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They Build ‘Em Tough on Magna Mater – R.W.W. Greene

July 2020

George’s voice crackled over the headset radio. “You going tonight?”

“Not hardly. Pa fined me hard last time. Claimed I forgot to plug Bessie back in and cost us a day’s work.” Zeke spit a glob of bright orange newbacco juice into a can he’d taped to the inside of the tractor’s cockpit. “I plugged her in. Just didn’t have time for a full recharge.”

“Like your Pa would know anything about a day’s work,” George said. “He don’t remember the last time he done one.”

“He weren’t always like that.” Zeke moved the control sticks in unison, and Bessie reached out to grasp a four-ton bale of threefalfa in her heavy metal arms. The tractor hefted the bale, servos whining as it moved the load into position and added it to the neat, two-story stack on top of the crawler. “Used to be he worked as hard as anybody.”

Zeke’s pa hadn’t been the same since his wife died of Scylla, a native virus that seemed to take every Terrestrial mammal with two X chromosomes as a personal insult.

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They Build ‘Em Tough on Magna Mater – R.W.W. Greene
George’s voice crackled over the headset radio. “You going tonight?” “Not hardly. Pa fined me hard last time. Claimed I forgot to plug Bessie back in and cost us a day’s work.” Zeke spit a glob of bright orange newbacco juice into a can he’d taped to the inside of the tractor’s cockpit. “I plugged her in. Just didn’t have time for a full recharge.” “Like your Pa would know anything about a day’s work,” …
Read it "They Build ‘Em Tough on Magna Mater – R.W.W. Greene"
The Friendly Ghost – Ashley R. Carlson
A Year Before Conversations with you were never dull (it was one of the main reasons I wanted to marry you), but that night things had taken a random turn from flirty innuendos and our cat’s sudden-onset sneezing attacks to more macabre fare. You’d just told me about a dangerous incident that happened on the work site, and that if things had been left running a little while longer, you could’ve lost a limb or …
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About Rachel Ayers

Rachel Ayers lives in Alaska, where she writes cabaret shows, daydreams, and looks at mountains a lot. She has a degree in Library and Information Science, which comes in handy at odd hours, and she shares speculative poetry and flash fiction (and cat pictures) at patreon.com/richlayers

@richlayers


Rachel Ayers’s story “The Chorley
in Metaphorosis Friday, 31 July 2020.
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They Build ‘Em Tough on Magna Mater – R.W.W. Greene

George’s voice crackled over the headset radio. “You going tonight?” “Not hardly. Pa fined me hard last time. Claimed I forgot to plug Bessie back in and cost us a day’s work.” Zeke spit a glob of bright orange newbacco juice into a can he’d taped to the inside of the tractor’s cockpit. “I plugged her in. Just didn’t have time for a full recharge.” “Like your Pa would know anything about a day’s work,” …

It came from Felicity Drake

Felicity Drake’s story “Kozuna, the Ogre’s Child” was published in Metaphorosis on Friday, 3 January 2020. I’m a little embarrassed to admit how personal this story is. It’s woven together from my own experiences, people I’ve met, places I’ve been, and stories I’ve read. “Kozuna, the Ogre’s Child” is the name of a real Japanese folktale. (Grandmother’s version of the story is fairly similar to those you’ll find in collections of Japanese folklore.) The first …

A question for Jordan Chase-Young

Q: When do you decide a story is finished?

A: The splendid curse—the maddening blessing—of fiction is that a story is never finished. As David Deutsch taught us, any artwork is infinitely perfectible; you could spend millions of years improving a story one word, sentence, or scene at a time, but the combinatorially unbounded nature of thought means you’d still be infinitely far from perfection!

So if you can’t finish a story, really finish it, the question is when to abandon it. I have a poetic answer and a practical one. The poetic answer: I decide a story is finished when it makes me feel unadulterated pride to read it from beginning to end. The prose is clear and smooth, the action is balanced and organic, the characters have full voices and satisfying arcs, and the ending leaves one with a frisson of wonder and the feeling of time well spent. The practical answer: I decide a story is finished when I can no longer see how to improve it. Oh, I know there are improvements to be made, glorious ones just around the edge of thought, but I don’t yet have the knowledge to find them. So I finish the story and start working on another, in the hopes of getting better.


Jordan Chase-Young’s story “Shards
in Metaphorosis Friday, 17 July 2020.
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About Alexandra Seidel

Alexandra Seidel spent many a night stargazing when she was a child. These days, she writes stories and poems and drinks a lot of coffee (too much, some say). As Alexa Piper, she writes erotic romance that also leans toward the fantastical. You can follow her on Twitter @Alexa_Seidel or like her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/AlexaSeidelWrites/), and find out what she’s up to at alexandraseidel.com.


Alexandra Seidel’s story “A Picture of Home, in Silence
in Metaphorosis Friday, 24 July 2020.
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The Friendly Ghost – Ashley R. Carlson

A Year Before Conversations with you were never dull (it was one of the main reasons I wanted to marry you), but that night things had taken a random turn from flirty innuendos and our cat’s sudden-onset sneezing attacks to more macabre fare. You’d just told me about a dangerous incident that happened on the work site, and that if things had been left running a little while longer, you could’ve lost a limb or …