Tag Archives: publisher: beneath ceaseless skies

Y Brenin by C.A. Hawksmoor

Title: Y Brenin
Author: C.A. Hawksmoor
Published: February 19, 2015
Pages: 18
Publisher: Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★★★★☆

The knight raised his eyes, tracing line from the quiet of the water to the mountain looming in the cloud. His breath tangled in his throat as an indistinct figure all but crawled over the ridge behind him. Until he saw the colour of the hair and the blackness of the eyes, the knight was certain that it was not the Red King that walked towards him out of the mist but his lord.

Sibling rivalries can be intense, extreme, and even deadly. Sent to kill the Red King and take the spoils of his lands back to the North, Mercher intends to follow his orders to the letter. But after meeting the brother of his master, he veers slightly off course, instead opting to bring the man in for his lord to decide his fate. Traveling makes for conversation and from conversation comes a connection–and from there, Mercher finds that fate may be taking him in a different direction entirely…

This story tells the tale of a journey. And not only does it do so in the literal sense as Mercher and the Red King travel to the North, but it also reflects a journey of both men as they learn more about each other and themselves. The character development is very strong here, and the dynamics that comes across in a short story like this are definitely worth noting.

The Metamorphoses of Narcissus by Tamara Vardomskaya

Title: The Metamorphoses of Narcissus
Author: Tamara Vardomskaya
Published: January 8, 2015
Pages: 8
Publisher: Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Publisher Website: link

And it didn’t matter. This was not my blood; it was but part of glamorous transfiguration. I was beautiful, or I believed I was. What did it matter, the beauty a woman was born with, my long fair hair that was now a wooden horse’s mane, my hands and feet that had once moved in the dance so skilfully? Beauty was a construction, a blueprint geniuses dictate to mere mortals who could not know for themselves what it meant.

In a world where artists transfigure people into new creations, the ideas of art and beauty have reached a new level of subjectivity, dictated by those with skilled in the art. And for the narrator of this story, she’s willing to defer to the subjectivity of the genius artists of her day. But in the face of war and destruction, she finds that beauty may be more subjective (and perhaps less of a lofty pursuit) than she had led herself to believe.

This is a short but powerful piece from Tamara Vardomskaya, and I definitely recommend it.  The layers of meaning that I think one can find here makes this quite profound, especially considering its length.  Definitely looking forward to more from this author.

The Bonedrake’s Penance by Yoon Ha Lee

Title: The Bonedrake’s Penance
Author: Yoon Ha Lee
Published: March 20, 2014
Pages: 40
Publisher: Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Talk about a story that makes you think. Even a while after I’ve read this, I immediately find myself going back to the issues this story raised for me when I first finished it. Can one truly remain neutral in conflict? Is a decision to remain neutral an amoral decision or is it a conscious choice that brings culpability for the final outcome to the “neutral” party? And then there are the issues of parenting and nurturing. What does it mean to be a parent? How does a parent’s sense of morality impact those of their children? And what if something like the fortress actually existed?

This is the kind of speculative fiction I enjoy. There’s a world here that is different enough to truly stand out, but not different in ways that make it completely outside the realm of future possibility. The fiction that raises the questions of morality, especially when it comes to technology and its implications and applications.

Heaven Thunders the Truth by K.J. Parker

Title: Heaven Thunders the Truth
Author: K.J. Parker
Published: October 2, 2014
Pages: 54
Publisher: Beneath Ceaseless Skies
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

My smile broadened. It was lucky for the old man I don’t practice my trade for free, or he’d have spent the rest of the day rolling on the floor clutching his guts. “If one of them was a wizard capable of performing that level of enchantment, he’d be a rich man,” I said. “Stands to reason.”

A wonderfully told fantasy tale with unexpected twists that easily engages the reader.  Everything about this story is original from the world it in which it takes place right down to the way the wizards practice their magic.  With a touch of high fantasy combined with an air of a tribal legend, K.J. Parker spins a tale that excites, regales, and shares an interesting message with readers.  It does seem to run a bit longer than it needs to be, but not enough to really detract from the message.  I definitely recommend checking this out if you enjoy fantasy or science fiction.