District of WondersTales To TerrifyStarShipSofaFar Fetched Fables

Nicola Seaton-Clark

Far Fetched Fables No 20 Bill Congreve and Marly Youmans

First Story: The Shooter at the Heartrock Waterhole” by Bill Congreve

The rifle kicked, and one of the creatures — the beautiful one — was dead. But the wyrde, as Dad would have called it, began long before then.  Two days ago, I shot and killed two sparrows, and a rabbit I’d called “Attitude.” Right after, I buried them out in the deep sand away from the water.  At dawn yesterday, I smelled them as I woke. The sun filtered through the needles of a lone desert oak straight into my eyes. I rolled onto my stomach, lifted my head, and there they lay, just outside the tent flyscreen.  The corpses had been dug from their half-meter-deep holes and had been laid out on the orange sand and the leaf litter as neatly as you like, half a meter from where my head lay on the pillow.  I hadn’t heard a thing.

Bill Congreve is an award winning writer, editor and independent publisher (MirrorDanse Books). His stories have appeared in a number of countries in publications such as Faerie Reel, Tenebres, Event Horizon, Terror Australis, Aurealis, Borderlands, Bloodsongs, Crosstown Traffic, Monstres! and The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror. His collection of vampire stories is Epiphanies of Blood. His most recent collection is Souls Along the Meridian (2010). He won the Peter McNamara Achievement Award in 2012 and has acted as judge for the Aurealis Awards on nine occasions.
He works as a technical writer and editor in the emergency services sector. You can learn more here.

 

Second story: The Comb” by Marly Youmans

People always say stories are true stories, and I suppose they believe it, often enough; this one, though, is true–true as true can be, as my mother used to say. Cross my heart and hope to die, a child says. They do, in the end, all hope to die. Nobody wants to be the moon’s immortal lover, who lives on, thousands of years beyond his youth, a husk of a man: Tithonus, the grasshopper, who rasps in the weeds when the moonlight touches him. Or perhaps I’m wrong; perhaps most people don’t know that a fate can feel more alien than death.

Novelist Sebastien Doubinsky recently said, “I cannot recommend an author more than Marly Youmans, whose fantastic prose is absolutely gorgeous and haunting.” And now September 1st marks the publication of Marly Youmans’s novel Glimmerglass. Margo Lanagan describes the book as “a series of mirrors and panes that splinter and soften to let you fall deeper into the heart of myth and artistic desire. A resonant, beautiful exploration…” Poet Jeffery Beam says, “Nature, architecture, dread, thrill, sexual dilemma, and murder echo against Youmans’ gorgeous prose and terrifying romance, which glides like a serpent―without a single extraneous or boring word.” Marly’s recent books include the novel, A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, winner of the Ferrol Sams Award and the Silver Award in fiction from the ForeWord Book of the Year competition, as well as several books of poetry–the epic post-apocalyptic poem, Thaliad, and collections The Foliate Head and The Throne of Psyche. You can visit her blog http://www.thepalaceat2.blogspot.de/

 

About the Narrators:

Eric Luke is the screenwriter of the Joe Dante film EXPLORERS, which is currently in development as a remake, the comic books GHOST and WONDER WOMAN, and wrote and directed the NOT QUITE HUMAN films for Disney TV. His current project INTERFERENCE, a meta horror audiobook about an audiobook… that kills, is available free on iTunes and at Quillhammer.com.

Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements.  She also hosts this podcast…

Far Fetched Fables No 19 Isobelle Carmody and Adam Browne

First Story:  “Perchance to Dream” by Isobelle Carmody

Anna woke knowing she had been dreaming, but as so often with dreams, to wake was to forget. Strange to remember vividly that she had dreamed, yet to have no recollection of the dream. On the rare occasion that she did remember, the minute she tried to describe it, the dream would dissolve. Pinning a dream down was like trying to catch hold of a skein of smoke.

Isobelle Carmody wrote her first book, Obernewtyn, when she was 14. It was accepted by the first publisher she sent it to and since then she has written more than thirty books and many short stories, which have been translated and/or won awards including the prestigious CBC Children’s Book of the Year Award. Her most recent book is The Cloud Road, which she also illustrated.
Isobelle is currently working on The Red Queen, the final book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles, and the screenplay for Greylands, on a Film Australia grant. She has also begun a PhD at the University of Queensland. You can learn more at http://www.isobellecarmody.net/ or go to her blog at theslipstream.com.au/

 

Second story: “The Weather Cinema” by Adam Browne

Yay! It’s the weekend! We’re going to see a movie!

