It was Mike Resnick’s hope in starting Galaxy’s Edge magazine that: “Most of the new stories are by less-well-know (but not less talented) authors.” In keeping with that spirit, our Editor Lezli Robyn filled this final, and extra-large issue ~ Issue Sixty-Two: May 2023 ~ with twenty-two spectacular stories.
This week we’re bringing you a taste, a teaser, an amuse-bouche of the first eleven stories of those stories, and our hope? That you’ll read on and find your next favorite author! ♥
MOON AND SKY, FEATHER AND STONE
by Rebecca E. Treasure
Rebecca grew up reading in the Rockies and has lived in many places, including Japan & Germany. Rebecca’s short fiction has been published by or is forthcoming from Flame Tree, Zooscape Magazine, Galaxy’s Edge, and others. Fueled by cheese-covered starch and corgi fur, Rebecca is an editor at Apex Magazine and a writing mentor.
Lora never fit where she was. When the moon bells rang and everyone’s eyes turned glassy, hers stayed dull and hollow. When Mother made blackberry tea, Lora snuck warm goat milk from the bucket. When Father sang the morning song and Ella cried with faith and passion, the music jangled in Lora’s ears.
The closest she’d ever been to belonging was right here, mud squishing between her toes and her little brother’s hand in hers as they prepared to jump.
Lora looked down into Oran’s eyes. “Ready?”
He shared her grin, nodding. They scrambled up the steep granite over the swimming hole, a miniature mountain. Their breathing deepened, drawing in delicate perfume from lilacs surrounding the clearing. Three steps—Lora shortened hers so they leapt together—and they flew.
Lora knew where she’d fit, but it was in a place she’d never been, with people who were not hers …
THAT SUNDAY ON THE TRAIL WITH THE MEREST BREATH OF SEA
by Beth Cato
Nebula Award-nominated Beth Cato is the author of A Thousand Recipes for Revenge from 47North plus two fantasy series from Harper Voyager. She’s a Hanford, California native now residing in a far distant realm. Follow her at BethCato.com and on Twitter at @BethCato
Rosamund had hopes that the family reunion wouldn’t completely suck after her mom told her it’d take place in Cambria, right on the California coast, but as Mom drove up a narrow winding road flanked by squished-tight houses, Rosamund’s enthusiasm withered up like a three-year-old raisin.
“Mom! I can’t even see the ocean!” Rosamund twisted around to look, the seatbelt strap threatening to strangle her.
“You’ll be able to smell the ocean from the camp, I’m sure. Now face forward.”
Rosamund flung herself around. “This is going to be awful. They don’t even like me.”
“Stop that. My family loves you.” Mom glanced at her in the rear-view mirror.
“But they think I’m a freak.”
Mom sighed and didn’t argue. Rosamund glowered out a window that showed only pines as the road dipped and snaked through a small patch of forest. A tall wooden archway, adorned with balloons, announced their arrival at Camp Carraway …
THE LAND OF PERMUTATIONS
by Tatsiana Zamirovskaya
translated by Julia Meitov Hersey
Tatsiana Zamirovskaya is a writer from Belarus, who moved to Brooklyn in 2015. She writes metaphysical and socially charged fiction about memory, ghosts, hybrid identities, and borders between empires and languages. Tatsiana is the author of 3 short story collections and a novel about digital resurrection, The Deadnet, which was published in 2021 in Moscow, receiving great critical acclaim. She is also a journalist and essayist, writing about art, traumatic memories, dictatorships and dreams.
Born in Moscow, Julia Meitov Hersey moved to Boston at the age of nineteen and has been straddling the two cultures ever since. She spends her days juggling a full-time job and her beloved translation projects. Julia is a recipient of the Rosetta Science Fiction and Fantasy Award for Best Translated Work, long form (2021).
A terrible rumbling noise woke us up at nine in the morning.
It was the field—our field.
