Far Fetched Fables

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FarFetchedFables No 185 Greg van Eekhout

“In the Late December” by Greg van Eekhout (Originally published in Strange Horizons.) Here's a secret of the North Pole: Santa powders his hands with talc before donning his thick red mittens. It is a small secret, true, but some would give anything to steal even that. A secret is a detail, and here in the late December, a detail is as precious as a true name. Santa, a red exclamation in a white world, walks the reindeer line, stroking sugar-and-cinnamon fur. The reindeer shiver and snort and stamp their hooves, the lines connecting them to the parcel-laden sleigh jingling. Santa looks over to his candy-brick castle and waves good-bye, but no one stands in the doorway to wave back. With a sigh, he climbs onto the sleigh's driver's seat, the bench creaking beneath his weight. He pauses, holding the smooth and supple leather reins, and considers how to start the team. Onward? A-heya? Giddyup? Ho-ho? No, he's already used those. He makes a point of uttering a different word to inaugurate every outing, because he's been doing this for a long time, and if he didn't deliberately insert some bit of novelty into the procedure, he fears his jolly round head might well explode. That is another detail. Then he has it. He snaps his fingers (no mean feat in his mittens) and with a brisk snap of the reins, he shouts, "Zorxa!" Zorxa was a great emperor whose realm once encompassed sixteen degrees of the Curvature, and though his despotic rule made him a natural enemy, Zorxa knew how to accept a gift as well as anyone. Greg van Eekhout lives in San Diego with his astronomy/physics professor wife and two dogs. He used to develop educational software for a living, but now writes full time, which he enjoys much better. His novels range from adult science fiction and fantasy to middle grade and include The Norse Code, the California Bones trilogy, Kid vs. Squid, and The Boy at the End of the World. His next book, a middle-grade novel about dogs on a spaceship, is due out in Fall 2018. You can find more about him at his website: writingandsnacks.com. About the Narrator: Eric Luke is the screenwriter of the Joe Dante film Explorers, which is currently in development as a remake; has written for the comic books Ghost and Wonder Woman; and wrote and directed the Not Quite Human films for Disney TV. His current project, Interference (a meta horror audiobook about an audiobook... that kills), is a bestseller on Audible.com. His website for creative projects is Quillhammer.com.  

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12/26/2017

FarFetchedFables No 186 Michael Rimar

“Avarice” by Michael Rimar (Originally published in Darwin's Evolutions.) Shadow blocked the glare of Uttum’s twin suns. Saleem looked up at the source, a man dressed in robes pale as bleached bone. “Offering for the poor?” Saleem kept his tone weak and pitiful, offering his wicker basket to the stranger. “I have more than offerings for you, my young friend.” The stranger crouched down to look Saleem face to face. Eyes green as palm fronds regarded him with benevolence. Strands of ebony hair poked from underneath a spotless turban. Saleem tensed. Anyone who called him friend usually wasn’t. Yet he didn’t run. Anyone foolish enough to run in the heat brought attention, and in the City attention equaled guilt. “Have I offended you in some manner, Isha?” He hoped to flatter the stranger by using the formal address. “Isha?” The man flashed straight white teeth and looked about as if to see no one overheard. “You may call me Hendari. I am told I should talk to you.” Saleem’s eyebrows rose a fraction. Hendari. The god of prosperity. Only the wealthy and powerful were so bold to name their children after gods. “What would a great man need of a child beggar?” “Is this part of the bartering?” Hendari’s green eyes glistened with mirth. “You are less a child, and more than a beggar. I know who it is I need, and that is you.” Michael Rimar has matured. He no longer writes witty bios with clever puns. He has stopped comparing his two daughters to pets, especially after the cease and desist order. He sees nothing funny about writing science fiction, fantasy, and some horror, although many of his stories might be considered humorous, and purposefully humorous, not this-is-so-bad-it’s-funny kind of humorous. As proof, his story, A Bunny Hug for Karl, was nominated for the 2014 Prix Aurora for the best in Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy. He is an associate publisher of Bundoran Press and co-editor of their anthology Second Contacts, which was awarded the 2016 Aurora for Best Related Work. He has also co-edited Lazarus Risen, nominated for the 2017 Aurora for Best Related Work. Mike has been published in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show, Writers of the Future XXI, and On Spec, all serious publications despite having the occasional humorous story. If you want to learn more about Mike visit mikerimar.com. Seriously. About the Narrator: Growing up, everyone told Christopher Herron that he couldn't read books for a living, it simply wasn't a real job. Always one to have the last laugh, however, he decided to start down the long road of becoming a professional narrator. To help him on his way, he created the youtube channel Tall Tale TV, where he hones his skills by narrating several short stories each week for authors looking to collaborate. He can be found at TallTaleTV.com, Facebook and Twitter.
11/28/2017

FarFetchedFables No 184 Russell Hemmell

Ep. 184
“M” by Russell Hemmell (Originally published in Not One of Us.) We look like them, Christian thought, admiring the fresco in the charnel house and its ghastly figures, scary and eerily beautiful. He adjusted the heavy cloak over his shoulders. The evening was damp and cold, and he was tired after a whole day on the move. But he could not avoid that feeling of elation. He had followed her for too long, and days had become months. Years. Winters, summers, clear starry nights of patient stalking. Across desolate lands and overcrowded cities, poverty and luxury, holy retreats and dangerous havens. And now he was back to square one, where all had started. Incidentally, his birthplace, that glittering Paris so cherished and hated. Isn’t fate... ironic? Because God, for sure, has no business here. Or has He? Christian was sure about one thing, though: the place he was standing on at that precise moment was not a surprise. Where else could that creature ever find a better sanctuary? He kneeled down, covering his face with a perfumed handkerchief. The Cemetery of the Innocents, also known as Les Champeaux, was the same infamous location it had been since centuries, since Roman times. The mass graves were yet to come, and so the Black Death, and war, but the character of the place and its morbid allure were already there, near that market of Les Halles where they had remained for centuries. Conquerors and lords had passed by and ruled, different yet equally unflinching in front of massacres, diseases, famine and blood. Nationality didn’t matter a lot in the business of taking lives. Even less in trading them. The market stopped during the night, but business was florid as usual—with some of its unique perks for the Court of Miracles’ night owls. Christian had arrived just after closing and walked across the walled area, passing the fountain and heading toward the charnel houses. Quietly, he had found a suitable observation point and, hidden beneath the Danse Macabre fresco, had begun waiting for what he knew in advance would follow. He didn’t have to wait for long. Russell Hemmell is a statistician and social scientist from the U.K, passionate about astrophysics and speculative fiction. Stories in PerihelionSF, SQ Mag, and others. Russell can be found online at earthianhivemind.net and on Twitter via @SPBianchini. About the Narrator: Geoffrey Welchman writes, produces, and voices The Reigning Lunatic podcast, a medieval sitcom (and 2016 Parsec Awards finalist). He lives in Baltimore, Maryland. You can find him online at geoffreywelchman.com.