Rune Bear—Launch

Rune Bear completed its launch with a series of flash fiction. Each of the editors published a 300-word piece in their respective domains. J. Motoki, our Strange Editor, wrote something creepy. Stuart, our Speculative Editor, an alt-future that plays around with humanity adapting to a new (radioactive) environment. Alyssa, Supernatural Editor, had some fun with the ‘princess turned into a cute forest critter’ trope. And I, acting as the judge of all things Surreal, made some kind of weird introduction to someone’s siblings. The intent was to showcase the kind of work we’re searching for, to present models and examples for future contributors.

Read, enjoy, submit something!

J. Motoki, Strange Editor, “Hydra

Desmond White, Surreal Editor, “These were my Brothers

Alyssa Warren, Supernatural Editor, “The Sparrow Queen

Stuart Warren, Speculative Editor, “Helmets

Strange, Surreal, Speculative, and Supernatural

Rune Bear claims to be a digital literary magazine dedicated to the Strange, Surreal, Supernatural, and Speculative.

We ordered the genres like that for the soft soil of sound; a sussuration as subdued as Robert Frost’s sound of sense. Sometimes alliteration is an aroma, an allure. But if we wish to sustain submissions, we’ll need to suss out exactly what we’re looking for.

Strange

By Strange, we mean Weird fiction, a subgenre of the speculative encompassing horror and tales of the macabre. Science, myth, and horror blend into stories which estrange the familiar, break the laws of Nature, and bring the reader into contact with madness. Ann and Jeff VanderMeer, editors of the incredible anthology The Weird, add that “With unease and the temporary abolition of science can also come the strangely beautiful intertwined with terror.” But Weird fiction is not necessarily terror-inducing. As Jake King explains “Weird Fiction is about things that aren’t just unknown, but essentially unknowable to humans. Given that we as humans fear the unknown, we usually assign it as horror, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Surreal

By Surreal, we refer to writing that tries to capture the wilds of the unconscious through irrational juxtaposition. André Breton, founder of the literary movement, defines the Surreal as a proposal to “express—verbally, by means of the written word, or in any other manner—the actual functioning of thought.” He adds that it’s an assertion of “complete nonconformism.” In this way, surrealism is better than realism—a rejection of the refined, a rapture of the raw. The bizarre, unreal, incongruous, paradox, and perverse are elements of Surreal, as well as thirty-six blue rabbit trucks.

Speculative

By Speculative, we mean fiction of the “what if?” As David Bowling describes, these are worlds “that could have been, or might have been, if only the rules of the universe were altered just a bit.” Often the grounding is in the sciences. Innovations or alternatives in psychology, sociology, biology, and technology lead to wild human problems and wilder solutions. In this way, Andy McCann describes, speculative fiction is “preparation for all futures”—an anticipation of infinite destiny. Ultimately, however, Steve Tully writes that the genre is “about you and me” (Lilly). The otherworld, be it magical or mechanical, is a testament to the human imagination, but also human reality.

Supernatural

By Supernatural, we mean fantasy, a genre of imaginative fiction. Sometimes there is a natural world, with the supernatural pressings against its edges. Sometimes the supernatural is the world; the rules of reality re-adapted to make-believe. Tolkien writes that fantasy “touches on or uses Faerie” which “may perhaps most nearly be translated [to] Magic—but it is magic of a peculiar mood and power.” Or, as George R.R. Martin writes, “Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab” (Perret). In this genre are epic, urban, high and low fantasy, fable, myth, steampunk, arcanepunk, a whole slew of other punks, and what Tolkien calls “the Perilous Realm.” We, of course, take all of the above.

Works Cited

Breton, André. Manifesto of Surrealism (1924). Ann Arbor :University of Michigan Press, 1972.

King, Jake. Weird Fiction Discussion Group. Facebook, 26 March 2018.

Lilly, N. E. “What is Speculative Fiction?” Green Tentacles, March 2002.

Perret, Pati. The Faces of Fantasy: Photographs by Pati Perret. New York: TOR, 1996.

Oziewicz, Marek. “Speculative Fiction.” Oxford Research Encyclopedias—Literature, March 2017.

Tolkien, J. R. R. Tree and Leaf (1939). New York: Harper Collins, 2001.

VanderMeer, Ann and Jeff. “The Weird: An Introduction.” Weird Fiction Review, 6 May 2012.

Filler

We needed filler content for a literary magazine we’re creating, i.e. stuff of no consequence that will be deleted once we publish. So I wrote this.

