Well, what a year. Counting the stories in this twelfth issue, Bull & Cross has had the distinct honor of publishing 39 sharp, entertaining, touching, scary, amusing, uplifting, satirical stories across a range of genres: literary, science fiction, crime fiction, humor, fantasy, memoir, theatrical work, creative non-fiction, horror, and those tales that defy easy categorization.
Some of the stories have pushed right up to the edge of our word limit and left us wanting more. Others have captured whole worlds with such brevity it’s hard to believe.
This newest issue is an excellent case in point.
Michael Grant Smith’s unnerving flash, “All of the Stars in the Earth” beguiles the reader with such simplicity and earthy realism that by the time we realize something’s not right, it’s too late. And the story packs a powerful punch in a very short space.
The next story, by Paul Lamb, is “Old School.” And it is. The voice, plot, and characterization could have fallen out of one of Graham Greene’s comic works. I found myself grinning and shaking my head as I read the piece, thinking of bosses I’ve worked for to whom the title could be justly applied.
And finally, Nora Weston delivers a captivating piece of science fiction in “On Second Thought.” This is one of those works that I knew I wanted as soon as I finished the first read-through. It does what the best fiction does: it weighs up our foibles and our worth as human beings, and it affirms life.
So, grab a quiet corner and enjoy!
Daniel R. Julian