The second of Ben Baldwin's 2012 covers is called The Tower.
Twember by Steve Rasnic Tem
illustrated by Dave Senecal
Will observed through the kitchen window of his parents’ farmhouse as the towering escarpment, its many strata glittering relative to their contents, moved inescapably through the fields several hundred yards away. He held his breath as it passed over and through fences, barns, tractors, and an abandoned house long shed of paint. Its trespass was apparently without effect, although some of the objects in its wake had appeared to tremble ever so slightly, shining as if washed in a recent, cleansing rain.
Lips and Teeth by Jon Wallace
illustrated by Richard Wagner
The rain stops by morning, and a little sun breaks through the clouds, thank the Dear Leader. I get out of bed. I scratch at the lice. Then I pick up Jin-Song and step outside. / The yard is a small square of yellow and white mud, ten paces wide and twelve paces long. It’s surrounded by a rotting dried mud wall, topped with rusty wire. In one place the wall has crumbled, leaving an opening. If I want, I can look out at the fields, all the way along the deep, narrow valley and up the mountains.
Tangerine, Nectarine, Clementine, Apocalypse by Suzanne Palmer
illustrated by Richard Wagner
Bota’s fruit stand is near the Rimside docks, and he is quiet and kind and makes no trouble except for when he has his visions. In other times or places, or in the make-believe worlds of the books that occupy all my free time and no small amount of my dreams, such a man might have been driven from his people, or burnt at the stake, or otherwise dramatically ill-treated, but this is Utopia. The worst that can be said to have been done to him is that his stand is not in the Hub of the city, as perhaps it should have been.
Bound in Place by Jacob A. Boyd
illustrated by Ben Baldwin
Until Derrick’s face brightened at the realtor’s suggestion, Jolene had considered haunted houses non-options, no matter how in they were. Derrick had made promises. They would not make a life where people had died. Also, she would not have to work a day in her life, and she would be envied for how much she was loved. The realtor’s photo of the large Victorian set on a hilltop upset Jolene. The noontime shadow from its widow’s walk starkly divided its baroque front door and made her insides itch. But Jolene had made promises, too, promises of fidelity, flexibility, and love. Compromise seemed fair. Though the hulking Victorian looked murderous, the ghosts inhabiting it were not those of people who had died there. They had been imported.
Railriders by Matthew Cook
illustrated by Warwick Fraser-Coombe
We all had things we were running to. Or from. / For Jewel, it was a dead baby and a wicked jag habit back on Prospero. Wasn’t her fault; nothing else matters when you’re stoned on jag, or so she says. It’s hard to remember little things – important things, like taking care of a little, defenseless one – when you’re flying so high on chemical wings. / Claire had herself a husband back on some armpit miner’s colony around New Athens. When money was tight he’d sell her for twenty chits a pop, then beat her for being a whore. When she’d finally had enough of that she waited until he was asleep, then cut him, bad, with a chunk of steel strap banding. She headed out into the black without a backward look and has been riding the rails ever since.
One-Way Ticket by Nigel Brown
illustrated by Mark Pexton
Once all eight of the party had disembarked onto the topside of the alien creature, the tender didn’t wait to wave them off. Kyra Byrne, hooded against the chill air, made a point to watch it leave. / She committed every detail to memory as the tender picked up speed, its pontoons skimming the surface of the swamp. It lifted with a blast of eco-permitted hydrogen peroxide rockets that boomed over the foaming water, to flee up to orbit and the heavy graded-Z plus shielding of the starship Long Hope.
Ansible Link by David Langford
news and obituaries
Book Zone by Jim Steel, Maureen Kincaid Speller, Juliet E. McKenna, Nathaniel Tapley, Lawrence Osborn, Stephen Theaker, Paul F. Cockburn, Lara Buckerton, Elaine Gallagher
book reviews including Dark Eden by Chris Beckett (with author interview by Jim Steel), In the Mouth of the Whale by Paul McAuley, Giant Thief by David Tallerman, The Wild Girls by Ursula K. Le Guin, Sensation by Nick Mamatas, Babylon Steel by Gaie Sebold, Theme Planet by Andy Remic, Intrusion by Ken Macleod, From Elvish to Klingon edited by Michael Adams
Mutant Popcorn by Nick Lowe
film reviews including Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, A Monster in Paris, Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace 3D, Underworld: Awakening, The Woman in Black, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, The Darkest Hour, Chronicle
Laser Fodder by Tony Lee
DVD and Blu-ray reviews including The Shrine, We Need to Talk About Kevin, Straw Dogs, Take Shelter, The Revenant, ID:A, Mardock Scramble: The First Compression
Don't forget to vote for your favourite stories and artworks of 2011. Closing date 31st March!
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