Sunday, March 23, 2014

Damned published in The Colored Lens

Issue 11 of the excellent magazine The Colored Lens in now out, featuring my short story Damned. The first of three stories (so far) in a loose series set in a magicpunk world (or magitech, as I prefer) is about moral choices in a dystopic society whose treatment of the magically gifted will be only too familiar to anyone familar with twentieth-century history.

Besides Damned, this issue features stories by Marcelina Vizcarra, Peter J. Enyeart, Steve Toase, Greg Little, Melinda Moore, Jeff Suwak, Dusty Cooper, Damien Krsteski, Iulian Ianescu, J. A. Becker and Todd Thorne.

Excerpt from Damned
The spell to start my car didn’t work that evening, so I contacted the repair service and walked home from the office through darkening drizzle, rather than being ripped off by the Instant Transportation System.  Rain insinuated itself inside my upturned collar.  Typical: they spend a fortune on improving the fireballs and blasting spells, but nothing on controlling the weather.
“Can I see your papers, sir?” said a voice behind me.
I turned with the practiced air of having nothing to hide, but my mind was racing.  Had he heard my thoughts, and would he consider them disloyal?  I’d always doubted the rumours of the peacekeepers using mind-reading devices, but I wasn’t so sure at that moment.
It was reassuring that his fireball-thrower was still in its holster, although his hand rested on it, but his face was blank and unreadable as they always were.  He had the spell-shield slung over his shoulder, ready to be deployed at a moment’s notice and reflect any hex back on the attacker. 
I fumbled the papers from my inside pocket and tried to stand calmly while he scanned them.  Everyone feels paranoid in this situation.  Or maybe just me.  It’s not as if anyone would dare to discuss it.
He looked up at last.  “Seen any of the damned, sir?”
The question threw me, as was no doubt the intention, but I was able to answer truthfully, “Of course not.  I’d have reported it if I had.”
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