Congratulations to Robert J Sawyer

Please join us in congratulating Issue 7’s feature author, Robert J Sawyer. As the holder of various distinctions in the sci-fi literary community, including the Nebula Award, the Hugo Award, and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, Robert is known around the world as the Canadian master of science fiction.

Now, his contributions to Canadian fiction have earned him a place in the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour, which recognizes individuals whose exceptional achievements in their field have left a lasting legacy in the province, Canada and beyond.

Robert will be officially appointed on February 27th. Until then, see the writing chops of this award-winning author for yourself in this excerpt from Pulp Literature Issue 7, Summer 2015.

Fallen Angel

by Robert J Sawyer

Angela Renaldo never knew if it was an act of homage or of defiance—whether it was the ultimate show of faith in God, or whether it was tantamount to flipping the bird at the Almighty.

Carlo, the eldest of her five brothers, doubtless had an opinion.From his position, planted firmly on the ground, near the bleachers, hands resting on the gray rubber rims of the twin wheels that propelled him along, there could be no doubt. God had enough to keep Himself busy looking after regular folk; He had no time for those who deliberately tempted fate.

Angela, the youngest Renaldo child, loved Carlo; she didn’t love all her brothers, but her affection for Carlo was pure. He was the only one who had played catch with her, the only one who had listened to her, the only one who never seemed to mind her being around.

Now, of course, things were different. Now, Carlo didn’t play catch with anyone. He just sat in his chair, almost never looking up.

There was nothing to fear, Poppa always said. We’ll be so high up that we’ll catch God’s eye. 

Read the rest of ‘Fallen Angel’ in Pulp Literature Issue 7,
on sale for only 9.99 print / 3.49 ebook till the end of the month!






Interview with Bob Thurber

With the Bumblebee Contest drawing to a close on February 15th, flash fiction maestro and Bumblebee contest judge, Bob Thurber, sat down to give his thoughts on constructing short fiction,  the importance of flash fiction, and his process in judging entries.

Pulp Lit: Judging flash fiction stories sounds harder than picking a favourite flavour of gelato. How do you manage to sort through to find a winner? What kind of stories do you gravitate towards?

When I’m judging a contest entry I have to read each submission several times. It’s a tad obsessive, but I like to hum the tune, so to speak. A superior entry is a song I can’t get out of my head.

I wrote a lot of fragmented prose during my apprentice years. Most of it was exercise, practice for some principle or model. Twenty minutes to do such and such. Or forty minutes to build a scene. Over time I developed a nose — and an ear — for a paragraph packing a punch, or a tense sense built by a few weighty lines.  (My earliest years were spent reading and rereading stacks of comic books).  I’ve always been drawn to and fascinated by how compressed prose, and even sections of longer stories or novels, shifts mood and emotion by throwing the reader slightly off balance, how a stunning line disturbs or redirects, or a compact phrase elevates a character or propels the story with an inference that is bit stranger than one expects.  Call it the edge.  For me, the sharper that edge the better.

I love the power of a concise prose work that hints at a larger story, one not on the page. This fuller, larger story may be alluded to by the strength and authenticity of the text, by the severity of a rocky voice or unreliably smooth tone, or some other unsettling detail, or some comforting eeriness. Whatever aspect rises up and stands out and overpowers so that I can not help becoming engaged, absorbed, occupied. That’s what I crave as a reader and as an author.

PL:  Our Bumblebee contest is up to 750 words. Do you think the longer stories have a better chance at winning?

I wouldn’t say the longer ones have a better chance, no. Though I will say that, for me, the ‘word limit’ defines the size of the canvas. So I tend to fill up the space allotted.

PL:  The winner of the contest gets $300 CAD and a year’s subscription to Duotrope. Have you used Duotrope and do you recommend it?

I’ve found Duotrope to be a fantastic resource, great for discovering new markets and finding venues receptive to your work. I’ve watched it grow over the years, and I’ve used it many times, and I highly recommend it.

