The Library of Ice (Published in Outposts of Beyond, January 2018)

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The Library of Ice was published in the January 2018 issue of Outposts of Beyond, a quarterly science fiction magazine published by Alban Lake Press.

They thought they were safe in the library on Ceres, reading about monsters, but a real monster has broken in. Now, they must run for their lives!

This story is a standalone sci-fi tale, set on the real-life asteroid, Ceres. I tried to keep the information about the asteroid as accurate as possible, but I can’t swear that Ceres really does contain ice monsters. Kind of hope it does, though.

The Library of Ice explores themes such as love and loss, and misunderstandings. (People getting hold of completely the wrong end of the stick is such fun.) Most of all, it is a celebration of the joy of reading and of the exquisite pleasure of devouring each and every installment of long-running book series.

For trivia about this story, see the “Behind the Scenes” section below, after the Magazine Contents.

To buy this issue of Outposts of Beyond, click here.

Magazine Contents

Short Stories
The Library of Ice by Mike Morgan
I Do Have Half of an Octopus, I Believe It Is by Tim McDaniel
Cyberlink by Eamonn Murphy
Savant by Maureen Bowden

Poetry
Tempting Fate by Vonnie Winslow Crist
Tick Tock by K. S. Hardy
Freighter Pilot Has Alien Elvis’ Baby by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
The Imbuing of a Celestial Orb by Robert William Shmigelsky
A Robot’s Question by Vonnie Winslow Crist
Talisman by Vonnie Winslow Crist
They Dig by K. S. Hardy
Perimeter by David C. Kopaska-Merkel
Venus by John Grey
Robots vs Humanity by John Grey

Features
Editorial
A Wolf to Guard the Door, reviewed by Eamonn Murphy
Book Reviews by Jim Lee
JFK and the Space Nazi by Robert E. Porter
A Little Help, Please

Illustrations
cover Universal Wonder by Mitchell Davidson Bentley
The Cold Moon by Sandy DeLuca

 

Behind the Scenes

Here’s some trivia for you: The Library of Ice was first written, many years ago, as a Bernice Summerfield short story, set on Irving Braxiatel’s asteroid. That first version was terrible, I assure you, and summarily rejected by the right-thinking author Simon Guerrier while he was tasked as an anthology editor at Big Finish.

The long-running book series that served as the inspiration for this story was the Virgin Doctor Who New Adventures. Had the story been published back in early 2000s, that in-joke would have qualified as a metafictional reference. As it is, I’m not sure it means anything, other than that I still have a soft spot in my heart for those books.

Unsurprisingly, almost every single word of the story was altered over the course of numerous rewrites and the passing of more than a decade. The first version didn’t even have a monster in it!

Mind you, much of the plot remained intact: the relationship with Irene the librarian, the final twist, the fact it’s set on an asteroid (I like Ceres better as a setting, though, gotta say).

Fun With Names

The protagonist is called Somerled. This Anglicized (originally Old Norse) name means “Summer traveler”. It should come as no surprise that Somerled has had many travels in the Summer of his life in this story… I know, I amuse only myself.

As far as real men called Somerled are concerned, there was a famous Somerled in the twelfth century who was quite the military man…

 

Click here for an alphabetical listing of all of my professionally published short stories.

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