Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Mirror Mirror on the Wall, Is Not Free Fiction the Best of All?

More great free fiction from a few of my favorite sites.

[Art from "The Angelus Guns" by Max Gladstone.]

• At Baen: "A Thing of Beauty" by Charles E. Gannon. Science Fiction.
"The Indi Group isn't known for its humanitarian principles. They're all about the bottom line, even if that means taking steps that most would find appalling. But the higher-ups are about to find out that when you put human lives on a balance sheet, you may not get the results you're after. And that the intangible things in life-loyalty, compassion, and beauty-sometimes conquer even the most cold-hearted financial equations. An all-new story, set in the Trial By Fire universe"

• At Enchanted Conversations: "Into Gold" by Russ Bickerstaff. Fantasy. 
"The data was impossibly complicated. She saw all of the data. She saw how it could be combined to make something more than it was. Raw numbers and readings and things. And she could spin it all into raw profit. She could turn all of that data into gold. This was what she had discovered she could do"

• At Enchanted Conversations:"The Seven Fated Wishes" by Sarah Hausman. Fantasy.
"When the Princess tired of her castle, she could mount her lovely white steed and ride freely through the villages and countryside, where she was always well-received by all of those she met. Her life was carefree and happy, as were the lives of all the people in her kingdom because there was only Goodness in the world. Evil was not yet known."

• At HiLobrow:  King Goshawk (Parts 1-29 so far) by Eimar O'Duffy. 1926. Science Fiction.
"set in a future world devastated by progress. When King Goshawk, the supreme ruler among a caste of “king capitalists,” buys up all the wildflowers and songbirds, an aghast Dublin philosopher travels via the astral plane to Tír na nÓg. First the mythical Irish hero Cúchulainn, then his son Cuanduine, travel to Earth in order to combat the king capitalists."

• At Nightmare Magazine:  "Death and Death Again" by Mari Ness. Horror.
"That evening, she kills him again. This time, she works slowly, exquisitely slowly, taking frequent stops for food, for wine, for blood. Once or twice she even excuses herself to go to the bathroom, apologizing for leaving him alone." Audio and Text.

• At "The Angelus Guns" by Max Gladstone.
"During a celestial civil war, an angel-like soldier searches for her missing brother in the Crystal City.  . . .  She expected a fight when she confessed her plan. Instead her young mother closed her eyes, and opened them, and asked, “Can you bring him back?” They sat together at their outpost’s small kitchen table, and drank tea, and curled their wings close about themselves, though the late summer night was warm."

Audio Fiction
• At Drabblecast: "Bum's Rush" by Nathan Lee. Comedy. Strange.
"'I was fourteen, maybe fifteen years old, and I was a Aztec or a Mixtec or somethin’,' said the sheriff. “Anyways, I was buck naked, and I was standin’ on one of them ball courts with the little bitty stone rings twenty foot up one wall, and they was presentin’ me to Moctezuma. I was real proud, and the sun was shinin’, but it was real still and cool down there in the Valley of the Mexico." Audio and Text.

• At StarShipSofa: "No 346 Suzanne Palmer and Rachel Swirsky" Science Fiction.
"If You Were a Dinosaur, My Love," by Rachel Swirsky. 
"if you were a dinosaur, my love, then you would be a T-Rex. You’d be a small one, only five feet, ten inches, the same height as human-you. You’d be fragile-boned and you’d walk with as delicate and polite a gait as you could manage on massive talons. Your eyes would gaze gently from beneath your bony brow-ridge."
and “Shatterdown” by Suzanne Palmer.
"Four moons dotted the distant horizon, pale ghosts half-lost in shadow and framed on either side by Cjoi’s heavy black boots propped up against the observation glass. She slouched in her chair, mute earpiece dangling at the base of her neck, her eyes and attention on the gas giant below. Ammonia clouds seethed and spun endless bright rivers of gold across its radiant face, deadly and compelling. Her dive-sphere was rolled toward the oncoming night, engines in stand-by, no interior lights except the tiny blips of critical systems to break the spell."

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