First Story: “The Master Miller’s Tale” Part 1 by Ian R. McLeod
THERE ARE ONLY RUINS left now on Burlish Hill, a rough circle of stones. The track which once curved up from the village of Stagsby in the valley below is little more than an indentation in the grass, and the sails of the mill which once turned there are forgotten. Time has moved on, and lives have moved with it. Only the wind remains.
Once, the Westovers were millers. They belonged to their mill as much as it belonged to them, and Burlish Hill was so strongly associated with their trade that the words mill and hill grew blurred in the local dialect until the two became the same. Hill was mill and mill was hill, and one or other of the Westovers, either father or son, was in charge of those turning sails, and that was all the people of Stagsby, and all the workers in the surrounding farms and smallholdings, cared to know.
Ian R MacLeod had been selling and writing professionally for more than 20 years. His critically acclaimed novels have been widely translated, whilst his short stories have been reprinted in many Best Of anthologies. He has twice won the World Fantasy Award and the Sidewise Award for alternate history, as well as the Arthur C Clarke and John W Campbell Memorial awards. As well as using the same alternate history background of his two novels, The Light Ages and The House of Storms, he cites Keith Roberts and Thomas Hardy as his two major references in writing The Master Miller’s Tale. He lives with his two dogs and one wife in the river town of Bewdley. You can learn more at ianrmacleod.com.
Second story: “Princesses” by Jeremy Sim
To save a princess you will need three things:
A #2 pencil.
A graphing calculator.
An ally, preferably fearless.
You will need an ally because princesses are notoriously difficult to rescue alone. Your ally should be a family member, a mother or sister who fed you and tied your shoes when the ambit of your life whisked you through blown dandelions and video games. The tying of shoes isn’t important; the feeding is. Bread, water, and the quiet feast of stories, bedtime or otherwise, without which you would not exist. If you lack such an ally, stop reading now and go find one. To rescue a princess you must be absolutely chock full of stories. You must gorge yourself on them.
Jeremy Sim is probably the only Singaporean-American science fiction and fantasy writer currently living in Berlin, Germany. If he’s not, please let him know at www.jeremysim.com or on Twitter @jeremy_sim. This story, “Princesses,” originally appeared in Flash Fiction Online, 2013.
About the Narrators:
Colin Clewes is a musician and writer, living in UK. He loves music, reading and movies. Although he’s British, he grew up in Africa and still hasn’t managed to do anything cooler than that – despite studying philosophy and learning to play electric guitar.
Bob Raudys is a voice actor, musician and marketing/advertising guy. He probably should have figured out that voice acting was in his future when he had to do paragraph reads in grade school. The nuns were none too happy with his need to add accents to the stories. Born and raised in the Southwest Side of Chicago (pron. sout-west syde uv shi-kaw-go) as a first generation Lithuanian, he was fortunate to have his first of several European experiences visiting Lithuania, Moscow and Leningrad (now once again St. Petersburg) in 1976. One of the more memorable moments (aside from being arrested in the summer resort town of Palanga) was when he was being chased by an old, screaming Muscovite. Unfortunately Bob didn’t speak Russian, nor did the old woman speak Lithuanian or English. Bob’s migration into voice acting began 2 years ago, but his roots started in 1967 as a classically trained pianist. To his parent’s chagrin, his musical tastes and time moved into blues and rock ‘n roll (and yes, he was a wedding singer at one time). He currently is the keyboard player with the SouthSide Exiles. Performing was, and continues to be in his blood. Bob currently resides in the Chicago area with his wife, daughter and a cat, who is just waiting for the chance to take over the house. Go take a listen to what he can do at www.wordtomouthstudios.com