Manual Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #82

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Contents:


  1. See a Problem?
  2. Bibliography | hujekarezubo.ga
  3. BCS 240: Revival
  4. Clarkesworld Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy

In his dreaming mind, he thought his wife, heavy with child and her thick winter coat, had come to visit him for the first time.


  • Songs of the 1960s Songbook: E-Z Play Today Volume 232?
  • Mencius.
  • Daktronics and The Man Who LIt It Up.
  • Clarion South 2007 bibliography.
  • Beneath Ceaseless Skies.
  • The Cannibal Islands Captain Cooks Adventure in the South Seas?

She laid down next to him in the ice-crested depression, her cold nose pressing sharply into his neck, a chilling sensation that jolted him awake. He felt at his neck, a hum still spiraling in his ear, to discover a single bee. Carefully, he removed it, examining it in the palm of his hand. He wondered why it would escape from its warm hive into the frigid night. Was it lonely? Did it need his company? Was it afraid of the dark, of winter, of dying? Was this what it would be like to be a father and hold a frightened child in his arms after a nightmare?

He watched its thin wings trying desperately to beat back the wind, to stay secure in his hand. And then he thought of the bee on his chest, the swarm. He thought of the albino squirrel, wondrous and consumed by the bees. Almost impulsively, he balled up fingers into a fist, crushing the bee before it could sting him. He opened his fist and wiped the smeared bee remains on his pant leg before rolling over to sleep once more. One day in the spring, he returned home, his boots crunching through the frost-covered grass.

He heard a robin singing above him as he walked, and smiled. His son would be born soon, he realized. Someday he would teach him bird songs, the phases of the moon. He smiled again at this thought and walked into the quiet house. His stomach emptied when he saw the baby on the floor, swollen and pale, the color of lime on a field on a grey November day.

It did not occur to him to try to save the child for he knew he was gone before he could cross the room. As he drew closer, he noticed its eyes were caked in a thick smear of honey. Something she must have learned from her mother, he thought. A way to lock in its soul, perhaps.

How do we learn these acts, these rites that tie us from this life to the many before, he wondered. He could remember nothing from his father, no specific lesson or chore, and yet his mother had told him he held his fork the same way, he sniffed the air after a thunderstorm the same way, a look, a gesture, all the same. Who had she learned from, he wanted to know. She was alone for so long. Perhaps, he thought, there are simply some things women know instinctively, by feel at the first kick, the first blood, the first wave of labor.

Had the baby cried, he wondered. Had it suffered? Had she? He sank down over the little swollen bundle and rocked it in his arms. Its skin felt cold and rubbery like a bald tire against his face. Thinking perhaps she had returned to the beehive, he hurried there, his bum leg aching with the exertion.

But when he pushed back the myrtle branches, just beginning to leaf into a vibrant green, he saw and heard no bees. How had she done it? How had she convinced the bees to follow her? He tried imagining her as a bee general, standing in front of the bees humming to them a rallying cry, ordering them to march behind her over the hills until they could find a new home.

But this militant woman was not his wife. Perhaps not a soldier, but a sorceress, captivating the bees to follow her and leave their ancestral hive behind. He imagined her playing a pan-pipe made of honeycomb, thick globs of wax sticking to her upper lip. She would be beautiful in the lurid power, a force beyond recognition. In the silence of the empty hive before him, he stooped in the realization that he did not really know her. Some men in the village told him that bees will migrate when the vegetation is poor.

There will be nothing for them to pollinate here. He sat staring at the hive wishing it would hum to life with the twitching energy of the bees. Or if they could not return, he thought, he wished that he might break apart into a million restless bees and swarm the world in search of her, humming her name into the wind. Rated PG Who knew hellfire was so damn hot, anyway? But nothing beats an accidental exorcism for short-term shock value and long-term impact.

The scarred fingers on my left hand barely able to pick out even the simplest chords and the death of Bella who stood closer to that demon than any of us forever twisted my life in a new direction. Excitement and adrenaline, I try to tell myself. Not fear and anxiety. Not doubt. No one to blame but ourselves. None of our jobs to date have been this high-profile. Mostly we deal with third-rate demons, restless spirits of expired roadies, and newbie metal bands that accidentally curse themselves in a quest for satanic cred.

Pro-tip: not even the devil gives a shit about new rock and metal bands these days. The setting tonight is a backstage room much like any other, even though the venue is one of the most prestigious in Vancouver. It smells of sweat and hot dogs, old beer and hockey games, and the props are drab and ordinary. The only hint of luxury is the divine black leather couch. The concrete walls vibrate with the muffled rumble and roar of audience and music. Somewhere above our heads, Rick is playing, flanked by the hired guns he calls his band these days.

The old band, the one everybody remembers, those guys are all gone. Choked on his own vomit outside a club in Camden. Cocaine induced heart attack. Cancer, slow and cruel. And finally, two years ago, Todd the drummer with the cute ass, dead by suicide. What do you think? His playing is simultaneously diabolical and divine, and the sound rushes through my veins and groin and gut and lungs, into every spiky bleach-blonde hair on my head.

Do we have to do this? He killed Todd. And who knows how many others.

See a Problem?

