Every year in January Cast of Wonders takes a break to catch our breath, plan out the year ahead, and highlight some of our favourite episodes from the year just passed.
We hope you enjoy Allen’s favorite story from 2014, Sundae by Matt Wallace, which originally aired April 27, 2014 as Episode 122.
by Matt Wallace
The old woman in the wheelchair has a brutal face and hands as soft as the mother of all children.
“You will be more than a warrior, little one,” she whispers in German, her delicate and wrinkled fingertips sewing a pressed metal button into his left ear. “You will be a guardian. You will protect more than tender flesh and frail bodies. You will be the sentinel that stands between the darkness and innocence itself.”
With eyes made of glass and wood he sees her thin, withered lips form the words. He cannot hear her; his ears, even the one with the signature button, were not made to hear, just as his mouth was not made to speak. However the small stuffed bear finds he understands her; the meaning of her words, if not the words themselves.
The button is warm in his ear, and that’s when the bear realizes he can feel. The warmth in the button begins to fill the rest of his tiny, stitched-together body, imbuing the fluff that fills it with sensation for the first time. It causes a shudder to ripple through the bear’s alpaca hide.
“Yes,” the old woman says with a smile. “You feel. You understand. That is life. You are alive now.”
The old woman lifts him up and sits him against a large spool of twine on her worktable. The bear finds he can move his stubby arms and legs now, but it’s slow in coming.
“This life I have given you, it is for a purpose. Already you know what it is, yes?”
The stuffed bear does feel the pull, the invisible tether drawing him toward the dark corners where fear takes horrifying shape.
“I lost meine kinder to the monsters. I found each one in their cribs, still and cold. Doctors, men of science, told me this ill thing simply happens. But I knew. I could see what they did not. I could see because I never stopped believing. Perhaps it was being stricken so young and bound to this chair, kept from much of the world. Always I was treated by adults as less than they. Treated as a child. It kept me innocent in a sense. And so I knew. I saw the monsters, and I vowed that though I could bear no more children, I would find a way to give birth to the savior of children. That is you, little one. You and your brothers and sisters.”
The bear moves for the first time then of its own accord, turning its small brown-furred head to look behind the old woman. The walls of the workshop are lined with shelves. Each one is filled with stuffed elephants and monkeys. Magda Stenz and her brother, Klaus, have been making them by hand for decades. Their newest and most popular creation is the teddy bear.
Her brother, younger and stronger and skilled in leatherworks and carpentry, makes the trunks. Each stuffed animal sold by the Stenz Company comes in its own perfect miniature steamer trunk. Each trunk is covered with stamps from far away places and features hand-painted mosaics of foreign locales. A Stenz animal is meant for high-adventure and exotic travel, as are the children to whom they are given.
Such a trunk is awaiting the bear upon whom Magda has bestowed form and new life.
“You will travel far and save many,” the old woman assures him. “Your journey will be long, your battles countless and hard-fought. Remember always you were created in love, and hope, and that you labor to preserve both.
“You are the savior.”
Perhaps the greatest warrior the world had ever known was entombed in a brown cardboard box in the attic. The box was scrawled “Kenny’s Room” in bright red Sharpie pen and stuffed into a dust-covered corner one Spring-cleaning with several others. Some contained toys the children had outgrown, others contained electronics that were working but hopelessly out-of-date. All of them were quickly forgotten about.
Inside the cardboard box filled with other unwanted toys, Sundae lay in his miniature steamer trunk. The trunk’s once-fine leather was cracked and peeling all over, its many stamps painted with their images of post card lands dulled and faded by age. Sundae himself had not faired much better through the years (it had been almost a century since he was created in Magda’s workshop).
One of his eyes was missing, and the tear left by its departure had been sewn shut to keep the fluff from leaking out. A large patch of fur covering his right breast and shoulder was dark and brittle. He’d taken a tumble into a roaring fireplace while grappling with a particularly nasty beast back in the 70’s. The cover he’d fashioned from leather scraps for his left ear, to protect the pressed metal button that was the source of all Stenz bears’ power, looked worn and awkwardly stapled on.
There were other punctures and tears and rips. Some had been sewn like his eye, some closed hastily with masking tape that was now brown and furling at the corners.
Although most would look on him as a broken toy, Sundae viewed each point of damage as a battle scar. The more severe the wound, the more honor it bestowed and the more it enriched him as a warrior. Magda was right, his journey had been long, and he’d fought more battles than any sane being could count.
