The Way of the Rodent

by irving

open the sunroof
the better to see the ship.
Where are my headlights?

The ship is landing
They look like tentacled mice.
Hand me the shotgun.

They carry ray guns
and they know how to use them.
Will miss that shotgun.

Say, "Welcome to Earth,
my wise and furry new friends.
How can I help you?"

Talking and trading,
Pointing them at the White House.
New ray gun is cool.

Smeared Love

True love ways

Is what everyone says
But sometimes at night
my heart
beats like a Canada goose in flight
as I dream of your kiss
which is never a diss
when it comes like a hiss
from your winky lips
so rosy pink and sleek.

I need you to be my everything, my dear
My sincere affection for you, you must never
smear.
I can’t live without you, not even when I’m in
the loo.

I need you with me every second
of every day of my life, at every minute
every second. Or I will die like a space alien without
You.

Let us run like the wildebeest and the zebra
Because I want to tether ya.
Your sweat tastes like Nutella
let me smear you all over white toast
instead of Becel—cause your love makes me
so well!
I guess love can only be true
if I can love you and you love me too!

CZP Nominated for Libris Award

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that we have been longlisted for the 2014 Libris Award in the "Small Press Publisher of the Year" category!

We want to thank all of our readers for all their love and support. Without our amazing readers and wonderful staff, amazing things like this couldn't happen for us.

Visit the Libris Awards website for more information.

Please Bear With Us...

The Chiaroscuro Reading and Workshop Series can no longer be hosted at webs.com. Consequently, we are moving the site in-house, and are in the process of setting things up. Please bear with us while we get the site in order.

Thanks,

The ChiZine Reading Series Staff

ChiZine.COM Officially Closed

March 1, 2014—After much consideration, we have decided to close ChiZine.com to better focus our time, energy, and passion on ChiZine Publications, but will still host special events like Shitty Poetry Month and other CZP updates. ChiZine Publications will continue to produce the same weird, dark, disturbing literary horror, science fiction, and fantasy, only now in the form of novels, novellas, and short story collections, with a young adult line, ChiTeen, launching this spring. We really want to thank everyone who helped with ChiZine.com along the way, our contributors, our editorial staff, and most of all our readers. Thank you.

Clavis Aurea - February 20, 2014

And Wash Out by Tides of War by An Owomoyela

Birth of a Planet by Ytasha L. Womack

21 Steps to Enlightenment (Minus One) by LaShawn M. Wanak

In the Marrow by Malon Edwards

 

It’s Black History Month as well as Women in Horror Month, and Graveyard Shift Sisters has hit on the excellent idea of spending the month combining the two and celebrating Black Women In Horror Month. Unfortunately, I was not able to find a single black person, let alone woman, published in a horror ’zine nor anthology so far this year. I am going to leave that right there.

There have been, however, some really excellent stories by black writers published elsewhere. To start with, this month's Clarkesworld (#89) is an exceptional issue from cover to cover, with An Owomoyela’s “And Wash Out by Tides of War” (Clarkesworld #89, February 2014) a stand-out in a competitive field.

On the surface this is a character piece, the story of an angry young woman trying to define herself beyond the ties of blood. Aditi’s conundrum, however, is rooted in her society’s decision to start from scratch, to build a new culture with no traditions beyond the ones...

CZP Bloody Valentine's Day Sale!

CZP's Bloody Valentine's Day sale!

Today we are offering these select ebook titles at 50% off!

The Summer Is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved by Joey Comeau
The n-Body Problem by Tony Burgess
Remember Why You Fear Me by Robert Shearman
Things Withered by Susie Moloney
The 'Geisters by David Nickle
Hair Side, Flesh Side by Helen Marshall.

Head on over to our titles page now and Embrace the Odd!

Clavis Aurea - February 6, 2014

A Hollow Play by Amal El-Mohtar

Growth by A.C. Buchanan

The Beasts We Want to Be by Sam Miller

 

I first heard the term “message fiction” a couple of weeks ago. “Message fiction,” as it is being derisively thrown around, would seem to be something like a homily, an instructive or perhaps pedantic story in which the characters do what they do and say what they say in order to teach you something. They are nothing new: we’ve had allegorical novels since forever, and some of the most popular novels of the 20th century—cult novels like Atlas Shrugged, The Alchemist, or Jonathan Livingston Seagull—are homilies. Readers like them, even if critics often do not.

Of course, every word we say is encoded with messages, both intended or not. Simply containing messages doesn't make something a “message story.” A story becomes a parable, a homily or an allegory only when the messages are so on-the-nose that no other readings are possible. I sympathize with deriders of “message stories” on this point: clumsy proselytizing is annoying to read even when I agree with the politics behind a story. These stories feel preachy not because of the people and ideas they contain, but because they preach.

Amal El-Mohtar’s story “A Hollow Play” (Glitter & Mayhem, Apex Publishing, August 2013) approaches parable territory due to the story’s “told,” not “shown,” structure. By telling almost the entire story through an explicative...

Subscriptions Are Back, Just in Time for the 2014 Spring Season!

Like ‘em weird? We do! Don’t like waiting around for the next exciting title from CZP to come out? Here’s your chance to become a VIR—Very Important Reader! CZP is offering digital-only subscriptions of all the books we will release in 2014. For just $99, subscribers will receive the eBook editions of the 23 following titles, approximately 56% off of the retail price! As an added bonus, most of these titles will be available to subscribers as soon as we have them ready. As a CZP VIR, you’ll have exclusive access to our titles well in advance of the planned release schedule.

PW on Get Katja

Logan maneuvers a large cast through overlapping sections of the plot, setting up characters separately and then slamming them into violent confrontations. Readers who can tolerate the deliberately unpleasant action will appreciate the skill with which it’s presented.

Clavis Aurea - January 23, 2014

The Clockwork Soldier by Ken Liu

Pale Skin, Gray Eyes by Gene O’Neill

The Wall Garden by Alvaro Zinos-Amaro

 

Another common science fiction trope: someone loses a loved one and replaces them with a simulacrum. Maybe it’s a robot, maybe it’s a clone, maybe it’s an animated doll. The story is almost always presented as a “Gotcha!”, introducing the situation and technology until it is finally revealed that—gasp!—the wife/daughter/pet has been replaced. These are fun when they are done well—Daily Science Fiction published two good ones last month alone (“The Final Seam” by T. Callihan and “Goldfish” by Elizabeth Archer)—but they are ultimately groaners. By the end, all that remains is to shake the author's hand and admit that, yes, they got you this time.

Leave it to Ken Liu to turn the trope into something else entirely. In “The Clockwork Soldier” (Clarkesworld #88, January 2014) we know right from the get-go that something is up with the protagonist, Ryder. Released onto a remote planet by Alex, his former captor, we know right away that Ryder is something other than what he seems, but his identity-related secret isn’t the point of the tale. Instead, Liu offers us an exploration of free will and self-determination.

Ryder and Alex spar on two levels. There is the question...

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