PL:  Why do you think flash fiction is more important than ever for the human race?

Excellent question. And honestly, I don’t have a clue. Brief pieces are certainly more compatible with small screens and busy people. A healthy bite of fiction is always a good thing. But how much and how often one craves another, depends on the reader’s appetite, I would guess.

PL:  Have you ever tried to write poetry? What’s the difference for you between poetry and flash fiction?

I’ve written several hundred poems over the years. I’ve sold a few. I studied a lot of poetry early on. I used to jokingly refer to myself as a Sunday Poet, because I’d regularly draft a few poems in my notebook on Sunday mornings. A dozen or so stories that went on to win a prize or find publication were developed from some of those drafted poems. Case in point: ‘Simple Decoration’, which Pulp Literature republished online recently, started as a short and simple poem. (My wife still has a copy). Over time I kept playing with it, adding lines. And it puffed up to a few hundred words. I still had it broken up into a long poem, then it puffed up some more and saw it was clearly a prose piece. But through all the drafts, the first and last line of ‘Simple Decoration’ never changed.  It was all Jack that Christmas …

PL:  Is there a career to be had in writing short fiction?

As a vocation, yes. As a regular paying occupation, hardly. My first agent, who was a former editor and a remarkably smart and savvy man, told me (rather emphatically) that there wasn’t much demand for short fiction writers. And accordingly, not much fame or fortune. He warned that I’d be hard-pressed to make a name for myself unless I turned my focus to publishing novels. But I’ve never been a good listener.

PL:  Tell us what you’re working on. A new novel? Another short story collection?

I generally shy away from discussing any work in progress, but I currently have two more story collections ready to go. Part of my problem is since my agent passed away I’ve been remiss about reaching out to publishers, and I tend to approach them only one at a time. But I also have two novel manuscripts nearly completed, so I’ll need to get my act together fairly soon.

The Bumblebee contest is closing soon!

Submit your flash fiction before February 15th — all of us are eager to see what precision-made prose you’ve crafted!

Featured Author: Emily Osborne

We love it when we have good news to share about our authors. This week, join us in congratulating Emily Osborne, author of ‘Devonian’ (Pulp Literature Issue 17, Winter 2018) for winning an honorable mention in Contemporary Verse 2’s 2017 Young Buck Poetry Contest!  On top of this good news, we’ve learned that her chapbook Biometrical will be published by Anstruther Press later this year.

Emily Osborne is a researcher, translator, and poet living in British Columbia, Canada.  She earned a PhD in Old Norse-Icelandic literature from the University of Cambridge and recently held a postdoctoral fellowship in mediaeval literature and linguistics at the University of British Columbia.  She has taught mediaeval literature and poetics at Cambridge and UBC and published several scholarly articles.  Her poetry has appeared in The Literary Review of Canada and Symposium, and she was runner-up for Eyewear Publishing’s first Fortnight Prize.  Emily has also published translations of Old English and Old Norse poetry in academic journals and books.

She has kindly shared with us is an excerpt from her poem ‘Diacritics’, published in Minola Review’s 2016-2017 Anthology.


Maybe all vowels were once sister chromatids,
but now we carve grave and caret
on separate word trees.

I can’t read your DNA or lips.
You said my consonants split and replicate,

like cells in tumours.
Writing them makes you stressed.

Possessives are tricky on paper,
so often inked with red. After classes,
ESL students roam cities, see kids
slash ‘ł’ and ‘ø’ on concrete artistry.
Is that Polish? No.
Paint bleeds.
Later they’ll sit at library PCs,
typing home without familiar glyphs.

Viewpoints online metastasize through hashtag
alphabets, while English pushes diacritics
out of foreign correspondence.
Keyboards are capricious,
and we’re étroit d’esprit
when small things make big shifts.


