I probably should have mentioned that there wasn’t going to be a Story Time last week on account of the July 4th holiday, which felt more like a day of mourning to me anyway, so and regardless, there wasn’t one. This week’s entry is “A Garden in Hell,” originally published in Fantasy Magazine #5, in December 2006. The story was a meditation based on my reading of Buddhist philosophy, which eventually culminated in one my favorite novels, All the Gates of Hell.
And yes, according to some texts, Guan Shi Yin really does have a demon form she uses in situations as appropriate. I would think “A Garden in Hell” certainly qualifies.
Standard Reminder: “A Garden in Hell” will stay online until next Wednesday, July 18th, when another story gets its turn.
Today’s Story Time is “Conversation in the Tomb of an Unknown King,” which first appeared in Weird Tales #341, August/September 2006. Mostly what I remember about writing it was I was meditating, as one does, on the nature of wights, and specifically tomb wights. You think “ogre” or “ghoul” and a specific image is likely to pop up. Wights were always a little harder to pin down. According to Katharine Briggs (my go-to for information on such things), wight is from old Germanic meaning “being” or “creature.” Vague, much? Truth told I still don’t claim to have much of a handle on them, but I had fun playing.
As always, “Conversation in the Tomb of an Unknown King” will stay online until next Wednesday, July 4th. Then, something else. That’s the deal.
Today’s Story Time was written about the time astronomers were first piecing together convincing proof of other planets in the universe. Something we all had just assumed to be true before, but now some bright soul had the idea (and equipment sensitive enough) to detect the faint drop in brightness a distant sun displays as an orbiting planet passes between it and us. All I remember about writing this story was the news that at least one planet was detected orbiting a sun in the constellation of the Great Bear. As for where The Lady or the Gan came from, your guess is as good as mine.
Our Lady of 47 Ursae Majoris was first published in Third Order, vol.2 #1, Winter 2008, an online zine that specialized in stories concerning religion, which this story doesn’t. Except it sort of does, too.
As always, this piece will remain online until next Wednesday, June 27th. Then not.
Today’s Story Time is “The Swan Troika,” first published in the February 2011 issue of Realms of Fantasy, and the last story I ever published there as the magazine folded not too long after (October 2011). Almost every writer I know is convinced that there is at least one magazine they are personally responsible for killing, as they published a story in that magazine’s final issue. Yes, we all have big egos, why do you ask? Regardless, that wasn’t its last issue, and RoF published so many of my stories that, if I was the problem, it wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did. Magazines, especially print ones, come and go no matter what we do. Most die unmourned, but not all. And some, like Weird Tales and Amazing SF never stay dead forever. Part of me still expects Realms of Fantasy to be resurrected some day, but I won’t hold my breath even as I hope for it to happen. All that aside, I’m pretty sure I’m not responsible. “The Swan Troika” remains one of my favorite stories (accompanied in the original by Ruth Sanderson’s superb illustration), and I’d love to do more like it, if there’s ever a home for them again.
I’d like to give a belated shout out to Ekaterina Sedia for helping me with the Russian naming conventions in this story, which I would have made a complete mess of without her.
Standard Note: “The Swan Troika will remain online until next Wednesday, June 13th. Until then, enjoy.
In acknowledgment of the recent passing of Gardner Dozois, today’s Story Time is “Laying the Stones,” the very first story Gardner ever bought from me (and my second ever pro sale), breaking a long and very burdensome drought on my part. It appeared in the November, 1994 issue of Asimov’s SF and, as you can see, in very good company.