In This Issue

Thanks very much for joining us in the new year. We hope that this year will be an improvement on the last one for you and yours in the ways that count most.

The Preditors & Editors Poll runs through January 14. We would be honored by nominations or votes in any of the appropriate categories: Fiction e-zine, Science Fiction & Fantasy Short Story, Short Story (all other genres), Non-fiction Article (for Bruce Holland Rogers’s “Short-short Sighted” column), and Author. R.W. Ware is also eligible for Artist: Check out his illustrations in our January, February, March, April, and May issues. Finally, if I may not seem too immodest, I’m eligible for magazine / e-zine editor.

To the stories:

We’re happy to have Tim Pratt on our pages. His fiction and poetry have been published in a lot of great places, and he’s a respected editor as well. “Caltrops” left me with a sense of grim amusement, although it also made me wonder whether it weren’t written as a bet: Could Pratt devise a scenario in which a degree in the Classics could be more pragmatic than one in engineering?

Our staff’s reaction to Tree Riesener’s story, “Hungry,” was really interesting; although it’s quite a sober story, the reactions to it were positive. I think it generates a degree of empathy that gets the reader past a lot of other possible reactions. In fact, I expected an uphill battle simply because it’s in the second person point of view — we’re pretty hard on that writing technique around here — and was pleasantly surprised to see that it sailed through easily. Tell us what you think of it in the comments.

Ken Pisani’s “Last Bites” is the precise complement to Riesener’s story. They’re both about food and death — two of my favorite discussion topics — but Ken’s story has a more frivolous feel to it, while delivering a substantially different punch.

I chose our Classic Flash during a cold snap: “The Failure of Hope & Wandel” is about ice, or rather, what two gentlemen from New Orleans (that’s the Deep South in the U.S., where it never freezes) think of it. Or rather, don’t think. The author’s nickname — “Bitter Bierce” — seems appropriate in more ways than one with this story.

This month’s Short-short Sighted column by Bruce Holland Rogers is called “Ellipsis: What To Leave Out.” Writing too much about it would seem a bit off-point, but every writer should check it out. Check it out along with his example story, “Okra, Sorghum, Yam”.