This issue Includes:
Captain’s Chair – Looking Back at the Year Ahead – Zach Ricks
Guardian of Xarg – Lance Schonberg
Lumberjill – Daniel Ausema
Sean and Kitty in Love – Gary Cuba
Please Spay Your Tribbles – Laura Nicole
The Brisingamen – Hugh O’Donnell
Flotsam – Rebecca Schwarz
A View From the Poopdeck – Scott Roche
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A Preview of FlagShip Issue 6
Captain’s Chair – Looking Back at the Year Ahead
by Zach Ricks
Hi, I’m Zach Ricks, managing editor of FlagShip, and co-founder of Flying Island Press.
Welcome to FlagShip issue 6. With this issue, we mark the passing of one year of publishing science fiction and fantasy short stories. We’ve produced thousands of words of content, hours and hours of audio – both free and for-pay. We’ve produced full-cast versions of Shakespeare, and we’re currently in the middle of a full-cast rendition of Treasure Island at Pirate’s Cove. We’ve interviewed some of the best new media producers on offer, as well as old-school NYT bestsellers on The Galley Table podcast (which you can get for free on our website.)
It’s almost embarrassing to admit, but I started this process without a dedicated e-reader of my own. I read mostly on my iDevice, and I think that’s a fantastic, multi-purpose solution for people, giving access to all of the major online retailers of e-reader content without having to worry about tying yourself down to a particular source or format. Audible audiobooks? Kindle Store? Nook? Smashwords? No Problem. Your iPod / iPhone / iPad has you covered.
And then I bought a Kindle. You know… for testing… and I’ve found that I love the format. The somewhat larger screen, the e-ink display… I’ve read so much on that Kindle that at this point I seriously wonder what I would do without it. (And the ability to sync between my iDevice, my computer and my Kindle is awesome! if… occasionally a little clunky. Now if only it worked for the stuff I’m buying from independent sources… like Flying Island Press… or Baen…)
Guardian of Xarg
by Lance Schonberg
Rajak pulled the spyglass away from his left eye and dragged himself a few inches back into the foliage with his toes before rolling over to look at Henrid. Three tiny streams of sweat drizzled down his face. One ran between his eyes threatening to drip from the end of his nose. “There’s a dragon.”
A moment of silence passed before Henrid heaved a sigh, the kind of sigh that comes from long years suffering under a fate bent on causing the greatest aggravation possible. “Of course there’s a dragon. There’s always a dragon. Every time we loot a tomb, there’s a dragon. Every time we sack a temple, there’s a dragon. Every time I take a leak, there’s a gods-rotted dragon!”
Rolling his eyes, Rajak made a shushing noise. “You do know dragons have excellent hearing, right?”
by Daniel Ausema
The Great North Woods stretched all around them. Or what was left of it, anyway, after Jill’s uncle had harvested so many of the trees. But here the giant trees still stood, their crowns so thick that little underbrush grew between the trunks. Standing treasure, like a bank just waiting for Jill to withdraw the money. The lead wagon created the road that the other horses followed simply by rolling ahead between trees. Jill ran her fingers lovingly over the axe-head lying in her lap as she pictured the new house awaiting her up ahead.
Nestled in a fold of the forest should lie a clearing, growing around what for now would be a lumber camp. And in the center of that clearing, built of the very trees that had stood in the spot, her house, her own cabin, waiting only for her to arrive. And then, she planned to live in that cabin and harvest the trees all around and float them down the river and become wealthy. A true tree baroness. Perhaps even the inspiration for her own tall tales.
Sean and Kitty in Love
by Gary Cuba
Them? Oh, that’s Sean and Kitty. They’ve always been in love with each other.
If you’ll permit an acute observation, you look a tad pale and shaken for having seen them. And I can well understand why: they are indeed grotesque, with respect to our normal human sensibilities. But you did ask me about those two disparate, monstrous forms sitting at the corner table near the fireplace, and I can only oblige you with what I know of their story, the facts of the matter. You’re new to our town, and you deserve no less. Let me top up your glass, show you some of the hospitality that our little burg is renowned for, and I’ll get straight to it. Settle your nerves now, friend.
