Michael Paul Kube-McDowell (born August 29, 1954)
A Hugo and Phillip K. Dick Award nominated science fiction author, Kube-McDowell has written over a dozen novels, as well as three episodes of the TV series Tales from the Darkside. Among his works is The Star Wars : The Black Fleet Crisis trilogy. A few of his short stories are available at his website.
At Author's Site:
• "The Garden of the Cognoscenti" by Michael P. Kube-McDowell. First published in Analog, June 1982
"When he returned from lunch to his seventh-floor cubicle in Elgar Industries’ Corporate Affairs building, David Kennerly found the blue message light on his work terminal winking patiently at him. Slipping into his chair, Kennerly called up the message. Since he had left most of his coworkers in the lunchroom debating the merits of various commuter bicycles, Kennerly expected to see the face of Crystal, his contract wife, appear on the screen."
• "Misbegotten" by Michael P. Kube-McDowell. First appeared in the December, 1989 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
"Unaware of watching eyes in the skies above, the stalking grove-wolf pressed its silent attack on the solitary manatree. Circling beyond the reach of the sleek-skinned manatree's stubby limbs, the grove-wolf suddenly charged forward, throwing its weight against the fleshy pedestal-leg of its prey."
• "Because Thou Lovest the Burning-Ground" by Michael Kube-McDowell. 1983.
"The new arrival at the choultrie on the Rajkot road wore the heavy Kathiawar turban, a man's turban, but his face was that of a boy. His long dark coat was dusted with the miles behind him, his countenance darkened by the miles ahead."
• "When Winter Ends" by Michael P. Kube-McDowell. 1985.
"Yates' day had begun five hours earlier, with a "from our affiliate in Baltimore" appearance on the Today show to debate a utility spokesman on the question of the restart of Three Mile Island Unit 2. When that three-minute free-for-all was over, he drove seventy miles to the Choptank River under a sky that was dawning grey and gloomy. There he climbed into a Boston Whaler to inspect the heavy-metal sampling buoys in the channel downstream from the new Noble Electroplating plant at Cambridge."
Renee Carter Hall (born August 29, 1977)
A promising young writer whose fiction has appeared in Strange Horizons, Black Static, and Daily Science Fiction, Hall writes "mostly fantasy and soft science fiction, with excursions into dark fantasy." She has several works online.
At Author's Site:
• "Childish Things"
"As a new father, David feels he's supposed to be an adult, but his premature daughter is clinging to life in the hospital, and he's never felt so helpless... until his childhood imaginary friend returns to remind him that growing up isn't just about leaving things behind."
• "Drawn From Memory"
"Lauren's been a fan of Terrence Tiger since she was a little girl, and the chance to interview the cartoon star is any fan's dream. But there's more to Terrence than sight gags and pratfalls, and soon there's more to their relationship than either of them expected."
• "Moon, June, Raccoon"
"Karen's sick of watching all her friends find true love. Out of sheer desperation, she decides to try casting a love spell -- and winds up getting the attention of a neighborhood raccoon instead. But this furry matchmaker just won't mind his own business."
• "The Wishing Tree"
"Once upon a time in the backwoods, an old raccoon plays a trick on two hounds to save his skin—and winds up getting a surprise of his own."
• At Strange Horizons: "The Bear with the Quantum Heart"
"They say humans form their first memories at about three years old. I don't remember when Kayla's parents first activated me, but I do remember Christmas Eve. My skin was a honey-colored bear cub, all brown eyes and big paws. I was programmed to sing and recite the alphabet, the pad-screens on my paws loaded with scripts to flash colors, letters, and numbers. They tucked me carefully into a big green box with a red bow."
• At Daily Science Fiction: "Nevermore" by Renee Carter Hall. Flash, Science Fiction.
• And Poetry and Audio at her site.
Jenn Reese (born August 29, 1977)
"Jenn Reese writes science fiction and fantasy adventure stories for readers of all ages. Her first novel, Jade Tiger, is an action-adventure kung fu romance for adults. She’s currently at work on a middle-grade adventure series for Candlewick Press." Fortunately a few of her short works are online.
At Author's Site:
• "Monkey" First published at Strange Horizons.• At Farragot's Wainscot: "Memree" Dark Urban Fantasy.
"When lightning struck Widow Mingmei’s tree, a dozen monkeys fell out of its branches. As it was newly the Year of the Monkey, the Widow took this as a sign of great fortune."
• "Merrymaking: The Gift" Flash.
• "Like Mother, Like Son" Humorous Fantasy,
“Men are pigs,” my mother said as she scraped the bones off her plate and back into the soup kettle. “No, they’re worse than pigs. They’re…men.” She stirred the soup with the dull dagger I had given her as a present on her last birthday. “They tell you you’re beautiful. They say they love you. Then you get pregnant, and BAM! They’re off to find some braided young bimbo who’ll listen to their lies.”
"The birds stood thick together on the roof of Vee's house, like a carpet of mold on a piece of old, dark bread. Vee died this morning, but the white truck still hadn't come."
At Strange Horrizons:
• "Winged"• Audio at Escape Pod: "The Dream Factory" Science Fiction.
"Anne sat in one of Charlotte's wingback chairs and draped her wings carefully around the soft leather. It felt so good to sit. Anne had spent all morning at her Tuesday tasks, and this gathering was her reward."
• "The Dream Factory"
"You wake up at the crack of ten and check the bed to see who else might be in it. A black-haired head rests on the cream pillow beside yours, surrounded by smears of lipstick and mascara. You remember buying drinks for the office's new P.A. yesterday. You look down at her face, hoping she's of legal age to do the sort of things you two did last night. And hoping the sex was worth the cleaning bill on your five-hundred-dollar sheets."
"You need some younger Ast-tlakians for a new fantasy feature the company is doing. It’s Lord of the Rings meets Kindergarten Cop. Vin Diesel to star, Woo to direct. So you need a bunch of realistic fantasy creatures, and Stan Winston figured out long ago that it was easier to hire off-world than build all these bizarre creatures from scratch. It’s a big industry secret, and you need to keep it that way"