Category Archives: Issues

Shimmer #45

There’s a fairy tale you half remember: a girl, a ghost, the memory of wood talking, telling her stories inside of stories. There’s a place you half remember: flowers and steam and a shadow moving toward you. There’s a feeling inside your ribs: anxious, fluttery, dying. That’s this issue of Shimmer.

The Ghost Pet Detective, by Ryan Row 
Art’s funeral is full of crying girls. Law thinks this should tip some of them off, but there it is. Crying girls everywhere. White flowers in their hair. Black dresses and the scent of clean underwear and Ivory soap. There’s a ghostly snake wrapped around one of the girl’s nylon ankles. It slithers up her leg like the white stripe of a candy cane until its flat head disappears under her skirt. She doesn’t notice. The ghost of a tiger lounges beside the coffin. It died in the zoo, maybe. Or else it came straight out of Law’s head. He rubs his neck. Through the tiger’s semi-translucent fur, he can see a tiny bird fluttering around inside the cage of its ribs like a weird, trapped heart. (4100 words)

By the Hand That Casts It, by Stephanie Charette
If there was one thing Briar Redgrave hated most about her current profession, it was the clients.  “But I wish it to be yellow, and vibrant,” the client insisted with a shake of her head. The crown of ostrich feathers on her wide-brimmed hat convulsed as though the bird that died for fashion’s sake was near resurrection. “It is my signature color. How else will the Viscount know that the flowers are from me?” (5100 words)

Find On Your Body the Bruise, by Maricat Stratford
First, you are everything. Then, you are a drop of blood on a blade of grass. You are the grass, the dirt beneath it, the network of aspen roots buried in the dirt — no, not yet. Pull yourself together now. You are a network of neurons spastically misfiring inside a broken skull. You are a fading chemical reaction, you are a feeling, you are a collection of memories. You are dead. You are not surprised. (1600 words)

Lighthouse Waiting, by Gwendolyn Clare 
I am alone now. The gates mostly stand dark against the starscape; you are the first to come this way in some time. I hold myself together, hold myself out, and after so much practice I can do it almost without thinking. I sing my warning song made of radio waves and light. This, too, is reflexive. Before you, there was no one here to sing to. (2400 words)

Dead Things, by Becca De La Rosa 
She comes to the manor screaming. Red hair, a tempest. Blood and bruises. Bare feet drumming the flagstones, disaster breeding disaster. Odile watches from her perch on the newel post. Marvels, shuffles. What a terrible creature, she says, to the oaken banister. The banister creaks in answer. (4000 words)

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Shimmer 42

Issue #42 of Shimmer contains the answer
to life, the universe, and everything. Promise.

The Triumphant Ward of the Railroad and the Sea by Sara Saab
Almost everyone I entertain over a frosted fifth of vodka — bottle balanced precariously on a foldout tray, half my attention on keeping it upright — wants to know how I became a competitive eater. Also, how I found myself living on the Dbovotav Coastal Express. (5500 words)

They Have a Name For That by Sara Beitia
Mother insists everyone always said what an attractive quartet the family was, and there’s a stair wall lined with years of family portraits to bear this out. And now Cal and her groom will have children of their own, probably immediately, and they’ll be beautiful, of course, because Calliope won’t have it otherwise, and somehow that’ll settle it, because her life is a fairytale, so she can’t conceive otherwise. It’s not her fault. (6100 words)

The Imitation Sea by Lora Gray
You find the dead Angel at five a.m. in the slurry of broken bottles and rotting fish on the Lake Erie shore. It almost looks human in the morning light, a ten-year-old, maybe eleven, boyish, face bloated, limp and blue and doughy.  (3200 words)

If a bear… by Kathrin Köhler 
You know in the same way that anyone who lives in an isolated village in a deep-shadowed wood knows anything: it’s been repeated so often you’ve choked on it since you were a child. One day a bear will show up at your doorstep. (1000 words)

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Shimmer 41

 

Sometimes, it’s what you don’t see that is scariest of all. (But then sometimes you glimpse it? And it’s all teeth and claws and dripping light encased in darkness and you think shit I need a bigger flame thrower and then everything is dark forever.) These four stories pull the curtain back, and more.

