District of WondersTales To TerrifyStarShipSofaFar Fetched Fables

Nicola Seaton-Clark

Far Fetched Fables No 6 Sean McMullen and Matthew Burnside

First Story: “A Ring of Green Fire” by Sean McMullen

“As I was travelling through Westbury forest, I met with a man with a ring of green fire around his penis,” Avenzoar’s visitor said casually.

            The poet-physician looked up at his friend and stroked his beard, then gazed wistfully across to the partially built minaret of Caliph al-Mansur’s huge mosque.

            “Such a wonder,” sighed Avenzoar, then turned to his visitor and raised an eyebrow. “I suppose you did not bring him here for this poor physician and poet turned bureaucrat to examine?”

            His friend glanced away, and seemed troubled. “Alas, it was not possible.”

Sean McMullen lives in Melbourne, Australia, but has been published mostly in the USA and Europe. He has had twenty books and eighty stories published, has won fifteen awards, and was runner up for Best Novelette in the 2011 Hugo Awards. His writing is often steampunk in theme and his breakthrough novel, Souls in the Great Machine, featured a future Australia ruled by a caste of psychopathic librarians using a human powered computer and internet. His most recent publications are ebook collections from Reanimus Press: Ghosts of Engines Past (steampunk), and Colours of the Soul (SF and fantasy). Sean works with large scientific computers in his day job, has a PhD in medieval fantasy literature, and is a karate instructor at the Melbourne University club. Before he began writing he was a professional actor and singer, and he can be heard reading some of his own stories at http://www.seanmcmullen.net.au/news.htm

Second story: “Rules to Win the Game” by Matthew Burnside

“It’s a hard world for little things”
—The Night of the Hunter

The Game began around the time we discovered monsters were real. Theo, our eldest brother, started it the day he came into the center of the living room and declared he was no longer Theo but The Noir. Of course, none of us had any idea what it meant but we would learn in the coming weeks that it involved him wearing a long musty trench coat two sizes too big (it smelled like a bingo parlor), and a crushed hat with a feather gliding out of the top that would catch the kitchen light and shiver silvery, like a fish leaping out of water tickled by the sun.

Matthew is author of four chapbooks: Escapologies (Red Bird), Infinity’s Jukebox (Passenger Side Books), Book of If&Ever (Red Bird), and the forthcoming Ritual Hauntings (Patasola Press). His work has appeared or is forthcoming in DIAGRAM, The Los Angeles Review, Ninth Letter, kill author, PANK, Gargoyle, Pear Noir!, NAP, and others. He attends the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he teaches and studies fiction. He is currently hard at work on a YA series. He was born and is originally from Texas. He’s really into Choose Your Own Adventure books and have set out to collect them all. One of his favorite books ever is The Mysteries of Harris Burdick by Chris Van Allsburg. He loves stories with a sense of irresolution; he finds them more true to life. He has a half dachshund half chihuahua named Tinna (short for tintinnabulation) and currently lives in Iowa with his girlfriend, Heather, where he teaches Creative Writing and New Media. He’s fascinated by internet culture and anything interactive when it comes to literature. Visit www.MatthewBurnsideisawriter.tumblr.com for more info.

Flash Fiction: “Cloud Eating” by Tricia Glock

Tricia hides behind her writing the way a film star hides behind the camera – it should work, but it doesn’t.  She has family and pets, but doesn’t think it relevant to mention them.  She hopes you enjoy the story.

About the Narrators:

Colin Clews is a musician and writer, living in the 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.

Tim Maroney has an endless fascination with ideas, and invention; the things that keep life spicy and interesting! He believes everyone’s got a tale to tell and enjoys “Talking Story!” He enjoys playing music, mostly on guitar. He’s even been the opening act for a 10 band rock concert. Learning new things, like podcasting, excites him. He’s been on 4 of the 7 continents and has seen some of the wonders of our Earth. While in the Navy he earned the rare and coveted dual Snake Plisskin Award- he escaped from New York AND LA -same as Snake; though they were 2 of the 5 submarines he served on. Not too bad for a guy from a small town in North-Central Florida!

Nicola Seaton-Clark is well-known to all fans of Far-Fetched Fables.  If not, simply look back through our archives to read about her, or go to the Staff page and try there.

Far Fetched Fables No 3 Sherwood Smith and Michael Cadnum

First Story: 

“Commando Bats” by Sherwood Smith

When I was young, aging women were interchangeable. Ugly, slow, annoying with their unwanted opinions. It seemed impossible that I’d ever be one. The first proof that the universe has a sense of humor? I’m half of one.

Sherwood Smith began writing novels about another world when she was eight, and began sending laboriously typed novels out to publishers when she was thirteen. When nothing had sold by the time she was twenty, she figured she needed to learn something about writing, and so went to college, lived in Europe, came back to get a double BA in German and History, did graduate work in history, worked in Hollywood, got married, started a family and became a teacher. When she tried again to sell in her mid-thirties, her first project was one of those old teenage books, Wren to the Rescue, which sold to Jane Yolen Books and came out in 1990. She lives in Southern California with her family. She is an active member of Book View Cafe, a writers’ consortium.  Visit http://bookviewcafe.com/bookstore/about-book-view-cafe/  or http://www.sherwoodsmith.net for more information.

Second story:

“Medusa” by Michael Cadnum

Sharp-eyed Athena passed among us in those days.

From shore to hilltop, little was lost on her. She was quick to spot someone attempting an unwise deed, a youth walking along the rim of a well–showing off to a maiden–or a young woman flirting with a grinning brigand just arrived on a wine ship from Samos.

Michael Cadnum is the author of thirty-five books, including the National Book Award finalist The Book of the Lion and his most recent novel Seize the Storm.  He lives in Albany, California.  Visit www.michaelcadnum.com for more details.


Summer Brooks and Nicola Seaton-Clark

Summer enjoys putting her scifi media geek skills to good use in booking guests for Slice of SciFi, as well as using her extensive tech skills to make sure all of the geek entertainment found on the Slice of SciFi family of websites keeps humming along. She is an avid reader and writer of scifi, fantasy and thrillers, with a handful of publishing and voiceover credits to her name. Her dream is to someday write and produce a TV series or miniseries adaptation of her
favorite yet highly-underrated story series. Summer spent many years as a Unix sysadmin and competing in amateur full contact kickboxing tournaments before moving into entertainment media production and WordPress website design. These days, she maintains the Slice of SciFi websites, and co-hosts and produces several other shows, including The Babylon Podcast and Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas, and does voiceover and narrations for StarShipSofa and Crime City Central
among others. Next on her agenda is writing an urban fantasy epic, and B-movie monster extravaganza.  Check out her websites http://www.kickassmysticninjas.com/ , http://www.babylonpodcast.com/ and http://www.sliceofscifi.com/ for more!

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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