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WEIGHTLESS BOOKS

"Lush descriptions and exotic imagery startle, engross, chill and electrify the reader, and all 19 stories have a strong and delicious taste of weird."
— Publishers Weekly

Selected for the Locus Magazine 2008 Recommended Reading List

Includes critically-acclaimed and award-nominated stories by Catherynne M. Valente, David Sandner, John Grant, Cat Rambo, Leah Bobet, Michael J. DeLuca, Laird Barron, Ekaterina Sedia, Cat Sparks, Tanith Lee, Marie Brennan, Jennifer Crow, Vandana Singh, John C. Wright, C.S. MacCath, Joanna Galbraith, Deborah Biancotti and Erin Hoffman.

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"Allen finds his groove for this second annual anthology of weird stories, selecting 16 wonderfully evocative, well-written tales. ... Each story fits neatly alongside the next, and the diversity of topics, perspectives and authors makes this cosmopolitan anthology a winner."
— Publishers Weekly, starred review

Critically-acclaimed and award-nominated stories by Claude Lalumière, Leah Bobet, Marie Brennan, Ian McHugh, Ann Leckie, Mary Robinette Kowal, Saladin Ahmed, Tanith Lee, Joanna Galbraith, Catherynne M. Valente, Forrest Aguirre, Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer, Kelly Barnhill, Barbara Krasnoff and Steve Rasnic Tem.

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WEIGHTLESS BOOKS

"Allen's third volume of extraordinary short stories reaches new heights of rarity and wonder ... Without a wrong note, all the stories in this anthology admirably fulfill Allen's promise of 'beauty and strangeness.'"
— Publishers Weekly, starred review

Critically-acclaimed and award-nominated stories by Marie Brennan, Tori Truslow, Georgina Bruce, Michael M. Jones, Gemma Files, C.S.E. Cooney, Cat Rambo, Gregory Frost, Shweta Narayan, S.J. Hirons, John Grant, Kenneth Schneyer, John C. Wright, Nicole Kornher-Stace and Tanith Lee.

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A far-flung science fiction novelette of revenge and transformation from CLOCKWORK PHOENIX editor and Nebula Award-nominated writer Mike Allen.

"Venner lives in the near future, where aliens steal living human brains to use as computers. His wife is such a victim, and Venner vows to recover her ... But as he approaches closer and closer to his goal, he must surrender piece after piece of his humanity to gain the edge on his adversaries." — Tangent Online

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"Mike Allen's 'She Who Runs' gives flesh to spells moving faster than time."
— Publishers Weekly

Part mythical fiction, part science fiction, part horror tale, this off-beat short story by CLOCKWORK PHOENIX editor and Nebula Award nominee Mike Allen first appeared in the anthology SKY WHALES AND OTHER WONDERS.

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"Mike Allen’s 'Sleepless, Burning Life' is a very Moorcockian trip through cosmic clockwork, in search of 'the dark-eyed dancer who made the cosmos turn.' The worldbuilding is beautiful, and I’d have loved to see a full-length novel with a similar conceit in the same setting."
— Cold Iron & Rowan-Wood

"Mike Allen’s gorgeous ‘Sleepless, Burning Life’ bases the mythology of a universe on something that feels like clockwork."
— The Future Fire

Presenting five free sample stories from Clockwork Phoenix 3
"The Gospel of Nachash" by Marie Brennan | "Braiding the Ghosts" by C.S.E. Cooney
"Surrogates" by Cat Rambo | "Lineage" by Kenneth Schneyer
"Eyes of Carven Emerald" by Shweta Narayan

CLOCKWORK PHOENIX
CLOCKWORK PHOENIX
CLOCKWORK PHOENIX

Still available

read the rave reviews of
CLOCKWORK PHOENIX
Tales of Beauty and Strangeness

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From Mythic Delirium Books CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 2

Table of Contents

read the Publishers Weekly
starred review

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From Mythic Delirium Books CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3

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read the new Publishers Weekly
starred review


Related Links: Mythic DeliriumMike Allen's homepageMike Allen's LiveJournalMike Allen's TwitterMike Allen's Facebook


CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3 is here!

Buy the book
Retail Price:
$11.95 USD - £8.50 GBP
ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-062-4
ISBN-10: 1-60762-062-6
316 pages
Order Your Copy:
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...or your favorite bookstore!

To purchase signed copies directly from the editor, query here.


Check out these links

Read Kenneth Schneyer's story "Lineage" from CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3 free at Fantasy Book Critic (click here).

Editor Mike Allen talks about the making of CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3 at the OMNIVORACIOUS blog on Amazon.com

An interview with editor Mike Allen at the Interstitial Arts Foundation

Praise for CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3 . . . .

