Ride the Star Wind book cover

Ride the Star Wind: Cthulhu, Space Opera and the Cosmic Weird, edited by Scott Gable, Broken Eye Books, 2017

They walked the path, Grandma in her yukata, Mirai in her boring schoolgirl coveralls, trying not to feel the weight of Leng above their heads. Mirai focused instead on the terraced hills and irrigation canals, the gated shrine and the Ancestral Grove, the curved display walls which projected the pretend fields so that they seemed to go on forever. The Earth Chamber was vast, and it was hard to believe that both of the other isolated habitat rings had similar rooms, even if they were dead, or sleeping.

On the spinward edge of the chamber, old cherry trees with their dark leaves and gnarled branches guarded dozens of clear cylinders. A naked form floated in each–sisters and aunties and grannies who had passed on. This was the Ancestral Grove, and these were the women they honored and prayed for until it was time for them to return to the Amanokawa, to be recycled into the wheel of life that was their world. Her oldest grandmothers were in the air they breathed, the water they sipped, and the ground they walked on. The ancestors made the entire ship sacred with their presence.  

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Escape Pod, narrated by Roberto Suarez, 2017

The Kingdom Coffee Missionary Handbook tells Paulo that he should always put his guns away during a door approach. He’s heard this hundreds of times before, but the Handbook speaks with a voice of authority, deep like a luchador’s, strong like a drill sergeant’s, calm like his abuelito’s. It slides in just under his ARgog’s selectively amplified environmental audio. 450 bonus points if the contact is completed without violence, calculates the Handbook, 900 if there are no deaths. Each death harms the public image of the Kingdom, the Handbook tells him. Paulo nods agreement. Way better to spread the faith on the no-kill difficulty setting.

Still, Paulo is not stupid, so he pauses to load Rambo, his ancient and lovingly modded M4A1 Carbine, before slinging it across his back. Looking bad-ass is his favorite violence prevention technique. The Handbook says nothing about tear gas, and he decides not to mention the CS smoke grenade in his left pocket. His last couple of leads had ended with tense stand-offs. Goddess, yo creo, he prays silently. Help my unbelief. He fingers his mala of Robusto beans, sniffing hard to catch its fading aroma.

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Cover of Swords v Cthulhu

Swords v. Cthulhu, edited by Jesse Bullington and Molly Tanzer, 2016

“Swift-bladed action in the World of H. P. Lovecraft”

“Inochinomi, samurai’s daughter, knelt in the mud. In final position for seppuku, the point of her tanto dagger hovered, ready to strike. The blade quivered, swaying with her breathing, like an edgy viper.

Honor. This was the way of the warrior. Her father’s way. He died with such honor. She served as his second, beheaded him with a powerful stroke. Ended his agony as his intestines spilled over his tanto. In her mind’s eye, his head came to a stop, glaring at her. Honor, his eyes rebuked her.

Night crept closer, the forest bleeding shadows, heavy rain and the altar-like mountain of Dan no Uchi conspiring with her pursuers against her.  So close to her uncle’s monastery, and she had no light. She could barely see her weapons—a bamboo bow, a quiver and her naginata—just an arm’s reach away. The lead scouts would catch her first. Perhaps the half-demons could see in the dark. Or track her like hounds. No choice. No hope.”

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Not Our Kind book cover

Not Our Kind: Tales of (Not) Belonging), edited by Nayad Monroe, 2015

“It was love at first scent. Kombucha’s aroma spoke of moldy oranges and composting ferns, and seeded thoughts of a world removed from the hot asphalt and car exhaust that permeated Julian’s Disneyland parking attendant workaday life. Later he would come to appreciate the intricate black and white mottled pattern on her conical head, the velvet ripple of her sensitive fungal gills, and the fine filaments she extended from her fingers and through which she tasted and felt the world, and him.”

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Broken Time Blues book cover

Broken Time Blues: Fantastic Tales In The Roaring ’20s, edited by Jaym Gates and Erika Holt, 2011

“Some say I’m the best witch hunter of the Second Prohibition. Maybe I am. I bagged and sent 18 bonafides to burn like Edison bulbs in Sing Sing. J. Edgar told my chief, in private, that me and my partner, Crossan were the best ‘men’ in the Bureau. Those quotes are mine. I’m at Communion 6:00 AM every goddamn morning. You could ring the church bells to me.

But I’m a fraud, and proof positive that God isn’t Love. God is Irony.

Exhibit A: I’m a woman. Not even Crossan knows.

Exhibit B: I’m a bull dyke.

Exhibit C: My wife is a witch.”

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Rigor Amortis book cover

Rigor Amortis, edited by Jaym Gates & Erika HoltAbsolute XPress/Edge (2010)

Reprinted in Pseudopod, narrated by Kane Lynch, May 19, 2012

“Adam hesitated before the shattered door, admiring the bloody handprints. Journeys into the forbidden were like this–crossing a series of thresholds, each one making it harder to return. When Takeshi looked back at him with those brown, bloodshot eyes and flashed that gap-toothed grin, Adam stepped over the shards of safety glass and into the fifties-style diner.”

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