Hopefully, it will be enough. We wait. I can hear my heartbeat, and the distant thrum of the crowd heading towards the exits. Then the door opens, and Rick steps inside. Seeing him up close, all sweat and leather, is giving me a head-rush like the first time I downed a line of tequila slammers. Alice slides in behind Rick and locks the door. He is taking us both in, head to toe, pausing for an extra look at the backstage passes around our necks, the ones Alice made using Photoshop and a laminating machine.

After examining us, he saunters over to the sofa, grabs a water bottle, and sits down. Every bit of him is tall and lanky, with more than a hint of salt sprinkled into that famously shaggy mop of dark curls. The pants are Ray Brown all the way: tastefully flashy black leather and studs; and those hot-damn leather bracers are surely Ray Brown, too. Angling for a sex-tape or something? His eyes linger on her business attire: studded bracers, skull rings, and a denim battle vest covered in patches and pins — Thin Lizzy, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Saxon, and the rest of the usual suspects from the s.

Alice glares back, flexing her biceps just a bit. You used to play. I saw you in a club in Seattle. You were opening for some shit band who thought they were the second coming of Black Sabbath, and before you went on I thought you were just groupies. Bet you got that a lot. What were you called? Devil Hearts? Of course, we remember it. We remember him being there, drunk and high like all rock-stars in the eighties, but that he would remember us and recognize us all these years later, that possibility never even crossed our minds.

The drummer, she was your singer, too, right? What was her name. Bella Lugosi. After she died? Like Zeppelin? That thing you started with — what was that? Like a hot rod starting up. Sounded wicked! I remember the way the guitar felt in my hands, what the strings felt like beneath my agile, dextrous fingers. I remember the hot and sticky air in that joint, the sweat beading on my skin, the power rushing through my veins like vodka and Mountain Dew as I hopped on that stage. I just hit harmonics at the fourth fret and then bottomed out the strings with the bar so it sounded really ugly.

That was awesome. You worked that all out beforehand? That climbing bit where you end up right up here. To you! He is feeding off me while he sits there, eyes twinkling, smirk askew, sipping his water. Of course he is. Because this is how he lives. This is how he, it, feeds. This is what he does every night on stage, to however many thousands are in the audience: turning them on, seducing them with the music and then feeding off their energy, that sky-high rush of it all. Never draining any one person fully, at least not in public. Because this is how he, it, has lived for decades, centuries, ages.

Nice to get a taste. So much passion, cut through with pain. Almost, I feel jealousy rather than relief: as though what I really crave is for him to keep devouring me. Nothing serious. Come on, be honest. Holding on to her makes the world feel solid again, like finding my footing in slipping mud. Too late. For the first time since he came into the room, something akin to fear crosses his features.

Why are you doing this? I thought you were just over-zealous fans. Just took us a while to figure out what it was. Did you know he wanted to pull the plug on the band and stop touring? Lazy SOB. It can also bite you significantly in the ass, if the entity decides to lash out. And then something happens. Are you going to splash me with holy water? Rub me with a crucifix? I tell him the story, his story. The story Alice and I have pieced together through endless, booze- and coffee-fueled nights and days: poring over old music magazines and YouTube videos, gleaning evidence from interviews with bartenders, fans, groupies, and roadies.

The club where it happens is called the Golden Horn. A hole in the wall, stranded between the tilled fields and grasslands of the past, and the electric lights and combustion engines of the present. Maybe the crossroads is there, beneath the most recent layer of civilization, just paved over, smothered in pot-holed asphalt and cracked concrete. Inside, the place maintains a run-down, louche glory: velvet seat cushions worn to a shine, a lingering smell of ancient tobacco and wood-polish, smoke-stained walls and ceiling, faded photos of black and white musicians, the bar gleaming like alluring amber beneath the glasses and the bottles of booze.

This night, that night, you step inside with the band, each one of you carrying your own darkness with you. The spare tire is on after a mishap on the highway, and everyone is dejected, demoralized, drunk — dogs snapping at each other out of hunger and boredom. There have been offers, some of them tempting, and anything is better than this dead-end tour. You see Billy as soon as you enter, even in that gloom.

And you crouch with them. You sit with him while the band sets up the gear and gets ready for the gig. An hour later, you step up on stage and throw down the gig of your life. Everyone who was there says they could feel it was something special as soon as you hit the first riff: like the smell of lightning contained, like a tremor beneath the earth, like a massive current of energy gathered and released. To this day, people who were there talk about it like they must have talked about Moses coming off the mountain. And the band? Best of all, a suit from a label just happens to be there, passing through on his way to L.

A week after that, Billy Shoes dies. Old age? Hard living? About the silver ghost. I think you saw it. One of the bartenders told me that at one point, it looked like you had a halo, a silver-misty glow above your head. Sort of like a silver ghost, he said. There for just a moment, then it was gone. You were it, it was you, and you still are. Whatever it promised you. Wistful, even. Neither one of us have. You know. Whatever you think, it just really, really likes to play guitar. The guys in the band, they knew you were different from then on, though they might not have said it.

