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Summary: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 2009 - The Elephant Forgets — LiveJournal
Summary: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 2009
Summary: Beneath Ceaseless Skies, 2009

Beneath Ceaseless Skies debuted in late 2008, a webzine devoted to "literary adventure fantasy". The editor and publisher is Scott H. Andrews. It publishes two stories every other week, usually -- every so often a story is serialized over two issues, and at least one issue this year had an extra story. Due to the Thursday issues date falling on Dec. 31, they managed 27 issues in 2009, with an impressive total of 55 stories, 1 novella, 15 novelettes and 39 shorts, for very nearly 365,000 words of fiction -- a thousand a day. That makes it the fourth largest source of new fiction among magazines and webzines, behind only the traditional "Big Three". Somehow that hadn't occurred to me -- and it's really a striking fact.

I consistently enjoyed this webzine. They routinely publish fine adventure fantasy, and occasionally publish outstanding work. Quite suddenly they have become a really important source of fantasy.

Holly Phillips's "Thieves of Silence" (July 16) was probably the best novelette, a lovely tale of a thief who gets captured (in more ways than one) by witches, as her lover schemes to land a rich husband -- a rich net of betrayal and maneuvering, shifting loyalties, unexpected emotional responses. I also liked Sarah L. Edwards's "The Tinyman and Caroline" (May 21), a steampunkish story about a very small human who tries to steal a trinket from an aristocratic household, and ends up entangled with the young daughter of the house, almost as small as he, who thinks he’s an elf and wants to go to Faerie with him -- not perhaps the best choice. Also, K. D. Wentworth's fine, spooky, "The Orangery" (March 12), about children lured into a different world through the title room. Other strong novelettes came from Aliette de Bodard, Matthew David Surridge, P. E. Cunningham, and Jonathan Wood.

Of the short stories I really liked Rachel Swirsky's "Great Golden Wings" (October 22), a lovely little story, very simply told, of a cinematographist trying to market films of dragons, and of the one court lady who is entranced. Also, Grace Seybold's "Unrest" (March 12), an excellent dark tale of the ravages of war, told effectively from sequential points of view of the participants/victims. Tony Pi's "Silk and Shadows" (February 26), fine romantic fantasy, about a Prince exacting revenge against the man who killed his father -- but having to pay a dark price to a witch in the process. T. D. Edge’s "System, Magic, Spirit" (May 21), is told by an aging wizard who encounters a prince in whom he finds unexpected depths. Marie Brennan’s "Driftwood" (April 9), is set in her curious universe where different worlds crash together eventually to disappear -- here we meet a woman who has somehow survived the death of her world for centuries. And Saladin Ahmed, in "Where Virtue Lives" (April 23), introduces a promising series in telling of a ghul hunter and a young dervish who becomes his apprentice. I also liked short stories by Richard Parks, Yoon Ha Lee, B. Gordon, and Dru Pagliossotti.

This year I thought one story -- the year's final story! -- was SF (2%), and 33 were by women, or 60%.

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7 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 2nd, 2010 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Is there a typo--do you mean "They routinely publish _fine_ adventure fantasy" (not "find")?

I ask because that sounds like a very nice quote for me to put on the _BCS_ cover page. :) Thank you so much for your reviews, not just here but in _Locus_ as well, and your enjoyment of the magazine.

Great timing, too--this afternoon we were officially crowned a SFWA-qualifying pro market.


Scott H. Andrews
_Beneath Ceaseless Skies_
From: ecbatan Date: January 2nd, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Indeed that's a typo, which I will immediately fix!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 3rd, 2010 12:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you! And thanks again for your interest in the magazine.

Scott H. Andrews
catsparx From: catsparx Date: January 2nd, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for this review -- I wasn't aware of this zine and it looks like something I might enjoy.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 3rd, 2010 12:16 am (UTC) (Link)
Please do check us out. We also podcast about half of our stories. If you like your short fiction in audio form, you can find us on iTunes or download individual episodes on our Audio page at http://www.beneath-ceaseless-skies.com/audio.php .

Scott H. Andrews
catsparx From: catsparx Date: January 3rd, 2010 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
Ta! Have already visited your page and marveled at the classy author line up.
shsilver From: shsilver Date: January 2nd, 2010 11:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
As it happens, the SFWA Board declared BCS to be a qualifying market as of today.
7 comments or Leave a comment