“The Robot” by Botswana Brokeball

There is a girl who is a robot. She wakes up in the wastelands but doesn’t remember who she is (actually she’s a secret human). All the humans are dead but she doesn’t know until she meets communists called the Rainbow Riders. Their symbol is the rainbow. In my story all robots are rainbow stripe colors. The girl-robot-secret-human is named Eve, the first human. She’s actually the first human cryogenically frozen by Adam to be awakened when the technology has developed to de-freeze cryogenically frozen women. Eve decides to rename herself Even Stevens. After a lot of walking in the dust-broke wastes, her CPU glitches, and her hard drive crashes, and her URL is hacked. She was a robot the whole time! The story ends with a vulture digging a nest into her brain and finding pink gummy brains to its delight and surprise. She was a human the whole time too! In the end I show up in the book to congratulate the reader on finding the secret, then I tip my fedora and walk off the page. I was the monster at the end of the book!

Author Bio

I am from Remdonesia which is a small independent nation-state in the offshore drilling waters of California, America. Don’t be alarmed if I send you intimate details about my body via Facebook. I am only testing the ability of humans to communicate over long distances via Facebook. Shout out to nail clippers. Y’all the real heroes.

Published—”The Spheres”


Theme of Absence just published my comedic take on extraterrestrial nihilism (the story’s called The Spheres“). The digital magazine is devoted to speculative flash fiction, and primarily posts original fiction on Fridays. These pieces are accompanied by a Q&A with the author, which I think is a really smart move on the editor’s part because then readers can come for writing and/or writing advice. And if that’s not enough for the literary enthusiast, the editor and owner of Theme of Absence also runs Write Good Books, a blog dedicated to producing useful writing resources and articles. 

Fiction—”Garden War”

Between two trees exploded into boulder stumps, Elemmírë raised a fist. Behind him, ten figures, barely visible above the gloom and bloom, dropped to their knees and scanned the street. They relied solely on the ghostly green readouts from their face masks, as their actual sights would have been distracted by the feral tapestry of flowers, the result not only of civilization gone wild but the biodegradable ammunition being used in the War. Inside each bullet was a gene seed which, when struck by fire, would sprout by day’s end into a single flower. It’d been the only agreed-upon convention between the elf factions—a way of turning war zones into gardens, of reducing the carbon imprint from endless shelling.

For a heartbeat, Elemmírë’s Sight picked up a cracked skull, lilac seeping out like purple brain. Then he was Focused on the lights of armored cars bouncing across perforated rock-wake. A set of hand signals and the Ten disappeared, their gaudy red-and-gold camouflage blending with laceleaf and marigold. What Elemmírë’s scouts were about to do was an ugly thing; an undignified ambush of a supply convoy. But in another way, a way beyond the soulless tactical hell of battle, they’d be returning motorized death-cannons and plated mercs wearing the ears of enemies around their necks to the serenity of nature.

Fiction—”A Zelzer Stiff”

The android was making them all uncomfortable with its Zelzer Stiff eyeing them from its hip. It’d only been forty point three seconds since the landmark decision to include artificial humans in the Second Amendment and this son of a manufacturing plant had just walked into the Rig & Rattle with a laspistol holstered, twinkling. Kghoshi—a real bastard on a good day—splashed his drink on silver chestmetal and said, “You packing, tin can?” The bartender—a saint on a bad day—put an arm on the droid: “C’mon, now, let’s not do this.” The move was registered as an offensive action and the android shot the bartender between his eyebrows. Kghoshi’s finger moved a centimeter toward his gun when a second shot put a red dot on his forehead as uniform as urna. The men in the bar leaped to their feet. Offensive actions. The men in the bar toppled over chairs and tables. By the time the android reached the counter, empty now of breathing souls, a feed of reaction times, facial registers, psycho-prints—all pointing to self-defense—had been submitted to local authorities.

Published—My first short story featuring Dredge

Whatever Our Souls published my short story “Dredge” in their June 2017 issue (see its Amazon page if you’re interested in buying the issue—paperback is $7.99). My short story introduces Dredge, a plant zombie and necromancer who just wants to be left to his bog garden and tea. Eventually I’d like to pit this character against paladins, but for now a petty hero will suffice.

Whatever Our Souls is a digital/physical print publication devoted to pushing the peculiar, especially stories that would usually “struggle to find acceptance in traditional literary magazines.” This means everything from “space wolves” to “mutant rabbits.” One unique feature of the magazine is its internal competition between its two editors (Team Pollux and Team Castor). Each editor posts their MVP (“Most Valuable Prose”) to the website,and readers have the opportunity to vote for a “reigning champion”*

*Quotes from the site’s homepage.