My Story in Lackington’s #16

I’m not great at self-promotion (as I’ve mentioned before) but I have a story in the most recent issue of Lackington’s Magazine — specifically #16, the “Trades” issue. Y’see, Lackington’s is a fantasy magazine that specifically builds issues around specific themes. Past issues have included, for example, diseases, music, etc. So #16 is the “Trades” theme, presenting fantasy stories involving labour, work, etc.

I’ve only just got my copy, so I haven’t read it yet, but it includes stories by Kate Dollarhyde (“Lamplighter’s Eve”), Natalie Ritter (“A Summary of Menistarian Law, Composed for the Citizens of Olakia, in Response to Our Current Crisis by Dr. Clemons Indement as received and translated by Joseph Tomaras”), N. Muma Alain (“Yuckl Ogle”), Alexandra Seidel (“The Master of Hourglasses”), and with illustrations by P. Emerson Williams, Carrion House, Dotti Price, Michelle MB, Belinda Morris and Carol Wellart (and overseen by ed-in-chief, Ranylt Richildis).

My contribution is “The Maiden’s Path.”

The idea behind my story was, in a sense, to see if I could write a High Fantasy story (y’know, with magic and swordsmen and kings and the like) that didn’t actually rely on a lot of violence to tell its tale. Could I make it exciting, and have conflict, but without the hacking n’ hewing that I normally put into my pulp-inspired fantasy tales? Well, a story needs a goal, right? Something the protagonist is trying to accomplish (with drama supplied by the obstacles they must overcome). So if the hero couldn’t be a fighter, what heroic undertaking could he be involved in?

And I thought: why not make him an architect (or in the parlance of the milieu — a Master Builder)?

So the story involves a Master Builder who is commissioned to erect a bridge over a river. But complications ensue when he learns the area may suffer from an ancient curse (and further complications are provided by the fact that his employer is a tyrant king who is impatient with delays). Seeking to understand the roots of the curse, he learns something of the history behind a mysterious statue he uncovers. I’d like to think the story is interesting, suspenseful, spooky, bittersweet, quirky, and boasts a clever twist at the end. And that it has the feel of a pulpy adventure tale even if the violence is minimal and the menace more implied.

Did I succeed? Buy the issue and decide for yourself.

(And while I’m plugging things, forget ye not that I have a few ebooks for sale, including a collection of some of my previously published S&S/fantasy tales, as well as some prose superhero collections).

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