For my final post on 2017 short fiction, I’d like to recommend two interesting fantasy novelettes from Beneath Ceaseless Skies. Both are from authors that are new to me!
Low Bridge! Or The Dark Obstructions by M. Bennardo (Novelette, BCS): This story left the “Erie Canal Song” stuck in my head for days, but that’s not the only reason it stayed in my mind. It follows the journey of a newly married couple on the Erie Canal, while both of them are still finding their way in their new relationship. It doesn’t help the situation when an obnoxious passenger gets on the wrong side of the young wife. The story is only very mildly fantasy, but belief in the supernatural is a topic of conversation. I really enjoyed the interesting characters and the vivid historical setting.
Trette’s Bones by Grace Seybold (Novelette, BCS): The main character in this story lives in a town that feels like something out of a dream. “Normal” life to the people there is extremely strange--at various times in their lives they sacrifice their own bones at the Ossuary, receiving “ghostflesh” in exchange. There are also rules about the patterns formed by buildings and roads, and they have strict ways of dealing with outsiders. Trette is the one who pushes the logic of their town farther than others are willing to go, and who therefore brings about unexpected consequences. The setting and the atmosphere were major strengths of the story, and this is not one where all the questions are answered in the end.