Hitomi is a foreign-born street thief with dangerous secrets: untrained magical abilities and ties to the Shadow League, enemies of the corrupt Archmage. But even the haunted streets of Karolene are safer than what awaits her beyond its borders.
Tazir needs to take find a passenger to pay the bills, but when a rich girl with too much money crosses her path in Shasa’s dive bar, she quickly realises she’s taken on more than she bargained for. Shina is more than she seems – the last, best hope to defeat the marauding Dragon Ships and restore the Windspeakers’ power.
A sleepy Cotswold town faces an existential threat: a major supermarket wishes to open on the outskirts. But this is more than just a vexing question of planning permission that will set neighbour against neighbour. This is a threat to the very fabric of reality. At least, that’s what Judith says.
Christmas Eve is when Icelanders given books to one another and winter is when we Brits historically told ghost stories by the fire. I’m celebrating the season with a collection of speculative horror stories chosen by Margrét Helgadóttir.
It’s the first Friday of SciFi Month, and today it’s time for something a bit different for Bite-size Books: the first ever guest post here at x+1.
Lesley Conner, managing editor of Apex Magazine, is taking the keyboard to try and get to the bottom of what makes a short story an Apex short story. Over to Lesley – and her special guests, my colleagues on the slush team!
One of the great joys of the Riverside books and Tremontaine is that they act as glimpses into a timeline. With The Eye of the Swan, Kelly Robson pushes the clock back further even than Tremontaine, narrowing in on the period after Diane has arrived in the City, but before she has truly flowered as the Duchess. Welcome to a more innocent time.
Strange things keep coming out of Nadia’s pockets. Not her things. Not things that might accidentally have found their way into the wrong coat. Not things that should, by rights, physically fit in the space afforded by the pockets in question. But they keep coming out. Pockets is the World Fantasy Award-nominated short story by Amal El-Mohtar.
The tales that trees tell – most of them – are too long, too slow, too uneventful for us to understand. But some stories snake like cold sap through their roots in winter and quicken in summer to race through their thickening foliage. These tales, you see, tell of people, of you and of me.
A group of young people go on holiday, running away from the tawdry disappointments of taking the first steps into their adult lives. They need a few days revelling in their friendship on a warm beach, rekindling old joys. But Punta Silenyo is an empty, haunted resort. Is it the best place to forget their cares?
Vita awakens blind, her onboard AI assuring her there’s no problem with visual feed. Stranded in a ship so damaged it can’t tell where it hurts, can Vita face her own wounds and find her way home?
The men who marry the desert (bad things happen to them)
Two young people try to make the best of their lives in a desert town struggling after the local mine collapsed. But the desert is drowned in secrets and raw with untapped power that threatens to consume them. Alyssa Wong has crafted a superb story that is shrouded in mystery and humming with myth.
Charlotte is dead, sacrificed on the word of a powerful man to buy the safety of her community. Her bones lie uneasily at the bottom of the garden by the river, its quiet lullaby doing nothing to reconcile her to her fate. Lullaby for a Lost World is another haunting short story from Aliette de Bodard.
Agatha is plump, her swelling belly a cause for mockery within her unpleasant family. Agatha is also rich and well-connected; she can buy a new one and sell hers on, jiggles and all. But when she sees her buyer, her desires change… J Y Yang’s Secondhand Bodies takes an unflinching look at toxic relationships and the arrogance of privilege.
This is the last of my posts on award-nominated short fiction for the time being, with the Locus awards almost upon us. Folding Beijing is a scintillating vision from Chinese author Hao Jingfang (translation by Ken Liu): an urban fairy tale in a chillingly recognisable future. In the China of tomorrow, everyone will have a place.