Or maybe they were lured in and seduced, like the rest of us. After all, whatever happened to you made them better, too. Not to mention richer. Alice guessed it first: what you are, what it is. Musicians, mostly. A genie, or something very much like it. A genie without a lamp or bottle, but in need of a vessel of flesh and blood. Not capable of making everything come true, but powerful enough to seduce new human hosts throughout the ages. There always is. You feed off human energy, human lives. Sometimes you feed until people die.

Like Todd. Like countless others. I think. Whatever Rick is, whatever is inside of him, whatever has been roaming this world in all its different guises for however long, reaches out and seizes hold of me — in spite of the chain, in spite of the software, in spite of the weapons-grade materials and the patent pending.

I already know your first wish. Not to evict me, but to take me in? I can see it: everything I could have, everything I could be, every dream I had when I was fourteen coming true. Yes, I think: fervently, feverishly. Just let me go, and you can have him. Robert Plant? Anything you want. Just let me go, I. Thank god for the good old standby of sleeping pills and booze, am I right?

It looks like a metallic hairnet, and I carefully connect the wires from it to the open mouth of the vial. Then I see it: a brief flash of glistening, amorphous silver mist, a shivering phantom mass of something unseen and unseeable, flickering in and out of sight. I mean, demons and spirits usually just poof out of our plane of existence, but this. For the Rick we loved. For the music and the riffs and those moments he gave us when there was nothing but joy. For Bella, for ourselves, for a band gone down the drain, for my mutilated fingers, for the pain and grief that is impervious to drugs or booze, for the never-ending regret of it all.

To my surprise, I feel the idea of a riff take shape inside me, slipping into my wrist and hand. I flex my fingers again. They feel stronger, more dextrous. As if the heat of the fight with Rick has loosened my joints, as if the scarred cartilage and bone has softened, as if. I stop myself. I close my eyes. No, I think. Then: yes. But the gear. This episode takes you inside Drabblecast audio production. Ever wonder how we produce an episode of the Drabblecast? Wonder no more! We dig into all the technical aspects like voice acting, sound editing and mixing, foley effects, music and more.

Rank 2: Drabblecast — Skullpocket: Part 1. Everyone screaming and crying at each other, the incessant heat, obsessive social media addicts—it gets old, ya know? Rank 1: BCS Mamafield. They couldn't be serious, Morrow thought Forrest Brazeal is a software engineer, writer, and cartoonist based in rural Virginia. Find him at forrestbrazeal. This story is narrated by the author. For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast. Content warning: Spoiler InsideSelectShowself harm, grief, loss of a child The Algorithms for Love by Ken Liu So long as the nurse is in the room to keep an eye on me, I am allowed to dress myself and get ready for Brad.

I slip on an old pair of jeans and a scarlet turtleneck sweater. West speaks with Brad just outside the hospital doors. The traffic is smooth and light, and the foliage along the highway is postcard-perfect. The Oxetine relaxes the muscles around my mouth, and in the vanity mirror I see that I have a beatific smile on my face. I wait a few seconds. He looks at me, smiles, and turns his eyes back to the road. To him this means that the routines are back in place, that he is talking to the same woman he has known all these years, that things are back to normal.

We are just another tourist couple from Boston on a mini-break for the weekend: stay at a bed-and-breakfast, visit the museums, recycle old jokes. I want to scream. The first doll I designed was called Laura. Clever Laura. Laura had brown hair and blue eyes, fully articulated joints, twenty motors, a speech synthesizer in her throat, two video cameras disguised by the buttons on her blouse, temperature and touch sensors, and a microphone behind her nose.

None of it was cutting-edge technology, and the software techniques I used were at least two decades old. But I was still proud of my work. She retailed for fifty dollars. Not Your Average Toy could not keep up with the orders that were rolling in, even three months before Christmas. Brad wanted me to get comfortable with being in front of the cameras before bringing me to the domestic morning shows. I had chatted with him a few times before, but it was all professional.

He seemed a very serious, driven sort of guy, the kind you could picture starting his first company while he was still in high school — arbitraging class notes, maybe. Was he trying to see if I was too nervous? Maybe for cooking? Then he gave me a conspiratorial wink. Then he smiled, and I laughed out loud.

Brad had nothing to do with the design, of course, since it was all my idea. But his answer was so good it almost convinced me that Laura was really his brainchild. Then it was time for the dog-and-pony show. I put Laura on the desk, her face towards the camera. I sat to the side of the desk. Cindy was impressed. How much can she say? Her speech is regulated by a context-free grammar. Laura turned her head the other way, to look at her.

Cindy was visibly unnerved by the doll turning to face her on its own and responding to her question. So did Brad. And a moment later Cindy joined us. And she has a small set of stock phrases that are triggered the same way. How does she learn new words? Laura has enough memory to learn hundreds of new words. However, they have to be nouns. You can show her the object while you are trying to teach her what it is.

She has some very sophisticated pattern recognition capabilities and can even tell faces apart. Every interview followed the same pattern. The moment when Laura first turned to the interviewer and answered a question there was always some awkwardness and unease. Seeing an inanimate object display intelligent behavior had that effect on people.

They probably all thought the doll was possessed. Then I would explain how Laura worked and everyone would be delighted. I memorized the non-technical, warm-and-fuzzy answers to all the questions until I could recite them even without my morning coffee. I got so good at it that I sometimes coasted through entire interviews on autopilot, not even paying attention to the questions and letting the same words I heard over and over again spark off my responses.