Emily’s poem, ‘Glassblowing’, will appear in CV2’s Summer 2018 issue.  In the meantime and you can find ‘Devonian’, and more wonderful poetry in Pulp Literature Issue 17.


Author News: Brandon Crilly

If you missed author Brandon Crilly at ConFusion this past weekend in Detroit, don’t worry! There’s still plenty of time to get a spot at Can-Con 2018, where Brandon (and many other writers) will be speaking, workshopping, and/or roaming the dealer’s room.

In the meantime, Brandon’s literary time-travel piece, ‘Moments‘, was published in Daily Science Fiction. About the piece, the author says:

Ideas sometimes come from strange places. ‘Moments’ actually originated with a yearbook comment I wrote for one of my students in June (2017). There was a running joke in class where every time I said something like, “Don’t worry, I won’t change the date of the test,” this student would pull out her phone and say, “So at this time, on this date, you said this”–basically pretending to keep a record to hold me to my word, since too many teachers didn’t keep theirs, in her experience. I came up with the structure of ‘Moments’ on the fly when I was scribbling in her yearbook, and then realized it would be an awesome structure for an actual story. The time travel narrative came naturally, and the rest of the story followed. And since this is my first ever DSF story, I’m dedicating ‘Moments’ to my students and colleagues at Merivale High School, who gave me no shortage of inspiration and entertainment.

Brandon can also be found in Pulp Literature Issue 16 with his short story, ‘Clearing Out Nests’.

Clearing Out Nests
By Brandon Crilly

Hana triple-checked that she had cleaned all the dried blood off her skin before she left the restroom. No one in the coffee shop had noticed it when she walked in, so focused were they on their conversations or smart phones. There had only been a few patches of gore; she thought about sitting down at the counter to see how long it took for someone to give her a weird look. Or scream. Willis would have killed her if she’d tried that, though, so her bloody hijab, shirt and pants went into her backpack, to join the pile of similar laundry waiting at home.

A steaming cup of coffee was waiting for her at the long counter that looked out on the street. Willis had a newspaper in front of him, but that was just for show; between sips of herbal tea, his eyes were on the empty building across the street, one hand resting near the duffel bag that held their weapons. The place across the street had been a clothing store before a couple of unexplained deaths led to it closing down. There was a gap in the polite FOR LEASE signs lining the windows, but if no one had seen Hana take it down with her when one of the ghouls threw her across the interior, she doubted anyone would bat an eye now.

“Nothing, I’m guessing?” Hana asked.

“Not a peep.”

Hana took a careful sip of coffee, but the motion still made her throat ache where that ghoul had grabbed her. She grimaced, and Willis shook his head.

“Please don’t start already.”

“You should’ve gone left,” he said. He licked drips of tea from his shock-white

“Are you really going to criticize me for making the wrong choice on a fifty-fifty chance?  If you thought I should’ve gone left, maybe you could’ve shouted or something, because going right seemed perfectly fine to me at the time.”

Willis grunted.  “You’re being too loud.”

“Like anyone would care in here,” Hana murmured.  She glanced around.  The patrons in here had been two lanes of traffic away from a nest of ghouls that would have gladly ripped their faces off and danced in their skin.  But of course they had no clue, and would go on with their blissfully ignorant lives, thanks to people like Hana and Willis.  …

The entirety of ‘Clearing Out Nests’ can be read in Pulp Literature Issue 16, currently half off in our bookstore with the code BEATTHEBLUES.

Beat the January Blues

The last of the gingerbread is gone, resolutions are falling by the wayside, and spring is still weeks and weeks away.  If January’s got you down, we have a treat for you:  it’s a back-issue blowout!  For the last week of January only, all back issues — that’s all print and ebook issues dated 2017 or older — are on sale for half price.  Use the coupon code BEATTHEBLUES to stock up your shelves at 50% off and help you survive till spring!