We took off as soon as we heard it, obviously, because it was our field. Everything that happened there was ours, and only ours. That’s where Nielle and I met the brown earthen witch in her mushroom apothecary cap. That’s where, breathless with terror, I summoned the White Dog on the fifth moonrise, and the Dog came, and brought us ten-day-old pups in a basket, just for cuddles. Every day these pups, blind and sweetly hairless like dandelions after a storm, grew thinner, their skin more pink and transparent, until on the tenth day they morphed into a pile of quietly wiggling skin bubbles, and then the White Dog came and took them back into her womb. That’s where Nielle dug a grave for the forest devil and did such a great job that, when the forest devil died, he came and lay in his new grave because he had no other refuge, no other place to go. That’s where we searched for the meat fern flower on a July night, and eventually we found it and put it under Uncle Volodya’s pillow. The next morning he won the lottery—a three-room apartment somewhere on the outskirts of our town. He stays in that apartment drinking day and night, and now we know we should have put that flower under his ex-wife’s pillow, not his. It was our field, our feral, bloody, boggy, alive land, and our hair sat within it, and the amber half moons of our nails, our incantations, and the summer rhymes we composed for Death. (It was Nielle’s idea to write special verses for Death so She would stop by the edge of the field and listen for a moment. The verses were to have these special white spots, flickering agony, arrhythmical Cheyne-Stokes rattle, pools of cloudy morning water in lamb hooves, an attentive stare of a bewitched snipe at sundown—we couldn’t break the spell, but at least we tried.) …
THE INCONSTANT HEART
by Kary English
Kary English is a Hugo and Astounding finalist whose work has been published by Galaxy’s Edge, The Grantville Gazette, Wordfire Press, Writers of the Future, and Tor Nightfire.
Once upon a time in the spring of the world, a young man named Edwin set out to seek his fortune. Edwin’s coat was thin and threadbare, and his boots were more patches than leather. His purse held only a few small coins, but his back was strong and his heart was pure, so off he went into the wide world with a pack over one shoulder and his bow over the other. He walked for several days until the fields gave way to wilder lands, and the road dwindled to a dusty track. On the eve of the seventh day, he came across a cottage of wattle and daub nestled against the edge of a dark forest.
Night was falling. A chill wind out of the east sliced through Edwin’s coat like a scythe through wheat. His stomach rumbled, for he’d had nothing to eat or drink but water from a nearby stream. Warm firelight flickered through the cottage window, and when Edwin drew near, he could smell the cottager’s supper cooking inside. Barley stew, he thought, and bannocks baking on the hearth. If Edwin had heard even half the tales about enchanted forests and the misadventures of widow’s sons, he might have turned away from the cottage and slept on the cold ground instead …
by Jonathan Lenore Kastin
Jonathan Lenore Kastin (he/they) is a queer, trans writer with an MFA in writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. His short stories can be found in On Spec and Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, as well as the anthologies Ab(solutely) Normal, Transmogrify! and Queer Beasties.
It was late April when Amelia realized that she was a werewolf. She was reading in her room one evening and as the moon came out from behind a cloud it fixed her with a pale, trembling beam of light. She froze at once, sniffed the wind, and took off her skin. Underneath grew a radiant coat of fur and one by one her senses came alive to the night.
The next day she tried to tell her mother.
“I’m a werewolf,” she said, picking leaves out of her golden hair.
Her mother patted her on the head. “That’s nice dear. Maybe Aunt Matilda will make you a costume for Halloween.”
“No,” said Amelia. “I’m a real werewolf. With fur and claws and everything.”
“Well,” said her mother. “As long as you don’t stay out in the woods too late.” She went back to her magazines …
by Xauri’EL Zwaan
Xauri’EL Zwaan is a mendicant artist in search of meaning, fame and fortune, or pie (where available). Zie lives and writes in a little hobbit hole in Saskatoon, Canada on Treaty 6 territory with zir life partner and two very lazy cats.
There was a strange plant in Mrs. Edgerington’s garden.
