A quarterly ezine by a community of writers, poets and artists.

  Issue 36, September 2016

Fans of,

Please note that our December issue will now be published on December 15 instead of December 1 to give our editors a little time to recover from Thanksgiving.

-Scott T. Barnes, editor

Dear Readers,

A circle of 20 blind men touch an elephant. We've all heard that story before. The truth at their center is greater than the sum of their parts. But in storytelling, there's a second lesson for writers to take from that image and use. Perspective. The same story told from the point of view of two different characters is not the same. In "Nevermore," John Worsley revisits a midnight dreary from the point of view of the raven and gives us a delightful new take on that night of delirium. In another poem, "Ava" by Christina Sng, a mother's torment comes in not knowing what's behind her daughter's bedroom door. In our third poetry offering this issue, "Witch and Stick" by Beth Cato, a witch has a problem riding the stereotypical broom.  

Our eight stories also present us with characters whose perspectives twist their stories into new insights. Ronald Ferguson's tale of the first Mars colony becomes so much more than the gripping tale of survival that it is when told from the point of view of a captain who, at 67, still needs to learn what love is. Larry Hodge's time-loop tale is of a witch whose success with a snowball depends on which of three perspectives she remembers her story.  A father's perspective changes a hunter's view of mutants in Caroline Sciriha's "Knight of Pawns," while a mother’s heart-rending perspective of her son grown into a monster in “A is for Alphabet, Z is for Nothing” by Jeffrey Hall never changes.  And in James Breyfogle's "Commiseration with God" we're given a totally new perspective of a God worried about what His neighbors might think.
So take a second while enjoying our other stories by Rebecca Roland, Jackie Bee, and J. J. Roth to see how in choosing point-of-view an author can twist touching the elephant at the center of her story into feeling a trunk or a tail, or, given the side view perspective of our genre, into a cat or a lion. Or, should that be, into a dragon or into the next starship to Alpha Centauri?

--Susan Shell Winston, 
 assistant editor.

Table of Contents


Let Us Go Then, You and I by Ron Ferguson
Captain Manny Wayward didn't like to feel useless. Nonetheless, he twiddled his thumbs and let the computer nudge The Valhalla into parking orbit about Mars. He scanned the tagalong readouts. All in-line. No corrections required.

A is for Alphabet, Z is for nothing by Jeffrey Hall
"A" is for Alphabet, as in the song I used to sing to you when you were nothing but unspoiled flesh, your mind still hinged and untouched, and there was still hope that you would end up being something else other than like your father. 

A Snowball's Chance by Larry Hodges
It seemed a joke to take on a witch with a snowball, but this was serious business. Trini squeezed the fist-sized snowball in her hands, packing it until it was hard as rock, as cold as the witch's heart.

In Silence She Says Much by Rebecca Roland
War ships appeared on the horizon. Maris dropped the net she'd been repairing. She clapped her hands, and her children stopped in the midst of their playing.

Knight of Pawns by Caroline Sciriha
Five days to the full moon.
Midnight. John is being executed at this very moment.

Flash Fiction

Commiseration with the Embarrassment of God by Jim Breyfogle
There’s little you can do when the world has ended.  It’s too late to stop the mail or cancel your Internet.  Almost all you can do is start a rock collection and order it according to radioactivity.

Grief, Processed by J.J. Roth
My instructions say to come to you, Solace v2.2, should I ever "experience an emotional loss and find [myself] in distress so severe that it interferes with [my] mission."

The Best Deal by Jackie Bee
"Let's just get it done with. It's not working, okay? Your constant nagging, and now this 'meet my parents' thing, it's just getting too heavy, okay?


To Help Right to Triumph by Use of Force by Patrick Baker
Famed sociologist Max Weber categorically asserted in 1919, after the end of World War One, that the nation-state holds: “the monopoly of the legitimate use of violence.”

The Role of the Mother Figure in Fantastic Fiction by Sarah Fallon
The Mother figure is of enduring importance to the children’s fantasy genre, from ancient mythology to contemporary novels.

The Places We Go at Night


The Places We Go At Night
 by Fiona Meng


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