District of WondersTales To TerrifyStarShipSofaFar Fetched Fables

Far Fetched Fables No 6 Sean McMullen and Matthew Burnside

May 27, 2014 by nicola

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.


  1. Thank you to all concerned, that was very nicely done.

  2. Wow…”Rules to Win The Game”, heart-breaking but an utter brilliant tale. Bravo Mr. Burnside, 1000 points for spinning an unforgettable yarn.

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