Now he would rest. His time, and that of all the stuffed guardians of the world, had passed.
A strong, rough hand removed him from his miniature leather steamer trunk for the first time and placed him in an empty crib. The nursery that surrounded it was white and clean and new.
The crib did not remain empty for long. Early one gray morning the master and mistress of the house brought their firstborn son home and placed him beside the stuffed bear. He was the first real child the bear had ever met, and at first he was unsure of the creature. It was a squealing thing, ugly and shrill.
Yet when its eyes registered the bear they widened just so and the babe ceased its noise. In silence the child’s face took on a purity and beauty unseen by his glass eyes. Impossibly small hands softer than his own fur stroked at the bear, and in that moment he knew the love the old woman had spoken about. He knew he would die to protect this perfect little thing from the darkness and all its evils.
Night came. Adults slumbered in their beds, leaving the babe alone in that darkness for the first time. The child didn’t understand the dark and was afraid of it. The bear found he could feel the child’s fear impregnating those shadowy corners. He felt what started to grow there, gestating, feeding on the wild invisible waves of panic and terror streaming from the baby in its crib.
Something rumbled inside the bear, something being called. The darkness, without knowing it, was summoning him to battle, and the fight would come soon.
A large, dark mass slithered apart from the rest of the shadows in the corner of the nursery. It had no real form. The child was new, its mind simple and without imagination. It knew only raw emotion, terror without any name or shape. The monster reflected that, becoming little more than a hungry gelatinous mouth ready to swallow the babe’s life essence whole.
The bear also found he could move more than his head now. His limbs, his entire small body was his to command. More than that, he felt heavier, more solid. It was as if the fluff inside him was hardening in that moment, like muscles tensing to perform difficult labor.
He leapt up onto the rail of the crib, wobbling and almost toppling to the floor after the unpracticed motion. The master of the house had hung a mobile above the crib, a circle of thick wire from which tinker toys of various shapes hung and swayed. The bear reached up and yanked down the mobile, snapping it free of the string that tethered it to the ceiling.
He leapt from the rail, landing atop the monstrous blob as it rolled toward the crib. The creature bucked with surprising speed, hurling the bear against the wall of the nursery. He bounced onto the floor, scrambling to recover his chosen weapon.
The monster turned its mass from the crib to face him, and the small bear recovered to meet his first quarry head-on.
The beast lumbered forward, rearing up and preparing to crush the bear under its bulk. The stuffed bear waited, still and calm, until the monster leapt at him. Then he thrust himself to one side, looping the mobile around the top of the monster’s body as he jumped up to straddle it once again. Tightening his grip, the bear jerked his body backwards. The wire began slicing through the shapeless mass of the creature’s form. Tinker toys popped from their ringlets and rained down on the floor of the nursery.
The creature ceased its thrashing a split-second before its top portion separated from the rest with a long, wet popping sound. Both halves splattered on the floor around the bear.
He stood over the splayed carcass of his first kill, the mobile’s wire hoop still clutched in one paw. A slimy residue dripped heavily from it like necrotic blood. There was no sense of pride or elation in that first victory. The bear’s only thought was that the child was safe.
That, and the old woman in her squeaking wheelchair would be pleased with him.
There was a vent in the attic near Sundae’s cardboard box. He noticed that at night voices would flit through its rusty grate, too quiet for Human ears to hear, but Sundae felt the words and their meanings.
It was the master and mistress of the house, talking to one another in their bed.
Something horrible had happened to their daughter, Taylor. Sundae remembered the girl. She never paid much attention to him, had even less need of his protection. Her face was buried in a handheld video game before she could read, and after she learned to read Taylor was more interested in text messages than books.
Sundae heard the adults speaking of her late at night in their bedroom. Taylor had been lured from their home by words with no voice, words spoken to her through a computer screen. The owner of those words had hurt Taylor in ways no child should ever be hurt.
From what they said she wasn’t healing well, not in body, mind, or spirit. The master and mistress blamed themselves, but mostly they blamed the invisible world inside the computer and allowing Taylor to dwell so often and so unsupervised in it.
There was a new baby in the house, another girl. They were going to raise her without all of that, it was decided. There would be no phones, no computer, not until she was old enough to make responsible decisions. They would no longer trust the television to rear her in their absence. They would raise her as they were raised, preserving her innocence for as long as they could.
As much as Sundae longed for a return to such innocence, he alone knew how vulnerable it was. The nights sealed away in his trunk began to grow longer, and in them he found no rest.
