District of WondersTales To TerrifyStarShipSofaFar Fetched Fables

Far Fetched Fables No. 110 Krystal Claxton and Jay Lake & Ruth Nestvold

June 14, 2016 by Gary Dowell

Flash Fiction: “Golden Unicorn” by Jay Lake & Ruth Nestvold

(“Tales of the Rose Knights” #4, originally published in Daily Science Fiction.)

The Rose Knight known as Golden Unicorn was a creature of field and forest, flowing across the mountain slopes as fire flows across the stubbled fields of autumn. She was born in the misty hills of the Farmost West, raised among the simple nut farmers of Chemeketa, bound to the service of no man nor spirit save her own will and the glories of those mountains. Her coat was the brown of polished walnut burl, and the horn upon her head glinted sunset gold.
The relationship between unicorns and virgins is storied past the point of recognition, but the question of unicorn virginity is another matter entire. The Golden Unicorn had spent her youth dancing around the attentions of stallions and lusty lads alike, preferring to hold her heart–and body–for whatever the future might bring. Thus she arrived at adulthood with distant dreams and little grounding in the ordinary mechanics of pleasure.

Jay Lake lived in Portland, Oregon until his death in 2014, shortly before his 50th birthday. His books include Kalimpura from Tor and Love in the Time of Metal and Flesh from Prime. His short fiction appeared regularly in literary and genre markets worldwide. Jay was a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and a multiple nominee for the Hugo and World Fantasy Awards. In 2015, he posthumously received the Locus Award for his collection Last Plane to Heaven.

Learn more about him and his work at jlake.com.

Ruth Nestvold has published widely in science fiction and fantasy, her fiction appearing in such markets as Asimov’s, F&SF, and Gardner Dozois’ Year’s Best Science Fiction. Her work has been nominated for the Nebula, Tiptree, and Sturgeon Awards. In 2007, the Italian translation of her novella Looking Through Lace won the Premio Italia award for best international work. She maintains a web site at ruthnestvold.com and blogs at ruthnestvold.wordpress.com.

Jay and Ruth’s collection of short stories, Almost All the Way Home from the Stars, is available at Amazon and via iTunes.


Main Story: “Heartless” by Krystal Claxton

(Originally published in Fantastic Stories of the Imagination #224.)

I should leave the man in the dark, face­down on the dirt path where I find him. Entangling myself in the affairs of a Shebeast is high on my list of things to avoid. But the chance that he still lives draws me in. Grunting, I roll his limp form to rest on his back, my breath turning to puffs of fog in the chill air.

His heartstrings splay from the wound in his chest like delicate red ribbons. Drained of heat and color, his face is lifeless­­handsome with amber hair and strong brow, but empty nonetheless. She left him here for dead.

Krystal Claxton was tragically born with a miscalibrated sense of humor and lived in nine US states before the age of thirteen. The combination of the two has left her with an oscillating accent and a habit of laughing at things that aren’t funny. She currently lives in Georgia with her long-suffering spouse, a dog who thinks she’s a cat, and a number of children that is subject to change. She enjoys breaking Heinlein’s Rules, getting distracted by Dragon Con, and feverishly researching whichever random topic has just piqued her interest. Keep up with her at krystalclaxton.com and on Twitter via @krystalclaxton.


About the Narrators:

Andrea Richardson is a British singer and actress. With extensive stage and film performances to her name, she began narration and voiceover work in 2014 but enjoys using her existing skills in a different way. You can find Andrea at andrea-richardson.co.uk and on Facebook.

Karen Bovenmyer earned an MFA in Creative Writing: Popular Fiction from the University of Southern Maine in 2011. She has published approximately 25 poems, short stories, and novellas and has a novel coming out next year. She teaches and mentors students at Iowa State University and serves as the Nonfiction Assistant Editor of Escape Artists’ Mothership Zeta Magazine. Karen’s narrations can be heard on the Strange Horizons, StarShip Sofa, Gallery of Curiosities, and Pseudopod podcasts. You can find her online at karenbovenmyer.com.



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