District of WondersTales To TerrifyStarShipSofaFar Fetched Fables

Anthony Babington

Far Fetched Fables No 23 Zoran Živković and Shenoa Carroll-Bradd

First Story: Compartments” by Zoran Živković

I ran as fast as my legs would carry me.

The carriage had just pulled away from the buffer at the end of the track. Even though it was still moving slowly, had I been carrying any luggage, particularly anything heavy, I wouldn’t have made it. Luckily, all I was holding was my coat and hat.

I didn’t know how to get onto a moving carriage. Was I first supposed to jump onto the step on the platform of the last car and then grab hold of the handrail, or the other way around? Who knows what I would have done if the back door hadn’t opened just as I caught up to the car. The conductor came out onto the platform.

“Give me your hand!” he shouted.

Zoran Živković was born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, in 1948. In 1973 he graduated from the Department of General Literature with the theory of literature, Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade; he received his master’s degree in 1979 and his doctorate in 1982 from the same school. In 2007, Živković was made a professor in the Faculty of Philology at his alma mater, the University of Belgrade, where he now teaches Creative Writing. The author of twenty books of fiction and eight books of nonfiction, Živković continues to push the boundaries of the strange and surreal. His writing belongs to the middle European fantastika tradition, and shares much in common with such masters as Mikhail Bulgakov, Franz Kafka and Stanislaw Lem. Find out more at http://www.zoranzivkovic.com/


Second story: In the Nightmare Garden” by Shenoa Carroll-Bradd

The neighbor kids called Lucida Cole a witch, partially because she lived in a creaky old house, but mostly because she had a garden of nightmares. It wasn’t really her fault. The garden had come with the house; she’d just kept it up.

The breeze carried soft weeping, but she pretended not to hear it at first. Lucida looked up between the branches of the nearest tree and plucked a fruit, squeezing it to test for ripeness. She bit in and felt one of her bottom teeth wiggle. Lucida carefully chewed the tart bite and swallowed, then spat out the tooth and ran a finger along the rest of her teeth, testing for stability. They all seemed sturdy. She tossed the unripe fruit aside and it rolled out of sight beneath a “naked in public” shrub. The tooth she’d spat out slowly melted away as the nightmare’s astringent taste left her tongue.

Shenoa Carroll-Bradd lives in Southern California with her awesome brother and dancing dog. Her short stories have appeared online and in over two dozen anthologies, and she’s also launched an ebook serial of Victorian occult mysteries featuring her amateur detectives Fidgett and Klein. When not writing, she enjoys crocheting, reading, and bingeing on Netflix ’til her eyes bleed. For more information, visit her homepage at www.sbcbfiction.net. Her Kickstarter project is at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/982539034/lightning-lord-and-the-duplex-of-death.


About the Narrators:

Anthony Babington is a voice in the internet’s head. he looks almost, but not quite, exactly how you expect him to. He currently resides in Houston, Texas, but hastens to add that it was not his idea. He can be found on Google Plus

Cheryl Phipps was born in Canada and presently resides there, but has also lived in Jamaica and Maryland. By the time she was 16, she had moved 15 times! She used story telling as a way to fit in whenever she was the “new kid” in town. Cheryl obtained her Honours BA in Sociology at the University of Western Ontario. She spent many years teaching call centre representatives customer service and communication skills. She wrote a book that won second place in an international literary contest. Cheryl has always loved words, grammar, reading, acting and writing. All of these things came together for Cheryl in the form of voice over work, which she loves! You can learn more at www.CherylPhipps.ca


Far Fetched Fables No 13 Janny Wurts and Gene Wolfe

First Story: “Blood, Oak, Iron” by Janny Wurts

The old king of Chaldir lay dying. Everyone knew. Scarcely anyone cared. He lay under quilts in a bed with gold posts and purple hangings, his waxy, cadaverous face throwing grotesque shadows by the guttering glare of the candles. Whole seconds passed, while his unsteady breath seemed to stop….

Janny Wurts’ current audio book titles include stand-alones Master of Whitestorm, Sorcerer’s Legacy, and the Cycle of Fire trilogy, and the Empire trilogy written in collaboration with Raymond E. Feist; in print, a stand-alone fantasy, To Ride Hell’s Chasm, and the Wars of Light and Shadow series.
Her imaginative paintings and cover art have appeared in exhibitions of imaginative artwork, among them, NASA’s 25th Anniversary exhibit, Delaware Art Museum, Canton Art Museum, and Hayden Planetarium in New York, and been recognized by two Chesley Awards, and three times received Best of Show at the World Fantasy Convention.
Story excerpts, announcements, and print shop can be found at www.paravia.com/JannyWurts


Second Story: “Comber” by Gene Wolfe

The news whispered by his radio this morning was the same as the news when he and Mona had gone to bed: the city had topped the crest, and everything was flat and wonderful–if only for a day or two.

“You’re flat yourselves,” he told it softly, and switched it off.

Gene Wolfe is a prolific short-story writer and novelist and has won many science fiction and fantasy literary awards.  Wolfe is most famous for The Book of the New Sun (four volumes, 1980–83), the first part of his Solar Cycle. In 1998, Locus magazine ranked it third-best fantasy novel before 1990.

He has this to say about himself – Lives have shapes, and mine has been a circle.  I grew up in Texas and took a job far away where I was soon lonely.  Impelled by loneliness, I married a beautiful girl whom I came to love deeply.  We had children; I found myself anything but lonely in the midst of a large family.  One by one our children moved away until the two of us were left alone.  My lovely wife grew ill; I nursed her as long as I could, and when I could no longer care for her watched her fade and die in a nursing home.  Now I am alone once more.  Once around, and we get off.


