Posts Tagged ‘Banned Books Week’

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Cast of Wonders 519: Far From the Home I Love (Staff Picks 2022)


Far From The Home I Love

by Y.M. Resnik

“Let me get this straight. You were born on Earth, but your passport is Venusian?”

The condescension seeps through the plexiglass barrier separating me from the visa agent. It blankets me in icy disdain. Chides me for having the chutzpah to think that returning home could be easy.

I nod in the affirmative, trying to still my shaking hands as I retrieve the required documents out of my bag. I’ve followed the instructions meticulously, right down to bringing everything in triplicate. Ari helped me prepare the application. They’ve always been more detail oriented than I am.

The electronic Siddur in my bag grazes my fingers, reminding me why I am here. I pull it out and clutch the worn synthetic leather carrying-case to my chest as the agent shuffles through the paperwork. I am half tempted to recite one of the prayers found inside, but decide against it. What if the visa agent flags it as suspicious behavior? There aren’t many religious Jews on Venus. Ari and I probably make up a quarter of that population.

“Do you at least have your expired passport?” The agent is fumbling now, casting her eyes about frantically as if searching for the lost passport. Well, she can search until the Messiah comes. She won’t find anything. I didn’t have a passport when I fled. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 509: Far From the Home I Love


Far From The Home I Love

by Y.M. Resnik

“Let me get this straight. You were born on Earth, but your passport is Venusian?”

The condescension seeps through the plexiglass barrier separating me from the visa agent. It blankets me in icy disdain. Chides me for having the chutzpah to think that returning home could be easy.

I nod in the affirmative, trying to still my shaking hands as I retrieve the required documents out of my bag. I’ve followed the instructions meticulously, right down to bringing everything in triplicate. Ari helped me prepare the application. They’ve always been more detail oriented than I am.

The electronic Siddur in my bag grazes my fingers, reminding me why I am here. I pull it out and clutch the worn synthetic leather carrying-case to my chest as the agent shuffles through the paperwork. I am half tempted to recite one of the prayers found inside, but decide against it. What if the visa agent flags it as suspicious behavior? There aren’t many religious Jews on Venus. Ari and I probably make up a quarter of that population.

“Do you at least have your expired passport?” The agent is fumbling now, casting her eyes about frantically as if searching for the lost passport. Well, she can search until the Messiah comes. She won’t find anything. I didn’t have a passport when I fled. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 508: The Book That Wasn’t


The Book That Wasn’t

by Sally Sultzman

The school library is as close to a refuge as you get, but the librarian still looks at you like she knows there’s something off about you, and you hate that she might be right.

Then one day, the day, that day, that librarian is gone, replaced by a sub that looks…familiar. But not really, she’s definitely not the kind of person you’ve ever seen in your small town before. And she puts specific books into your hands. Very specific books. The kinds of books you could never ask about out loud, certainly not of the regular librarian because then she’d know she was right about you and tell your parents, and that–you don’t think you’d survive that.

But this librarian sub–old, tall, and imposing with wild white hair and a generous smile–just knows what books other kids also want, but those books are never as…personal as yours are. She gives you kind smiles and says things like, “You’re doing so well, just hold on a little bit longer,” as she gives you another book that you’re not allowed to read, not even allowed to know exists, and it… it helps. (Continue Reading…)

Banned Books Week: hold the date!


Our slush team have worked tremendously hard these past few months on General Subs and an absolutely stellar set of Halloween submissions. So, we’ve decided to delay our Banned Books Week window by a month, and give them a bit of a breather.  Expect a further announcement about our Banned Books Week call in the next week or so!

 

Revised submissions schedule can be found here:

Schedule

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Cast of Wonders 468: On the Tip of Her Tongue


On the Tip of Her Tongue

by Ember Randall

The days when new books arrived were Aquila’s favorite. Watching them rustle as she welcomed them, hearing their excitement and calming their fears. It was the best part of her job as Archivist of the Library of Gaia.

Tonight, she had almost two score new arrivals, all arrayed in a half-circle in front of the pool dominating the atrium. Their pages glowed under the light of the massive crystal light-globe resting in that pool. Mutters written in the smell of ink and the susurration of parchment rose from them, curious and nervous—Aquila, though not fluent in the language of books, could understand that much.

She ran her fingers over her communicator, a fine piece of parchment stretched inside a wooden frame. The copper backing it sparked as library magic filled it with words and symbols for her to choose from, and her fingers danced. “Welcome, all of you,” the communicator declared in a lilting voice. “I’m…”

The parchment went blank. A split second later, the light-globe in the pool flickered out, plunging the room into darkness. Moonlight poured in from the skylight above, turning the shallow pool silver, but its light couldn’t banish the shadows stretching out from the rows of bookshelves lining the walls. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 467: They Shall Find Home Once More


They Shall Find Home Once More

by Chelsea Obodoechina

The body is hidden beneath the yam plants. I did not see him the first couple of hours I toiled in the field, reaping the potatoes and cassava while watering the rest. I hesitated to draw near the yam plants, knowing they were slowly rotting in the ground, the once fertile soil growing black and knotted and putrid. The other farmers till the fields around this patch of land because to touch it would mean certain death. Many of us have been lost because of it.

I skim the sick land to uproot vegetables whose roots may have been poisoned. That is when I come across the boy. (Continue Reading…)

Banned Books Week 2021


Banned Books Week 2021

Books Unite Us; Censorship Divides Us

This year, CoW takes its theme for Banned Books Week from the American Library Association:

 https://bannedbooksweek.org/banned-books-week-2021-books-unite-us/

Have you ever made friends with someone who loved the same book you did? You started the conversation as strangers, but you feel so passionately about the ideas expressed in this book that you end as comrades in arms?