The interviews, along with all the other marketing tricks, did their job. We had to outsource manufacturing so quickly that for a while every shantytown along the coast of China must have been turning out Lauras. The foyer of the bed-and-breakfast we are staying at is predictably filled with brochures from local attractions. Most of them are witch-themed. The lurid pictures and language somehow manage to convey moral outrage and adolescent fascination with the occult at the same time. Maybe she was just like me, a crazy, grown woman playing with dolls.

The very idea of visiting a doll shop makes my stomach turn. While Brad is asking David about restaurants and possible discounts I go up to our room. I want to be sleeping, or at least pretending to be sleeping, by the time he comes up. Maybe then he will leave me alone, and give me a few minutes to think. If only I can remember what went wrong. For our honeymoon Brad and I went to Europe. We went on the transorbital shuttle, the tickets for which cost more than my yearly rent. But we could afford it. Witty Kimberly , our latest model, was selling well, and the stock price was transorbital itself.

When we got back from the shuttleport, we were tired but happy. It felt like playing house. The familiarity of the routine made everything seem more real. Over dinner Brad told me something interesting. They played with the dolls themselves. My favorite one had step-by-step instructions on how to teach Kimberly to make up and tell lawyer jokes.

When I was struggling with my problem sets at MIT I would have loved to take apart something like Kimberly to figure out how she worked. How it worked, I corrected myself mentally. Well, maybe I was a little vain about it. We can release the interface to the modules at least, a programming guide, and maybe even some of the source code. I wanted to see smart and talking machines doing something real, like teaching kids to read or helping the elderly with chores.

I knew that he would agree with me in the end. Despite his serious exterior he was willing to take risks and defy expectations. It was why I loved him. I got up to clear the dishes. His hand reached across the table and grabbed mine. He walked around the table, pulling me to him. I looked into his eyes. I loved the fact that I knew him so well I could tell what he was going to say before he said it. Those would have been the only words right for that moment. And so he did. In my drugged state, even pretending is too difficult. Brad wants to go to the pirate museum. He agrees immediately. The collection of china is terrible.

The workmanship in the bowls and saucers is inexcusable. The patterns look like they were traced on by children. According to the placards, these were what the Cantonese merchants exported for foreign consumption. They would never have sold such stuff in China itself. I read the description written by a Jesuit priest who visited the Cantonese shops of the time. The craftsmen sat in a line, each with his own brush and specialty.

The first drew only the mountains, the next only the grass, the next only the flowers, and the next only the animals. They went on down the line, passing the plates from one to the next, and it took each man only a few seconds to complete his part. I imagine painting the same blades of grass on a thousand teacups a day: the same routine, repeated over and over, with maybe a small break for lunch. Reach out, pick up the cup in front of you with your left hand, dip the brush, one, two, three strokes, put the cup behind you, rinse and repeat.

What a simple algorithm. We fought at work, where people stared through the glass door at Brad and me gesticulating at each other wildly, silently. I was so tired that night. I came up to the bedroom. There was no light. Brad had gone to bed early. He was exhausted too. We had again hurled the same reasons at each other during dinner. I sat down on my side of the bed and undressed. I finished unbuttoning my blouse and turned around. With the moonlight coming through the window I could see that his face was wet.

I started crying too. But not like me. But I could hear her cries. I could always hear her cries. In the end I tried to break through the glass with my hands, and I beat my palms against the unyielding glass until the bones broke and they sedated me. I could never have another child. Beneath Ceaseless Skies features exciting stories set in awe-inspiring places that are told with all the skill and impact of modern literary-influenced fantasy.

Beneath Ceaseless Skies publishes two stories per issue, with a new issue every two weeks. Readers can subscribe by email notification or by RSS feed, or for automatic delivery to Kindle. We release all issues as ebooks and selected stories as Audio Fiction podcasts. We publish annual Best-of ebook anthologies and occasional theme anthologies of stories from the magazine. We maintain a News page , a Facebook page , and a Twitter feed BCSmagazine to update submitting writers and to encourage reader discussion of our authors, artwork, and stories.

What are some of the books which have most captured your imagination as a reader? Some of Stephen King's recent work has been pretty incredible. It was interesting to learn that both of those were books he started writing decades ago, but set aside at the time. I'll have to remember to hold on to all my false starts. One best man. What if you were in love with both? His hesitance to look up struck a chord within me, momentarily making me wobble on my decision. Suddenly, something within me urged him to look at me. Part of me wanted him to stop the wedding, to show me exactly how much he cared.

Wanted him to stop me from making a terrible mistake. A terrible mistake? I loved Robert, but I loved Ben too. They were my rocks. Not singular. But, as the service got underway, as the congregation was asked for any reasons why we should not have been joined in matrimony without a peep from Ben, it started to sink in that he was not about to start fighting.

He was letting me go. You are an experienced biographer, but is this the first time you have written about your own family? How did the process of writing it compare to your previous work?

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Bibliography | hujekarezubo.ga

The process of writing both Himmelstrasse and Over the Ocean was, of course, much more intimate than other biographies I wrote, but basically the work was the same: interviews, research and the attempt to find a literary form for real life events and experiences. In Himmelstrasse I also wrote about my own life, so the writing process was a continuous reflection on how personal memories differ from material I found, for example, letters. Later in life my father described his Australia experience as an exciting and interesting period of his life.

