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

  Issue 18, March 1, 2012

Dear readers,

We are very pleased to welcome to this issue graduates of the major sci-fi, fantasy and horror writing programs Odyssey and Clarion, winners of the Writers of the Future Award, and more. Rather than a long introduction I will let our fiction, nonfiction and poetry speak for itself. Enjoy.

Scott T. Barnes


Table of Contents


  • The Cycle of the Sun by Barbara A. Barnett
    When Narem's turn to make his petition came, a myriad of winter solstice offerings already covered the altar: fruits and cakes, jewels and coins, shafts of wheat and vials of wine. A glance behind him, and Narem's stomach knotted. The line of petitioners now stretched beyond the enclosed holy alcove, past the priests who stoked the holy fires and into the temple proper, where the music and chatter of the solstice celebration took on a wild air. Would the goddess be able to answer his prayer when so many others demanded her attention?
  • Ecosystem by Cassandra Rose Clarke
    I work on the seventh floor of an office building in downtown. The city is new, and all the buildings are made of glass and metal and they shine like broken mirrors in the summer sun. I'm a secretary for an engineering firm, although my official title is administrative assistant...
  • The Unicorn Dilemma by Ronald D. Ferguson
    Spring again, time to sacrifice a virgin to the forest dragon. Near the edge of the glade, MaryLynn primly sat on the moss-coated log and examined the manacle that bound her wrist to the massive oak. With a deft squeeze of her hand, she slipped the iron from her hand, massaged her wrist, and then restored the bond...
  • Dead Man's Shoes by Mjke Wood
    Tommy could still not take a chorus worth a damn. I would not tell him that to his face, you know? Tommy’s a good reader an all, but he cannot improvise, no sir, never could. But he had changed, and that’s for sure. There’s some kind of persona that’s leaking all out of them shoes like a bad smell...
Flash Fiction
  • Land of the Beast by Joel V. Kela
    The sky was big enough to be a lie. Sarah stood silent beneath it, twisting at a strand of black hair as she watched Amren load their wagon, throwing in axe and spade, hoe and harness, and whatever else he could before the pack returned. She knew he was delusional from losing Rebecca the night before. He had seen one wife killed, and now he thought to spare Sarah the same fate...
  • The Tale of the Wind and the Dry Bones by Mandy Taggart
    The crows had taken all the meat off a dead old fox that was lying up at the fairy mound near here, beside the standing stone. The birds call each other from miles around to eat fox meat if they can get it, to take revenge for their own kind. But now all the flesh was off the bones of the old fox, and the sinews and the muscles gone, and her red fur tugged off with beaks and carried away to make nests. So the only bits left were the little dry bones that went click, clack, in the breeze...
  • The Role of the Sidekick by Brenta Blevins
    Sidekicks have a strong association with genre fiction as secondary characters in comic books and superhero movies, but these characters first appear in the earliest mythological tales before continuing through the centuries.  On first impression, it's easy to picture sidekicks as little more than humorous aides to the superhero, but these literary assistants perform a significant function in the stories they appear in.  Examining the role of the sidekick in literature reveals the full range of their narrative capabilities...

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