Because I am not the sort of person who likes to hear half a story myself, I don’t like putting others in that situation. Therefore, when I chose to read my novelette “Small Towns” at the SFWA Northwest Readings this month, I decided to plop the full text online for everyone to finish reading, whether they made it to the event or not! It’s a very different sort of story from “Conditional Love”, the other story I’ve made available online, and I like the contrast quite a bit.
“Small Towns” is a historical fantasy novelette, first published in the January/February 2012 issue of F&SF. Thanks to the kind offices of my co-protagonist Ryan Grove, it’s available as a web page or you can download the PDF or ePub file.
Here’s the teaser for those who didn’t make it to the readings:
When Jacques Jaillet was a small boy, he brought home a pocketful of sand from the seaside and dribbled it slowly onto the floorboards of his little room. He made long avenues and cottage roofs, rows of shops, garden walls, a church with a fragment of shell for the tower. Then, for no reason he could later recall, he took a deep breath and blew it all away, the shapes and the order, the grains themselves skittering under the baseboard, gone forever.
When Jacques returned to his market town in 1918, past his middle years, it looked as if here, too, a monstrous child had finished playing and had blown the town, the streets, the houses and shops from the face of the Earth.
Go and read the rest!