A few months back, the dedicated book reviewing team The Book Smugglers put out a publishing call for short stories based around the theme of subversive fairy tale retellings. I’m a fan of both the Smugglers and retellings, so I thought I’d give it a go. I actually had two stories that could fit, so I dithered for a bit and finally decided to submit a story I’d written based on the Maori legend of Pania of the Reef. Naturally, I spent the next couple of months second-guessing that decision, as it wasn’t really a fairy tale, but luckily Ana and Thea liked it anyway. “The Mussel Eater” is now part of their inaugural publishing season.
It’s one of my “future fishing in New Zealand” stories – I’m slowly building up a collection of interlinked stories about a speculative fishing industry full of beasties and burials and robots. The next one’s due out early next year, I believe, in Apex Magazine.
You can read “The Mussel Eater” online at The Book Smugglers for free, and they’ve also got a short essay by me on why I chose this particular story to rewrite. These two things are bundled with a short interview into an e-book put out by the Smugglers – this, as with the other five stories they’ve published this season – is available from their site and various e-publishing outlets.
And seriously, it’s got the most amazing cover. That painting’s done by Kristina Tsenova and it’s beautiful. The claws! The colours! You should check out the rest of her work. She’s really very good.