My mother never talked about the anguish she experienced in the blitz. Knowing about the horrors of the Holocaust she might have thought it not worthwhile recounting. Writing Himmelstrasse was immensely relieving. The burden of my family history that had cast a shadow over most of my life disappeared after I had concluded the book and made me a happier person. Did you learn anything about your parents that you didn't already know? It was a pleasant surprise to realise how much my parents missed each other. Knowing I was a child of love was healing. When I was older this love was no longer palpable.

Tell us more about the materials you already had access to and the additional research you had to undertake to complete the story? I had about eighty letters which my parents wrote to each other while he was in Australia and on the Isle of Man. Other books of mine are based exclusively on interviews and background research.

Bosnia and women. What feeling would you most like readers to take away from Over the Ocean? Bad experiences may have a good ending. Historically speaking it is important to know what terrible and unjust mistakes governments make in times of crisis and war. From the earliest age I would find my attention drawn to the twinkling beacons of light in the night sky.

I would gaze at those iridescent jewels that sparkled in the frosty winter, when moonlight lay silver all around, and I would let my imagination take flight. To me the stars were both beautiful and mysterious. My love of stories grew early as well. I remember the anticipation of story-time at primary school, when I could be taken to a place beyond my own small experience. Although I could not articulate the thought at the time, I now realise that my fascination with stories was and is driven by the way they expose us to lives that could have been, might have been, or indeed still could be.

For my fifth birthday, I asked for a desk so that I could write stories. My father, a carpenter, made me one of beautiful blond-coloured wood with an inlaid green baize top. The wood matched the colour of my hair at the time. In future years I may have to think about another bespoke desk, but this time veneered by silver birch. Then came Star Wars.

Above the Earth

I was the right age to be utterly captivated. It blended my two loves perfectly: outer space and storytelling. I particularly remember how hard it was to sit still in my cinema seat when a spacecraft blasted off from a planet; the cinema would plunge into darkness as the screen filled with stars and the music soared to a magnificent crescendo. I wanted to jump from my seat and pump my fist in the air.

I was 10 years old when my parents bought me an encyclopaedia about space. I devoured it faster than the Christmas turkey accompanying it, and discovered that truth was in many ways stranger than fiction. What a magnificent universe we lived in. And just as mind-blowing was the way we could learn about it by looking and measuring. The die was cast really.

After a few years of trying to get a 'sensible' job, I realised that only astronomy would do. In lectures I learnt the science, in my spare time, I began to research the lives of the great astronomers. These are dramatised 4 2. The title of each is taken from an astronomer featured in the book. Galileo said that without science the night sky was a dark labyrinth, hence the title of the first book. This moment was when space and time came into existence.

In creating them, I was inspired by the works of Philippa Gregory and Robert Harris in their dramatised historical novels and figured that I could do the same for the greatest astronomers in history. They are the only novels to be endorsed by The Science Museum of London. Initially I began investigating the history and philosophy of what drove these men to reach for the stars. What I found were stories of such drama and intrigue that all they needed was a little fictional glue to bring the known events to life. Most importantly, I discovered that these were stories about belief, both religious and personal.

What do we need proof for? Each of us must strike this balance. All are published in They stand today as mute witness to history and paperback by Polygon, human achievement. They are beauty and mystery and are also available as made manifest. And they are freely available to e-books. To say it was boring would be a gross understatement. But at the same time, it was strangely fascinating.

There were various stages that everybody went through. Firstly, men — they were almost always men — would get out of their cars and crane their necks like so many meerkats, trying to catch sight of the obstruction. Interestingly, they tended to repeat this several times, despite the fact that nothing could be seen. The second stage was turning off the engine, which was a surprisingly monumental gesture. Then, once the noise of the engines had died away, there was a prolonged period of sitting. What followed was particularly intriguing. People began to get out of their cars and talk to each other.

Before long, the vehicles lost all significance as instruments of perambulation, instead acquiring new roles as de facto houses. Everyone met people that they would never usually encounter. The road became a sort of autopolis. A gang of twenty-something travellers went on an expedition to a local pub, and brought back packets of prawn cocktail crisps for us. Someone taught a group of people Irish dancing on the hard shoulder. And as the opposite side of the road was deserted — the obstruction must have blocked both sides of the motorway — people started playing football on it.

This became the inspiration for my new novel, JAM, which is set entirely in traffic. But I made two important changes. Firstly, whereas the real traffic jam had only lasted for a few hours only! This was because when I was writing the novel, I met a woman who told me that once she had been driving a few junctions down the motorway to have dinner with her mother, and had got caught up in a jam that lasted until nine the following morning. The second alteration I made was to relocate the traffic jam to the M The reason for this should be obvious: the M25 is a simply wonderful motorway, for the novelist at least.

For a start, it is circular, which provides rich metaphorical potential. Secondly, it acts as a boundary around London, which again makes an important statement in a novel about the state of Britain today. Because although the M25 is undeniably an important character in JAM, this is a book about the British people of A traffic jam is one of the few occasions in which our intensely classstratified society is shaken up, and the pieces are allowed to fall randomly.