“Movie movie movie!” chanted Mum, doing her silly dance. “We’re going to a movie!”

I sighed and checked her wallet. “Mum,” I said, “there’s hardly any money.”

“Hardly any money!” she chanted. “Hardly any money!”

The newspaper was open on the table. I looked in the cinema listings. “Hey,” I said, “have you heard about this Weather Cinema?”

“Is it cheap?”

“Yep.”

“Weather cinema! Weather cinema!”

“But what is a weather cinema?” I said.

“Don’t know, don’t care. Weather cinema! Weather cinema!”

Adam Browne lives in Melbourne, Australia. His story ‘Neverland Blues’ originally appeared in 2008 in Dreaming Again: Thirty-five New Stories Celebrating the Wild Side of Australian Fiction. It won the 2009 Chronos Award for Best Short Fiction. His first novel, Pyrotechnicon: Being a True Account of the Further Adventures of Cyrano de Bergerac among the States and Empires of the Stars, by Himself (Dec’d), was published by Coeur de Lion in 2012, and is still available as a print-on-demand illustrated hardcover. His collection of short stories, Other Stories, and Other Stories, was recently published by Satalyte, and will be available as an audio book later this year. You can visit his blog at http://adambrowne.blogspot.com.au/

 

About the Narrators:

Cynthia P. Colby is a Canadian voice artist whose career began by winning an international public speaking contest while she was still in high school. She then spent 15 years as a radio news announcer, reaching a national venue. Her voice was so flexible that she began doing commercials at the radio stations and her ability for doing character voices was recognized. Now as a freelance voice artist and script writer, she lends her voice to numerous short stories, books, game characters, training programs, videos, commercials, phone answering services and accessible websites. She can be reached at cynthiapcolby@sympatico.ca.

Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements.  She also hosts this podcast…..

 

Far Fetched Fables No 17 Laurel Winter, Ellen Klages, and Michael Haynes

First Story: “The Flying Woman” by Laurel Winter

The boats rested uneasily on the surface of the sea, waiting to leave. Chief Loah gripped Raff’s shoulder in one hand and tilted Dannilla’s face up with the other. “Swear you will not use your unnatural power to leave this island,” he said. “Swear on your father’s life.”

His fingers squeezed Dannilla’s chin. Their father sat in one of the boats, his face shiny with tears. “I swear,” she said. “I swear. Please don’t hurt him.”

Raff held silent, and then he gasped as the leader’s hand closed on his arm. “I swear.”

The leader pushed him, hard, and let go of Dannilla. Her eyes blurred and she fell to her knees in the sea.

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.

 

Second story: “Intelligent Design” by Ellen Klages

God cocked his thumb and aimed his index finger at the firmament.

Ka-pow! Pow! Pow! A line of three perfect glowing pinpoints of light appeared in the black void. He squeezed his eyes almost shut and let off a single shot. Ping! The pinprick of light at the far edge of the firmament, just where it touched the rim of the earth, glowed faintly red.

God got bored. Ratatatatatatatat! He peppered one corner of the sky with tiny specks of light clustered tight together. Each one glowed steadily. God lay down on his back and looked up at what he’d created. It was okay.

Ellen Klages’ short fiction has appeared in science fiction and fantasy anthologies and magazines, both online and in print, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Black Gate, Eclipse, and Firebirds Rising. Her story, “Basement Magic,” won the Best Novelette Nebula Award in 2005. Several of her other stories have been on the final ballot for the Nebula, World Fantasy, and Hugo Awards, and have been reprinted in various Year’s Best volumes.

She was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Award, and is a graduate of the Clarion South writing workshop.

In addition to her writing, she serves on the Motherboard of the James Tiptree, Jr. Award, and is somewhat notorious as the auctioneer/entertainment for the Tiptree auctions at Wiscon.

Ellen was born in Ohio, and now lives in San Francisco. You can read more at http://ellenklages.com/index.html

 

Flash Fiction: “Act of Penance” by Michael Haynes

You created me. An act which I suspect that even you now know was your greatest sin.  Even as I stand here, naked, hunched in upon myself through habit against a winter’s chill I no longer feel, I smell the megahounds and hear the distant footfalls of the mercenaries who follow those beasts’ lead. They’ve hunted me down, back almost to the place of my birth, your home. They think they will capture me, their perfect soldier, their perfect weapon. Capture me and return me to the work for which I have been crafted, the skulking and the stealing and the killing. The killing, the killing… They will be too late.

