Tag: sff

Not Unusual in Itself

Ryan didn’t believe it. That was not unusual in itself. There were a good many things Ryan didn’t believe in, such as astrology, healing crystals, ideologies, Gaia, religions, politics, ghosts, reality television, fate and several other things he was too busy not to believe in at the moment. However, he did believe in an external reality… until now. Ryan had always liked those stories; novels, films, TV programmes, that played around with reality, altering perceptions, questioning what is and what isn’t real. Are we all living inside some god’s dream, inside a computer programme? Is this a dream? Are we…

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The Mystery of the Disappearing Queen

‘You missed a good story in the inn last night.’ Helm shrugged. ‘I have little time for storytellers. They’re all liars.’ Tolg sat down beside the shepherd, both watching the sheep. ‘Oh, this storyteller is new. He hasn’t visited our village before.’ Helm muttered his thanks as Tolg passed him the wine bottle. Helm drank deep; watching sheep was a thirsty business. ‘Anyway,’ Tolg said. ‘This storyteller told us a new tale - about the Queen of Amboria.’ Helm stopped drinking. ‘Where?’ ‘Amboria.’ ‘Never heard of it.’ Helm swallowed, even though he was clutching the bottle in both hands where…

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The Hauntings

‘Come back,’ she said. I turned. There was no-one there. There never is. The voice comes at odd times with no real pattern or purpose. Like the visions of her, the mirages, the sightings – whatever you want to call them. They happen in various places both inside the house and outside it. I have seen her - and heard her - at different times and places from the attic rooms down to the cellar, along the remnants of the smugglers’ tunnel, as well as along the cliff and down on the beach. She speaks as if she knows I…

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A Real World Out There?

This world is not the world I remember. It has been some years, how many I do not know. But it goes beyond that. Changes over the time I’ve been away I could expect and understand. But this – these changes – go beyond mere alterations made by the passage of time. Something fundamental is different from this world to the one I left behind. It should be a matter of subtracting the year I left this world from the current one to give me an idea of how much time I lost while I was… away. But the calendar…

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No More Stories

It used to be so easy. I would find the women. I would discover their closely-guarded secret. Then I would weave a story around that one thing they desired more than anything else. I would tell them the story I’d made for them. They would show their gratitude, happy someone had come along into their lives and shown them something beyond their small world. It was easy travelling from village to village, making up stories to tell to those who needed to hear them. Being a mere storyteller meant that the outlaws ignored me, at least until they needed someone…

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The Shadow Dancer

Sadjil was a Shadow Dancer. We met – if met is the right word – one night back in the Year of the Green Death. I was walking the streets unable to sleep. I’d lost my ability to dream after a bout of the sickness that bought the Green Death. Without my dreams to sell I had no money left to buy a place to sleep, and since the Green Death had taken my wife and children I had no wish to call any place home. I walked both the days and the nights in that part of the city…

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Magic in the Air

‘There is,’ she said, ‘magic in the air.’ I looked up at her. I was lying in the bed, sheets thrown back. Giella was sitting up, naked, looking down at me with a serious expression on her face. ‘What?’ ‘I mean it.’ ‘Of course you do.’ I smiled. Ever since I’d arrived in the South Islands I’d heard people talking of magic, what it could do and who could do it. Of course, back in the Sun Empire we had people who claimed they could do magic, real magic that is not the conjuring tricks of the court entertainers. It…

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Reality is Not What it Used to Be

‘Is it real?’ I asked. ‘Ah.’ Professor Wilheim thrust his hands into the pockets of his lab coat. ‘That is an interesti-‘ A puzzled frown crossed his face. He withdrew his right hand from the pocket. He was now holding about two-thirds of a cheese salad baguette in his hand. He sniffed it, prodded it with a finger and took an experimental bite. ‘Is it real?’ I repeated. The puzzled frown was back as Wilheim stared at the now slightly smaller baguette in his hand. ‘It tastes real.’ ‘Not that… that.’ I pointed. The dragon looked up at the sound…

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Book Review: The Cartographer’s Apprentice – Jim Webster

The Cartographer's Apprentice: Leave Them Wanting More - Jim Webster Synopsis: Four short stories from the Land of the Three Seas casting a light on the early career of Benor Dorfinngil. The trials and tribulations of a young cartographer; this book features duels, savage halfmen, gassy beer, blood feuds and most dangerous of all, beautiful women. Review: These are four excellent short stories introducing the early days of Benor. Each tale pulses with humour as the well-drawn characters engage in various adventures. Each story features great dialogue, lots of good food, wine and ale, all taking place in a believable…

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Balancing the Budget

‘Ma’am?’ ‘Yes, What is it?’ Queegella did not look up. It was the end of the tax year and her department’s budget for the next fiscal year needed finalising. She looked up now. Hellitron stood in the doorway. Maybe Queegella thought, there was a cost saving there in her doorway. She made a note. ‘Ma’am?’ he repeated. ‘This better be important, Hellitron.’ He swallowed, at least his left head did. His right head glanced nervously over his shoulder. ‘I… we think it is… important, that is.’ ‘And?’ She tapped a claw on the desk. Hellitron was pretty, though, and she…

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