It’s a book that speaks to shared experience, shared pain—and therefore lights the way to shared learning, shared hope, and shared healing. Perhaps it’s powerful enough to make former enemies into allies, and you would defy an empire to protect this book.

It could be a history that’s been silenced, a book that propounds an outlawed ideal. It’s a book you teach your own children or anyone else you love, and they love it because you loved it.

It’s so dangerous a text that intergalactic armadas are launched to destroy it, or at least keep the book from spreading its readership, and mages would craft elaborate castles to safeguard.

Send us your stories of books that unite the geekiest con-goer, the most curmudgeonly asteroid-pirate, the steampunk bot that’s been asleep for a hundred years. Send us your stories of books that swordmasters would talk over with dragons. Send us tales of books that turn the unlikeliest beings into friends in speculative worlds. Send us tales of books that transcend time and space to gather the disparate into families.

We’re not quite looking for books as “macguffin” stories, but a demonstration into how a book could forge bonds with others. Therefore, the book should feature prominently in the story rather than be a prop, and we love yarns that hit us in the feels. A tale that makes us ugly cry while meaningfully addressing this theme of uniting is very likely to get accepted.

As an example, consider the Saga comic, how a novel featuring a wreather and a landfallian getting along peacefully inspires Alana and Marko to fall in love. Or if a lowly treach-bat teaches an eldritch terror how to read… would that not inspire a friendship? We would love to see how you, author, interpret this theme!

We do see how the dual nature of the theme “unite” and “divide” could be hard to do in one story. Feel free to focus on one of these two aspects.

Our sweet spot this sub window is under 5,000 words, with the absolute limit being 6,000 words.

Submissions will be accepted from June 13th to June 26th, through our Moksha portal.

We anticipate making final decisions on stories by the end of July.


If you’re still looking to submit, we are looking for HOLIDAY STORIES! Submissions for Holiday themed stories will open on June 27, 2021 and will close on July 3, 2021 (Do Not Send Holiday Stories During Banned Books Week Submissions!!!).

We already have our Halloween story picked out and can’t wait to show it to you!

But we are looking for

ONE WINTER STORY

And

ONE VALENTINE’S STORY

With respect to both these BBW and Holiday Stories calls:

Yes to LGBTQ+ stories. Yes to Ace/Aro stories. Yes to non-binary stories. Yes to BIPOC stories. Yes to stories featuring disability, neurodiversity, and all the previously mentioned groups in nuanced, sensitive, and authentic ways. We must be missing some groups, but please know WE WANT AND WELCOME ALL FACETS OF THE HUMAN EXPERIENCE.

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Cast of Wonders 445: The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café (Staff Picks 2020)


The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café

by Marie Croke

I came to her coffee shop, but never bought anything–things like that the owner’s bound to notice. Figured my days were numbered as soon as she took note, but my mom ran me off and the cold drove me in and there’s only so many stores one can pretend to be shopping at before people start looking at you all suspicious-like.

Took a coffee cup out of the trash and did the mime thing actors did, pretending to sip while I turned pages in my library book. Whenever the owner came near–wiping down a table, picking up dirty napkins, delivering a latte–I got all stiff, shoulders tense, waiting for her tap on them.

“Excuse me.”

Like I said…

“What are you reading?”

“A book,” I muttered, hugging the book awkwardly with my arm. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 434: The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café


The Pop-up Artisan of Drink Me Café

by Marie Croke

I came to her coffee shop, but never bought anything–things like that the owner’s bound to notice. Figured my days were numbered as soon as she took note, but my mom ran me off and the cold drove me in and there’s only so many stores one can pretend to be shopping at before people start looking at you all suspicious-like.

Took a coffee cup out of the trash and did the mime thing actors did, pretending to sip while I turned pages in my library book. Whenever the owner came near–wiping down a table, picking up dirty napkins, delivering a latte–I got all stiff, shoulders tense, waiting for her tap on them.

“Excuse me.”

Like I said…

“What are you reading?”

“A book,” I muttered, hugging the book awkwardly with my arm. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 433: The Last Love Letter


The Last Love Letter

by Gretchen Tessmer

They want me to give your letters to the International Museum for safekeeping. They say the letters need to be preserved and the sooner the better. (Continue Reading…)

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Cast of Wonders 378: Common Grounds and Various Teas (Banned Books Week)


Common Grounds & Various Teas

by Sherin Nicole

Mama’s fingernails are mesmerizing. They’re black and shiny as volcanic glass but not polished. Her skin is a deeper shade than North Carolina red clay, and her hair is pulled up high in two top knots. Long dreadlocks cascade down over both her ears. If she’s older than thirty  no one can tell. Right now, I’m giving her serious side eye. She won’t stop blabbering and babbling and telling her grifter tales.

“I told that man, you cannot sell me this bucket on wheels. It’s beneath me,” she says in an accent as brown as her skin. “He didn’t like that. Now, rather than me convincing him, he’s convincing me to lower the price. ‘Til I have mercy, I take this car from him for $45 and I let him buy the beers.”

I huff and turn away from her. “Can you stop now?” I mumble.

“I could,” Mama says, like she’s sharing secrets, “but I could also be swallowed and spit back out as something flavorless.” (Continue Reading…)