Beth Goder
Author and Archivist

New Story--Pulling Secrets From Stones

My newest story, “Pulling Secrets From Stones,” is out in issue 3 of Mythic Magazine.

Mythic Magazine, Issue 3

Snippet:

In the lakebed by the mountains slept stones full of secrets. Waiting memories. Dissipating memories. Rachel could feel the hum of them, their longing for closeness, pressing against her as the sun pressed down.

In this story, I wanted to write about the magic of ordinary things–stones and memories, trucks and dusty land, rain and mountains. There’s longing and a trusty Toyota Stout and the memory of spontaneous berry pie.

I also wanted to write a character who’s older and wild and doesn’t conform to society’s expectations. That’s the woman in the mountains, who refused, for this story, to even accept a less mythic name.

To the Eggplant Cannon Published

Take one magician, place her in a vegetable-themed amusement park, and make her late for her gig. That’s the start of “To the Eggplant Cannon”, my newest story, now up at Metaphorsis.

Snippet:

The amusement park was so large that it had two trains named after root vegetables. Vienne got on the wrong one.

Read the rest here.

Although I’m interested in magic, I’ve never performed a trick myself–unless you count that time when I was eight and made a salt shaker disappear (by dropping it onto my lap).

While writing this story, I got the urge to learn one. Since Vienne is an expert at card magic, of course I had to pull out a deck of cards.

This, intrepid reader, is the story of how I failed to learn “The Greatest Card Trick in the World”.

For this trick, you need to know two moves: the fan and the double-lift.

The fan. Pick a card, any card.

(The fan. Pick a card, any card.)

I practiced the fan for hours, and I still can’t get it right. I go too slowly or quickly, the cards clump up, and I can never get a satisfying grip. The first time I asked someone to draw a card, the whole deck went spinning out of my hand.

I’d like to blame my tiny hands, but I imagine the real problem is my lack of practice, knowledge, dedication, and talent. But also, I have really tiny hands.

My hands are the tiny ones.

(My hands are the tiny ones.)

The next move is the double-lift. Surprisingly, I found the lift easier than the fan, although I can only manage a satisfactory lift one out of every ten times.

I am holding two cards. This is a secret!

(I am holding two cards. This is a secret!)

This trick never goes right for me. I’m still trying to get that darn fan to work, and I’m not comfortable with the double-lift, either.

It turns out, learning a magic trick is hard. Learning to do it well is even harder. To master a trick, magicians have to be incredibly dedicated. I’m in awe of what they do–not only by the effects of their tricks, but by their mastery of a craft.

In which the author learns she is not cut out to be a magician.

(In which the author learns she is not cut out to be a magician.)

But as for me, I think I’ll stick to writing.

Hugo Nomination Considerations for Short Stories

My goodness, the deadline for Hugo nominations is less than a month away. I want to get my nominating done early, because deadlines like that tend to creep up on me.

I read quite a few short stories last year. (Thank you, golden age of short fiction.) After all of that reading, I’ve narrowed it down to 10 stories I’m considering for my ballot. I don’t know how I’ll pick between them, because they’re all amazing. It was hard enough getting it down to 10.

So here’s my list. I’m putting it in alphabetical order by title. If you’re nominating, or just looking for some excellent short fiction, I encourage you to take a look at these stories.

“All Things Remembered.” John Richard Saylor, Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet

“The Elixar of Not-So-Digusting Death Smell.” Carlie St. George, Mothership Zeta

“Fish Dance” Eric Schwitzgebel, Clarkesworld

“Forever Now” A.E. Decker, Fireside Fiction

“For the Children.” Jamie Wahls, Mothership Zeta

“Lazarus and the Amazing Phoenix Kid” Jennifer Giesbrecht, Apex Magazine

“My Grandmother’s Bones” S. L. Huang, Daily Science Fiction

“The Spider” Rahul Kanakia, Daily Science Fiction

“We Have a Cultural Difference, Can I Taste You?” Rebecca Ann Jordan, Strange Horizons

“You Can’t See it ‘Til it’s Finished” Joseph Allen Hill, Liminal Stories

2016 in Review

Here’s a list of my stories published in 2016:

Murder or a Duck (4,000 words, Escape Pod)

This is my favorite thing I had published this year. Steampunk and time travel, afternoon tea and proper ladies (who turn out to be not so proper after all), and a great deal of silliness.

Eating the Sun (700 words, Mothership Zeta)

Space poetry, an epic journey, an alien-godling and sentient sun.

Windows (4,000 words, Escape Pod)

Anthropology, archives, holograms, prophetic soup.

The Forgetting Place (700 words, Zetetic)

Memory and the relationship between the past and the present.

The Wish Giver (1,500 words, Zetetic)

A look at what would happen if someone refused to have a wish granted.

This is my first year of eligibility for the Campbell Award.

The Forgetting Place Published

My story “The Forgetting Place” is up at Zetetic: A Record of Unusual Inquiry.

Snippet:

In the Forgetting Place, a person forgets two things—a memory of happiness, a memory of sorrow. Sometimes it is the same memory.

You can read the rest here.

This short, almost dream-like story was written in one burst and then revised several times. The idea came quite suddenly, and I can’t say exactly why. As an archivist, I think a lot about how memory affects our lives–both our personal memories and collective memory. If what happens before shapes what happens after, then how would a person be affected if she decided to give up the memory of a formative event? How would her understanding of the value of memories change over time?

Mostly, I didn’t think about these questions as I was writing that first draft, although I thought about them after. Instead, I had this image of a woman traveling back the way she had once gone–to the Forgetting Place.