He worried for the girl, and what lie waiting for her in the shadows.
It was Esther who gave him the name Sundae.
She was the daughter of a chambermaid. After the children he’d protected for so many years grew beyond nurseries and play rooms, the mistress of the house instructed her servant to put all of their toys in a box and take them home to the woman’s own children, who were younger.
Esther had pulled him from that box and loved him fiercely and immediately.
Her imagination was as broad and unyielding as her affection. Across a century and in dozens upon dozens of children Sundae never saw its equal. She liked to dress him in different outfits; a cowboy hat and vest with a gold star pinned to it, a rain slicker and galoshes, silver thread knight’s armor. She concocted elaborate stories for them to act out.
Sundae resented it at first, but slowly he began to enjoy their playtime. He found Esther could take them fantastic places without ever leaving her room. The drab walls would melt away and the pair of them would be somewhere else. The colors were brighter than anything in nature. The creatures that populated those places were bright and jovial, as well.
Sundae also found he could speak. Esther believed it, and so he could. He told her about his adventures through the years, the great battles he’d fought and won. Esther confided in him her dreams of exploring the world, and traveling to worlds beyond this one.
She knew about the monsters, too. She wanted to fight them at his side, but Sundae told her she was too fine a dreamer to waste in battle. It was given to her to imagine only good things.
So Sundae fought her monsters alone. They came when she slept. Sometimes they had the face of her father, distorted and hideous and screeching unintelligibly. More and more they began to resemble the old, stone-faced patron of the house. He was an unpleasant man who despised Esther’s daydreaming and yelled at her constantly. Sundae couldn’t understand why.
Then one day yelling turned to hitting. Soon after that hitting turned to late night visits to Esther’s room where the flat of a hand and the damage it could inflict was only the beginning.
A thousand times Sundae wished with every scrap inside of him to rise up and defend her, but he was not made to fight the adults or things of the real world. He couldn’t summon the strength, nor will himself to solidify.
The more he could only watch, the more Esther ceased to believe, not only in Sundae, in everything. There were no more adventures in bright and faraway places. And there were no more monsters. Esther’s demons had become real, made towering, cruel flesh. She couldn’t dream of a better world in the day, and Sundae could no longer protect her at night.
It was a hard lesson, for both of them.
One day Esther gathered all her toys into a pile and set them ablaze. Sundae barely escaped. Her father sent her away after that. Sundae couldn’t know where. It was weeks later when her mother placed whatever hadn’t burned in a box and donated it to a local charity drive.
He wondered for a long time, lying motionless in a bin in that dingy secondhand store, why Magda hadn’t made him to fight the daylight evils that plagued children.
It took years to occur to Sundae that perhaps, like him, the old woman wasn’t made for such battles either.
Evil was growing once again in the dark corners of the house.
Sundae felt it before he had any tangible proof. He lay in his steamer trunk in the box in the attic, reminiscing as old soldiers do, trying to ignore the gnawing in the fluff of his belly.
The master and mistress of the house had named their new baby Harper. She was growing fast, and as she did they kept their vow to shelter her from the intangible worlds behind crackling screens and the voices that filled them.
Sundae felt her fears at night, a floor beneath his resting place. He felt the darkness siphoning their potent energy and converting it into something sinister. Sundae found that not only could he feel it taking shape, the shape was familiar.
Then, one night, the monster began whispering to him by name.
Silver bound down the steps three at a time. He carried Sundae on his tawny back like a rider. There were two Velcro strips affixed to either side of the big Akita’s spine. They held Sundae firmly in-place by the fur of his thighs as his small body was jarred and rocked by the motion of the dog barreling at full speed over uneven ground.
Their quarry shrieked horribly as it tried to evade the charge. Silver almost caught the monster on the turn at the bottom of the staircase, pouncing as it rounded the bend and snaked into the living room. The Akita recovered quickly and expertly from the near-hit and took off like a shot across the living room rug.
They were close now, just a few feet shy of the couch. The poker’s handle was tucked firmly under Sundae’s right arm. The paw of his other arm held it at half-length, steadying it for the kill. Silver bore down on the monster, inches from its flank, and Sundae struck.
The pointed end of the fireplace poker skewered the beast under one of its many scales, plunging until the hooked prong of the poker caught on the thing’s hide. The blow drove the monster flat against the ground. Sickly green blood spurted thickly, dousing them both. Silver reared back and he and the beast, tethered by the poker, slid wildly across the hardwood floor and crashed into the living room wall.
