Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Beneath Ceaseless Skies Issue #23

“Between Two Treasons” by Michael J. DeLuca – Periphas leaves his centaur master, Eurytus, to infiltrate a gathering of sorcerers who hope to gain enlightenment in defending their home nations against the centaurs. Though Periphas has lived with the centaurs for most of his life, the longer he remains with his own kind, the more he struggles between serving Eurytus and saving humanity.

This was one of the best stories I’ve read in Beneath Ceaseless Skies. The fantasy world is unique, and I found the interactions between Periphas and Eurytus intriguing. Nice pacing as well. At some point soon, I’m going to check out DeLuca’s “Of Thinking Being and Beast” that appeared in Issue #9.

“Oil Fire” by Kate MacLeod – Bearing the mark of an exile for theft, Puabi hides in the houses of the dead while continuing to read from the priests’ library, immersing herself in the ways of magic. When the father of her dearest friend, Enanatuma, dies, Puabi reveals herself for only the second time since her banishment ten years ago. Enanatuma asks for help in securing her household, but Puabi’s only solution is through the unpredictable magic she wields.

I liked the consequences of magic in this story. There are no simple solutions in life, and deceit and manipulation cause only further grief. Clever and thought-provoking.

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