REVIEWERS: Would you like a copy? Ping me if you’d like to review one story or all of them. My contribution is a fun little SFW sci-fi gay romance.
UnCommon Origins presents 22 depictions of moments on the precipice, beginnings both beautiful and tragic. Fantastical stories of Creation, Feral Children, Gods and Goddesses (both holy and horrific), and possibilities you never dared imagine come to life.
Including stories from some of the most talented Speculative Fiction and Magical Realism authors around, UnCommon Origins will revisit the oldest questions in the universe:
Where did we come from?
What comes next?
The Hanging Gardens of Brooklyn by Rhoads Brazos – In the bustle of the big city, a young girl discovers that the otherworldly can appear in the most mundane of places. Speak peace to all strangers, for we may not know what we are waiting for until it arrives.
Aplanetary by Holly Heisey – Gemina followed eir lover in an experiment to be born on another world and live as an alien species. But on a harsh, unfriendly world, e finds love and loss, hope and self, and a life e never could have imagined.
Glass Heart by Sacha Hope – England, 1850. Wolt’s wife is dying from disease. He is desperate to find a cure for her affliction… not knowing that he created a monster instead.
Cultural Gleanings by Deanne Charlton – A woman awakes speaking a foreign language that feels familiar. How well can she and her husband communicate through pantomime? And what are those tiny noises?
Fringling by J.D. Harpley – Slave to the Klekan on a foreign planet far from his race’s birthplace, Baylin discovers there’s something powerful lurking within him. He fights the desire to slaughter his slavers and as the moral battle rages inside him, a new anomaly threatens to remove his identity and transform him into something entirely different.
Poseidon’s Tears by E.L. Johnson – An Atlantian girl witnesses the destruction of Atlantis and discovers what happens to the survivors.
The Curl of Emma Jean by Michele Tracy Berger – Two sisters under stress come to different conclusions about a strange child and what she means for their family.
The Price by Samuel Peralta – In the City’s old quarter, a Visitor to a shop selling wartime memorabilia meets its singular Proprietor, and his uncommon offering.
Growing Simon by Jo West – In a world in which she does not appear to belong, Jane is an ordinary woman driven to extraordinary lengths to achieve her dream.
The Terrible Discovery of Professor Charles Cooper by Jonathan Cromack – An English club style story set in the late 1800’s whereby an academic stumbles upon an abandoned laboratory in the isolated country and horrifically discovers the nature of the scientist’s research face to face.
The Last Star by D.L. Orton – Two beings watch the last star in our universe wink out and discover the answer to how it all ends. And, perhaps, how it all begins.
My Darlings by P.K. Tyler – Adaline has a secret growing within her, whether a gift or a curse remains to be seen.
The Tombstone Man and the Coming of the Tigress by Nillu Nasser Stelter – Jermaine Wyoming lives in a cemetery, isolated from the world, obsessed with the idea of replacing the memories of his harrowing childhood with new ones. Seventeen-year-old Lana Norse suffers from a debilitating disease that promises to rob her of her future. When the two meet, the boundaries of their worlds blur and it becomes difficult to tell what’s real from what is not.
In the Periphery by Erica Ruhe – Jayati Dawar is an advanced generation clone and part of a large-scale, deep-space mission to save humankind. But the violent death of her clone sister and surrogate mother, Samidha, raises disturbing questions about The Halcyon mission’s true objective. With no one to trust and nowhere to hide, Jaya must rely on her own intuition and the cryptic dreams of her original Source Mother… a woman who died hundreds of years ago.
Exhale by Laxmi Hariharan – Sofia must mate with Kris and birth a race superior to humans, but she cannot accept her fate. Can she create her own destiny?
interdimensional investigations initiative (iii) – ifrit by Brent Meske – Previously, Dr. Inman of the Tessera University Institute of Science and Technology (TUIST) opened a portal to another dimensional and what flowed through was… everything ever conceived. Every ghost and ghoul, every mad scientist and robot and dinosaur ever given fictional form fled the fractured containment field. Sealing the rift required the herculean efforts of a fourteen-year-old boy, but now the doctor has become infatuated with the interdimensional incision, and his lust for knowledge cannot be undone…
Swim with the Beavers by Robert Allen Lupton – A raging river washes a young boy from of his pioneer family’s wagon and the waters carry him downstream to be rescued by an unusual foster family. Do they save him or does he save them? Perhaps, they save each other.
The Least Child by Daniel Arthur Smith – After a two-month dry spell, a writer finds inspiration in the form of a small, plant-dwelling creature.