The plant looked like a tiny clamshell sprouting up out of the ground. It had a smooth surface, glistened with a dull silver sheen, and ended in a sharp knife-like ridge. It didn’t look like anything she had ever seen before. In fact, it hardly looked like a plant at all, though it certainly grew like one. Mrs. Edgerington had her grandson look on the internet to see what it was, but he couldn’t find anything matching the description. He told her she should dig it up and burn it, but Mrs. Edgerington liked weird plants, and she decided to let it grow and see what happened.
The plant slowly got bigger and bigger over the next few months. Neither water nor lack of water affected its rate of growth, nor did shade or sun. It eventually grew to about a foot in height and half a foot in width …
by T. R. Napper
T. R. Napper is a multi-award winning science fiction author, including the Australian Aurealis twice. His short fiction has appeared in Asimov’s, Interzone, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and numerous others, and been translated into Hebrew, German, French, and Vietnamese. Before turning to writing, T. R. Napper was a diplomat and aid worker, delivering humanitarian programs in Southeast Asia for a decade. During this period, he received a commendation from the Government of Laos for his work with the poor. He also was a resident of the Old Quarter in Hanoi for several years, the setting for his debut novel, 36 Streets. These days he has returned to his home country of Australia, where he works as a Dungeon Master, running campaigns for young people with autism for a local charity.
The first thing Joshua Lee did was whisper his dreams into the Xi Box. Snatching up those fragments running around the plughole of his hippocampus, before they faded from view. Before they could be absorbed into the back fabric of his mind.
After his dreams, he confessed his feelings. His fears, mainly.
The little things, to start with. The Infected woman at work who’d accused Joshua of stealing her lunch. He’d told her no, even though he had; he’d eaten it all, container perched on his lap in a darkened file room. Then the slow-burning fear: he’d fail to pass probation in his new position. Corollary: the already unsustainable mortgage on their two-bedroom apartment burying them.
Then the biggest fear.
Jess would go over. That part of her wanted to become Infected. Like so many others. The simplicity of it, the relief of being able to join the Children of Heaven, though she would never admit it …
KRISTIN, WITH CAPRICE
by Alan Smale
Alan Smale is the double Sidewise Award-winning author of the Clash of Eagles trilogy, and his shorter fiction has appeared in Asimov’s and numerous other magazines and original anthologies. His latest novel, Hot Moon, came out last year from CAEZIK SF & Fantasy. When he is not busy creating wonderful new stories, he works as an astrophysicist and data archive manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
He did not ring the bell. Strange enough to have to knock on his own front door, when the key was in his pocket. He heard a strange bleating sound from within, quickly suppressed. Then footsteps, and his heart began to thump a little harder.
Kristin opened the door and stared at him. Her hair was in a bandanna and she wore an old softball tee-shirt. Around her eyes were traces of yesterday’s makeup. House-cleaning, then. Scrubbing away the last of him.
She looked so gorgeous he wanted to cry.
“I came for my things,” he said.
“If you’d called, I could have been out.” She stood aside to let him in. Reluctantly.
“That’s not necessary,” said Paul. “You don’t have to do that. You look great.”
