Autumn 2005 Contents

Issue #1: Autumn 2005

Issue 1

Our debut issue! See how it all began. We kicked things off with nine stories and a book review from John Joseph Adams.  “Nobody’s Fool,” by Edward Cox, received an Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror.

If I had seen Shimmer in a store, I would have snatched it up right away, because I am a book snob, and, to my shame, am too easily seduced by gorgeous cover art. However, had I indeed picked up a copy in a fit of unmitigated passion for its prettiness, I would not have been disappointed; this is an excellent magazine with high editorial standards, a tight, sure vision of what it seeks to accomplish, and a degree of success with that goal that’s decidedly gratifying. — Amal El Mohtar, SFSite.

Buy your copy today!

Table of Contents

Valley of the Shadow, by Dario Ciriello

Joe slid into my apartment, wearing a filthy pair of jeans and an oversize olive tee with the word ARMY stenciled on the front; his stringy arms were peppered with tracks, and his dark eyes broadcast anger. Little Joe the Corsican, we used to call him. Hot-blooded and tough as a rat, he’d been with my squad in Sierra Leone and Bosnia and places you couldn’t talk about.

I didn’t even know he’d died.

Sour Hands, by Kuzhali Manickavel

Ezhil was betrayed by a mango when she was seven years old. It had yielded softly, staining her tiny thumb and forefinger with a promising scent of sweetness and her mouth had dimpled into a small but radiant smile. She promptly shut her eyes and took a huge bite.

Unfortunately, the mango had lied.

Nobody’s Fool, by Edward Cox

Franklin stood in the bric-a-brac shop, amongst shelves stuffed full of interesting paraphernalia. He paused to study a feather he found next to a set of ornate garden shears.

The shopkeeper appeared next to Franklin. “The owl’s feather interests you?” she asked.

White Burn, by Stephen M. Dare

The girl in the white Jetta began appearing during the fourth week of school. The first time he saw her she simply appeared from behind the trees at the sharpest of all the bends on Cedar Bluff Road. He stomped down on the bus’s brake, his guts sucking upward as he cranked the wheel away from her, toward the vanishing drop before he realized — with an aching death-fear lighting like a fire in him — what he was doing.

That was the first day he really thought he could die, and that the bus wasn’t as stable as he once believed.

Fiction reviews, by John Joseph Adams

An Interrupted Nap, by Richard S. Crawford

On the day of the Rapture, Jim and I sat on Aunt Francine’s porch, drinking beer. It was fun, watching people being pulled up into the sky by unseen Hands, but around noon it started to get boring. Most of the Christians in the neighborhood had gone up at once earlier that morning, and now there were just a few stragglers, folks God must have overlooked.

Jim elbowed me and pointed. “Hey, Simon, there goes Mr. Foley.”

Finders Keepers, by J. Albert Bell

Normally, I would have been the one handling this business for Mr. Fox. I was feeling left out of the loop, to say the least. But the old man had been adamant: this was not my affair.

We sat in the drawing room for hours without speaking. Outside, the wind howled and the rain pounded at the tall windows in sheets. It was one of those nights when you felt your mortality keenly, as if at any moment, nature might snatch from you what was rightfully yours–with a falling tree or a slide from a treacherous mountain . . . with a single crack of ragged lightning. I could tell from Fox’s pallor and demeanor that he was feeling it even more acutely than I.

The Shoppers, by Michael Mathews

I suppose I first noticed something different about them when I was making my way across Crown Court Shopping Centre, a sort of strange swaying motion to the crowd. It didn’t really register as being all that important then, but looking back I can see: that’s when it started.

At the time I was more focused on the ass of a young fawn-haired woman in a denim skirt walking a few paces ahead of me. I remembered her from the Park-and-Ride Bus; she’d been sitting a few seats in front of me. It was her perfume that first caught my attention; the scent of it was overpowering, sweet and musky. I could still catch the trail of it in my nostrils as I moved along the crowded street.

And Death Will Seize the Doctor, Too, by Jeremiah Swanson

Christian stood over the convict, whose execution had been carried out only
minutes before. He stared at the man’s eyelids, knowing the first
indications of consciousness would come from there.

“Won’t be long,” the warden said. “You ready, Christian?”

A Convocation of Clowns, by Mel Cameron

The tiny car appeared out of nowhere, right in front of me, and screeched to a halt. I slammed on my brakes as clowns piled out of it, bringing rush hour traffic to a standstill. One, two, three…dear Lord, how many were there? …nine, ten, eleven. As each one popped out, it strode through the honking cars like a heron wading through pond scum…seventeen, eighteen, nineteen. At about thirty-two, I lost count. And still they kept coming.

Speculative fiction for a miscreant world

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