The Birth and Death of Islands

I have a new story out! “The Birth and Death of Islands” has been published in Kaleidotrope. I’ve had a couple of stories in Kaleidotrope before, and they’re one of my favourite markets. They have this aesthetic combination of weird and pretty that I really love – and I think that might be my polar bear on the cover art, I really do.

Not that my story is about a polar bear, though one does feature. “The Birth and Death of Islands” can be charitably described as “The Little Mermaid” meets the Black Death, except here the Sea Witch, the sole survivor of plague, is repopulating the world with islands and creatures fashioned out of the buboes that keep erupting from her weird and grotesque flesh. These creatures include mermaids and a loyal polar bear, both of whom upend the experience of disease that so constantly traumatises the contaminated protagonist.

I’d like to say that this is a well-crafted piece of metaphor that I wrote in response to the current pandemic, but the truth is I sold this back in 2018. Fred Coppersmith, the editor of Kaleidotrope, buys stories well in advance, so if one of us is seeing the future it isn’t me. Anyway, the story’s free to read at the above link, so have fun with its disgusting details and disintegrating mermaids.