The Music Issue
March: it’s a month, a type of music (think Sousa), and its cognate Mars (je n’ai oublié pas tout de mon français — go ahead, someone correct me, I know I need it) is the name of the planet with which Gustav Holst started his composition The Planets. So it’s fitting that we would receive and accept a story from Emily Leverett about Martians invading during a performance of Gustav’s Mars. (It’s called, shockingly enough, “Gustav’s Mars”.) And the musical resonances didn’t stop there: ultimately, and without planning for it ahead of time, we created a music issue. Let’s talk about the stories in it.
“Addiction” by Ariella Adler is a fantasy about a woman who loses her family to the song of the sídhe. (The daoine sídhe, pronounced “deena shee”, are the people or fairies who dwelt in the burial mounds of Ireland.) The main character is a reporter who has some experience in these matters as well. I loved the mood of this story, and it has the perfect ending.
The aforementioned “Gustav’s Mars” starts with a dead woman. I don’t normally buy stories that start with dead people, but this story made me laugh (and, perhaps more importantly, made my wife laugh). Yes, it’s about Martians and Gustav’s Mars. But it’s not. Not really. Well, only kinda.
Our third story, “Trumpet Volunteer” by Oscar Windsor-Smith, struck an odd chord with me. (Did I really just say that? Sorry.) This isn’t a normal piece for me, and I’m not quite sure how to categorize it — fantasy? literary? should I care? — but I like the way it feels. And R.W. Ware’s painting for it simply blew me away. (Sorry, did it again. You’ll see why when you click through. But I promise there’s not a pun in the entire story.) Click on the image on the Web page to get a larger view.
Bruce Holland Rogers continues his series, Short-short Sighted: Writing the Short-short Story, with a new column called “Less Than The Rules Demand: Getting By On Attitude”. The title speaks for itself, as does its exemplar, “Baby, It Didn’t Have to Happen This Way”. He’s right — it doesn’t behave like a normal story does, but it’s a story, and one of the best he’s published here. Its use as an example of breaking the rules makes the title interestingly self-referential, too.
Our Classic Flash this month is a very brief (344-word) ditty from Lord Dunsany called “The Song of the Blackbird”. You’ve seen Lord Dunsany on these pages before, with his cynical story called “The True History of the Hare and the Tortoise”, presented here in August. While “Blackbird” isn’t necessarily political, as “The True History” was, I am inclined to see current events in it.
Other Fun Stuff
Oscar Windsor-Smith, who wrote “Trumpet Volunteer”, asked me about other rights to content. Under our current contract, I buy the right to be the first person to publish your work, and the right to publish it in a variety of forms on the site: HTML, PDF, plain text, and audio. He did some thinking about this, and proposed a question to me. That question lives here — I welcome your contributions to the discussion.
If you’re part of the masochistic masses that are addicted to Twitter, you can follow me using the handle @jdfreivald. I don’t promise to be interesting or fun or even story-related, but I’m finding that I like Twitter more than I thought I would.
Finally, some of you may have noticed that there are no PDFs this month. I just ran out of time, and I may yet put them up. Do any of you miss them? Drop me a line to let me know.
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About the Author
Jake Freivald lives in New Jersey in a house that teems with life: a wife, eight kids, two dogs, two cats, and ten fish. They’re all being neglected right now, so he’s going to stop writing this.
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