District of WondersTales To TerrifyStarShipSofaFar Fetched Fables

Kim Mintz

Far Fetched Fables No 18 Ben Peek and Bruce McAllister

First Story: “The Funeral, Ruined” by Ben Peek

It was the weight that woke Linette. Her weight. The weight of herself.
The flat red sky above Issuer was waiting when she opened her eyes. Five hours before, when she had closed her eyes, it had been a dark, ugly brown-red: the middle of the night. Now it was the clear early morning red, and a thick, muggy warmth was seeping through her open window with the new light. There would be no rain today. Just the heat. Just the sweat. Just that uncomfortable, hot awareness of herself that both brought. The worse was Linette’s short dark hair, dirty with sweat and ash. The ash that had come through the open window during the night. It had streaked her face and settled in her mouth and she could taste it, dry, burnt and unappealing in her gums. Her left arm, with its thick, straight scars across the forearm, felt heavy and ached; but it always ached.

Ben Peek is the Sydney based author of Black Sheep, Twenty-Six Lies/One Truth, Above/Below, and Dead Americans and Other Stories (in which ‘The Funeral, Ruined’, can be found). His most recent novel is the first volume in the Children Trilogy, the Godless.
You can find out more at www.theurbansprawlproject.com

Second Story: “Poison” by Bruce McAllister

In school that day the American boy, whose twelfth birthday was approaching, did just as well as his friends on the Roman history recitation and the spelling test, which included the word stregheria–witchcraft—which could, if you weren’t careful, easily be confused with straggaria, an old-fashioned word for respect.
After school let out, he and his friends celebrated their good fortune by buying new plastic blowguns at the toy store in the fishing village and spending an hour making dozens of little paper cones with sewing needles taped to their points. Every boy in this country had at least one blowgun—they were cheap and no longer than a ruler—so the American boy had one too.

Bruce McAllister’s fantasy and science fiction stories have been published over the years in the science fiction/fantasy/horror field’s major magazines and many “year’s best” volumes (including Best American Short Stories: 2007, Stephen King ed.). His short story “Kin” was a finalist for the Hugo Award; his novelette “Dream Baby” was a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula awards; his novelette “The Crying Child” was a finalist for the Shirley Jackson Award. His short fiction has been collected in the career-spanning The Girl Who Loved Animals and Other Stories. Four of his short stories—science fiction and horror—are currently under option, in development or in production as films. He is the author of three novels: Humanity Prime, Dream Baby, and most recently The Village Sang to the Sea: A Memoir of Magic. He lives in Orange County, California, with his wife, choreographer Amelie Hunter, and works as a writer, writing coach, and book and screenplay consultant.
Note: “Poison,” in a slightly different form, is from the novel THE VILLAGE SANG TO THE SEA: A MEMOIR OF MAGIC, appeared originally in ASIMOV’S, and was reprinted in the Hartwell/Kramer YEAR’S BEST FANTASY.  Learn more at www.thevillagesang.com

About the Narrators:

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 www.kimmintzvoiceactor.com

Andrew Leman is a producer, designer, actor, writer and director, not necessarily in that order. He has appeared on professional stages in Chicago and Los Angeles, and is a member of Theatre Banshee in Burbank, California. He has designed graphics and props for numerous films and TV shows, and a number of digital fonts that have been used extensively by graphic designers worldwide. With his friend & collaborator of many years, Sean Branney, Andrew has been running The H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society since 1984, and has developed numerous film, audio, and gaming projects, including the award-winning motion pictures The Call of Cthulhu and The Whisperer in Darkness, musical projects including A Shoggoth on the Roof and Dreams in the Witch House, and several 1930s-style audio dramas in the Dark Adventure Radio Theatre series. He is the author of Lovecraftian Times, a non-scholarly history of the 1920s and ’30s for HPL fans, and is the designer of highly authentic prop documents for Call of Cthulhu gamers. Andrew is pleased also to be a frequent contributor to the H. P. Lovecraft Literary Podcast. And once upon a time he was a fossil preparator for the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. You can learn more at www.cthulhulives.org and www.hppodcraft.com

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.