Michael Haynes lives in Central Ohio where he helps keep IT systems running for a large corporation during the day and puts his characters through the wringer by night. An ardent short story reader and writer, Michael has had over 20 stories accepted for publication during 2012 by venues such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Orson Scott Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show, and Daily Science Fiction. When he’s not reading or writing he enjoys watching movies, going to hockey games, cooking, and taking photographs. You can visit http://michael-haynes.blogspot.com/ for more info.

About the Narrators:

Sarah Frederickson was born in Oregon in the United States, and was raised in beautiful Minnesota. At a young age she realized her passion for musical performance and the creative arts. Sarah spent most of her childhood singing and acting – both onstage and off – and affecting various accents for fun.
She soon found herself competing in local, state and national forensics competitions (that’s competitive speaking). Her experience and awards landed her a forensics scholarship to Bethel University in St.Paul Minnesota, where she continued to compete as well as train other speakers at the collegiate level. Sarah graduated with a degree in Music business and Audio Production. Shortly after graduation she traveled to Australia for a one-year holiday. During that time she became smitten with an Australian man who asked her to stay, and four years later the couple live and work in Australia, going on adventures, writing music and reading stories to their cat.

Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements.  She also hosts this podcast…..

Marvin Münstermann is an actor, musician and all-round interesting person, living in Germany while he figures out the rest of things.  He has a day-job which provides him with amusing anecdotes to share in his free time and he plays guitar for a rocking band, Schwarzlicht, who are going to be huge one day, really soon!

Far Fetched Fables No 10 Adam Browne, Gail Z. Martin and Barbara A. Barnett

First Story: “Neverland Blues” by Adam Browne

Michael Jackson bobs mothsoft and white in the North African nightsky.

His many eyes tic and tick. Expensive lenses shiver into place, swivelling down. He takes in the view.

Morocco. Tangier; the Kasbah; so beautiful, an Aladdin’s Carpet a thousand metres below him.

Wanting to see more, Michael Jackson twitches an aileron. But he’s still clumsy in this body, and the movement is too emphatic. He spins, the city revolving under him, the soukh a disordered whirl, the Old Mosque glimpsed then gone, the Oriental Quarter a flash of red and gold…

Adam Browne, 50, lives in Melbourne, Australia. His story ‘Neverland Blues’ originally appeared in 2008 in Dreaming Again: Thirty-five New Stories Celebrating the Wild Side of Australian Fiction. It won the 2009 Chronos Award for Best Short Fiction. His first novel, Pyrotechnicon: Being a True Account of the Further Adventures of Cyrano de Bergerac among the States and Empires of the Stars, by Himself (Dec’d), was published by Coeur de Lion in 2012, and is still available as a print-on-demand illustrated hardcover. His collection of short stories, Other Stories and Other Stories, was recently published by Satalyte, and will be available as an audio book later this year.

You can find out more at http://adambrowne.blogspot.com.au/

 

Second Story: Excerpt from “Deadly Curiosities” by Gail Z. Martin

“You know each other?” Rebecca said, confused. She looked from me to Teag and back again, as Anthony walked over and gave me a hug.

I chuckled, realizing I’d been set up. “Teag and I work together at the shop, and Anthony is a dear friend,” I said.

“We’re your back-up,” Teag explained, pressing a glass of wine into my hand. “I told Anthony about the email you got and about you coming here by yourself—”

Gail Z. Martin is an American writer and the author of The Chronicles of The Necromancer fantasy adventure series for Solaris Books and Double Dragon Publishing.

She began writing fiction as a child (her first story was about a vampire), and says she does not remember a time when she was not enthralled with ghost stories. A voracious reader since childhood, she frequently chose to read books with a supernatural slant, including folktales, compilations of regional ghost stories and gothic mysteries. She credits the TV show Dark Shadows with her lifelong fascination with vampires.

Martin is a frequent contributor of non-fiction articles for local, regional and national magazines. She is an adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and teaches adult continuing education for Central Piedmont Community College. She is a truly prolific writer and you can learn more about her and what she has written at http://www.ascendantkingdoms.com/

 

Flash fiction: “The Swan Maiden” by Barbara A. Barnett

The windowless theater makes it impossible to keep track of the days, but I am certain that years have passed since Fyodor’s last visit. I fear that he has died while his magic has not, for here I still stand, a swan maiden poised forever on pointe. Forever cursed.

