free fiction for friday!

If you haven’t yet snagged a copy of the critically-acclaimed Sybil’s Garage No. 7, for a limited time you can download a free PDF of the issue courtesy of Senses Five Press. It will be available online until February 15th, 2011, when the nomination period for the Nebula Awards closes. This is a beautiful magazine packed with excellent fiction, articles, and poetry–but don’t settle for my (moderately biased) opinion, when you can read it for yourself.

Selfishly, I hope you’ll take this opportunity to look at my science fiction short “My Father’s Eyes.” I’m very proud of this story–one of my best pieces to date. It has received some notice in reviews, and I would of course be thrilled if anyone enjoyed it well enough to nominate it for a Nebula or a Hugo Award. One can dream, right? But if my story doesn’t do it for you, I believe that you’ll find at least one in the issue that you will love, and none of them would be out of place on an award ballot.

Thanks to Matt Kressel for making this electronic edition freely available to everyone. This is the best issue of Sybil’s Garage yet, and I’m pleased that many more people will be able to sample it now.

And here’s a brief excerpt from “My Father’s Eyes”:

My hands tremble as I swirl developer solution over the photographic paper. I’ve never been more anxious to see one of my pictures before. My classmates would say this is another drawback to traditional photography over digital: delayed gratification. I’ll never make that technological leap; I still shoot in black and white. My father never dabbled with digital photography either, and it’s because of him that I decided to become a photojournalist in the first place.

A cloudy scene emerges on the paper floating in the tray. Shapes and shadows magically replace the blank white surface, gradually forming trees and rocks. I’ve had this image burned into my mind ever since I glimpsed it through my lens and my finger instinctively clicked the shutter. It’s a bad photo, the subject slightly unfocused and too far away, though I’ve blown it up as much as I can. It won’t help my thesis project or launch a career, but it’s the single most important picture of my life.

As I squint at it in the dim red glow of the safelight, a crouching figure fades into the scene like a ghost. His face is blurred, captured in motion just as he’d turned and darted away. Despite the blurring, and the fact that I haven’t seen him in fifteen years except in other pictures, I know he’s my father. I knew it even before I unloaded the film from my camera.

Read the rest in Sybil’s Garage No. 7!

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