Beneath Ceaseless Skies #113, January 24, 2013
Reviewed by Cyd Athens
Both stories in this issue of Beneath Ceaseless Skies feature carnivals and gender expression.
Tori Truslow‘s “Boat in Shadows, Crossing” is a story about stories. The author describes it as “a story about love, ghosts, transformation, and a predatory boat.” It begins with a group on a canal boat exchanging stories as the summer’s Carnival of Crossing nears. One tale is of much more interest than the others and its teller, Bue, is encouraged to continue its telling. The story unfolds and we see how it is neither singular nor linear. Twists and turns abound. They are intertwined, some of them making their way into the mythos and even the daily lives of not only the teller, but also the listeners. A beauty who sings from a haunted tower and pays for syrupy fruits with rubies indulges visitors from a boat in search of one special fish that will grant its freedom. In the middle of it all is Bue.
The “Misbegotten” hero, Elerit, is a refugee from an asylum who has been hiding out as a carnival worker. Here, Raphael Ordoñez shows us how spunky the young man is. When Elerit’s past catches up with him, he has to outwit a former fellow inmate who is trying to set himself up as “Zilla the Impaler, the White Prince, the predestined God-Emperor of Enoch.” All Zilla purports to need is a little something that Elerit stole when Elerit, Zilla, and a few of his goons were wards of the city-state. Elerit has his own ideas about what to do with the spoils. When Zilla sends two of his associates with Elerit to ensure that the item is retrieved from its hiding place and handed over, Elerit has to decide who to sacrifice and how to survive.
Cyd Athens indulges a speculative fiction addiction from 45ø 29 30.65 N, 122ø 35 30.91 W.