I often wonder how our Swan Lake tableau looks from the seats: a circle of ballerinas in white-feathered skirts, one arm raised, the other swept down and back, the entire body mimicking the curve of a swan’s neck.

Barbara A. Barnett is a writer, musician, librarian, Odyssey Writing Workshop alum, coffee addict, wine lover, bad movie mocker, and all-around geek. Her short fiction has appeared in publications such as Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Intergalactic Medicine Show, Shimmer, Daily Science Fiction, Flash Fiction Online, Fantasy Magazine, Black Static, and Wilde Stories 2011: The Year’s Best Gay Speculative Fiction. Barbara lives with her husband in southern New Jersey and has been known to frequently burst into song. You can find her online at www.babarnett.com, or babbling as a member of the Star-Dusted Sirens writing group at stardustedsirens.wordpress.com.

 

About the Narrators:

James Silverstein is a budding author and role-playing game designer, with credits from the 7th Sea and Stargate RPG lines. He’s working on the upcoming ‘Cairn’ RPG, as well as a series of stories about a 1940’s private eye in a city of the undead. James feels that there are always more amazing stories that need to be told, and he writes, narrates, and runs games to share them with the world. He loves speculative fiction, noir detective tales, and pulp fantasy, and is honored to be a returning reader in the District of Wonders.

Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements.  She also hosts this podcast……

Rachel Dee is new to the audio world and excited to step in. She has always enjoyed reading and was the child who read out loud to her mother, not the other way around. Taking away books was also how she was grounded when she was younger. Currently she lives in the DFW area with her husband, cat, and dog and is pursuing film and television acting. You can learn more about her at www.actressracheldee.com

Far Fetched Fables No 7 Stephen Dedman and Deborah J. Ross

First Story: “Lost Arts” by Stephen Dedman

Tao’s was the only office on Hathor. It was a conventional flexiroom bisected by a temporary wall; the smaller chamber served as an ante-room, mainly in case the mayor was asleep when unexpected visitors arrived. Many of her neighbors had chambers that were similar, but they called them studios or studies or libraries or galleries.

Being mayor of Hathor wasn’t normally a demanding job, as the more routine details were handled by her Turing-tested secretary Aidan. Tao’s role was mostly oversight, and dealing with those inhabitants who wanted to speak to a fellow human.

Stephen Dedman is the author of the novels The Art of Arrow Cutting, Shadows Bite, Foreign Bodies, and Shadowrun: A Fistful of Data, and more than 120 short stories published in an eclectic range of magazines and anthologies and reprinted in his collections The Lady of Situations and Never Seen by Waking Eyes. For a full bibliography, go to his webpage www.stephendedman.com

Second Story: “Nor Iron Bars a Cage” by Deborah J. Ross

Tax collection day dawned clear and bright over the walled city of Ghillensa. Farmers arrived even as the first light softened the ancient battlements; wooden gates swung open to admit a procession of ox-carts creaking under late summer’s bounty, sacks of wheat and barley, tubs of pale-gold butter, sheaves of clover-grass to keep cattle fat over the winter, bushels of carrots and cabbages, kegs of country-ale. A market had set up in the shadow of the gray-walled Affliction Tower where it was said kings had gone in and never seen the sun again, until their ghosts wandered the endless corridors, so confused they did not know they had died. Others said there were no ghosts, only the endless, weary sighs of common criminals.

Deborah J. Ross writes and edits fantasy and science fiction. She’s a former SFWA Secretary and member of Book View Café. Her short fiction has appeared in F & SF, Asimov’s, Star Wars: Tales From Jabba’s Palace, Realms of Fantasy, Sword & Sorceress, and various other anthologies and magazines. Her most recent books include the Darkover novel, The Children of Kings (with Marion Zimmer Bradley); Lambda Literary Award Finalist Collaborators, an occupation-and-resistance story with a gender-fluid alien race (as Deborah Wheeler); and The Seven-Petaled Shield, an epic fantasy trilogy.

About the Narrators:

Geoffrey Welchman is a voice actor, writer, and producer who lives in Baltimore, Maryland (USA). You can learn more at www.geoffreywelchman.com

Nicola Seaton-Clark lives in the wilds of (almost) Eastern Europe with her long-suffering husband, phenomenal children and a grumpy cat. Trained as an actress and singer, she has worked in entertainment for over 20 years and currently splits her time between writing speculative fiction, helping her husband run their voice-over company, Offstimme, and voicing everything from commercials and documentaries to public transport announcements.  She also hosts this podcast…..

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