written by David Steffen
If you’re looking for a new magazine to read, and you’re a fan of some quality worldbuilding, you’ve got to check out Beneath Ceaseless Skies.Â They have a neat little niche market, focusing on worlds that are “other” in some way, either a past time period (with speculative elements added in) or an alternate world; no contemporary, no futuristic.
BCS releases an issue every two weeks, with 2 brand new stories in text, and one audio story which is a reprint of one of their earlier text stories.Â For the purposes of this list, I only considered the 55 audio stories they’ve published to date–if you follow the links you can either read the text or listen to the audio.Â I’d like to catch up on their text stories as well, but I find it much easier to find time for audio.Â And as usual, I don’t consider stories that I’ve considered for one of my other Best Of lists, which does eliminate a few, including the excellent Alchemist’s Feather by Erin Cashier.
1.Â Father’s Kill by Christopher Green
A father and his young children live in an isolated house in a wilderness thick with wolves.Â Father is out hunting, leaving the children home, the wolves held back by a solid door with a series of intricate locks. Â Great dark story with a child’s point of view.
2.Â Architectural Constants by Yoon Ha Lee
Wow.Â This story really put Yoon Ha Lee on my radar.Â Awesome worldbuilding of a very strange otherworld.Â I’m… not sure that I totally understood everything that happened, but it was still wholly enjoyable.
3.Â Dying on the Elephant Road by Steve Rasnic Tem
It certainly delivers on the title, as the protagonist gets trampled to death by elephants in an effort to save the love of his life, who has no idea he exists.Â Don’t worry, that’s not a spoiler– that happens in about the first paragraph.Â Shortly thereafter he’s patched together by a mysterious stranger with even more mysterious motives.
4.Â Preservation by Jonathan Wood
If you’ve ever lost a loved one have you wished that you could have kept them around forever?
5.Â Waiting for Number Five by Tom Crosshill
This is a story of Four, the fourth in a series of sentient dancing figurines, each an improvement on the last.Â But how long does she have before Five replaces her?
6.Â Mamafield by Corie Ralston
Sentient plants with a smothering mother, and the story of one of the other plant children who had run away.
Pale by Kathryn Allen
Remembering Light by Marie Brennan
This story takes place in the world of Driftwood, the same setting as “A Heretic by Degrees”, also written by Marie Brennan, which made my Best of Podcastle list.
Sun Magic, Earth Magic by David D. Levine