Author News: JJ Lee

JJ Lee is back on our radar with great news to report. His novel, Measure of a Man, has been longlisted for the CBC 2018 Canada Reads Contest

“The story of a father, a son and a suit,” is the subtitle of JJ Lee’s The Measure of a Man,  tracing the author’s journey altering his father’s old suit as an act of remembrance.  A finalist for the 2012 RBC Taylor Prize and the 2011 Governor General’s Literary Award for nonfiction, the memoir turns suitmaking into powerful prose — and one family’s story into a tale of intergenerational reconciliation.

The shortlist will be announced on Jan. 30th, and until then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed!

JJ Lee has been the feature author of several Pulp Literature Issues: Issue 17 (‘Desdemone’), Issue 8 (‘The Man in the Long Black Coat’), and Issue 2 (‘Built to Love’).  As well, the multi-talented author painted a custom cover to go with Robert J Sawyer‘s story ‘Fallen Angel’ in Issue 7.

Here is an excerpt of ‘The Man in the Long Black Coat’ to whet your appetite for more of JJ’s marvelous storytelling style.


The Man in the Long Black Coat

A Chthonic Christmas Tale by JJ Lee



December 1944

I don’t remember if Mother’s eyes said it or if she spoke the words, “He’s just a boy.”  I do remember feeling anger and burning shame.  I was eleven years old, the eldest.  Father had been gone for years.  The weekly newsreel Die Deutsche Wochenschau showed boys my age working in factories, making shells and gun parts.  In school we were told to be “slim and strong, swift as greyhounds, tough as leather, and hard as Krupp steel.”  I thought I was until I saw Mother’s eyes that night in the winter of 1944.

Herr Mundt didn’t care.  He had arrived from the larger, Lower Silesian town of G______ in search of what he called ‘recruits.’  He dressed in the makeshift manner of the Volkssturm, the People’s Army.  He wore scuffed and muddy railroad boots, brown breeches, and an armband over his grey coat sleeve.  On his collar, Herr Mundt had pinned officer pips.  He topped his head with the kind of hat a butcher would wear.  His attire was theatrical, ersatz, outlandish, wildly officious, and, because he seemed so out of control, menacing.  From his gaze I wanted to hide.

“He has five minutes to gather warm clothes and boots, if he has any,” said Herr Mundt.

He stepped back into the snow and shadows and strode off in the direction of the neighbours.  Mother shut the door.  My legs trembled as I climbed up the stairs and went into the bedroom.  I took off my pyjamas and folded them.  I tucked them under my pillow.  I began to put on as much clothes as I could.  I stuffed more warm things into a canvas bag.  I went to the other side of the bed and leaned down to kiss Lena, my sister, on her forehead.  Her eyes opened.

“You should be asleep,” I said.

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know.”

“Take this.”

She pulled from under the covers a tin soldier, my oldest, most treasured toy.

“Where did you find it?”  I fought the urge to snatch it from her and I held out my hand.  She put it in my palm.  I saw the chipped paint on its shako, the blue on its tunic nearly worn through from play, the bent rifle, and the blankness of its face.  It made me think of Father.

“Keep it until I come back.”

I tucked her in, kissed her again, and went downstairs.  Mother said, “You can hide in the forest.”

“I don’t think they will let me.”

A pistol cracked.  A woman’s wail cut through the night.  A minute later, Herr Mundt thumped on our door.  “Frau Steiner.”

… read the rest of the story in Pulp Literature Issue 8, the dystopian Spec Fic ‘Built to Love’ in Issue 2, or JJ’s current Christmas ghost story, ‘Desdemone’ in Pulp Literature Issue 17.


Reflective Practice in a Writing Career

It’s been years since we realized that becoming a writer is not about arriving someplace. We never stop becoming writers. We try our craft, inspiration, and imagination against those of our most admired models and masters. They would have done the same in their time.

Reflective Process

Reflective writing, journaling, or stream of consciousness writing about a growing career may bring even greater satisfaction with our progress in writing, publishing, and other facets of a writing career.

