Beautifully Tipped Over

With apologies to our readers in the southern hemisphere: Summer is here!!

Double exclamation mark, swimming pools, vacations, the sun in your eyes, hot sidewalks, summer.

My first summer tradition is already taken care of. I’ve read Ray Bradbury’s Dandelion Wine for the umpteenth time. I’ve walked the ravine with Douglas Spaulding, fumed over never-mown grass with Grandpa, ridden the time machine with Colonel Freeleigh, rescued Mme. Tarot from the junk heap. Bradbury passed away four years ago this week.

If you’ve never read Ray Bradbury before, I’m afraid I must chastise you. Mr. Bradbury is an American icon. A must-read for anyone who appreciates fine literature or who loves a well-told story. 

Most see Bradbury as a science fiction author. He was that, but so much more. Bradbury wrote. That’s all. True, many of his stories could be easily categorized as science fiction. Just as many, however, could be labeled as fantasy or even mainstream. But what makes Bradbury stand out from his peers is the way he put words on a page. He was an artist with words, a master of phrasing, a storyteller with a flair for manipulating the English language to form literary treasures.

“We are cups,” Bradbury once said, “constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.”

Beautiful stuff. That’s what we like to put on our pages.

This month we have some exceptionally beautiful stuff–all speculative fiction of one sort or another.

First, a foray into future dystopia from Flash Fiction Online alumnus Derrick Boden, “A Winner’s Smile.”

Next, a heartbreaking urban fantasy piece, “A Partial Inventory of Things I Have Loved,” by Michelle Ann King.

From author Stephen S. Power–whose first novel, The Dragon Round (Simon & Schuster), hits bookstores next month–we’re pleased to present “Mamita,” a near-future science fiction story.

Lastly, a reprint from our staffer, Jason S. Ridler–“Charlatans and Magi,” which first appeared in the Summer 2009 issue of Flashquake.

Happy summer, and happy reading!