Flash Fiction: “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Monsters” by Alex Shvartsman
It isn’t easy being green, scaly, or abominable these days. Humanity turned the tables on the apex predators of the food chain, and has been exterminating us with extreme prejudice.
We’re still faster and stronger than they are, but we’re prone to defeat by bad judgment. Heed the lessons of our vanquished brethren; learn from their mistakes and remain successful, extant, and satiated.
- Don’t Rely on Henchmen
Alex Shvartsman is a writer and game designer from Brooklyn, New York. More than 60 of his short stories have appeared in Nature, InterGalactic Medicine Show, Galaxy’s Edge, Daily Science Fiction, and many other venues. He’s the winner of the 2014 WSFA Small Press Award for Short Fiction. He edits Unidentified Funny Objects, an annual anthology of humorous SF/F. His short story collection Explaining Cthulhu to Grandma was released earlier this year.
Learn more about him at alexshvartsman.com.
Main Story: “The Mask of ’67” by David Prill
Our Hollywood star comes home. You know the drill. Small-town girl makes it big, returns to her priceless past to grin and bear the locally crafted gifts and blessings.
It began at the train station, where all decent homecoming stories begin. The station is usually a yawny place, Pete the ticket man, Griff the baggage man, the usual loafers laying odds on the arrival and departure times. Crazy times would have been more the ticket.
But on the day she came back, we smalltowned it up like hadn’t been seen around here since the sesquicentennial. The Fire Hall Band. Banners. Clowns. Politicians. Ice cold…well, you get the idea.
Welcome Home, Betty Lynn Ballmer!
David Prill is the author of The Unnatural, Serial Killer Days, Second Coming Attractions, Dating Secrets of the Dead, and numerous off-trail stories which have appeared in the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Subterranean magazine, various Ellen Datlow projects, and a number of fine anthologies.
The New York Times Book Review said The Unnatural was “the funniest book about the funeral business since Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One.” Serial Killer Days was purchased by Paramount Pictures. The Des Moines Register called David Prill “one of the funniest, most astute writers in America.”
“The Mask of ’67” was part of the World Fantasy Award-winning anthology Salon Fantastique. Elizabeth Hand (writing in F&SF) called “The Mask of ’67” “one of the most memorable stories I’ve read in years… it alone is worth the price of admission to this collection.”
You can find out more about David at davidprill.net.
About the Narrators:
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…
Matthew Frederickson is in his mid-30s, living in Memphis, Tennessee, with a rockstar plastic surgeon wife. He reads and writes and runs in his spare time. He loves to brew beer, and he’d love to make that his career. He will soon start the second season of his podcast, Freddy’s Fan Fiction. You can find him on Twitter as @swami.
If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve heard from us during the past year and want to sing our praises a little, then please pop on over to their website and nominate us for a 2015 Parsec Award.
We have been nominated in the Best New Speculative Fiction Podcaster/Team category. In addition to that, anything that we have (or will) run from May 1, 2014 to April 30, 2015 is eligible for the Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form) category, and those stories are listed below. So if there was a specific story featured in Far Fetched Fables that blew your mind, please nominate it!