Black Fanged Thing, by Sam Rebelein
January was a shit month. It never snowed. Sun barely came out of hiding. Instead, a death-cold rain dripped endlessly. Mist curled inwards from the fringes of the woods. It covered the town for weeks, as Christmas decorations slowly drifted back into garages and basements. Everything here, just off-road of the Connecticut wine trail, lived for the fall. (4800 words, 1/2/18)

An Incomplete Catalogue of Miraculous Births, or, Secrets of the Uterus Abscondita, by Rebecca Campbell
Mary Toft is in the garden on an August morning rich with bees. Five months along, her belly presses against the rough linen of her skirt while one hand curves protectively around it, half support, half caress. She thinks: This time next year, what will she be? And after that? In the corner of her eye she glimpses a child—like a ghost, or a prefigure–running through the morning from the kitchen door to the garden wall.  (3900 words, 1/16/18)

Me, Waiting for Me, Hoping For Something More, by Dee Warrick
I’m aware that there is an extra set of stairs in the basement that doesn’t usually exist. Behind the big silver ventilation pipes, past the row of tenants’ bikes parked down here until springtime: a long, dark hole framed by rusted banisters, stone steps leading thereinto. And I think I might be the only one who can see the new stairs. (5800 words, 1/30/18)

Held, by Ian O’Reilly
Madu is a satchel who is in love with Eliza, who is a woman and who is also a princess. Sometimes Madu thinks of herself as a girl, and sometimes she thinks of himself as a boy, and at other times all she thinks is that she is just another thing that Eliza carries around with her. That’s okay because sometimes Eliza thinks of herself as a warrior princess who sometimes thinks she is a girl, and sometimes Eliza thinks she is neither of these things but a piece of flotsam on a swollen river, or a movable bank account beholden either to her parents or her job or the State. (1800 words, 2/13/18)

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Shimmer #40

Forty issues! Forty issues of Shimmer! Forty! Shimmers! As with many of our stories, these four encompass love, loss, destruction, and the hope of renewal.  They explore new territories for their characters–the idea of new lives, of lives lost, of lives shed and begun again. Recipes for resurrection.

Boneset. by Lucia Iglesias
The blind Bonesetter’s townhouse enacts the architecture of a skull. Windows imitate eye sockets the Bonesetter has known. The front door comments on the vigor of the jaw, swinging up and down on mandibular hinges. When the hinges thirst for oil, the door munches up the lucklorn gutter-mice who skitter over the threshold, chewing them into flesh-jelly and spitting them across the foyer until the Bonesetter serves the hinges their oil from a crystal eyedropper.  (5300 words)

The Atomic Hallows and the Body of Science, by Octavia Cade
A spear breaks its blade upon ribs and punctures hearts. It shines with ice-coated needles in the salt air, over breakfast. “I’ve had a letter,” says Lise to her nephew. He’d come to visit for the holidays so she wouldn’t be alone in the cold country of her exile. “I’ve had a letter and I don’t know what to make of it.” She thinks she might be worried. (6200 words)

Raise-the-Dead Cobbler, by Andrea Corbin
The air was muggy, a heatwave burning through the spring, on the night that we met to conjure two people out of almost nothing at all. None of us could’ve done it without the others, and none of us would’ve dared, except Mason said please and I said maybe and Jun said we could, and so we did. You need a few materials first, then follow a sort of recipe. Call it Raise-the-Dead Cobbler. (6100 words)

The Weight of Sentience, by Naru Dames Sundar
The bullet fire drew a boundary between Masak and me and the rest of our brethren, laser tracers demarcating the distinction between safety and capture. While we curled up small and invisible underneath the leaking truck, those who were not so lucky were rounded up. Pushed into a small circle, their alloy limbs gleamed under the neon brightness of the cameras. The soldier wielding the wipe-wand moved from one kneeling body to the next, drowning my ears with its static hiss, the sound of memories dying. (5800 words)

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Shimmer #38

Sometimes, especially now, you need a dash of the old-fashioned adventure story. You’ll find a couple of those herein, but we’ve also thrown old-fashioned out the window, because we’re Shimmer, and that tends to be what we do.

