Well, okay, not really. But it has just reached its 100th issue, which is remarkable enough for any sf/f magazine these days, online or otherwise. Times are hard, and now it’s about as accurate to say of anything short-lived as having “The life expectancy of a Redshirt, a Spinal Tap drummer, or a new sf/f magazine.” Scott Andrews and Beneath Ceaseless Skies have beaten very long odds just to be where they are. I don’t think it’s because they publish my stuff now and then, but I’m relieved to know that at least this egregious oversight doesn’t appear to have hurt them.
The 100th issue is a double issue and should be live even as we speak (yeah, I know, but bear with me), and the ToC is listed below:
- In the Palace of the Jade Lion – Richard Parks
- Ratcatcher – Garth Upshaw
- The Three Feats of Agani – Christie Yant
- Virtue’s Ghosts – Amanda M. Olson
- How the Wicker Knight Would Not Move – Chris Willrich (podcast)
There’s an early review of the issue up at the Adventures Fantastic web site which frankly made me blush, but my ego aside, the point remains that this is a very strong issue of a very good magazine, and worth your reading time. But yes, I’m very proud of my own story.
As for the story itself, I blame Jeff Ford. He once blogged about a book first compiled in 17th or 18th century, with a title usually translated as Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling, a compilation of Chinese “weird tales.” I already had tracked down a similar book, In Search of the Supernatural, a 4th century CE compilation of legends, ghost stories and just wild rumors on the same subject by Gan Bao, so naturally I had to have this one too. But it was Pu Songling’s book that went into a little more detail about Yin and Yang energy and the relationship between them as it applied to the old Chinese understanding of what a ghost was. That was the trigger. If one state was the nature of a ghost and the other state was the nature of the human, then there was a natural conclusion to draw, and “In the Palace of the Jade Lion” is me drawing that conclusion. In the context of what is both a ghost and a love story, with a bit of loyalty, bravery and fun along the way. I hope you like it.
I’ll also note that the issue is already available on the Kindle for a ridiculously low price. Just sayin’.