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This first installment in "The Mosaic Soliloquies" is typical of, if introductory to, the serial. A gothic secret history, its intricate prose is dark and archaic. Set in the Byzantine Empire, it begins with The Lord Patrician Vardas' Strategem, and suggests the directions of future installments, to the courts of Charlemagne and of Pope Leo. The Soliloquies are part of a tale of three Romes: The Old Rome, that City which would fall, by Gibbon's date, in 476. The New Rome, the Roman Empire itself, with Byzantium as its imperial capitol, which would live on until 1453. And, between them, the Rome that never was, the dual-edged razor of Charlegmagne's so-called Holy Roman Empire, in which all his striving was for an emperor's crown that, once obtained, could never satisfy.
We publish a maximum of one item in each medium per author per issue. Asher argued that, technically, a serial and a work of short fiction are different media. At the first sign of being questioned about this, he grinned, loosened a gauntlet, and invited us to join him in the Arena. Well, we've seen Asher's blade in action. Just look at how finely he slides it down the edge of a genre with Reflection on the Future. So, we decided his point was worth taking, especially when he gives such lovely Gifts as the so-named first episode of a serial about which he's saying little else.
Ames fleshes out the bones of a macabre myth in the tale of The Hummock King. This dark story, and our previously published Feeding Time, will be featured, according to the author, in "Head Full of Traffic", an anthology due out in the Spring.
If you like going to the local independent coffee house for a mug and the occasional open-mic poem, you'll be pleased that Charles Lipsig has brought the coffee house and the poem right to you. Or perhaps we should say "poems". A poet's sense of adventure has led Chuck to write Ghost of a Night as a series of tanka, a form related to haiku, but with two additional 7-syllable lines, making it 5-7-5-7-7. The sense of an icy finger sliding down one's spine is accentuated by a familiar setting of warmth and human activity.
Rockstroh's answer to the ghost story involves talking furniture. Uppity furniture. Beatnik furniture that questions the meaning of life. Life: a Ghost Story asks you to look before you sit and consider existence, the universe, and how to shut it up.
On feast days, somewhere, someone you know is stuffing, basting, roasting, and thinking about something else entirely. Wild Goose Harvest tells us what really may be going on in the kitchen.
Lamark licks her readers' lips with a story of Innocence in the form of a poem about something deliciously bad.
We just love Elizabeth's work. It's got that raw sensuality that makes so much myth work so well. She's back with Lilith in the Garden, another tale of innocence and knowledge. Likewise, we've selected her poem, Ex Libris, as our Retrospective Feature from Issue #4. Perhaps one of the common features of myth is the blurring of the artificial line between light and dark, presence and dissipation, innocence and awareness. One hears talk of a 'gray area' from those who want to justify something when they know better, or just to turn off the very mind that could ask such questions. Maybe myth is the gray area. Certainly, it is a not a static gray. It is more like a lively conversation, like the gray ocean when it mirrors an overcast sky. Gray is that which, lacking a distinct or memorable hue, shouldn't be beautiful but is anyway. Barrette's is good 'graywork'.
"The trees are thicker here." Mary Pat Mann's Through the Gate is selected as our favorite from Issue #3. Somehow, it makes one want to follow -- not to take the path seldom trod, but to look at that path differently.
E. A. Gundlach's writing is ambiguous enough to be mysterious, without being cryptic or obscure. When we first read Baku & the Dream Catchers, it instantly became a favorite piece in a favorite issue. It is tempting to say that it must be the intriguing characters, but the story is just damned fine too. In one scene, we're careening through the streets in a Buick loaded with loot and driven by something sexy and inhuman. If this were a printed medium, it'd be a definite page-turner.
We like Em Wycedee's Grace, because it feels as though one is part of the conversation, both the inner one and the outer one. Written as a voluptuous first person narrative, the voice is mature enough to be persuasive yet is still wanting and, for all its assurances, not completely certain of its conclusions.
You may have noticed that each time you come to MYTHOLOG, a random cover is presented. After all, why should a good cover be enjoyed only for the space of a single issue? Besides numerous illustrations, Amanda has done both of the Dryad covers for MYTHOLOG, including this newest one. A gallery of Amanda's delightful work is at this site.
Pen and ink drawings are Warble's specialty. He's done a number of illustrations for us, but the Black Lion is the first cover. Custom-designed for MYTHOLOG, you'll see it as one of the random possible covers when you visit MYTHOLOG. If you like his work, be sure to visit Warble's gallery.