Salamander Six-Guns, by Martin Cahill
He descended on the town like a saint sent from Dark Heaven six-guns shining like twin torches in his hands, down to the border where we had our battle on. Summers are always the worst in Sunblooders Stand, as the scale-folk grow riled earlier in the bright days. (6800 words)

Itself at the Heart of Things, by Andrea Corbin
On the floor, I hiked my skirts up and began to disassemble myself, starting with my left knee. “How is that going to stop the Szemurians? How is that going to protect us? Can’t you help me, for God’s sake?” (3000 words)

Maps of Infinity, by Heather Morris
The difference between you and the humans, when it comes right down to it, is not in the protrusions of gnarled bone and horn that jut from the apex of your skull, or in the coarse fur that contrasts so spectacularly with the other parts of you, the parts that are mere human skin, or in your roar, or your pain, or their avarice. (3400 words)

The Moon, the Sun, and the Truth, by Victoria Sandbrook
Dust rising over the next scrub-covered hill gave away the rider’s position even before the incoming trash-guzzler’s growl settled around Andy’s ears. She waited as patiently as you could on a jittery horse that didn’t know you well, in sun that’d singe any hint of bare skin. (1500 words)

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Shimmer #35

This issue of Shimmer contains stories that tell us evil may be overcome even if we’re small and unsure. Love can be a weapon and a shield. Keep fighting in whatever way you can.

We’re excited to share with you Malon Edwards’ sequel to “The Half Dark Promise.” We also welcome Mary Robinette Kowal to the pages of Shimmer for the first time since she was Shimmer‘s art director. Two new-to-Shimmer authors also join the party, with stories of exploration, revelation, and ultimately, love.

Hic Sunt Leones, by L.M. Davenport
It’s true that the house walks.  It’s also true that you can only find it if you don’t know about it.  Once, a boy in my high-school art class drew a picture of it, but didn’t know what he’d drawn; the thing in the center of his sketchpad had ungainly, menacing chicken legs caught mid-stride and a crazed thatch roof that hung askew over brooding windows.  I knew it was the house right away because his eyes had that sleepy, traumatized look that people get once they’ve seen the house.  I was used to seeing this look, mostly on my mother’s face. (2000 words)

Shadow Man, Sack Man, Half Dark, Half Light, by Malon Edwards
You keep running, even though you know you can’t escape the fifty-foot-tall Pogo. But you were built for this. You are taller than all of the girls and most of the boys in your Covey Four class. Your legs are longer. Your steam-clock heart is stronger. Your determination is unmatched. Even against the rocks they throw. Even against the insults they hurl. Even when they entimide you and chase you home after school every day, all because your mother could not save their friends.  (3400 words)     

Trees Struck by Lightning Burning From the Inside Out, by Emily Lundgren
It is sweet and fitting to die with one’s pack under the full moon, but the sky is clouded by the city lights: orange and yellow and red like fire. Roque is running. Like a cracked whip, without sense. Under a sliver of jagged sound, under the leering fray of glossy towers, he smells a dog without a leash, the sharp of silvered bolts. He sees a woman with a cardboard sign reading something-something about the world, who catches his eye, whose own eyes widen, whose mouth opens and makes a howling noise: something-something about wolves! wolves! The road towards dawn outstretches before him, choking on cars and steam and fur and bone. Roque is running, running. His paws thump in tandem with the code of his heart, and he transforms. (5100 words)

Your Mama’s Adventures in Parenting, by Mary Robinette Kowal
Your mama adjusted her face mask and checked the chronometer on her eyepiece. Darn it. The filter would only be good for another fifteen minutes. She was nowhere near finished with the job. And this particular theft would fetch a good price on the energy market, what with the price of methane. She slid the siphon tube across to the capture valve and turned on the suction pump. If your mama could get most of the gas into the polysteel tank on her back… (1400 words)

 

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Issue 22

small_Shimmer-22-Cover
A Whisper in the Weld – artwork by Sandro Castelli

The future will be stranger than we can imagine, but so too was the past. Shimmer’s 22nd issue has four stories rooted in the here, the then, and the may-have-been, but the roots are never quite still, for they cross over and back and through. Whispers in welds, advertisements that don’t quite promise what you think they do; something moving within the very walls that enclose you; a scattering of falling, winter stars.

We’ll release a new story every other Tuesday; or you can buy the full issue now.

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A Whisper in the Weld by Alix E. Harrow
Isa died in a sudden suffocation of boiling blood and iron cinder in her mouth; she returned to herself wearing a blue cotton dress stained with fresh tobacco. She was younger and leaner, as she’d been when she first met Leslie Bell. Her skin shone dark and warm without the black dust of the mill ground into it.

