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Acquisitions: August 2015

The contracts have all been accepted, so here’s a list of the new stories we bought in August that will be coming soon to an issue near you:

  • “Cupid’s Compass” by Leah Cypess
  • “A Mother’s Arms” by Sarina Dorie
  • “The Desert of Vanished Dreams” by Phyllis Eisenstein
  • “Killer” by Bruce McAllister
  • “Last One Out” by Karen Birkedahl Rylander
  • “Those Shadows Laugh” by Geoff Ryman
  • “Caribou: Documentary Fragments” by Joseph Tomaras

The Dorie, Eisenstein, and Ryman stories are novelets. The Dorie story is a sequel to “The Day of the Nuptial Flight” (Jul/Aug 2014) and the Eisenstein story is a new Alaric adventure.

Acquisitions: July 2015

The contracts have all been accepted, so here’s a list of the new stories we bought in July that will be coming soon to an issue near you:

  • “The Language of the Silent” by Sheila Finch and Juliette Wade
  • “Rockets Red” by Mary Robinette Kowal
  • “Coyote Song” by Pat MacEwen
  • “Dunnage for the Soul” by Robert Reed

MacEwen’s story is a novella, drawing on her years as a CSI and war crimes investigator. The Finch-Wade and Reed stories are novelets. “The Language of the Silent” is a new entry in the Guild of Xenolinguists series. The Kowal story a prequel to “The Lady Astronaut of Mars” and the original story from her new collection. We’ll publish it around the same time her new book comes out.

Interview: Elizabeth Bear on “The Bone War”

– Tell us a bit about “The Bone War.”

“The Bone War” is the story of an independent scholar–in this case, a Wizard–who is hired to do some consulting work for a university and discovers the joys of navigating academic politics.

It’s much more fun than that makes it sound. ;)


– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

Well, two things. Two of my friends are in the midst of academic job searches, and I’ve been hearing their woes on that front. The story is for them–Arkady Martine and Liz Bourke. Also, a couple of years ago, a fan…and for my sins, her name escapes me now–gave me a piece of fan art about Bijou and an apatosaurus, and I was instantly convinced I needed to write that story! (The Titan in The Bone War is modeled on a Giraffatitan, however!)


– “The Bone War” is set in the universe of your Eternal Sky series of books.  Can you tell us about the world of those books?

It’s… big. It’s a world I’ve been working on, in one way or another, for over twenty years at this point–stitching bits on and telling stories in corners. It emerged as a response to my frustration with epic fantasy worlds that are big, but static–they seem to have no history, and they seem to have no economics and no technological growth. Those worlds that get stuck in or around 1100 or thereabouts forever, basically.

Bijou’s part of the milieu is very equivalent to the 1800s or early 1900s (depending on what part of her life we’re talking about, though apparently they had roaring twenties style motorcars a lot earlier in her world) in an area that would be similar to North Africa in our world, though there are some significant differences. But I’ve also written some short stories set in various other parts of the setting, and one full-length epic fantasy trilogy (The Eternal Sky), which would have taken place about 400 years before the Bijou stories and in the central plains of a completely different continent. Now, I’m just about a hundred pages or less from finishing the first volume of *another* trilogy (The Lotus Kingdoms) that take place about 50 years after that story ends. I have some idea of the cultures of the entire Western hemisphere of this world, and a broad grasp of about 2000 years of its history. I’d love to have the opportunity to keep exploring that!

“The Bone War” appears in the September/October 2015 issue of F&SF.  You can buy it here:

You can subscribe to F&SF here:


Interview: “A House of Her Own” by Bo Balder

– Tell us a bit about “A House of Her Own.”

It’s set on a human colony world which has been cut off from Earth for a long time. Humans have gotten into a symbiotic relationship with local flora/fauna, the hice. They’ve replaced the hice’s old commensal species. When tax collectors from Earth return to reclaim the old colony, they don’t know how to deal with this relationship; they can’t even see it.


– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

As a teenager when I was taught English in school, I’d wonder at the lack of regularity in plurals and always thought house should be conjugated like mouse. One day, decades later, that notion popped up again in my head and the hice grew from there pretty quickly.

I’m always fascinated at humanity relating to the other, to creatures that have goals and worldviews completely unlike their own.