Stories eligible for Best Speculative Fiction Story: Small Cast (Short Form) are:
Episode 03: Commando Bats by Sherwood Smith, narrated by Summer Brooks; and The Pirate’s True Love by Seana Graham, narrated by Nicola Seaton-Clark
Episode 04: The Teashop by Zoran Zivkovic, narrated by Tina Connolly; and Bamboozled by Kelley Armstrong, narrated by Natalie Ross
Episode 05: An Accounting by Brian Evenson, narrated by Sam Walter; and Snowball’s Chance by Charles Stross, narrated by Kenny Park
Episode 06: A Ring of Green Fire by Sean McCullen, narrated by Colin Clews; Rules to Win the Game by Matthew Burnside, narrated by Tim Maroney; and Cloud Eating by Tricia Glock, narrated by Nicola Seaton-Clark
Episode 07: Lost Arts by Stephen Dedman, narrated by Geoffrey Welchman; and Nor Iron Bars a Cage by Deborah J. Ross, narrated by Nicola Seaton-Clark
Episode 08: The New Deal by Trent Jamieson, narrated by Martin Reyto; and Disillusions by Mike Resnick and Lawrence Schimmel, narrated by Katherine Inskip
Episode 09: A Night in the Tropics by Jeffrey Ford, narrated by Pete Nixon; The Blue Magnolia by Tony Ballantyne, narrated by Anthony Babbington; and Tomorrow Tea by Laurel Winter, narrated by Kimberly Mintz
Episode 10: Neverland Blues by Adam Browne, narrated by James Silverstein; and The Swan Maiden by Barbara A. Barnett, narrated by Rachel Dee
Episode 11: Lost Son by Maurice Broaddus, narrated by Gregory Austin; and 10 Things I Know about the Wizard by Steven Tem, narrated by Shaun Hayworth
Episode 12: Tengu Mountain by Gregory Frost, narrated by the author; and Lost Wax by Leah Bobet, narrated by Bob Raudys
Episode 13: Blood, Oak, Iron by Janny Wurts, narrated by Mark Nelson; and Comber by Gene Wolfe, narrated by Anthony Babington
Episode 14: Jack Shade in the Forest of Souls part 1 by Rachel Pollack, narrated by Larry Oliver; and Gathering Rosebuds of Rust by Nicola Belte, narrated by Sarah Frederickson
Episode 15: Jack Shade in the Forest of Souls part 2 by Rachel Pollack, narrated by Larry Oliver; and Night of the Goblin Girl by Amal El-Mothar, narrated by Sarah Frederickson
Episode 16: Of Men and Wolves by An Owomoyela, narrated by Rish Outfield; and Stray by Benjamin Rosenbaum and David Ackert, narrated by David Ackert
Episode 17: The Flying Woman by Laurel Winter, narrated by Sarah Frederickson; Intelligent Design by Ellen Klages, narrated by Nicola Seaton-Clark; and Act of Penance by Michael Haynes, narrated by Marvin Münstermann
Episode 18: The Funeral, Ruined by Ben Peek, narrated by Kim Mintz; and Poison by Bruce McAllister, narrated by Andrew Leman
Episode 19: Perchance to Dream by Isobelle Carmody, narrated by Cynthia P. Colby; and The Weather Cinema by Adam Browne, narrated by Nicola Seaton-Clark
Episode 20: The Shooter at the Heartrock Waterhole by Bill Congreve, narrated by Eric Luke; and The Comb by Marly Youmans, narrated by Nicola Seaton-Calrk
Episode 21: Troll’s Night Out by Jenny Blackford, narrated by Catherine Logan; and A Thousand Waves Beneath the Stars by Brendan Connell, narrated by Matthew Frederickson
Episode 22: Chasing the Wind by Elizabeth Wein, narrated by Rachel Dee; and Surface Tension by KJ Kabza, narrated by Alex Weinle
Episode 23: Compartments by Zoran Zivkovic, narrated by Anthony Babington; and In the Nightmare Garden by Shenoa Carroll-Bradd, narrated by Cherryl Phipps
Episode 24: Save me Plz by David Barr Kirtley, narrated by Katherine Inskip; and Of Melei, of Ulthar by Gord Sellar, narrated by Maria Makis
Episode 25: The Master Miller’s Tale part 1 by Ian McLeod, narrated by Colin Clewes; and Princesses by Jeremy Sim, narrated by Bob Raudys
