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Issue 17 Reader’s Choice Winner
With 25% of the votes, we are thrilled to present Robert N. Lee’s story as the reader’s choice from #17!
98 Ianthe, by Robert N. Lee.
You used to be in the band; now you work on the asteroid. People you have to work with, they ask about it all the time when they find out. And they always find out—somebody always tells them. They all want to know what that’s like. “You used to be in the band? And now you work on the asteroid?”
They always think they’re the first ones to ask. You can tell because they always start with “You must get asked this a lot…” and nobody really ever means what they say—they always mean the opposite.
Issue 15 Reader’s Choice Winners
This time, our Reader’s Choice survey ended with a tie — so we’re delighted to present two marvelous stories. Enjoy!
The Bird Country, by K. M. Ferebee
Childer killed the boy during the night, quietly, on the bed’s Egyptian cotton sheets. On sheets as white as sun lining the back of the Nile, he knelt atop the boy, knees on either side of his chest, and held a pillow over the boy’s face until he ceased to breathe. Childer had to check, afterwards, the breath. He checked it with a hand mirror: the Victorian way. If some small exhalation smeared the glass, then Childer would have to cover the face again. It felt sullied the second time around, profane. The path from life to death should be direct and steady. There shouldn’t be any detours along the way.
Soulless In His Sight, by Milo James Fowler
Fatha he always knows best, he knowed it when I was born and he knows it now as he takes his hatchet to this man’s skull to break it open like an egg and let the brains run out all gooey and grey like porridge and smelly like the insides of a cat. This man he came tearing down our street on a motorbike making all manner of ruckus in the early morninglight, juking his way round all them brokendown cars in the road and the rotting dead folks inside them, but we keep all the windows up so’s we don’t have to smell them. This man he sure took the wrong turn if he thought he’d be passing by our way alive.First it was the arrow Fatha planted in his back from fifty yards; Fatha with his crossbow is a sure-dead shot. The gas-chugging bike it flipped off one way and smashed into a rusty car and this man he dropped the other way clawing at his back like he had a chance to rip out the thing.
Bad Moon Risen, by Eric Del Carlo.
Moonup, and hear the bastards yowling. Squawk is there’s movement on the south edge of town, down by the burnt shell of the KFC. I got clear memories of when I was way young going there with my daddy, eating crispy-crispy chicken that was like nothing I can describe to anybody who hasn’t tasted it themselves. Now it’s canned beef and Relief corn and whatever you can grow in a backyard, but at least we eat. I’ve been hungry and seen starving, and both are better than being what’s ate.
Issue 13 Reader’s Choice Winner
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite story in Issue 13. And the winner is:
Four Household Tales (As Told to the Giant Squid), by Poor Mojo’s Giant Squid.
Once upon a time there did travel two monks: a wise Giant Squid and his student, Abram Lincoln. Long did the two wander throughout the lands, delivering to the common folk such limited enlightenment as might pass through meager human sensory faculties to sear itself into the spongy grey matter stifled in their shallow brain pans.
One day the Squid and his student came upon a broad and swift river. Where the watercourse had once been straddled by a bridge, there remained only a crumbling abutment. Upon the old stone foundation of the washed-out crossing stood a crestfallen maiden, most beautiful and supple of skin, with exceptionally large breasts ill-concealed by her simple silken négligée, a rear as symmetrical as the twin hemispheres of an atomic device’s uranium core, and a pair of wonderful iron boots which might crush to dust any foe who had the ill luck to inflame her wrath. She wept as she paced, wondering aloud how she would ever cross the river.
Don’t miss the magnificently compelling adventures of heroic Tim Beefman, in A. L. Pineson’s Robot Zombie Vampire Goats of Mars!
Wondering what Shimmer‘s like? Our tenth issue, released in early 2010, is available as a free download: the whole issue!
Happy Holidays, 2005
Our 2005 Holiday Story was The Winter Tree, by Kate Harrad.