– Was “A House of Her Own” personal to you in any way?  If so, how?

I think a story is always personal. But specifically, I was an odd, fierce little girl. I dressed as a boy whenever I could to escape the strictures of being a girl in those days. I had a lot of freedom, I could roam our village without any supervision all day long, climbing trees, making fires, fighting. That gave me independence and also the idea that adults were idiots. I thought I knew everything.

My protagonist is a girl who doesn’t have to deal with notions about girlhood, but she’s as fierce and stubborn as I was.

At the same I’m writing this as an adult, my readers are adult, so that gives this story more layers, because adults see the gray instead of the black and white and look ahead for the inevitable consequences.


– What would you want a reader to take away from this story?

Primarily, I hope they’ll just enjoy it. And for those readers who want more, maybe remember their own childhood state of mind and how different they view things now. And there’s the clash of cultures, of colonization, and how easy it is to think from the preconceptions of your own culture.

“A House of Her Own” appears in the September/October 2015 issue of F&SF.  You can buy that issue here:

And, you can subscribe to F&SF here, and never miss another great issue:

Interview: Rick Bowes on “Rascal Saturday”

– Tell us a bit about “Rascal Saturday.”

My story, Rascal Saturday, is set a couple of generations down the line in a time of global warming and growing political chaos. In this future, Manhattan is nicknamed, “The Big Arena.”

At the center of the story is a gifted but unstable and corrupt Irish American Family, the Dineens. The Dineens are famous in our world, and are secretly the self-proclaimed rulers of the city of Naxos and its Fey-like population. Naxos is in an alternate world to which they have access.

Janina Dineen, a young scion of the house, is seeking to end this injustice.


– What was the inspiration for this story, or what prompted you to write it?

I tend find myself writing series of stories that share a common themes and settings. “Rascal Saturday” is one of a group that started with “Tales That Fairies Tell,” in Paula Guran’s original anthology, Once Upon A Time (2013). Last Year’s Nebula Award nominated novelette “Sleep Walking Now and Then” ( was another one. The story, “Anyone With A Care For Their Image,” came out this year in Uncanny, and “Time is a Twisting Snake,” was in the newly resurrected Farrago’s Wainscot early this year.

These days, my novels are fix-ups – related stories assembled into a narrative line. That’s how my Minions of the Moon (1999), From The Files Of The Time Rangers (2005) and Dust Devil On A Quiet Street (2013) were created. Each of those books contained chapters that had once been original stories in original anthologies, in online magazines and in print magazines: especially F&SF. Some won awards and some were on short lists and in Year’s Best collections.

Maybe something like that will happen with these “Big Arena” stories. That doesn’t depend on me nearly as much as it does on where the stories take me.


– Was “Rascal Saturday” personal to you in any way?  If so, how?

I tend to write Urban Fantasy and it tends to be first person and varying degrees of “personal.” But I also write in a mode that’s a bit more Science Fictional. “From the Files of the Time Rangers” was about Time Travel and 20th Century U.S. politics and the upcoming Singularity as well as the Ancient Gods and their modern servants.

Two of the first three genre pieces that I wrote were paperback original novels. Both were published in the mid-1980s. Warchild and Goblin Market were both about Time Travel. The third novel, Feral Cell was dark Urban Fantasy and more personal. It was about alternate worlds and Cancer, which I had at that time.


– What are you working on now?

At the behest of Steve Berman at Lethe Press (who published my novel (Dust Devil On A Quiet Street) I’m working on a fix-up novel about being a gay kid in Boston, circa the late 1940’s – 1962. Several of the stories have been published “Stories I Tell To Friends” (The Revelator), “Seven Days of Poe” (Where Thy Dark Eye Glances), “Fordham Court,” (Interfictions).


– Anything else you’d like to add?

Selling a story to any venue makes me feel I need to do something in return. I want the story to succeed, get critical attention, award attention, and get selected for Year’s Best anthologies. Sometimes that happens more often it doesn’t. When I started selling stories in the early 1990’s, there were two prominent review sites for spec fiction stories; Locus Online and Tangent. Almost 25 years later, many things have changed but that’s still the case.

“Rascal Saturday” appears in the September/October 2015 issue of F&SF.  You can purchase it here:

You can subscribe to F&SF here:

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