Of Mice and Men

By John Steinbeck In the Penguin compilation volume, The Short Novels of John Steinbeck (2009 [1953]), the six novels chosen – the word novelette is used to describe one of them– half could be viewed as long short stories, and it is through the lens of the short story form that I tend to view them. Whereas CanneryContinue reading “Of Mice and Men”

Head Smash

by Lara Newson In a pot in my bedside cabinet are fragments of skull. My skull. Shards of off-white bone, too many and too shattered to ever fit back together. Many have been lost, either on the road where my head landed, or rinsed into washing machine filters. Some have been claimed by lovers alongContinue reading “Head Smash”

The Little Witch

By M. Rickert Every Halloween, an elderly woman hands out candy to a young trick-or-treater who’s dressed as a witch each time, looking exactly the same age. With each passing year, the woman grows more attached to the little witch and her odd nature. But she is no ordinary child, and an uncanny relationship developsContinue reading The Little Witch

Skin Deep

By Alan Brennert The Wild Cards universe has been thrilling readers for over 25 years. In Alan Brennert’s “Skin Deep,” we see for the first time the events of September 15, 1946 from the viewpoint of someone living on the West Coast of the United States. Trina Nelson is a pretty, popular sixteen-year-old high schoolContinue reading Skin Deep

Blood in the Thread

By Cheri Kamei Nothing tears two women apart like the men who want and take indiscriminately. In this retelling of “The Crane Wife”, a makeup artist and her actress lover struggle to stay together as the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood transforms into a cruel and manipulative beast that threatens to pluck them apart.Continue reading Blood in the Thread

The Red Mother

By Elizabeth Bear Auga, a wandering sorcerer, follows his brother’s fate-thread into the village of Ormsfjoll, where he expects to deliver good news and continue his travels. What he doesn’t anticipate is that to meet his brother he must first contend with the truth at the heart of the volcano that wreaks havoc on Ormsfjoll.Continue reading “The Red Mother”

Judge Dee and the Poisoner of Montmartre

By Lavie Tidhar Judge Dee returns to solve a new case involving a Parisian party gone wrong. But this time? Everyone in attendance is a suspect, including the judge himself. 1. Jonathan had liked Paris immediately. The air was just growing cold as the year turned, and the autumn leaves fell beautifully across the pavedContinue reading “Judge Dee and the Poisoner of Montmartre”

Questions Asked in the Belly of the World

By A. T. Greenblatt For the residents of this mycological ecosystem, creating art feeds the World around you and requires working in harmony with your inner voice. When one artist’s voice begins screaming, he’s forced to travel farther than he ever has before to reconcile with the noise in his head and find his trueContinue reading “Questions Asked in the Belly of the World”


Written by Matthew Neill Null “First and Second Children” opens at a police auction where a drug dealer’s possessions are being sold to the highest bidder. With the first exchanges of dialogue between Glover and an old coworker, it’s immediately evident that Matthew Neill Null is a master of understanding how people are shaped andContinue reading “IN THE EYES OF A FATHER OF DAUGHTERS”

A Gelato or Two

by Reshma Ruia My mother fell ill in Rome. We put it down to exhaustion. We had left India, abandoned the bone and flesh of our familiar world to begin a new life in a country shaped like a boot and it was taking its toll on her. She wasn’t always like this. In theContinue reading “A Gelato or Two”