In the world of bird watching competition can be intense, sometimes even deadly, sometimes even magical. There are birds you can’t see unless you devote your life to seeing them, and a few are in this short story with an aesthetic best described as ‘birdwatchingpunk’.
The Field Guide to Fantasy Birding
(for enthusiasts only)
NAME: boreal chickadee (Poecile hudsonicus)
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: a four to six inch bird which may weigh as much as an ounce. Gray wings and a brown streak across the head are the most common features, but the easiest way to identify it is by its white face with gray patches at the sides. It also has short wings and a short dark bill.
DIET: feeds mostly on seeds and insects by probing in bark and across the forest floor. It favors wood beetle larvae most highly.
RANGE: Maine, Vermont, Alaska, Canada, and New York. Migration happens quickly, with hundreds of miles traveled in just a few days.
BEHAVIOR: not picky when it comes to choosing a mate, though they will often mate for life. Boreal chickadees rarely build their own nests, instead choosing to occupy the abandoned efforts of other birds like the woodpecker. Only one egg is laid, its size surprising given the diminutive creatures that produced it.
To nearly every person who looked at the amateurishly-produced paper it was just a page out of a field guide, a work in progress at best, something to keep an old lonely man busy. Even his family members would not have recognized it for what it was, because they, even the widower’s children, didn’t recognize him for what he was. Continue reading
In this thriller/horror short story the Snake War Museum is just one of many, an opportunity for Claire to confront history. It’s just her, the collection, and the audio guide… at least until the she hears her own name in the headphones…
If a museum does its job well, its physical location in the world is inconsequential. The best place for the George Washington museum might be his birthplace, Westmoreland County, Virginia, but the best museum would be the one that had his actual shoes, his actual buttons, his actual tools, his actual quills and inks, wherever they were, even if the collection was accidentally shipped to, say, Ulverstone, Tasmania. Continue reading
Back to the Beginning
The tip had come to Lindwurm from a trilophosaur, and so was taken with the utmost seriousness. No family was more devoted to the cause than the trilophosaurs, even across their many species. Most of them were forever cut off from man, unable to experience their appreciation across the gulf of time, because few of their fossils would ever be found, and when they were they were not representative. Continue reading
Only finding fossils, we never suspected the flesh of the dinosaurs could’ve been so strange, could’ve climbed off whenever it felt like it and even borrowed our shape. That is the forgotten clade thanazoa, but they know of us, thanks to communing with their fungus-like oracle Atropos.
A defeated villain resurfaces to abuse those predictions, her predatory eyes set on the future she thinks she is denied. Discover a brand new world on familiar bones in this wildly speculative novella of the Triassic period.
‘Even if, one day, we had access to perfectly preserved fossils, a vital aspect of animal life would still elude our grasp. Behavior is almost entirely lost in the fossil record. Imagine the richness and strange wonder of animal life today. The eerie, ululating songs of whales, the elaborate middens of bowerbirds and the surreal spectacle of a peacock’s display could never be deduced from inanimate remains.
Likewise, some of the most spectacular sights of the past will never be seen, or even guessed.’
– All Yesterdays
The insects were reluctant to touch it, and that reluctance continued on down to everything that could be called life. The fungi refused to take the first bite. The bacteria self-destructed rather than continue touching it for more than a moment. It was as if they knew what kind of will had inhabited it just one day prior. Continue reading
Back to the Beginning
Münstereifel was the forest where one couldn’t help but feel watched. Despite the stodgy old growth being stuffed into a pocket of Germany, the sensation was not like being a grim fairy tale child wandering between dark trees with glowing beastly eyes all about. No, the eyes were far more ethereal, and for Kanga more frightening. Continue reading
Back to the Beginning
A dark cloud would be just one more uncomfortable bump on any transoceanic flight, but the pilot and copilot couldn’t see it or detect it with their instruments. Even the normal filters of first class team recycling travel, which kept out the riff and for a minor additional fee the raff as well, could do nothing against this particular phenomenon. Continue reading
Back to the Beginning
The night sky was beautiful, almost nauseatingly so. There was purple, orange, and blue in great drifting clouds. Nebulae, but they were supposed to be impossible to see from Earth. The Milky Way was there, under them, everything out of place but rapturously so, the celestial bodies nuzzling each other like puppies in a pile. Continue reading
Y2K threatened to destroy the world, all computers to go mad when the year ticked over to 2000, but a solution was found! Now the nineties play over and over again, and things just keep getting better! The guns are off the streets, the ozone hole is patched, the cops are tough on drugs, and competitive recycling is the number one sport in the world.
Life should’ve been perfect for one of its star players, Joey ‘Kanga’ Reuben, but after his best friend was taken from him in the middle of a match he could think of nothing else. It was all the work of those superhuman terrorists, the dastardly Millennials…
A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Competitive Recycling in the Fifth 1990s
With a robotically chauffeured limousine and enough free soda to raise the Titanic from the depths, nobody could call it a young man’s average Friday night. It was to be the fantastic Friday night characteristic of the reborn Rockford Rendezvous, and this trial run would culminate with the latest tour stop of the sexiest and most fashionable hologram to ever grace the stage and the drifting dust in the beams of the spotlight. Continue reading
Quarantined? Isolated? What a perfect time to read a horror short story. Everett finds himself trapped underground, prisoner of a most peculiar family, missing their sanity as well as a few other pieces…
Eyelids of an Aristocrat
This account exists, in various lengths, a hundred times over, and the world over at that too. I suspect this will be the longest version of it, and the most difficult to stuff in a bottle or box, but I’m going to bury it the deepest as well. It brings me joy to imagine the sense of reward of reading it to be directly proportional to the effort put in to acquire it. Continue reading
Well, they aren’t quite blurbs, given that these stories are, you know, short, but now that we’ve got descriptions for our books and novellas available, it’s time to move onto these.
If you don’t know me, I’m Blaine Arcade, a speculative fiction writing hobbyist, and I write lots of out-there science fiction, fantasy, science fantasy, and a little horror. All of my stories are available here and free to read, so please check them out if you’re interested. Happy reading!
Mary Annette’s Big and Beautiful Dog and Pony Show
Somewhere in the enchanting space between dinner theater and the wild west, performer Madrigal Mora finally gets his shot to use that ol’ dirt-kicking magic, but the owner has seen fit to cast him as the villain… Continue reading