Caretaker by Carlie St. George
A ghost took care of you when you were young. She made you peanut butter sandwiches without speaking, shuffled silently from room to room in her threadbare bathrobe and bare feet. She didn’t have eyes, your mother. Or she did, but they didn’t work because she always stared right through you, even as she cupped your face with her cold, dead hands.

Cantor’s Dragon by Craig DeLancey
He beholds the dragon’s black head, its black shining scales, the smooth and sensitive circular membrane of each ear, vibrating behind a black eye. Cantor cannot discern the dragon’s tongue from the flames that churn in the cup of its jaw. Fire rattles in its throat, a sound like Rudolf’s failing lungs.

The One They Took Before by Kelly Sandoval
Kayla reads the listing twice, knowing the eager beating of her heart is ridiculous. One page back, someone claims they found a time machine. Someone else has apparently lost their kidneys. The Internet isn’t real. That’s what she likes about it. And if the post is real, the best thing she can do is pretend she never saw it.

Editorial, by E. Catherine Tobler
2014 has been rough, yeah? Let’s go out on a high note.

 

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Issue 21

Shimmer-21-Cover
Artist: Sandro Castelli

Shimmer blends the perfect speculative cocktail for its twenty-first issue. Three parts exuberance to one part seawater, a sand-crusted spun-sugar glass brushed with winter’s fresh boughs.

These four stories, from Shimmer alums and novices alike, will take you on a journey that is familiar as earth, but as strange as stars. We explore the depths of the sea and the dry deserts both, where encounters don’t have to be alien to terrify.

#

Anna Saves Them All, by Seth Dickinson
The other team members have their own terrors, of course — rational big-idea fears: where Blackbird came from, why it’s here, what kind of Christopher Columbus apocalypse it could trigger if it goes home, or if it doesn’t. But Anna thinks about how she came so close to home, how she’ll never know if the thing she did was worth anything at all. That fills her with something jagged: anguish…or relief.

Dharmas, by Vajra Chandrasekera
Like every passenger he has ever driven, I have placed myself at serious risk of injury or death. He owes me a life, whether he takes mine or not. This is why I am compelled to undo his narrative.

Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife, by A. C. Wise
The fisherman’s wife rises. Is she sleeping still? If she glances back to the pool of moonlight holding her husband in their tangled sheets will she see herself lying beside him, chest moving steady with the in-out tide of breath? She steps outside, barefoot; from the pier to the sand, to the edge of the shore where the water traces a silver line against her toes.

We Take the Long View, by Erica Satifka
The Very-Big-Wrong, the it-thing from the landing site, has invaded the settlement, the place where the we-that-are-mobile gather to speak, to screw, and to eat of Leaves and body-food. We begged and pleaded at it and asked the Forest-That-Thinks to give us permission to use force to repel the intruder.

Editorial, by E. Catherine Tobler
Shimmer is old enough to drink…we’re concocting some delightful drinks over the course of Issue #21’s release!

 

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Issue Nine

Issue #9: Spring 2008.

Issue 9
Issue 9

Eleven delicious stories! Our cover story is M. K. Hobson’s “The Hand of the Devil on a String,” which appears on the Best American Fantasy 3 Recommended Reading List.

Four stories from this issue were selected as Honorable Mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Horror: “The Hummingbird Heart,” by Angela Slatter; “The Shape of her Sorrow,” by Joy Marchand, “The Hand of the Devil on a String,” and “Chimera and Qi,” by Tinatsu Wallace.

We’ve also got a Lucy cartoon from Chrissy Ellsworth, and an interview with Dave Farland.

Delicious Reviews

Beneath the glossy cover art by Aunia Kahn, the 2008 Spring issue of Shimmer is filled with illustrated stories loosely based on relationships, and how the power of love or the lack of it influences people’s lives. This issue will satisfy the widely diverse palates of fantasy readers. –The Fix.

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Table of Contents

 

Chimera and Qi, by Tinatsu Wallace

My mother doesn’t say, “I told you so.”

I’m supposed to be thankful for that. I can tell by the way she glances sideways at me from across the kitchen table, her lips tucked into a self-satisfied pucker. Already I regret coming here, but I say nothing. I am not the monster she thinks I am.

The Hummingbird Heart, by Angela Slatter

The tiny bird lies quiet in my hands; not tranquil but quiet. I can feel it vibrate against my palms and I think, this will be good for my purpose. I keep the fingers of one hand over its sharp black eyes, and with the other I feel the detail of its feathers, the infinite intricacies of its design.

