25 January 2017 ~ 0 Comments

The Best of Beneath Ceaseless Skies 2015-2016

written by David Steffen

This post covers two years of Beneath Ceaseless Skies–they didn’t publish quite enough stories in 2015 to do a list.  Beneath Ceaseless Skies continues to publish quality other-world fiction, edited by Scott H. Andrews.  This list only covers the stories they published on their podcast, which is a bit less than half of the stories they publish–one podcast every two weeks.  They published 45 original stories on the podcast in 2015-2016.

The stories that are eligible for this year’s science fiction awards (like the Hugo and Nebula) are marked with an asterisk (*).  BCS publishes all original fiction, but only that was first published in the 2016 calendar year is eligible.

The List

1. “The Punctuality Machine, Or, A Steampunk Libretto” by Bill Powell
Written as a futuristic time-travel musical plays written in the 1800s, with a full-cast recording.  So much fun!

2.  “The Sweetest Skill” by Tony Pi*
The third in a series of short stories about the candy magician Ao, who can make magical animated candies as well as negotiating arrangements with spirits of the Zodiac for greater powers.  Again he is drawn into using his powers in the service of others.  This story stands by itself, but if you want to find out more about his powers, and why he owes the debts that he does, you should also read the first story, “A Sweet Calling” published at Clarkesworld, and the second story “No Sweeter Art” published at Beneath Ceaseless Skies in previous years.

3.  “The Night Bazaar For Women Becoming Reptiles” by Rachael K. Jones*
Jones has a penchant for the weird, and this story is a prime example.  In the city in this story, everyone has a daytime life and a nighttime life, each with different lovers and different occupations and different expectations.  The protagonist sells reptile eggs to women at the Night Bazaar that transform them into reptiles, but she longs for such a transformation herself.

4.  “Blessed Are Those That Have Seen, and Do Not Believe” by D.K. Thompson*
Another entry in the St. Darwin’s Spirituals story, a kind of steampunk noir where Darwin invented goggles that allow the wearer to see spirits, and there are other supernatural elements as well.

5.  “Court Bindings” by Karalynn Lee
The protagonist is the bodyguard of a princess against the assassins of foreign courts, while watching her grow in her magic to compel other living beings to her will.

Honorable Mentions

“The King in the Cathedral” by Rich Larson

“The Mountains His Crown” by Sarah Pinsker*

 

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