005
I killed my wife yesterday. Emptied a full load of 22's point blank into her chest. The drinking glass she was holding looked like it was suspended in air before it fell to the ground shattering into pieces.
This morning, my wife and I went to the mall to window shop.
I haven't been seeing patients lately. I'm not a hypocrite. It's unethical to promote mental health if one is unsure of one's own state of mind.
After twenty-odd years of doing collector's fairs, I considered myself happily jaded. Rare albums going for the price of your average luxury car, wild gossip about more than one long-retired artist making ready for a pie-in-the-sky comeback -- I'd seen and heard it all. Hell, I knew of one fan who'd quit his job and sold everything he owned to follow his favorite band around on their latest world tour. If there was a story out there that still had the power to shock me, I hadn't come across it yet.
“But it’s true, Ms. Chaison!” Jason Rule flung up his hands in one of his trademark dramatic gestures. “Everyone knows rotting meat just naturally grows maggots!”
“Oh?” Adjusting her glasses, Lauren Chaison pointed at the terrarium holding the rancid pork chops Jason and Kat had been assigned for the experiment. “It’s been a week, and I don’t see a single maggot in there.”
The Storm of Ages dominated the bachelor wing of the Home of the Gods, driving even the most testosterone-ridden weather-god indoors for poker and tankards of divine mead. Esephus, God of Gladiators and Falchions, disliked bloodless gambling, and so wandered over to the scrying pools. As usual, he was armed to the teeth. A cluster of deities who had bet their last burnt offerings stood by, watching one of the more interesting wars and shouting at the occasional brilliant maneuver.
Daniel C. Smith
As writers of speculative fiction our job is to tell a story that transports the reader to a new and exciting place. To accomplish this, we must establish a relationship of trust and, more exigently, arouse the reader’s curiosity as to what will happen next.
As writers, we have only one tool to accomplish this: language.
In his book, The Death of Metaphor, Desmond Egan-- one of Ireland’s greatest contemporary poets-- laments the decline of English prose, decrying it as ‘decadent and lazy’. Egan points his finger directly at the tendency of modern writers to replace transitive verbs with the verb ‘to be’ as the greatest cause of this decline.
There are very few writers who are skilled at making the reader a part of the writing process. Their stories are written in such a way that the reader is left with much to infer. Is the event the protagonist describes really happening, or is it within their mind? Is this sentence a metaphor, or is it to be taken literally? I tend to enjoy this type of writing and often come away from the experience feeling connected to the piece on a deep level. I don't mind not having my hand held.
Evita was twenty eight years old when she got married.
She wove herself a man out of rainbows and stardust. His bowels were doorways leading into other doorways. When he spoke it was like hearing the memory of a dream, or music one has forgotten but wishes to remember.
“I am yours to command,” the woven man said. He bowed low and curtsied as if he were a gentleman of noble birth.