Thursday, August 7, 2014

Free Fiction to Come

"If we're no more than animals, we must snatch each little scrap of happiness and live and suffer and pass, mattering no more than all the other animals do or have done. Is it this? Or that? All the free fiction in the  universe? Or nothingness? Which shall it be, Passworthy? Which shall it be?"

• At Beneath Ceaseless Skies: "Five Fruits I Ate in Sandar Land" by Michael Haynes. Fantasy.
"The bitter apple is fatal. Only in large quantities, though, and its offensive taste makes it nearly impossible to eat enough of them to kill a man. As the sun dips below the horizon, I eat one my first night in Sandar Land, barefoot and sweat soaked. The juices sting my chapped lips and give no comfort to my throat. It’s the first food I have eaten in three days. While I chew, I try to imagine it as something less noxious, but with each bite I nearly retch and lose it all."

• At Beneath Ceaseless Skies: "Make No Promises" by Rachel Halpern. Fantasy.
"My sister Lydie and I often walk in the hills when our morning lessons are over. We take our lessons separately—I am the younger by three years, so the history lessons that give me such trouble my sister has already mastered. Fencing is even worse, where besides my lack of training, I have also my shorter reach and my weak left eye to contend with."

• At Daily Science Fiction: "Ghosts of Mars" by Edoardo Albert. Science Fiction.
"Lars Caron had only taken over as mission commander because Pete Boardman had died. We were the most scanned, checked, and examined group of human beings in history--after all, on the first mission to Mars, you don't want someone falling ill or freaking out on the way--and Pete had checked out clearer than any of us. Then, seven days before departure, he went and died. The autopsy said his heart gave out, but I knew, from speaking to the doctors, that they could not find anything wrong with him. Dead, he presented as perfect a physical specimen as he had when alive."

• At Paizo: "Queen Sacrifice - Chapter Four: A Burning Love" by Steven Savile. Fantasy. Pathfinder.
"She didn't have an answer to that. She hadn't thought that far ahead. "Our chance will come," she said, making another promise she didn't know she could keep. "Can you find your way back to the stairwell?" She couldn't, not without going back through the fissure the tunnel rat had led her down, and she had no idea where that fissure was because she'd been unconscious when the urdefhans dragged her here." All four parts here.

Flash Fiction
• At Every Day Fiction: "Captain Bartholomew Quasar and the Bandits on Consortium Moon Prime" by Milo James Fowler. Science Fiction.
• At Nature: "Your Application for Eternal Life Has Been Partially Approved" by James Wesley Rogers.
• At 365 Tomorrows: "Moon Rocks" by Gray Blix. Science Fiction.

Audio Fiction
• At Beneath Ceaseless Skies: "The Topaz Marquise" by Fran Wilde. Fantasy.
"Her words made no sense, but neither did the lost hours. I shivered in the warmth of the day. Beyond the window, in the square, I saw a familiar figure in a tattered cloak. Even from a floor up, the smell that greeted me was unpleasant: unwashed hair, perhaps rotting leather. Suddenly, I wanted to escape from my studio and the chill that hung over it."

• At Beneath Ceaseless Skies: "Haxan" by Kenneth Mark Hoover. Fantasy.
"No, I’m talking about real people. Flesh and blood like you and me. They’re taken from places they call home and sent into this stormy sea to help calm the waters. It never ends because it’s the storm itself, the unending conflict, that makes the world we know a reality. Along with all the other worlds that could be."

• At PodCastle: "The Ascent of Unreason" by Marie Brennan, read by Wilson Fowlie. Fantasy.
"Watching Last cough up his wine at the words wasn’t the only reason for Tolyat’s declaration, but he had to admit it was part of the appeal.  The man was a guide, and had seen so much, experienced so much, gone so many places, that it was hard to crack his shell of burnt-out weariness.  One pretty much had to say something so outrageous it should never be uttered by a sane man."

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