I gently place the bird into the cavity in my daughter’s chest.

Maybe Blue, by Jenny Maloney

White and black. Mathilda had no other shades, not really. She wore a long black dress that draped to her ankles. A widow’s peak, as dark as any great depth of the ocean, pointed at the center of her forehead. Half of her face smiled, the black lipstick bringing the corner of her lips upward. A tiny black dot, a dimple, graced the smiling half. The other half frowned, perpetually sad. A black tear fell from the inside of her eye, trailing along the side of her nose, ending right before the black frown of her lip.

Juniper Grave, by Alex Dally MacFarlane

Gathered secretly from the cold tiles of our kitchen floor, held like eggs a-nesting in my sister’s finest silk handkerchief: my bones. Long and fine, criss-crossed by cutlery marks, pale in the moonlight as she placed them on the soft earth, as she tugged away grass and dirt, tears drip-dripping from her cheeks. With a whispered apology, she gently lowered my bones to the small hole and piled the earth back on top.

The Girl who Lost her Way, by D. Lynn Smith

Maya’s story begins the day a coachwhip snake raced up and bit her mother on the calf. The bite swelled until seven days later, Maya burst through her mother’s skin. Within a matter of days, she was walking and talking. Her mother didn’t think towonder how this could have happened. But she was relieved and thankful that she didn’t have to breastfeed or change a diaper.

The Shape of her Sorrow, by Joy Marchand

It was about cutting, then as always, the snip of tainted air in the space between worlds. Hester leaned on the brass doorknob, her ancient scissor-hand aching. “You going to stand there forever?”

The man stood in the doorway streaming rainwater, cradling a woman wrapped ankle to crown in a wedding quilt. A tangle of wet blonde hair spilled from one end of the bundle, a pair of sock feet from the other. The socks were green and red, with a pattern of candy canes.

Interview with Dave Farland, by Spencer Ellsworth

The Hand of the Devil on a String, by M. K. Hobson

On Thursday, after her four o’clock client had left with ten nails shining Pomegranate Desire, Seff found Mrs. Dee sitting in one of the molded plastic picnic chairs at the front of the Venice Nail Salon. The old woman was all dressed up, in a flower-print rayon dress and a black straw hat with a frowsy silk rose. Her thin lips were clenched like a fist. She stared through the front window, watching the empty street, and her hand hovered at her throat, at something black that hung there.

Mrs. Dee’s appearance at the Venice Nail Salon was as unexpected as it was unpleasant.

20th Anniversary Caveman, by Grá Linnea

It was my parents’ anniversary and I wanted to get them something special, something to distract them from criticizing me, their twenty-year-old failure.

I searched far and wide for the perfect gift, scouring our town. My search lead me to an ancient Moldovan shop where I bought a perfect gift book. The book itself was to be the present but upon perusing it, I found ap assage that suggested that the best gifts came from your own backyard, so I dug a hole. Under our perfect lawn, I found a caveman.

Even the Slowest Fall, by D. T. Friedman

Nef towered over Tabor, cup tipped as always. The drop he had spilled at the birth of the green generation had almost reached his waist. The drop he had spilled before that was turning into a bird and would, in time, followthe frozen flock of its brothers toward the ceiling. Tabor studied the transforming drop-bird, her expression unreadable.

“They say Nef moves slowly, even to the others in the Memory,” Tabor said. “His water spell isn’t even complete.”

Distractions, by Chad Brian Henry

A song plays on the jukebox–a song that hasn’t been written, sung by an artist that hasn’t been born. If I could force myself to pay attention, concentrate for just a moment, I’d realize I’m traveling through time again. But there’s a distraction: a woman entering the bar. She’s tall and pale around the eyes, blowing off her Monday morning hangover with perfume and gum.

Lucy, by Chrissy Ellsworth

The Glass Girl Looks Back, by Stephanie Campisi

There once was a girl made of glass. She walked with fragile, jagged steps, and everyone she touched wept long lines of red from their skin. When she smiled, it was reserved, as she feared her lips could so easily shatter.

Because she was made of glass, people would either look straight through her, their eyes opening up her secrets and toying with them, or they would look straight past her, as though she did not exist at all. Once, someone smashed a wide-mouthed green bottle in front of her, and deliberately crunched it under his boots, and she ran, crying, to her home of windows.