Friday, December 28, 2012

Slaying the Dragon

The bell rang: end of shift.  Dawson hefted his battleaxe for one more blow, but Alvin smacked his hardhat.

"Don't give Harris any more excuses to file grievances on you," he said.  "No unauthorized overtime.  Shift's over; it's someone else's problem."

Dawson sighed.  "I know.  I just feel... responsible.  We're already two weeks behind target.  If we don't get at least through the mandibular ligaments by the holiday break..."

"Look," Alvin said, "you can't take it personal.  It's a big job, but none of us has to do it alone.  Trust the other guys.  C'mon, I''ll buy you a beer."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Unidentified Funny Objects

My story, "The Alchemist's Children," appears in Alex Shvartsman's anthology UFO: Unidentified Funny Objects, alongside such hilariously mismatched compatriots as Mike Resnick and Lavie Tidhar.  I'm one of the no-name filler people who occupy other pages (although Lois Tilton liked my story).  

The book is available for sale in paperback (well, not quite yet) and Kindle.  I can vouch for the high quality of almost all of the stories.  ("Of Mat and Math" is a particular favorite.)

The Opposite of Truth

"I have long wondered," Taku said to the Wisest Stone, "about lies.  If I falsely claimed to be a child, what would be the opposite of my lies?  For I once was a child; one day I will be old, and later still I will not be.  Truth, then, is not the opposite.  If I say that I never was a child, that is opposite, but still a lie."

The Wisest Stone said nothing at all. 

After a time, Taku nodded.  "I see," he said.  "The opposite of falsehood is silence."

"Oh, were you talking?" said the Wisest Stone.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Secret at the Heart of the World

The demonic guard leaned in toward the tunnel entrance, his horns nearly scraping the ceiling. 

“Be warned,” it growled at Gwen.  “Here we dispense with all artifice and pretension.  There is only the truth.  The Lord will speak to you only by your True Name.  Stronger souls than yours have fallen to weeping or gone mad at the sound.”

“I’ve made it this far,” Gwen said, holding her head up.

“So be it.”  The demon straightened and lifted its voice to announce her presence, the sound echoing in the vast audience chamber: “Gwen Gwen bo Ben banana fanna fo Fen...”

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Literary Life

“This is my library,” Yvor said, gesturing expansively with his pipe. 

“Grand, though it seems you've not yet completed it,” I said, noting the half-empty shelves.

Suddenly, there came the sound of a book appearing from nothing; a most unusual noise.

“That is the book of what would have happened had I decided not to reveal my secret,” Yvor laughed.  “You see, here the stories of all possible Yvors appear after the chance that might create them has passed.”

“How terrible!” I said.  “To know always what might have been...”

Yvor smiled serenely.  “I see you are not a reader.” 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na

“The criminals haunt this city like ghosts,” the Commissioner said.  “We’re trapped in this maze, and we just run around and around and never get anywhere.”

“But sir!  Do we really need to call... him?”  The young constable swallowed heavily.  “He’s... outside the law.  They say he can’t die.  They say... they say he eats...”

“Silence!”  The Commissioner snapped.  “This ends tonight.  I won’t follow the dotted lines any longer.  That will be his job now.”

He switched the light on, sending the golden disc up onto the clouds.  The yellow circle with one sixth missing, like an open mouth...