I was really excited with last week’s Flintlock & Folly Award shortlist. Whenever we try something with strict genre requirements there’s always a risk we won’t get enough entries, or that the stories might miss the mark, particularly when it’s an emerging genre.
But as usual you guys continued to impress. The four stories we saw in Act 1 of this serial shortlist not only nailed the mood and feel of the genre, but were also diverse enough to stand on their own as unique and engaging stories. Let’s recap:
Smugglers and Fortune Tellers
The gasoline they use at sea can give you headaches, bad dreams maybe, but it’s just a physical thing.
The Tarot is fuelled by desire. I’ve drawn a card on my best friend’s wake.
That’s the thrilling opening to It Might As Well Be Magic, part 1 of Ryan D Mills’ Snowing In Capricorn. Ryan’s début at NiTH is a fast paced, literary adventure of magic, mystique, tarots and gunpowder. If you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend checking it out. Check the link above.
Also on début, Jessica Seymour’s Argonauta’s Prey takes the hijinks from the high seas to the flying high. Captain Pike and the crew of the Argonauta are the most feared pirates of the skies, and have been for a very long time:
Pike and Assy were out on the side of the ship, ready to jump. Pike had to squint to see his target through the torrent of rain battering them from all sides. A wall of wind slammed into their ship. Pike and Assy hung together, two dead’uns waiting to pounce on their live prey. Little Jacksy was on Pike’s other side, the gears on his leg spinning with anticipation. He was barely old enough to shave, but Pike had taken a shine to him a few years back and brought him onto the crew on a probationary basis. He was still livin’, but they didn’t hold that against him
Back down to earth and (not so) dry land, Act 1 of Daniel Norrish’s ‘Blood & Discovery’ Series, Fingers, introduces us to the bumbling yet courageous Taribald. Washed up on shore for reasons unknown, Taribald has to fight for survival, pursued by cannibals and other strangers, it’s touch and go for our plucky protagonist.
The entire, strange structure is made from vines and long, dead tree branches. It’s a massive pontoon, a single level vessel floating on a lake of liquid orange fungus. Everything the fluid touches is instantly stained and everyone moving around on it is a varying shade of orange.
The Clouds Above
And last but never least, Lydia Trethewey takes us to the end of the world and into the eye of the storm with Spirits, a darkly visceral opening stanza of mystery and mayhem on the high seas:
Samuel watched the darkening clouds. They were grey like the belly of a wolf, with a faint green tinge at the horizon. A spark of lightning ran sideways through them. Samuel shook his head and disappeared below deck.
Is it just me or does Spirits read a bit like Lydia’s other event offering, Wolf In The Bay? Does the reference to ‘The belly of a wolf’ hint at a shared world, or am I seeing spirits where there are only shadows?
Time will tell as both awards continue through to next few months.
Like the scattering of buckshot our four shortlisted stories were a tight grouping, separated by less points than a pirate has teeth. Please congratulate Daniel Norrish for his opening act to ‘Blood & Discovery’ Fingers!
Daniel has been plugging away throughout the middle of 2016 with two entertaining serials in the ‘To The Nines ‘ Award, so it’s great to see the Sydney based author get some rewards. Lets hope Taribald’s luck holds out for part 2!
New Shortlist – Everything Is Everything
Something pretty different for this week’s shortlist (which will run for two weeks). We have authors the opportunity to express themselves however they want, and at whatever length they wanted.
So of course we got of a bunch of 5000 word stories about love.
Well that doesn’t paint the entire picture…
This shortlist is a really great opportunity to what more seasoned authors like write about and make room for some new authors to express themselves away from the restraints of the average award, so when you’re done here, head to the front page and give one of the stories a read.
That’s all from me for now. Best of luck to out new authors, and well done to Daniel for a great win.