Consciousness by Zig Zag Claybourne – When even gods, holy men, and fantastical beings have existential crises of hope, love, and friendship, there is always the bearable brightness of tea.
Her by Rebecca Poole – A lifetime of toil. Believe when no one else does. Remain steadfast, stay the course. The last of his kind, he’s waiting. He who serves his goddess understands when others do not. He welcomes the final act, but devotion has a price.
The Apple by Shebat Legion – The Apple is a post-apocalyptic love story about survival and hope. It illustrates the strength of character needed to make a personal sacrifice to ensure a better future or any future at all.
Becoming Mage by Melanie Lamaga – A recovering alcoholic taps uncanny new skills as she matches wits with her former friends at the country club.
Step right up to the modern freakshow — We have mermaids, monsters, and more. You won’t be disappointed, but you may not get out alive.
What is UnCommon Bodies?
UnCommon Bodies presents a collection of 20 beautifully irreverent stories which blend the surreal and the mundane. Together, the authors explore the lives of the odd, the unbelievable, and the impossible. Imagine a world where magic exists, where the physical form has the power to heal or repulse, where a deal with the devil means losing so much more than your soul.
Hot diggity! That sounds good! What’s in it?
We is We by Michael Harris Cohen: “We is we” follows a day in Mary and Millie’s life, traveling sideshow freaks who’ve lost touch with the outside world.
All The Devils by Keira Michelle Telford: It’s 1889, and women are being killed in the East End of London. They’ve become the targets of a deranged sexual killer, but why? Because they’re prostitutes? Sapphists? Or something else entirely?
Skin by Brent Meske: After constant bullying in high school, Patricia vows to change her name and her entire being. When she gains the ability to mold and sculpt flesh, that vow very quickly becomes a terrifying reality.
Mermaids by Robert Pope: Recently graduated from college, with no work prospects, Aqua-boy—so called because of the webbing between his toes—watches and listens to a group of musicians at a bar/restaurant when he notices the woman playing a diminutive red accordion has six fingers.
Phantom Pain by Philip Harris: Phantom Pain follows amputee, Mariana Jacobs, as she visits a man who claims to have information she needs. But that information comes at a cost.
Unbreakable Heart by Rebecca Poole: A cyborg must escape her creators in order to survive.
Saltwater Assassin by Samantha Warren: Syren has spent her life as a sideshow freak, caged in a tank of saltwater and gawked at by hundreds of normal humans. She has a secret, though. At night, when the lights are finally off and the fair goers leave, she turns into a human–a mermaid assassin.
In Her Image by Vasil Tuchkov: An English PHD student arrives at the scenic but haunting countryside of Matera, Italy, looking for answers. His translator introduces him to a crippled local painter who claims to have depicted the impossible. As the three men converse near the ancient settlement’s caverns, a mystery unravels.
Undead Cyborg Girl by Kim Wells: When she wakes up undead after receiving a cyborg assassin upgrade surgical procedure, Undead Girl’s life is forever changed. Is it for the better? She has all the skills, but she needs a job, she needs some friends, and she needs to remember who she is. Part 1 of the Cyborg Story trilogy.
Don’t Touch Me by Bey Deckard: Fighting is what Beau does best, because the very thing he dreads is exactly what lends him the extraordinary strength to defeat even the worst odds. And he does it all with the help of his angel, the woman he longs desperately to hold…but can’t.
Three Poems by Deanne Charlton: Brenga’s Body, Eternity in a One-night Stand, It Runs in the Family
Ruby by Bob Williams: It’s nineteen thirty-six and the town of Ransom, Oklahoma is barely functioning after the “Dust Bowl” storm of the year before. Michael Wootten sits upon the porch of his dilapidated house and watches a caravan of trucks pull into town. Melvin Mitchell Presents: Ruby and her Amazing FreakShow Friends. Maybe this is just the thing to pump a little spirit into the near-dead town. But everything comes at a price, and Ms. Ruby always takes her cut.
UnTamed by Laxmi Hariharan: Wolf girl Leana Iyeroy, the first hybrid in her family, only ever wanted to be 100% human. An unexpected encounter with the Hugging Saint of Bombay forces Leana to face the wolf inside her. Will she finally make peace with herself?
Made for This by Sessha Batto: On the heels of unimaginable loss comes reinvention. Sometimes the gain is worth going through hell.
From the Inside by Daniel Arthur Smith: Strange, wondrous things happen when weeks of rain, fever visions, and anxiety, compel a young traveler to journey across Central Europe in pursuit of a uniquely talented artist.
