Love defies time, crosses the infinite distance of space, and sparks formidable magics in the hearts of those it touches. And immortality? Yeah, it’s got that covered, too.
In this powerful volume, Pop Seagull Publishing presents twelve science fiction and fantasy short stories on the theme of love and its role as a force of nature.
Follow an ambitious 1930’s journalist and her high-society boyfriend as they defend the world from evil beings that hide in shadows. Can love prevail when science fails?
Take a wild ride with Zephraim Cochrane as he searches for his long lost love through inter-dimensional travel. After all, the best inventions are always made to get dates.
Embark on a whirlwind romance with a creature of the Fey in seven days, a beautiful story of friendship and finding self-love before all else.
Descend into a very Torontonian sort of hell in search of lost love in Melanie in the underworld... just don’t forget to pet the corgi.
You’ll find these adventures, and many more, inside.
Tropes: Abandoned Place, Ancient Weapon, Cross-Species Friendships, Humanity is Good, Interspecies Romance, Person in Distress, Psionic Powers
Setting: Hamilton, Ontario, Toronto, space, Fantasy world
Languages Available: English
I quite enjoyed this collection of stories around the theme of love. Each story had a strong speculative element, ranging from fantasy to magic realism to soft science fiction.
My favorites included:
"Leave the World to Darkness" by Fraser Sherman, is a soft science fiction mystery story about Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla trying to save the world from "the Nazi master of shadows."
"Melanie in the Underworld" by Victoria Feistner, a beautiful retelling of the Greek story of Orpheus's attempt to save his wife from the underworld. It read like Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.
"Modern Love" by Gustavo Bondori deals with the pluses and pitfalls of the electronic age with regards to dating.
"Faster than the Speed of Slight" by Clint Spivey, a surprisingly poignant story of love between a man and an android.
Altogether, only two of the many stories didn't do much for me. I highly recommend this to you romantics-at-heart.
Stephen B. Pearl
Tears threatened to flow from her large, blue eyes as she bit her lip and tried to breathe. It was like she had tunnel vision; the pub was full, but all she could see was the couple in the doorway. Not long ago she’d have been overjoyed to see either of them; now seeing them together made her want to crawl away and die.
“Fawn, what?” The muscular, lightly tanned man that sat across from her at the table turned to look at the door. The woman was pretty, blonde, twenties, with a curvaceous build; the man was muscular, twenties, with dark-coffee coloured skin and handsome features.
“Oh shit!” Fawn’s companion swore.
“I’m sorry, Will. Can you just get me out of here before…?” Fawn buried her pretty face in her hands when the couple noticed her.
Will shook his head furiously and gestured for the couple to go away to no effect. “They’re coming,” Will almost spat the words.
Fawn forced herself to look up and brushed her long, chestnut hair away from her face before smoothing her dress over her subtle athletic curves.
“Hi, Fawn, hi Will,” said the blond woman.
“Hello Keisha, Rick,” Will spoke in even tones, but his hands clenched into fists.
“Hi,” Fawn choked out through a throat that felt like it was swelling shut.
“You look tired,” Rick smiled at Fawn, displaying even white teeth.
“I…” Fawn looked away. She’d loved that smile. Now it cut like a knife.
“We were just leaving,” Will’s voice pushed through the waves of emotion.
“Stay for a drink. We’re still all friends,” remarked Keisha.
Fawn’s hurt spilt over into anger, and she screamed. “Such good friends that you sleep with my boyfriend in my bed.” Stifling a sob, Fawn pushed past Keisha and raced out of the Winking Judge’s door.
“Will,” opened Rick.
“Good going, assholes! This is the first time I’ve got her out of her room for anything but class or groceries. Can’t you just leave her alone?” Will pushed past his two ex-friends and waved to the bartender. “Jeff, run me a tab, I’ll settle up tomorrow.” Will raced after Fawn.
Rick and Keisha looked at each other, shrugged, took the empty table and started eating fries off the plates there.
Will caught up to Fawn on the sidewalk about half a block from the pub.
“I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. I…” She blurted then grit her teeth and snuffled.
“It’s okay.” Will squeezed her arm.
“You’re a good friend, Will. It’s just… Rick was my first. My only. We were together all through undergrad. I thought we were going to get married and Keisha; we’ve been friends since we were kids. When her mom died, I was right there with her. I didn’t walk away and believe me, it would have been easy to, Keisha was such a bitch. How could they do that to me? How can I trust anyone ever again?”
Will pushed down on a pain of his own when she called him ‘friend’. He knew he was that first and foremost, but for over a year he’d dreamt of being more. But there was Rick, and now there was a pain that seemed to threaten the very core of the smart, gentle Fawn he had come to love. “I wish I had answers. All I can say is one day you’ll meet someone new.”
“I wish I could believe that. Who’d ever want flat-chested, plane old Fawn? I went to my prom with my cousin.”
“Then your cousin was lucky. I…” Will gently pulled her around to face him and stared into her eyes.
“Will.” She shook her head and smiled sadly.
Will nodded then sighed. “Right.”
They kept walking and in moments stood before the door to Fawn’s apartment. “Thanks for walking me home.” Fawn stood on tiptoes and kissed his cheek before opening the door and going in. Will watched her start up the stairs to her living area. She looked downtrodden.
“This isn’t right.” Inhaling deeply Will could smell honeysuckle. He straightened his posture. “I can’t let it stand. By the gods, I won’t let it stand!”
Hours later, Will sat in the woods by a green mound. Candles, in hurricane lamps, burnt marking the cardinal directions on a circle only he could see. He was dressed in a white robe, and a harp was on the ground before him beside a wooden staff. He began to strum the harp and sang in a steady baritone.
“Head me, Oengus.
Head me Harper of the heart.
Son of mighty Dagada’s justice.
Healing to her soul impart.
From betrayal let her rise.
Touch the glory of the skies.
Forge a new empowered way.
Make the tears to flow away.
Nay for myself, though my heart desires.
Will free of despair must kindle her heart’s fires.
So heal betrayal’s darksome blight.
And fill her heart with love’s true might.
The song went on until a wind gusted through the circle carrying a scent of apple blossom. Will stilled the strings of his harp.