Writing the book forced me to confront the social fragmentation of British life, and also to acknowledge the thread of humanity that unifies us. It had sunk its teeth through the layers of clothing Megan wore, sliding through her skin to get to her bones. They ached. They hurt even more than the muscle cramping in her calf. She pulled her sleeves down over her hands and tucked her arms under her body. Slowly, she let her head sink down too, so her face was pillowed on the grass.

She wanted to sleep so much. Her eyes kept closing. Lovely lady. She might be back. Bloody Ruby would have watched it, hours ago, curled up on the sofa in their flat. Megan had thought he was cute, but in an abstract, on-thetelevision-and-therefore-attractive way. Even the 4 4. That good deed earned her a glare from Hugh, and a twitch that made his beard move in a very disconcerting way. They had to be quiet and still. Who knew when Hugh would give up?

The silence settled around them again. Megan made herself concentrate. She would make the best of this. She would see a beautiful badger in the wild, and have an experience to remember for ever, and she would never, ever do this again. The bang was shatteringly loud. He was still too conscious of his image to do anything as uncouth as proper swearing, Megan noted. Minor television personalities did not swear. Must have been a car backfiring. He liked it when she listened to him and agreed with what he was saying. Also available in e-book. Tom, I have not left you. But I am gone.

Please just carry on as normal. Love always Hayley I stared at the words and sat down in my chair. But usually, when you meet someone you can trust, you know. Here, her — Hayley — this was a girl you could trust. The second she gave me her number, I did the thing I always do when someone gives me their number. All you have to do after saying something like that is sit back and wait for the laughter to subside. A deal-sealer.

And now I sat in my flat, in the dark, on the chair in the corner, dialling that number again and again and again and again and again. It was fast becoming not-my-favourite. A strange thing, being left, while being assured you have not been left. What are you supposed to do with that? Just switch to solo behaviour? Four hours had passed and I was still sitting in that chair. Jangling my keys.

Listening to the dogs outside. Dusk had turned to dark. Confusion had turned to anger and settled, lump-thick, deep in my stomach. Where had Hayley gone? I guess that was my main question. But also, and obviously … why? How long would she be gone? Was she gone gone? Why was she saying she was going but not gone? We had responsibilities. We had direct debits. I sounded confused on the first one. Furious on the second. Worried on the third and fourth. Desperate as I hit the fifth, and sixth, and then silent seventh.

Where are you? Where have you gone? Lots of calls.

BCS 240: Revival

Her best friend, Fran. It was loud where Annie was. Maybe drinks? What did that mean? Was Annie preparing to say goodbye to me? Backing off? Fading me out of her life? That was bad. Where is she? For Elodie, returning to Everdene means re-awakening the memories of one summer fifty years ago. A summer when everything changed. Vince and his brother are struggling to come to terms with the death of their father — but they have very different ways of coping.

And for Jenna, determined to put the past behind her, the opportunity to become 'the ice cream girl' once again might just turn her life around. But this summer is not all sunshine and surf — as secrets unfold, and some lives are changed for ever…. Most people had given up hope of ever seeing it again, after two years of endless grey and wet with barely any respite. But suddenly the sun burst back onto the scene with unapologetic ebullience, throwing her golden rays with abandon onto the three miles of beach, turning the sand from sludgy beige to roseate gold.

There was the touch of the show-off about her: the girl who knows she is the belle of the ball; the girl who relishes being the centre of attention. Some, with typically British pessimism, said the glorious sunshine would never last, but those with a beach hut at Everdene exchanged secretive, gleeful smiles as day after day broke cloudless and bright. Fifty-seven huts, painted in icecream colours, some immaculate, some dilapidated; some tiny, with barely room for a bucket and spade; others sprawling and substantial.

For the people lucky enough to have one, this was the summer of their dreams — a summer of hazy days and balmy nights, of the kind read about in books; of the kind recalled in distant memories. A summer of picnic baskets and bicycle rides and ripe strawberries. Freckles and ice cream and stolen afternoon naps. And love. Love blossomed and unfurled. The heat healed rifts and forged bonds and mended broken hearts, reaching across miles and spanning decades.

Love in many different guises. Sometimes the love had waited patiently to re-emerge, blinking, into the sunlight. Other times it sprang up unexpectedly and surprised itself. It was undoubtedly the sun that had coaxed love out of hiding, though, a golden, glittering orb The Beach Hut Next that stayed fixed in the sky for Door by Veronica Henry weeks on end, only standing aside is published 3 July in occasionally for the rain to moisten paperback by Orion, the parched earth.

Nobody wanted it to end. For fans of Atonement, Birdsong and Downton Abbey. In the idyllic early summer of , life is good for the de Witt family. Rudolf and Verena are planning the wedding of their daughter Emmeline, while their eldest son, Arthur, is studying in Paris and Michael is just back from his first term at Cambridge.

Celia, the youngest of the de Witt children, is on the brink of adulthood, and secretly dreams of escaping her carefully mapped-out future and exploring the world. But the onslaught of war changes everything and soon the de Witts find themselves sidelined and in danger of losing everything they hold dear.