Reflective Practice

Of course, charging ahead with planning, drafting, and revising a work in progress is basic to our enterprising spirits. However, looking back over the week is a professional habit that brings new levels of learning.

One Week at a Time

Taking a few moments once a week to set down the week’s learning, in anecdotal or even point form, goes a long way towards creating a solid platform for  the next week’s work.

I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career.

Cheers, Mel.

Mel Anastasiou writes The Fairmount Manor Mysteries series, starring Mrs Stella Ryman, The Hertfordshire Pub Mysteries series, starring Spencer Stevens, and is Acquisitions Editor with Pulp Literature Press.

If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, why not try her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume.

The Writer’s Boon Companion is a quiet, thoughtful chap.  Boon offers daily hints and exercises to support your narrative along its road to completion.  You’ll also find generous servings of motivation and philosophy to help you forge ahead over 30 days of drafting towards a completed novel or novella.

The thirty days may be profitably spread out over a longer writing period.  The author using this reflective journal may wish to draft between the pages; that is, for every day in the book, drafting 2,000 to 3,000 words to a cogent outline will get you your novella or short novel in short order.  For briefer or longer works, multiply or divide as wisdom dictates.

Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires.



Featured Author: Jenny Blackford

Let’s ring in the new year with some celebration! Jenny Blackford (‘The Hair in the Bag’, Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017) is the winner of The 2017 New England Thunderbolt Prize for Crime Poetry! Her poem, ‘The Crack’, examines the heartbreaking result of a decision made out of fear, and can be read here.

Jenny Blackford is a poet and author based in Newcastle, Australia. Her poems have appeared in The Pedestal Magazine, Strange Horizons, Star*Line and Rhysling, as well as various anthologies and venerable literary journals. Pamela Sargent called her subversively feminist historical novella set in ancient Greece, The Priestess and the Slave, “elegant.”  Pitt Street Poetry published an illustrated pamphlet of her cat poems, The Duties of a Cat, in 2013, and her first full-length poetry collection, The Loyalty of Chickens, in 2017.

For your delight, here is a poem by Jenny, originally published last summer at Strange Horizons.

by Jenny Blackford

Slow, even, quiet breaths.
He never snored.

I’d caught the perfect man
against all odds. How my friends

had scrambled for the ritual bouquet!
Hunting his warm sleeping hand to hold,

I grasped instead a heavy paw.
One furred toe wore the wedding band

I gave him. Tips of sheathed claws
pricked at my skin.

Deep in his throat,
he growled.

For more poetry from Jenny Blackford pick up Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017, where you’ll find the moving poem ‘The Hair in the Bag’.



Awards Nomination Season: the 2017 Round Up

We love awards! As a multi-genre publisher we try to nominate our authors for as many awards as we can to help their careers along. For fan-based awards we rely on you, our fans who are members of organizations like the CFFSA and SFWA to nominate your favourites.  To help you sort out eligibility here’s a list of everything we’ve published this year, with the exception of reprints and novel exerpts, sorted by genre.  Stories that overlap genres may be listed more than once.

If you are interested in receiving complimentary review copies of any of these works please fill out the form at the bottom of the page, and don’t forget to put us down for consideration in your respective circles!

2017 Publications

Asterisks * indicate Canadian authors.  Contest winners are identifed following the title.  For lists of specific author identities, such as women writers, writers of colour, or self-identified LGBTQIA writers please email us at info (at)

Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Horror

Debut Fantasy Novel
Allaigna’s Song: Overture by JM Landels *

Novellas & Novelettes
Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017
‘The Case of the Cavalier’s Rapier’ by Mel Anastasiou *
Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017
‘The Highwayman’s Deception’ by Mel Anastasiou *