The collision tore Sundae’s makeshift lance from the monster’s corpse. Silver rolled away from the wall, pressing the bear’s body twice before he righted them. Sundae still held the poker. Something that might have been a black, sludge-covered version of a heart was stuck on the end.
Sundae peeled his stubby legs from the dog’s torso, leaving more than a few strands of fur in the Velcro patches. He slid from the Akita’s broad back and held up the poker. Silver sniffed at the entrails hanging from it and swung his maw away, snorting.
If they were creatures made to laugh, the two would have shared one then.
Silver had been little more than a puppy when the master and mistress of the house brought him home. But he grew fast, and he grew large and strong. He slept at the foot of the child’s bed, and he and Sundae quickly bonded.
Canines understood the mission of the bears. They served children the same way in daylight, out in the world of fleshy villains. Together, Sundae and Silver fought battles whispered about through decades to come. They protected two more of the master and mistress’ children from the time of babes until they outgrew bears and dogs and monsters.
They fought together until time, the ally of children and the enemy of Silver’s kind, waged a war the two companions could not win.
Sundae was with the old man at the very end. Silver lived through a stroke several weeks before. It left him a half-blind, wobbly-legged thing with a cloudy mind. The master and mistress spoke of putting him down. They didn’t get the chance.
It was late at night. Silver wandered into the upstairs bathroom to lie upon the cool tiles, knowing only that the sensation soothed his tired, aching bones. Sundae crept inside, violating his every instinct by leaving the child alone at night, but knowing his friend and comrade-in-arms should not be alone for this.
Silver knew it was he, even if the old boy couldn’t remember much of their adventures anymore. Sundae pressed his muzzle into the brittle coat covering Silver’s heart. He felt its life-beat slow. Sundae’s murky glass gaze held the dog’s one still-functioning eye. It was glazed and milky, but in that moment Silver saw him, really saw him, and there was a deep spark of recognition.
Then the heart that had slowed so drastically stopped altogether, and Silver was gone.
They buried him in the backyard the next day. Sundae watched from the window of the child’s room, remembering every prayer Margaret had ever whispered over him as her wrinkled hands gave him life.
He didn’t know God as Humans do, or even think they do, but he knew what prayers meant. He wanted that for his old friend.
Sundae mourned him alone and in battle for a long time. He didn’t realize Silver’s death was a sign of things to come.
He began to notice the change some time after the images on the screen in the family room went from dreary black and white to bright colors.
Once the children had kept Sundae with them as they watched. They sat on the carpet with his body cradled in the basket of their crossed legs, holding him the way children do. Suddenly he was left behind. The hours they spent staring at the screen grew longer. Eventually he was not only left behind, he was forgotten. His fur began to ache for the lack of their touch.
It gave them something else to believe in, stories they didn’t have to make up themselves. The monsters in these stories were tame and easily defeated. The source of it all grew brighter and louder and filled more and more of the world around them. Screens were everywhere, huge screens and small screens and they all blasted the children every hour of every day with more than a tiny mind can hold.
He heard the others complain, the army of stuffed warriors that used to be the focus of those early years in a child’s life. They bemoaned these new generations of children who believed in nothing except what they were told, who traded their innocence earlier and earlier for truths no child need know so young.
Sundae didn’t mind, not even when he was finally packed away in the attic. The children were safe in their beds now. Even if he sensed the world outside growing colder and more dangerous, they were safe from the shadows.
That Place, the world outside, was never his domain. It was a world made of light where the monsters were flesh. Sundae was not made to combat flesh. He’d learned to accept that.
But a part of him, deep beneath the alpaca hide that covered his breast where a Human’s heart would be, still longed for battle. It craved monsters to fight and defeat. That part never accepted the closed lid of a box, and it never would.
“You’re in there, aren’t you?” a voice made of ground glass and chewed flesh whispered outside the cardboard box.
Sundae knew it well. It belonged to a dragon. Dragons were one of the most common monsters. They were very hard to kill, and their memories lingered in the shadows, waiting to be passed on, after their bodies had perished.
“They’ve forgotten you, old man. All of them out here have. They’ve forgotten us both. I’ll have no more meals like this girl, I fear. I plan to savor it. I’m going to crush her soul between my teeth. I’m going to make her scream eternal. When those who bore her find her little body stiff and cold in its bed, they will see that scream carved into her eyes and the corners of her little mouth, and they’ll always remember. They’ll remember my great works, if not their author.