As Celia struggles to make sense of the changing world around her, she lies about her age to join the war effort and finds herself embroiled in a complex plot that puts not only herself but those she loves in danger. With gripping detail and brilliant empathy, Kate Williams tells the story of Celia and her family as they are shunned by a society that previously embraced them, torn apart by sorrow, and buffeted and changed by the storms of war. He had repainted it, put up new wallpaper and even installed electric lights in the parlour, the dining room and the front hall.

Verena, however, tended to decline to turn them on, and the staff were afraid of them — Smithson told Celia that they had heard that an electric light in a house near Winchester had burst and cast yellow stuff all over the entire company under it, and they were burnt quite to a cinder. Rudolf had recently installed a telephone in a special small booth in the hall, even though no one had yet used it and Verena complained bitterly about the expense. Celia sometimes crept to look at it when nobody else was around. She would pick up the receiver and speak into it. She pulled his hand.

You will, though. Say it to me, promise me. If we leave, we go together. Please, Tom. Things will always stay the same. She pulled her hand free and took three steps away. Present day. On a Mediterranean island, Ellie restores an abandoned garden. It seems idyllic, but the longer Ellie spends there, the more she senses darkness, and a lingering evil. Second World War. As secret messages are passed in scent and planes land by moonlight, danger comes ever closer…. From the port at La Tour Fondue, the crossing to Porquerolles would take only fifteen minutes.

Ellie Brooke put her face up to the sun, absorbing the heat. On the deck of the ferry, there were few other passengers this late in the afternoon. The young man had his back to the curve of the deck rail, facing her. The engines thrummed and the boat powered up to full speed. The island was already sharpening into focus when the young man climbed over the deck rail, spread both arms, and then let himself slip down the side of the ferry, a silent movement so quick and so unexpected that Ellie was not the only passenger to admit that she had at first doubted her own eyes.

No splash was heard in the churning water close to the hull. The young man had gone over the edge too close to the bow to have had any chance of swimming away safely. As soon as he hit the water he would have been sucked under and pulled towards the propellers, it was said later. In the moments immediately afterwards, though, in 4 8. Someone threw a life belt. On deck, more passengers emerged from the cabin. They were drawn to one another, wanting to help but frightened of getting in the way as the crew set about a rescue procedure.

The man with the briefcase was particularly vocal, and his tirade sounded like condemnation. A man in a panama hat hung slightly back, making no comment. The next he was gone. She turned away. Bright sunlit sails slid across the sapphire sea. A small aircraft cut across the sky. Waves churned by a dinghy, very quickly joined by a police launch, slapped against the port side of the ferry. Falling cadences of conversation on deck marked the transition from irritation with the delay to understanding. The fear felt by all was primitive: the oldest sea story of all, the soul lost overboard.

Within minutes, invisible modern signals brought the emergency services. Ellie stood up and went over to the rail. Not for the first time, she wondered why she had come. This year the arrival of Jenn's stepdaughter and boyfriend Nathan threatens to upset their equilibrium. Beautiful and reckless, Nathan stirs something unexpected in Jenn.

Clarkesworld Magazine - Science Fiction & Fantasy

What follows is a highly-charged liaison that puts lives and relationships in jeopardy. Two brothers and their sisters are brought up, beaten and browbeaten by their manipulative mother, to study, honour and obey. The boys escape to study medicine abroad, abandoning their sisters to their mother and marriages. Their sisters in Pakistan refuse to remain trophy wives, and disgrace the family while they strike out to build their own lives. The idyllic estate at Dulough, home to the Campbells for generations, is to be taken over as a tourist attraction, forcing the family into a small, damp caretaker's cottage.

The upheaval strains the already tenuous threads that bind the family, and when a tragic accident befalls them, long-simmering resentments and unanswered yearnings are forced to the surface.

BCS 071: To the Gods of Time and Engines, a Gift

Small Island is a delicately wrought and profoundly moving novel of empire, prejudice, war and love, set in s Britain. Celebrate the 10th anniversary of Andrea Levy's iconic, multi-awardwinning, million copy bestselling novel with this new edition. They say you know instinctively who to trust.

But do you? Three very different lives come crashing together in this dark, lyrical and enthralling story of warped perceptions, female intuition and 'the other woman'. Meet Lizzie Prain. Ordinary housewife. Now she needs to dispose of his body, and her method is not for the faint-hearted. In my novel, the husband of the dead woman has relocated to South Africa and year-old Indigo and her older brother, who now live with their grandparents, are visiting him for the first time. It helps if you like your main character — if you are writing a novel you are going to be spending a long time with them!

She will be okay, I think, in spite of the tragedy that has marked her early life. When we got off the plane I had to hold on to the handrail like an old person. I was afraid my rucksack would tip me over. We were walking so fast we had to run. Through some doors it was suddenly as noisy as the swimming pool. A big crowd was pressed up against the barrier. There were posters for Nelson Mandela and a man was wearing a T-shirt with his face on. A woman had a turban that made her the tallest out of everyone.

I saw Dad straight away but the stewardess kept going, whizzing our suitcases along on their noisy wheels with her high heels clicking and clacking. She looked like she would click-clack past all the people waiting, past Dad, and out the other side of the airport, keep on click-clacking until she came to the sea.