Episode 26: The Master Miller’s Tale part 2 by Ian McLeod, narrated by Colin Clewes; and Show Me Yours by Robert Reed, narrated by Nikolle Doolin
Episode 27: Public Safety by Matthew Johnson, narrated by Nobilis Reed; and Mrs. Wilson and the Black Arts of Mrs. Beelzebub from Number Six by Steven Pirie, narrated by Veronica Giguere
Episode 28: Riding Shotgun by Charles de Lint, narrated by Eric Luke
Episode 29: Steam Girl by Dylan Horrocks, narrated by Pete Nixon; and Blood Drunk by Adam Browne, narrated by James Silverstein
Episode 30: Keeper of Memory by Todd Lockwood, narrated by Sam Walter; and Awakening by Valjeanne Jeffers, narrated by Miss Bee
Episode 31: Nightship by Kim Westwood, narrated by Nikolle Doolin; and Smoke and Mirrors by Amanda Downum, narrated by Catherine Logan
Episode 32: The Swan Pilot by L.E Modesitt Jr., narrated by Gareth Stack; and The Stone Man by Nancy Kress, narrated by Anthony Babington
Episode 33: America is Coming by Dario Ciriello, narrated by Pete Nixon; and The Forest by Kim Wilkins, narrated by Nikolle Doolin
Episode 34: The Last Worders by Karen Joy Fowler, narrated by Sarah Frederickson; and Tales from the City of Seams by Greg van Eekhout, narrated by Anthony Babington
Episode 35: Childrun by Marc Laidlaw, narrated by Larry Oliver
Episode 36: The Price of Glamour by Steve Berman, narrated by Eric Luke; and The Magikkers by Terry Dowling, narrated by Graeme Dunlop
Episode 37: The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats by Scott Lynch, narrated by Mark Nelson
Episode 38: Fool’s Fire by Hayley E. Lavik, narrated by Sarah Frederickson; and Justice by Suzan Harden, narrated by Deanna Sanchez
Episode 39: Dream Eaters by A.M. Dellamonica, narrated by Heidi Hotz; and The Flying Woman by Meghan McCarron, narrated by Sarah Frederickson
Episode 40: Forever by Tim Lebbon. Narrated by Anthony Babington
Episode 41: Castor on Troubled Waters by Rhys Hughes, narrated by Alex Weinle; Lure by Paul Collins, narrated by Kim Mintz; and A Guided Tour in the Kingdom of the Dead by Richard Harland, narrated by Josh Roseman
Episode 42: Requiem for a Druid by Alex Shvartsman, narrated by Mark Kilfoil; Snow White, Red Rose by Lydia Millet, narrated by James Silverstein.
Episode 43: Spirit Brother by Pamela Sargent, narrated by Pete Nixon
Episode 44: Older, Wiser, Time Traveler by Matthew Bennardo, narrated by Rish Outfield; and Loose in the Wires by John D. Brown, narrated by Eric Luke
Episode 45: The Hum of Refuge by Anna Ilona Mussman, narrated by Heidi Hotz; and Sinking Among the Lilies by Cory Skerry, narrated by Anthony Babington
Episode 46: Infinity Syrup by Laurel Winter, narrated by Nicola Seaton-Clark; and Isle of Women by Jacqueline Carey, narrated by Sarah Frederickson
Episode 47: Dream Logic by Barbara A. Barnett, narrated by Gareth Stack; and The Title of This Story by Stephanie Campisi, narrated by Tim Maroney
Episode 48: Clockwork Fairies by Cat Rambo, narrated by Anthony Babington; and When Robot Mermaids Attack by Oliver Buckram, narrated by Chris Mack
Episode 49: A Dark, Beautiful Force by Jessica May Lin, narrated by Sarah Frederickson; and Canadian Blood Diamonds by Kristi Charish. Read by Nikolle Doolin
Episode 50: The Guardian of the Egg by Christopher Barzak, narrated by Tobias Queen
Episode 51: Space Operetta by Adam Browne, narrated by Mark Kilfoil; and Endgame by Lev Grossman, narrated by Katherine Inskip
Episode 52: The Mask of ’67 by David Prill, narrated by Matthew Frederickson; and The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Monsters by Alex Shvartsman, narrated by Nicola Seaton-Clark