“But you, old man? You are naught but a bag of dust and weeds. You’re a curio whose secrets no one will ever ponder. Lie in your little coffin and think about that. Lie in your little coffin and think, in the endless nights to come, of me.”
Then the voice and the old monster to which it belonged were gone.
Sundae had known this night would come ever since the master and mistress of the house brought Harper home. Now he needed to become the part of himself that welcomed it, rather than the part that was wearied by it.
He popped the lid of his steamer trunk from the inside with practiced ease. Sundae’s paws pressed against the Velcro strips attached to the lining of the trunk’s interior. Many Human eyes had wondered who put those strips there and for what they might be used. None had ever seen the other side of the lining, or the miniature arsenal housed there.
He’d assembled the private armory himself over the decades, honing each weapon as he honed his skills as a warrior and as a craftsman. There were tomahawks, their axe-heads fashioned with everything from guitar picks to can lids. There was a bow bent from a sanded-smooth oak twig and a quiver of silver fork tong arrows. There’d been a fine shield Sundae halved from a Foster’s beer can, but a leviathan-looking beast swallowed it in one of his last battles.
The centerpiece of the arsenal was Sundae’s broadsword. He drew it slowly from the tiny strap that held it in place. The blade was forged from an old Sanborn & Chase tea tin. The “S” in the company’s name was centered on the flat of the sharpened blade. Its handle and cross-guard he’d carved from the toggle of a raincoat and wrapped with copper wire.
Sundae felt the balance of the weapon, rotating it this way and that. Then, with sudden and inhuman speed, he thrust it through the inside of the box. It sliced through the cardboard with ease, cutting a hole large enough for Sundae to climb out.
He popped the rusted vent in the wall and made his way from the attic to the second floor of the house. He remembered the bedroom well. It had belonged to Harper’s sister and brother before her. The door had been left open a crack as parents often do. Sundae gave it a shove with everything in his stuffed arm and it swung wide before him.
He stepped inside the darkened room.
The old monster was hovering above her bed, scaly folds undulating inches from the blankets. It held itself there, suspended, sniffing at the hem of the covers like a hungry, rabid dog.
Harper was a smart girl. Sundae had seen children younger than her keep legions of monsters at bay with their bed covers, just as Harper was doing now. There was an art to it. You had to know, not just believe, that you were safe when nestled under them. You had to be sure to tuck each edge and corner firmly under yourself leaving no loose folds or openings for them to take advantage of.
She’d done that, but the monster was wearing her down, whispering its poison words to shake her confidence. Sundae could hear Harper simpering under the blankets, beginning to cry.
He raised his sword arm high and held the blade aloft. He began twirling it, and as he did the sword sang a high, ringing song. It was the call to battle, elated and challenging and promising to leave no opponent untested.
The old monster heard it and rotated its hideous form to face him. Its maw was that of the dragon. Razor-sharp talons, curved and jagged and the length of knitting needles, extended from claws made of the darkness itself.
The small brown bear’s remaining eye glinted in the stray moonlight. It shined a message.
You’ll not have her, it said. I am Sundae, slayer of monsters and this child’s sworn protector, and you’ll not have her this night or any other.
The old monster read his message clearly, and the deep hollows of its eyes swirling a sickly green and a bloody red seemed to shine back at him. They were hungry and pleased and eager for the battle.
Sundae’s quarry swooped down over the foot of the bed and broke upon him like a black wave. The force of it sent them both tumbling out of the bedroom door and through the bars of the staircase railing, Sundae squeezed harmlessly between two of them while the monster oozed around half-a-dozen.
They careened down the steps, Sundae slashing and stabbing and his enemy tearing chunks of fur and fluff from the bear’s body with its claws. In the next moment Sundae felt himself crushed against the hardwood floor of the foyer, his opponent atop him. The old monster knocked the sword from his hand with one vicious swipe. It flew into the living room and impaled the stalk of a potted plant.
Sundae was helpless. He could barely move. The beast had him pinned down.
“I wished it this way,” the monster said in its rotting voice. “More than anything I wished it this way. The kill will be so much sweeter. Hers… and yours.”
Sundae yanked the protective cover from his ear and jammed that part of his head against the monster’s dripping maw. His enemy thought nothing of it, only tasted the fur of his enemy. It clenched its jaws and tore the ear off, swallowing it whole, the signature Stenz button included.