He was wearing a white T-shirt and a denim shirt over the top. The shirt was open and the T-shirt was so white it made his eyes look extra blue. It had the words Taylored Travel written on it. Every time we see him I forget the smell of him, then I remember it again. He asked if she wanted his phone number as well and she laughed and tipped her head so far back you could see the edge of her make-up.

He said What do you say, babies? I knew he wanted us to say thank you to her for looking after us, but I pretended not to understand. I said bye instead.


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Robin said Alarm Girl by Hannah Thanks for looking after us and the stewardess called Vincent is published him a gentleman but really he was just a bum-licker. Yes, people remembered having had the disease as children but it was no longer something to be scared of. Autism, on the other hand, appeared to be on the increase. I was amongst them. But, mindful of the damaging effects of diseases it offered protection against, I bit the bullet and had my kids vaccinated. Fourteen years later, when there was a measles outbreak in Wales and in Brighton where I live, I was thankful that I had.

Could I have lived with the consequences of a decision made years previously? It was this thought that gave me the idea for Living With It. The baby becomes completely deaf as a direct result. When the parents of the deaf child start legal proceedings, friendships, relationships, loyalties and beliefs are tested to the limit. Can both sets of parents and their children learn to live with the effects of decisions taken years ago — decisions which have come back to haunt them?

Can they reconcile their pasts with a future which is now uncertain? In my novel, I wanted to examine how we behave when faced with difficult moral dilemmas and how we react when our decisions, which we thought were the right ones, turn out to be wrong. I feel so powerless. But we are in this position. Can you? Not just Isobel and Eric: the others will take sides.

Are you prepared for that? If I tell him, will he try to reassure me? For the first few days after the party, I thought about nothing else, but I actually woke up this morning and went through all the usual motions without doing so. Then the post arrived. My previous novel, Fault Line, explored a mystery thriller plot across more than forty years. These two novels and the third that will follow are a contrast to that.

They are not a traditional saga-style trilogy. They are fast moving, connected stories covering a few months in The challenge of this — and the pleasure — is the development of characters and the honing of a plot that will interact in ways that will surprise as well as satisfy the reader. Some of these interactions surprise me as well. No matter how thoroughly I plan a story, the behaviour, the relationships — the choices — of the characters I create always take the story in unexpected directions.

They will have their way and I have to let them have it. Resistance, as they say, is useless. This has never been more apparent than in these two novels. People not being who you think they are is not unusual in mystery thrillers. In this case, they are not necessarily what you think they are either.

This is actually a reflection of the historical event that planted the idea behind these novels in my mind. The Paris peace conference of could be described as the bloodiest and longest battle of the First World War if you take account of its consequences. Its decisions were blamed by many for the outbreak of the Second World War and are still being blamed today for conflicts around the globe. The more I learned about it and the scheming and plotting of those involved in it, the more certain I was that a story based on it had to have a fitting largeness of scale.

Though the story begins in Paris, it does not stay or end there. The titles of these novels tell you that much. Well, I discovered that a lot of other people agreed with my idea of how the writing of mystery thrillers should be approached. One of the things I was determined to avoid from the outset was the repetitive nature of a serial format — a detective hero, for instance, who would crack the case every time. The two novels form part of a trilogy set in the year , during and immediately after the Paris peace conference that shared out the spoils at the end of the First World War.

There are also two natural break-points in the story as I planned it that work perfectly within the trilogy format. The two eventually three books have selfcontained story arcs. At the start of The Ways of the World, former RFC pilot James Maxted, known as Max, is summoned to Paris following the apparently accidental death of his father, a member of the British delegation to the peace conference. He soon begins to suspect his father has been murdered and is plunged into a maelstrom of intrigue surrounding attempts to alter the outcome of the conference.

Before the end, he discovers who murdered his father and why, but that leads him to another, deeper. See page He stepped out of the Ayre Hotel into the peace of early morning, lit a cigarette and gazed around him. The few locals already up and about would probably have identified him as a visitor even if they had not seen him leave the hotel. Tall, lean and youthfully handsome, dressed in clothes that were just a little too well-cut to have been bought from an Orcadian tailor, Max looked what he was: a man out of his element.

Yet he also looked relaxed and selfassured: a man as unlikely to attract suspicion as he was condescension. He turned towards the harbour and started walking. The staff of the Ayre had warned him that Kirkwall Bay did not normally appear as it did now: an anchorage for dozens of US minesweepers and support vessels, most of them stationary at this hour, but some with smoke drifting up from their funnels. They were there to clear the thousands of mines laid around the Orkneys during the war, a task expected to take them many months.

Max knew little of the sea war, sharing the general prejudices of those who had engaged the enemy on the Western Front that the Royal Navy had had a cushy time of it, Jutland notwithstanding. His gale-tossed passage across the Pentland Firth had forced him to reconsider, however. He did not envy anyone who had spent the past four and more years in these waters. Of all the places in the world where he had never expected to fi nd himself, the Orkneys were high on the list. But he was aware that there were currently a good many people there who wished themselves elsewhere, doubtless including the crews of all those American minesweepers he could see strung out across the bay.

Until glancing at an atlas shortly before his journey north, Max had supposed Kirkwall overlooked the Flow and he would therefore have.