To celebrate our tenth issue, we put the whole thing up online: download it for free! We still have a few copies of the lovely print editions, too!
This issue features Nir Yaniv’s “A Painter, a Sheep, and a Boa Constrictor,” which was reprinted in Rich Horton’s Year’s Best Science Fiction and Fantasy 2010.
Five stories were selected for Ellen Datlow’s Honorable Mention list in the Year’s Best Horror, including our cover story, Caitlin Paxson’s “The Carnivale of Abandoned Tales.” The others: “Counting Down to the End of the Universe,” by Sara Genge; “The Spoils of Springfield” by Alex Wilson; “What to Do with the Dead,” by Claude Lalumière; and “A Painter, a Sheep, and a Boa Constrictor.”
You also don’t want to miss Shweta Narayan’s “One for Sorrow,” and the cover art by the brilliant Carrie Ann Baade.
They are unfailingly well written, which gives hope for the future of the genre. — Tangent Online
Download your free copy today, or buy the lovely print edition below, and celebrate with us!
Table of Contents
Blue Joe, by Stephanie Burgis
Josef Anton Miklovic, Blue Joe, was twenty-one years old and playing the sax in a nightclub in Youngstown, Ohio, when he met his father for the first time.
Joe was on stage with his family band: Karl on keyboard, hunched and intense; Niko on drums, grinning his lopsided, dreamer’s grin; and Ivan, as smooth and polished as a Croatian Clark Gable, playing his shining trumpet like a peal up to heaven.
The Carnivale of Abandoned Tales, by Caitlyn Paxson
“Step right up, step right up!” cries the Big Barker. He lifts up his top hat, and what big and hairy ears he has. “Ladies and gentlemen! See the wonders of the Black Forest! See the Tattooed Woman with her skin as white as snow and red as blood and black as night! See the horse head that speaks from beyond the grave! Be the first to witness as a little girl—no taller than your waist, sir—dances with three ferocious bears! Step right up!”
A look at the transformative nature of fairy tales and the twisted ways of wishes coming true. Neat fantasy idea. —Lois Tilton, IROSF.
A Painter, A Sheep, and a Boa Constrictor, by Nir Yaniv (Translated from the Hebrew by Lavie Tidhar)
“Please, draw me a sheep,” he said—he looked just like you—and I thought, oh my, the kid makes demands. I would have liked to be in the desert, beside the broken remains of my airplane, or anywhere else for that matter. But no—we were both in the space port, I who was thrown like a discarded tool from the bowels of a trading ship, and he, who had seemed to arrive from nowhere.
One for Sorrow, by Shweta Narayan
It was Dougie found the first feather.
He was out of Lainie’s sight for ten seconds while she did her little ritual of freedom, stopping on Skene Street just out of sight of the school to pull the daft, throttlesome tie off and stuff it in her bag. When she looked back up he had a glossy black feather as long as his arm. It was green and violet where it caught the light, shiny like an oil slick.
The Bride Price, by Richard S. Crawford
We all thought Signe was never going to come back to school because she’s, like, all dead and stuff, you know, but when junior year starts, she’s right there with us in home room. But she’s all pale and gross looking and no one wants to sit next to her because her skin is like all slimy and blue and she has all these gashes all over her. There’s this one on her neck that like goes all the way around, and the stitches are really big. Plus she has this lame haircut that’s like a barrel on top of her head with these two white stripes that go from her face all the way to the top.
So no one wants to talk to her, right, so I go up to her and I’m all, “Like, what happened to you? Didn’t you like die or something?”
Jaguar Woman, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
She forgot how to be a jaguar but the knowledge sometimes returns in her dreams and she wakes to the dark room and the shape of the man next to her and the distant smell of jungle and night.
Bound inside the stiff dresses, under layers of velvet, ruffs, embroidered roses, it is easy to forget how to shift her shape, how to move sleek and elegant on four legs.
They speak new words to her and the words drive away the words she used to know. They even give her a new name and she watches as her old name is trampled under the hoofs of their horses. The magic is lost.
Firefly Igloo, by Caroline M. Yoachim
The house next door to Marta’s had an octopus living in the hanging basket over the front porch, right where a plant should have been. The backyard had a fence made of pine trees and every night a green glow came through the cracks between the trees. Grownups said that Marta’s neighbor was a witch and that she hated children, but Marta knew better than to always believe what grownups said.
The Fox and the King’s Beard, by Jessica Paige Wick
A long time ago, before there were paved roads, lived a human king who was very proud of his beard. He went so far as to call it one of the glories of his kingdom. It was thick and it never tangled; also, it was a beautiful red. His pride was all the stronger because nobody could really argue against it. His beard was just as fabulously red as he said it was.
One day the king made a mistake. He bragged that his beard was of such a glorious red that, beside it, even the fox king’s brush was dull and shabby.
Interview with Cory Doctorow, by Jen West
River Water, by Becca De La Rosa
In Allison’s garden there grew a tree of little oranges, delicious in summertime, veined with white, like palm-sized marbles. Allison’s garden was a treasure trove before the ferry ride. The long grasses, windswept, kept their secrets.
Allison sat under the orange tree where rind littered her lawn. It was already autumn. The orange tree reached down into the earth, questing for water and sweet minerals. Allison thought of the underground cradling its roots like thin fingers, a handshake or a hug. She began to cry.
What to Do with the Dead, by Claude Lalumière
At first, people had no idea what to do with their dead. If you just left them lying around, they started to stink, not to mention all the vermin they tended attract. So that option was ruled out pretty quickly.
Not everyone came up with the same solution to the problem.
The Spoils of Springfield, by Alex Wilson
They call us uncivilized. Decayed. Prone to violent outbursts, because apparently hunger is just another base, primal need which the Unspoiled have transcended in the uncounted hours since my own expiration. Apparently an entire industry of eating—from the farm, to the butcher, to the flash-freezing factory, to the market, to the oven, to the fork for every purpose (and for every purpose a fork) to chewing before swallowing—has replaced the somehow less practical sinking of one’s incisor into a neighbor’s unsuspecting cranium. Or perhaps the portion of my brain whose purpose is to remember such things was the first to rot.
Counting Down to the End of the Universe, by Sara Genge
Tren is glad his hands are still good enough to build a clockwork bird. He looks at the table; he has everything he needs. The feathers are sharp, golden and perfect. The beak is finished and shines on the cloth.
A head blocks the light from the mouth of the cave and casts a shadow on the delicate springs he’s working on. He looks up, knowing even before he shifts his gaze that it’s his daughter. At two hundred, Lia is relatively young as immortals go, and the only one of them who has remained mobile.