It was spreading its hideous jaws for another bite when the old monster was seized. Its limbs locked in a deathly stasis and its body went rigid. Sundae rolled from beneath it just as the beast came forth with the most horrifying screech any living thing had ever pushed out of its gullet.
A blinding light suddenly shone from the darkness of the monster’s core, the light of creation stitched into the ear of a small stuffed bear in the form of a pressed metal button. The light grew brighter and spread throughout the monster until its grotesque body burst like rancid fruit left in a blazing sun, lining the walls of the house with offal and entrails and sludgy viscous that no one but Sundae would ever be able to see.
Sundae lay on his back, unable to move. Half of him was spread out over the stairs and the first floor of the house. More than that, the same light that had destroyed his opponent was now being extinguished inside of the bear himself.
Like so many seeming hardships through the last century, he didn’t mind. Sundae had known when he unsheathed his sword that it would be for the last time, whatever happened, and it was one time more than he’d planned. It felt good, to be victorious, to be needed, and to be more than a broken, discarded toy.
His creator had sewn a permanent smile onto Sundae’s light brown muzzle. He wore it when he fought. He wore it when he grieved. He wore it when time and the hearts of children seemed at their most cruel.
In that moment, however, he wore it as sincerely as any creature has ever worn a smile.
The last glimpse afforded Sundae’s remaining eye was of Harper, a nothing of a silhouette melting into the wall at the top of the staircase, looking down on him.
He hoped she knew it would be all right now. He hoped seeing her monster slain would carry her the rest of the way through these most innocent and frightening of years in peace.
Sundae hoped for many things, for all of them, for the children and the guardians and those he’d fought beside and seen lain down by monsters or jaded children or simply by the passing of years.
Then he became nothing more than a collection of stitched up rags.
In the morning Harper’s parents stepped on moldy bits of insulation and shredded patches of fur as they descended the steps of their home. They found the remains of an old teddy bear scattered in the foyer as if something with teeth and claws had ravaged it to pieces.
It must have been rats or raccoons, they reasoned. The attic must be infested. They cleaned up and had the whole house fumigated.
The incident was swept quickly from the front of little Harper’s mind. In time she would even remember an ornery rodent tearing up a stuffed animal on the stairs of her childhood home instead of a warrior battling to the death the monster of her nightmares.
But a piece of that tattered toy and its battle to save her from the monster stayed with her. Years would pass and Harper would grow tall and beautiful and wise. She would marry a kind man and give them both a son. Together they would bring the chubby little babe home and place him gently in a bassinette, where a stuffed bear was waiting to nestle him as he slept.
If you were to ask the woman, the mother Harper was to become, why she insisted that teddy bear have a button in its ear, no particular answer would occur to her.
Nor why she named her son’s teddy bear Sundae.
About the Author
A screenwriter, novelist, and the award-winning author of over one hundred short stories, Matt Wallace spent a decade traveling the western hemisphere as a professional wrestler and combat instructor before retiring to write full-time. He now resides in Los Angeles and bleeds exclusively on the blank page.
Matt has been extremely productive the last couple of years. His current project is Slingers, a five ebook series in progress now. Book two is now available on Amazon for Kindle for $2.99 or you can go to Matt-Wallace.com and get books one and two direct from the author for a buck a piece. And let’s just say if you do read them, you may recognize a character or two…
About the Narrator
Kate Baker is the Podcast Director and Non-fiction Editor for Clarkesworld Magazine. She has been very privileged to narrate over 350 short stories/poems by some of the biggest names in Science Fiction and Fantasy for multiple venues. Kate won the Hugo Award for Best Semiprozine in 2011 and 2013, the British Fantasy Award for Best Magazine in 2014 and the World Fantasy Award for Special Award: Non Professional in 2014 alongside the wonderfully talented editorial staff of Clarkesworld Magazine. Kate is currently situated in Northern Connecticut with her first fans; her wonderful children. She is currently working as the Director of Operations for the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Follow her online and on Twitter.
About the Artist
Barry is a game developer based in Bournemouth, England making freemium games for clients such LEGO and the BBC. His latest game is breaking all records on iOS, not surprising with a title like L”. It’s for younger kids, but if you fancy blasting alien brains check out LEGO Hero Factory Brain Attack.
All this game developing has meant that Barry hasn’t been as active in the podcasting and fiction world as he used to be. He still does the occasional narration for other shows, such as The Drabblecast, and appears on Cast of Wonders from time to time.