Short Stories
Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017
‘The Green Thread and the Blue’ by Carolyn Oliver
‘Mermail’ by Eric Del Carlo
‘How to Lose a Week’ by FJ Bergmann
‘Xuefei & His Heart’ (Hummingbird Prize Winner) by Rebecca Wurz
‘Better Watch Out’ by Anna Belkine
Pulp Literature Issue 14, Spring 2017
‘Jonathan S Primrose Gets Eaten by a Bear’ by William Charles Brock
‘The Handler’ (Raven Contest Winner) by Pat Flewwelling*
Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017
‘Gret’ by Brenda Carre *
‘Pack Up Your Troubles’ by AM Soto
‘A Knight at the Royal Arms’ by Charity Tahmaseb
‘Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang’ (Bumblebee Contest Runner-up) by Jay Allisan *
Pulp Literature Issue 16, Autumn 2017
‘The River’ by KC Dyer *
‘Clearing Out Nests’ by Brandon Crilly *
‘The Olde Town Haunt’ by Patrick Bollivar *
‘Think Tank’ by Susan Pieters *
‘The Wind of a Train’ by Erin Kirsh *
‘For Your Convenience’ by FJ Bergmann

Graphic Arts Short Stories
Pulp Literature Issue 14, Spring 2017
‘Blue Skies Over Nine Isles’ by Joseph Stilwell & Hugh Henderson *
Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017
‘Gruff’ by Kris Sayer *
Pulp Literature Issue 16, Autumn 2017
‘The Vanishing Dot’ by Rina Piccolo *


Debut Mystery Novel
Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries by Mel Anastasiou *

Novellas & Novelettes
Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017
‘The Case of the Cavalier’s Rapier’ by Mel Anastasiou *
Pulp Literature Issue 14, Spring 2017 
‘Stella Ryman and the Case of the Fallen Crusader’ by Mel Anastasiou *
Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017
‘The Highwayman’s Deception’ by Mel Anastasiou *
Pulp Literature Issue 16, Autumn 2017
‘Stella Ryman and the Ghost at the End of the Bed’ by Mel Anastasiou *

Contemporary, Literary, and Historical

Short Stories
Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017
‘Piano Music’ – by Susan Pieters *
‘Painted Nails’ (Hummingbird Prize Runner-up) – by Jenna Park
Pulp Literature Issue 14, Spring 2017
‘The Ankle Bracelet’ by CC Humphreys *
‘Bear’ by Greg Brown *
‘Candy-Apple Baby’ by Colin Thornton *
‘Robin Hood’ – by Susan Pieters *
‘Forget Me Not’ (SiWC Contest Winner) by Claire Gregory
Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017
‘Cannery Row’ by Susan Pieters *
‘The Pool Guy’ by Adam Golub
‘Crushed Velvet’ (Bumblebee Contest Winner) by Ingrid Jendrzjewski
‘Sourdough’ (SiWC Contest Runner-up) by Angela Post *
Pulp Literature Issue 16, Autumn 2017
‘Love’ by Greg Brown *
‘Think Tank’ by Susan Pieters *

Graphic Arts Short Stories
Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017
‘It Rained Then Too’ by Anat Rabkin *
Pulp Literature Issue 16, Autumn 2017
‘The Vanishing Dot’ by Rina Piccolo *


Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017
‘The Third Day of Spring’ by Susie Taylor *
‘Amazon’ by Daniel Aristi
‘About Light’ by Jude Neale *
‘F/G/C/F (Country Love Sestina)’ by Elizabeth Amerding*
Pulp Literature Issue 14, Spring 2017 
‘Birdhouse’ by David Clink *
‘Detroit V, VII’ by Ian Haight
Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017
‘A Wassail in Ink’ by Nicholas Christian
‘The Hair in the Bag’ by Jenny Blackford
‘Inglewood Courts, Edmonton’ by Benjamin Hertwig *
Pulp Literature Issue 16, Autumn 2017
‘Garbage Disposal’ (Magpie Award Winner) by Oak Morse
‘Krang’ (Magpie Award Runner-up) by Leah Komar
‘Ghost Town’ (Magpie Award Runner-up) by Glenn Pape