The starting place of their story lies under this very dome, the one covering our fine city of New Dublin on this peaceful asteroid we call Patroclus, drifting lazily at Jupiter’s lagging Lagrangian point in the company of its many Trojan sisters. And our starting time is three hundred years ago.
Please Spay Your Tribbles
by Laura Nicole
For those of you who follow Flagship’s blog, you know what I have been working on a series called “Please Spay Your Tribbles” and put out articles every Wednesday . I get to be a little creative and silly and discuss how the world would be effected if the gadgets and tools of SciFi and Fantasy stories were readily available in modern society. At the request of the crew I have written a special article for this edition of Flagship. If you like what you read, give us some feedback and I may do it again.
I had a suggestion to write about mind control recently and thought, ‘Ooo. Something fun for my twisted brain to play with.’ We see mind control in many different forms in fiction: thralls for mindflayers or vampires; magical spells or curses; mutations; implanted devices; or possessions.
by Hugh O’Donnell
Like most matters that Darryl Heim considered important, the meeting was taken over coffee. It was just past 09:30 Universal Standard Station Time, and the ‘Lets Relax’ coffee shop was empty after the morning rush. The staff busied themselves in the back, filling to-go orders for the small offices that helped facilitate and supply the mining digs out in the asteroid belt. It was just another morning on Shichi Fukujin Station, Japan’s hub in the outer system.
The man sitting across from him was forty at the youngest, with short-cropped, black hair that had been dyed to cover streaks of gray. He wore a black suit that was spotless, conservative, and severe. In short, he looked like every other hungry salary man you could photograph. The man’s nondescript nature worried Heim, but he was careful not to show it. Instead Heim feigned intense interest in the business card he had been so elegantly handed. It was as severe and blank as the owner.
“What can I do for you, Mr. Hidari?” He asked while he stirred in a single packet of creamer.
“I wish to hire your services, Mr. Heim. You have come quite recommended.”
by Rebecca Schwarz
I’m about to blast a Grunt when the game freezes. Mom’s commandeered the link and now she appears in her old chinos and a t-shirt among the rubble of the Axis bunker.
“Mom! Get off!” As long as she’s on, my avatar is frozen like an idiot and open to attack. I text Katya my situation, although it should be obvious.
“Don’t speak to me in that tone, Ian!” Mom says. “Log off and come to the kitchen.”
There’s no point in arguing. I shut down my avatar and sign off. I hope Katya makes it to the next level. If not, no way is she partnering with me again or sitting next to me at lunch.
The 3D shuts down, sucking the setting sun up to the foreground rubble. The wall fades to beige. I flop back on the floor. It’s always startling how small my room is when the screen is off. My toes touch the wall where the screen was, and when I stretch my hands up over my head, I can feel the curved join where the opposite wall becomes the floor.
I get up, slide the door open and yell, “What do you want?”
“I’m in the kitchen,” Mom insists. I walk the six steps down the hall to the so-called kitchen.
“I’m kind of in the middle of something, Mom.”
“Oh, give me a break; it’s Saturday,” Mom says. She’s scrubbing at the tiny rectangle of countertop, not a good sign. “I have got to get some cleaning done. Could you take your sister out for a couple hours?”
A View From the Poopdeck
by Scott Roche
I just finished watching Ip Man, the semi-autobiographic story of the man who is credited as having made Wing Chun Kung Fu into the widely practiced martial art it is today. Among a number of students whose names I am not familiar with was one standout, Bruce Lee. The movie itself was incredibly filmed and acted. While it’s not entirely accurate, the story of the underdog coming up and defeating the evil forces combined with the humble man of peace becoming an unstoppable wrecking ball, was an awesome and brutal one-two combination.
The whole film felt very familiar and comfortable, even though I’m not intimately familiar with either country’s history or culture. The film maker used several touchstones to make the story immediately accessible. For example, during one scene I thought, “The Japanese soldiers in this movie are the Galactic Empire.” Okay, actually the thought was, “these guys are Nazis”, but this is a sci-fi ‘zine and the Empire was essentially the Third Reich with frickin’ lasers.