About the Narrators:

Mark Nelson (aka Harry Shaw) has been recording audiobooks since 2006, starting as a Librivox volunteer and later for such producers as Audible, Audible Frontiers, Hachette, Wonderaudio and Iambik. Recording as Mark Nelson and as “Harry Shaw”, he’s narrated more than fifty commercial audiobooks, including classics, horror, mysteries, and contemporary and classic science fiction. He still regularly contributes to Librivox, which he credits for getting him out of Human Resources and into something useful. Visit his website at www.markdouglasnelson.com

Anthony Babington is a voice in the internet’s head. He looks almost, but not quite, exactly how you expect him to. He currently resides in Houston, Texas, but hastens to add that it was not his idea.

Far Fetched Fables No 9 Jeffrey Ford, Tony Ballantyne, and Laurel Winter

First Story: “A Night in the Tropics” by Jeffrey Ford

The first bar I ever went to was The Tropics. It was and still is situated between the grocery store and the bank along Higbee Lane in West Islip. I was around five or six, and my old man would take me with him when he went there to watch the Giant games on Sunday afternoon. While the men were all at the bar, drinking, talking, giving Y.A. Tittle a piece of their minds, I’d roll the balls on the pool table or sit in one of the booths in the back and color. The juke box always seemed to be playing “Somewhere, Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin while I searched for figures, the way people do with clouds, in the swirling cigar and cigarette smoke.

Jeffrey Ford is an American writer in the fantastic genre tradition, although his works have spanned genres including fantasy, science fiction and mystery. His work is characterized by a sweeping imaginative power, humour, literary allusion, and a fascination with tales told within tales. He is a graduate of Binghamton University, where he studied with the novelist John Gardner. He lives in southern New Jersey and teaches writing and literature at Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County. He has also taught at the summer Clarion Workshop for science fiction and fantasy writers in Michigan. He has contributed stories, essays and interviews to various magazines and e-magazines including MSS, Puerto Del Sol, Northwest Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Argosy, Event Horizon, Infinity Plus, Black Gate and The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

You can see more at http://www.well-builtcity.com/


Second story: “The Blue Magnolia” by Tony Ballantyne

Bogart stands before the bar, Hepburn is serving drinks. Cary Grant sits in a chair nearby.

“You’ve got to choose.” says Grant, his eyes hard.

“I can’t! Not now!” says Hepburn, shaking her head in despair. Bogart lifts the shot glass to his lips and knocks his whisky back in one. You can tell by his stance that he resigned himself to this moment long ago. He pulls back his sleeve as if to look at his watch, but his eyes never leave Hepburn’s. Hepburn’s dark, wide eyes, filling with tears.

“Hell. Is that the time?” he murmurs. “I’ve got to catch my plane.”

He turns to leave.

Tony Ballantyne is the author of the Penrose and Recursion series of novels as well as many acclaimed short stories that have appeared in magazines and anthologies around the world. He has been nominated for the BSFA and Philip K Dick awards. His latest novel, Dream London, was published in October 2013 and was described by the Financial Times as “… as strange and unclassifiable a novel as it’s possible to imagine, and a marvelous achievement.”
Tony is currently working on the follow up, Dream Paris, due to be published in September 2015. Due to popular demand, he has also recently begun working on a series of short stories set in the Recursion universe. You can find his website at www.tonyballantyne.com.

Third story: “Tomorrow Tea” by Laurel Winter

Anzy woke me. “Try this,” she said, putting a cup to my mouth just as I exhaled a dream breath. Too hot, but my mouth barely noticed. Summer, I tasted. Being young. One of the wild cousins of mint. Sun filtered through green leaves.

“Oh, yes,” I said, gulping down as much as I could before she took the cup away. She never let me have a whole cup of any tea. Just tastes, so I would never be satisfied. A good taster is never satisfied.

Laurel Winter grew up in the mountains of Montana and attended a one-room country grade school with 12 to 25 students in grades 1 through 8. She then went 30 miles one way on the bus to Absarokee High School, where there were 33 in her graduating class. Since then she’s acquired an eclectic education, including credits in English, physics, and psychology from Montana State and numerous writing and art classes. A number of high school literature textbooks contain “egg horror poem” and she’s hoping her novel Growing Wings gets a baby sister this year. Her current passion is playing poker. You can visit her blog at laurelwinter.blogspot.com


About the Narrators:

Pete Nixon is a full time mailman, father, and husband. He edited, produced, and (partially) narrated “Green Eggs And Horror”, which is a horror short story anthology inspired by Dr. Seuss stories that can be found at GreenEggsAndHorror.com

Anthony Babington is a voice in the internet’s head. He looks almost, but not quite, exactly how you expect him to. He currently resides in Houston, Texas, but hastens to add that it was not his idea.

With a background in theater and an English degree that didn’t lead to teaching or full-time novel writing, Kim Mintz turned to the persuasive arts known as sales and heard multiple clients say, “You have a great voice. I would listen to you all day!” Finally, she decided to marry these skills together and enter the world of professional voice acting. Employing a wide range of voices and expressions in commercial and narrative work, she contributed to the financial, travel, and health insurance industries, utilizing clear, direct articulation. She is currently expanding her repertoire with audio book passages by exhibiting a range of emotions, including warm, sultry, cheerful, sarcastic, and many others. She is also working on scripts with her writing partner for animated projects to which she hopes to give a voice. For more information, please visit her website at kimmintzvoiceactor.com.