Cover Art
Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries cover art by Kris Sayer*
Allaigna’s Song: Overture cover art by Melissa Mary Duncan*
Pulp Literature Issue 13, Winter 2017 The Shadow by Zoran Pekovic*
Pulp Literature Issue 14, Spring 2017  Blue Skies Over Nine Isles by Hugh Henderson*
Pulp Literature Issue 15, Summer 2017 The Huntress by S Ross Browne
Pulp Literature Issue 16, Autumn 2017 Seabus by Akem *

Body of work, Mel Anastasiou: Pulp Literature Issues 13 – 16, Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries, inks for Allaigna’s Song: Overture.

Body of work, JM Landels: Illustrations for Allaigna’s Song: Aria in Pulp Literature Issues 13 – 16; pencils for Allaigna’s Song: Overture.

Layout & Design
Cover design for Allaigna’s Song: Overture and Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries by Kris Sayer.

Interior layout for Allaigna’s Song: Overture by Kris Sayer.

Interior layout for Stella Ryman and the Fairmount Manor Mysteries by Claire Milne.



To request a review copy of any of these publications
please use the form below

Featured Author: Matthew Hughes

The New Year is upon us, and 2018 is bright with new material from many previously published Pulp Literature authors.

Matthew Hughes, author of ‘The Devil You Don’t’, and ‘Fishface and the Leg’, both in Issue 13, is starting the new year off with a bang.  We are happy to report that  you can read his novelette, ‘Solicited Discordance’, in Asimov’s Science Fiction vol. 42, and the January/February issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction features a new Baldemar novella.  Another Hughes novelette, ‘The Sword of Destiny’, can be found in The Book of Swords, edited by Gardner Dozois.

Matthew Hughes has been shortlisted for the Aurora, Nebula, Phillip K Dick, Endeavour, and AE Van Vogt awards for his fantasy and space opera, but he occasionally feels the urge to pull off an old-fashioned time-travel yarn. ‘The Devil You Don’t’ combines that urge with the speechwriter’s fancy of writing for one of history’s most famous voices. It was first published in Asimov’s Science Fiction in 2005.

The Devil You Don’t

by Matthew Hughes

The frantic sparks fly up into the November night like lost souls seeking safe harbour who, finding none, extinguish themselves against the unheeding darkness. Or so I might write it if ever I should put pen to paper to tell this tale. But I shall not.

The fire itself is confined by the blackened steel barrel. I poke again with the gardener’s fork and another flurry of sparks shoots up, and with them scraps of burning paper. By the flickering light of the flames I can sometimes see a printed word or two before they are consumed: Alamein, Rommel, Singapore, Yalta.

The books are thick. They will take time to burn but I have learned patience. I have always taken the longer view. Perhaps it is a sense of history. Perhaps it is just how I am formed. But, in the arena of public life, he who takes the longer view must win out in the end.

The gardener has left in heaps his cullings from the bygone summer’s flower beds. I gather another armful of dried stalks and withered blossoms and throw them onto the flames. The flare of light illuminates the disturbed earth that the gardener turned over this afternoon and the pile of red bricks that have lain here much longer—more than a year since I abandoned building a wall to take Mr Chamberlain’s reluctant call.

First Lord of the Admiralty then. Prime Minister now. It is what I have always wanted, I will admit, though I would have preferred its arrival under less perilous circumstances.

The books are burning well. I leave them and kneel beside the wall. The cement with which to mix the mortar is just where I left it and there is water at hand. I lay a red fired brick atop the black soil, trowel its side with mortar, then place a second beside it.

Another pass with the trowel, then another brick. The work proceeds as it always did, a step at a time. That is how walls are built. As are lives. And futures.

Read the rest of ‘The Devil You Don’t’
Pulp Literature Issue 13