That got me to thinking about the shortcuts that stories take to get us into their world.
Lance Schonberg lives in Eastern Ontario, Canada with his wife, children, feline overlords, and assorted fish and reptiles. Previous careers include bookseller, cubicle dweller, number cruncher, and Craps dealer. He’s not very good at short, 3rd-person biographies so tends to use the same one over and over again. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in a number of publications and websites including Bards & Sages Quarterly, Dead Bait, Tales from the Void, Golden Visions Magazine, and Everyday Weirdness. You can find him on Twitter as WritingDad, on Facebook, or on the blog he tries to maintain at smallrealities.wordpress.com.
Daniel Ausema has a background in experiential education and journalism and is now a stay-at-home dad. His fiction and poetry have appeared and are forthcoming in numerous publications, including Nemonymous, Kaleidotrope, and Daily Science Fiction. He lives in Colorado, at the foot of the Rocky Mountains.
Hugh J. O’Donnell
Hugh J. O’Donnell is a writer and podcaster living in Western New York. He is the host and editor of The Way of the Buffalo Podcast, which features short fiction and interviews. His fiction has appeared in Buffalo Tales Literary Magazine and the Static Movement “Pot Luck Flash Fiction” anthology, amongst others. He can be found lurking as @hatchingphoenix on Twitter, and online at http://hughjodonnell.wordpress.com.
Gary Cuba’s short fiction has appeared in more than thirty publications, including Jim Baen’s Universe, Flash Fiction Online, Abyss & Apex, Dark Recesses and Andromeda Spaceways. He and his wife live perilously close to the Congaree National Swamp in South Carolina, where big-footed “Skunk Apes” are said to lurk.
Rebecca Schwarz is an ex-librarian and an ex-cocktail waitress, she has held many other jobs along that continuum. By day she is a mild-mannered Editorial Assistant for a scientific journal, by night she writes science fiction and fantasy stories. She’s an active member of the Slugtribe writers’ critique group in Austin, Texas. You can find out more about her at www.curiousworlds.blogspot.com.
Zach Ricks is an attorney / project manager / writer / aspiring imperialist warmonger living in Austin TX with a very understanding wife and daughter. He found science fiction at five years old when his parents made the tactical error of taking him to see “Star Wars” while visiting family in Alaska. They later recalled that it was the first time they’d taken him to a movie where he hadn’t been whining about having to go to the bathroom or wanting popcorn. And while it was a welcome change, it also sort of freaked them out. He grew up on a potato farm in Idaho, which gave him a lot of time riding around on tractors and pondering “Wouldn’t it be cool if…” Today, he can be found occasionally posting short stories at MadPoetFiles.com. His latest project is Flying Island Press – a publisher of e-magazines for anything with a screen or a pair of earphones.
Laura Nicole is an Editor, Slush Reader, Guest Coordinator, Voice Actor, Writer, Jedi Master, Gypsy Queen, Model, Ninja Master, Pirate, Official Receiver of Titles and the Managing Editor’s Number 1 right hand due to her can-do attitude and formidable skills keeping the rest of the crew in line, shipshape, and on their best behavior. (Believe us, you don’t want to know what FlagShip would be like without her.) In addition to her regular “Please Spay Your Tribble” columns at www.flyingislandpress.com/flagship, her most recent fiction work, “Absolution”, is running in free episodic audio downloads at scrivenerscircle.com.
Scott Roche is the Marketing Director for Flying Island Press. He has had his work published in Hub Magazine and is very active in the podcasting community. Writing and creating are part time unpaid gigs for the most part, but he’s actively working to change that. You can find Scott’s musings on spiritual matters at http://www.spiritualtramp.com. He had a podcast novel called Archangel at http://www.archangelnovel.com. Finally, his thoughts on writing, social media, and podcasting are available at http://www.scottroche.com/blog.