“Yes, it is,” she replied. “Yes, I do. No, I really don’t. Your stuff’s in the spare room.” She walked into the kitchen and he heard the strange squeal again. Perhaps the sound of a sponge against the inside of the oven? …
THE DREADNOUGHT AGAMEMNON, ON COURSE TO CONQUER THE PEACEFUL MOON OF RE
by Dafydd McKimm
Dafydd McKimm is a speculative short fiction writer whose stories have appeared in publications such as Flash Fiction Online, Daily Science Fiction, Deep Magic, The Cafe Irreal, and elsewhere. He was born and raised in Wales but now lives in Taipei, Taiwan. You can find him online at www.dafyddmckimm.com
As when an airship, streaming westward soon after dawn into the city, is silhouetted by the sun and dilates like a pupil as it makes its final approach with the slow, steady pace of massive things;
so the dreadnought Agamemnon, on course to conquer the peaceful moon of Re, awoke;
and as when you descend the gangway and take your first steps along the city’s arabesque of streets, not knowing where you are going, for you’ve never visited this city before and have no friends or place to stay or any idea of how to speak the language that permeates the air like the chatter of strange insects wherever you go, or what you will do now that you’re here, thinking for a moment that perhaps you should go back, back to where you came from and the safety of it, the security of its familiar pathways and customs, the blissful boredom of doing things the way you’ve been told for so long they’re second nature; but no, no, you’ll never go back to that—never—and so you walk on, wandering the city without a destination, not understanding a word, not knowing what food is good to eat or indeed how to ask for it, and even when you do manage to get something onto a plate in front of you, worrying that you might commit some awful impropriety so that those around you, those people who have known this city and the ways of this city from birth, will laugh at you and mock you as stranger, foreigner, and yet finding small comfort in knowing that at least your old life is behind you, that you have shed your past like the pale, translucent skin of a snake and can begin anew here, in this city, which is so beautiful, with its painted houses perched on forested hills and markets full of sweet temptations and patterned fabrics and parks dotted with statues of creatures from myths you’ve never heard of and noisy processions that pop and fizzle and chime with the ring and crash and keening of unfamiliar instruments and temples to so many different gods …
by Deborah L. Davitt
Deborah L. Davitt was raised in Nevada, but currently lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and son. Her poetry and prose have appeared in over fifty journals, including, F&SF, Analog, and Lightspeed. For more about her work, including her novels, poetry collections, and her recent chapbook, From Voyages Unending, please see www.edda-earth.com
The object of backpacking through Europe in your twenties is to see strange things—or at least to look at the world through new eyes. You only get so many chances to paint old walls and ruined fortresses; to capture the patina of time itself.
Drew took a bus into Spain, figuring he would hike the Pyrenes while the weather remained good; the driver woke him in the gray of dawn and turfed him in a village that Drew’s phone informed him was Santa Pau. His phone further told him that the ancient walls he saw, which captured the dawn’s light so enchantingly, had been built in the thirteenth century.
Enraptured, he set up his easel in an out-of-the-way spot. He had charcoals with him, and he wanted to capture some of the spirit of this place, before he lost this magical moment. Maybe even mix some watercolors, try to catch the evanescent colors on paper so that when he had an opportunity to work on canvas later, it would be easier for his late-dreaming mind to recall what his eyes saw now …
A FEAST OF MEMORIES
by R.D. Harris
R.D. Harris lives with his family of four in Arizona and works as a biomedical technician by day. He loves the Carolina Tarheels, time with his kids, and SpongeBob. His work has appeared in Little Blue Marble, Terraform[Motherboard], and Galaxy’s Edge magazine.
We were hidden in his garden, where he wanted to die. The garden in our hollow where he taught me about life and how to be a man.
“Dad,” I said, tears blinding me, “you know where we are?”
His fading cognition and memory broke my heart. My hero and life-long role model couldn’t remember who I was half the time.
Eyes half-open, tired, Dad said, “On the ground,” with a mustered grin.
I couldn’t help but laugh. It was bittersweet, though, as the shimmering caterpillars squirmed from their vegetable meals to my dad’s girth atop the tilled soil. They scaled his body from all sides and froze on his stomach, waiting until it was time.
I cradled his half-bald head and whispered, “We’re in the garden like you wanted.” I kissed his forehead.
“The mimics?” he uttered, eyeing the larvae that patiently waited for him to pass on. Dad’s memory was serving him well. I hoped it would serve the mimics too …
Last week we posted Mike Resnick’s very first Editor’s Word where he shared some colorful history on science fiction magazines. Now, join us next week when we hear from Mr. Resnick again as he regales us with stories about some of the writers and editors who made up our favorite fiction field.