Rudy and Deidre by Robb Grindstaff: A shorter than average man admires a taller than average woman from afar.
Daedalus’ Daughter by P.K. Tyler: After her father’s death, Isha begins sprouting feathers.
The Zealot by Christopher Godsoe: Six months ago, Tobin Maldovan was in charge of a manhunt for an enigmatic hacker named ATLAS. He lost his man near the Canadian border after a high speed chase, but not before ATLAS pulled strings to transfer the woman Tobin loves across the country, hampering any chance at reconciliation. With ATLAS having escaped his jurisdiction, Tobin had nothing left but to follow his wife to California, seeking reassignment at the West Coast cyberterrorism field office. His reputation precedes him, and he has drawn the case pursuing a man the media has taken to calling “The Zealot.” As usual, Tobin pours himself into his work, but the work becomes personal in ways that he never would have imagined.
The Well-Rounded Head by Sally Basmajian: A woman is smitten with her husband’s big, entirely round head. One day she notices that his temples appear to be slightly indented, so that his head is no longer a perfect sphere. This revolts her, and she moves into their guest room in order to avoid him. When he breaks in, she kills him, in a most bizarre way.
Reserved by SM Johnson: It’s been five years since the accident that killed Pete Spencer’s younger lover and left him grieving, bitter, and broken. He’s tired of his lonely world, but the kind of young men he’s attracted to dismiss him the moment their eyes land on his cane. Pete’s learned to hide behind the safety of his reserve, but he’s never met anyone like Rory.
Scars: First Session by Jordanne Fuller: It takes years to beat a strong woman into submission. It has to start somewhere. After a life of abuse, Abigail made the decision to cover her scars with tattoos. What she didn’t expect was to confront her emotional scars in the process.
Wow that does sound awesome! Where do I buy it or read reviews?
That’s totally far out! Anything else?
YES actually. Want a chance to win a Kindle chock-full of stories and books by the authors in this anthology? Plus, the Kindle has a skin of the kick ass cover? Mosey on over here for the details. Good luck!
I have a new short story coming out next week called Don’t Touch Me in the UnCommon Bodies anthology. It’s a story about a guy named Beau who has a severe touch disorder. It’s not erotic. Not gay. Just plain ol’ fiction with a lot of heart.
It’s a departure from my norm, but I feel like I’ve said that so many times now that I’m not going to say it anymore… I don’t think I have a “norm”. I just write what comes to mind, I guess.
Who is Beau? Where did the story come from?
Well, he’s named after a guy I went to high school with. Stocky, muscular, handsome but sort of brooding. We lifted weights together some. He just had this unexpected, straightforward sweet/nice-guy side to him that I liked. But, I don’t know what happened to him. I just flipped through the yearbooks I have for the last two years of high school, and he’s only in the first one… his name’s not even in it, just his picture. Hell, I can’t even remember if he spelled his name Beau or Bo, and no recollection of his family name.
The touch aversion thing… Well that’s my problem. As far back as I can remember, I’ve had problems with people touching me. Unexpected touch is the worst – I’ve punched a few friends accidentally when they had the misfortune of startling me awake with a touch. Thankfully, no hard feelings. If I know that I need to be touched, I can steel myself. Blasting music in my headphones on a busy bus works too. By overwhelming another sense, I can limit the effects of human contact. It’s probably why I don’t mind concerts… dark, loud, and I’m usually with my friend Mike who also likes standing in the back where it’s less crowded. Alcohol helps. :) I can get downright cuddly depending who I’m with and how much I’ve had to drink. But generally? Yeah… no touchie.
It’s me. Not you.
I can’t even really explain it. It just feels wrong. Makes me slightly nauseous. My whole body cringes. My mother said that as a newborn, I would rather lay by myself than be held, and, as Beau says about himself, one of the first things I did was push her away.
Unfortunately, I’m the kind of person that people like to touch. Whether it’s my tattoos or my hair or just… reaching out to pat or squeeze my arm while we’re talking (it’s overwhelmingly women who do this heh), people seem drawn to touch me. Then I’m torn about whether telling them how much it bothers me (after which most people either take offence and/or start treating me like a freak) and just putting up with it.
I’m nowhere near as bad as Beau in Don’t Touch Me, however.
Anyhoo… that’s the story of the story. You should check out the book, available for preorder through Amazon. It’ll be live on the 24th of November, and if you haven’t already, you should enter the giveaway… the authors have gotten together to give away a Kindle.
Enter to win a Kindle, hang out with some of the authors, read about the anthology. You know you wanna. :)