Allen's third volume of extraordinary short stories reaches new heights of rarity and wonder. Marie Brennan sets the bar high with "The Gospel of Nachash," a fine reinterpretation of the Adam and Eve legend from a fresh perspective. Tori Truslow's scholarly "Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine's Day" tells the story of the Great Ice Train and its encounter with the merfolk on the Moon. Gemma Files's "Hell Friend" and C.S.E. Cooney's "Braiding the Ghosts" are sinister, spine-tingling ghost stories. Cat Rambo deals with realism and escapism in her futuristic "Surrogates," where appearances and reality are mutable. Shweta Narayan's "Eyes of Carven Emerald" eloquently rewrites the history of Alexander the Great to include mechanical entities. Without a wrong note, all the stories in this anthology admirably fulfill Allen's promise of "beauty and strangeness."
Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

With a balance of new names and established authors, the third Clockwork Phoenix installment collects some magnificent interpretations of fantastic ideas. “The Gospel of Nachash” opens, Marie Brennan’s haunting tale of the beginning of time, and a very interesting reinterpretation of a gospel it is, too. Tanith Lee’s “Fold” is a story of a man who wrote love letters to the people he saw passing beneath his window, and only left his apartment once. Gemma Files’ “Hell Friend” is really a heart-warming ghost story; Georgina Bruce’s “Crow Voodoo” is an unnerving take on something common to fairy tales; and Gregory Frost’s “Lucyna’s Gaze” starts off sweet, and grows more awful with every revealed detail. Clockwork Phoenix delivers on its promise of both beauty and strangeness, and adds in some fright and a few new ways of looking at old tropes. All in all, it’s a very successful collection of thematically similar, but wildly varied in subject, works.
Booklist

CLOCKWORK PHOENIX is a series of anthologies from Norilana Books, edited by Mike Allen, that bears the subtitle "New Tales of Beauty and Strangeness". This seems a quite appropriate subtitle — the stories really do seem attempts at evoking both beauty and the strange. This makes them consistently interesting . . . There is a mixture of wild science fiction (as with John C. Wright's "Murder in Metachronopolis", a convoluted time travel mystery) with what seems best called slipstream (say, Tanith Lee's curious "Fold", about a man who sends people paper airplane love letters) with out and out fantasy. One of the latter is my favorite here: C. S. E. Cooney's "Braiding the Ghosts", in which a girl goes to her grandmother after her mother's death, and learns from the older woman the secret of "braiding" ghosts — which is to say enslaving them. So ghosts are the servants of the older woman. But the girl is not so happy with this . . . especially when she falls for the ghost she is forced to braid. And the ghosts — are they happy? Read the story and find out . . . lovely stuff.
— Rich Horton, Locus

For the past three years editor Mike Allen has been publishing his unique CLOCKWORK PHOENIX anthologies, inviting authors like Tanith Lee and Catherynne M. Valente to give us their take on the concepts of, as the title has it, "beauty and strangeness." The result has been a critical and artistic success and, if volume three is any indication, the spell won’t be lifting any time soon. Allen continues to assemble some of the most adventurous, beauteous, and just plain weird stuff our current crop of speculative authors are capable of producing. Adventurous minds are invited to attend.
Strange Horizons

. . . And more praise for CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 3 authors . . .

  • Marie Brennan, "The Gospel of Nachash"
    Starts with language that is familiar to anyone who grew up on Sunday School stories and Bible readings — yet we do not get even a paragraph in before we realize that things are oddly skewed, that this is not the Creation story we remember. ... This narrative is told from the perspective of another race of created beings, the bekhorim, whom God made not of dust, but from the air, and who are thus more subtle in their bodies and natures. ... the bekhorim are like humanity in need of a Savior — but because they are of a different nature and origin than humanity, they will need a different sort of Savior. But that story too has its tragedy, its betrayal that was an act of misplaced love, and its terrible consequences. (Billion-Year Book Shelf)

    Marie Brennan's "The Gospel of Nachash," an alternative version of Genesis featuring a lovelorn Satan figure, gets more haunting the longer you mull it over. (Strange Horizons)

  • Tori Truslow, "Tomorrow Is Saint Valentine's Day"
    Tori Truslow gives us a rich fantasy of a world in which the cosmology of the Middle Ages is in fact true, in which merfolk migrate seasonally between the earth and the moon, which far from being an airless rock is a wet world of water-laden atmosphere. Carefully documented from fictional letters of that other world, it tells the story of a Victorian explorer who travelled aboard a train made of ice to visit the mer-city upon the moon, where he became enraptured with a lovely young mermaid whom he named Opal ... When we read it, we are left with a sense of realness that confounds our knowledge of actual history, so effective is the mechanism of scholarly documentation employed by the author to create the illusion of a history rather than merely a story. (Billion-Year Book Shelf)

  • Georgina Bruce, "Crow Voodoo"
    Takes us into the grim lands of horror, telling the story of a magical being known as a midnight crow, a supernatural being who has the characteristics of a corvid yet has an intellect equal to any human, if not superior to it (think the Japanese tengu, but more sinister). He practices dark magic, and as the price of one such working he has taken a little girl to raise, teaching her his magical arts. ... This is a story that makes me shudder every time I read it. (Billion-Year Book Shelf)

  • Michael M. Jones, "Your Name Is Eve"
    The story of two lovers, Clancy and Eve, who live out their romance through the dreams of sleeping humans is clouded in mystery. It's hard to say much without ruining the ending, but their love affair is passionate and moving and the story was very well written. ... Clancy is the main character and well developed and the surprises of who he is and what he's doing offers a nice twist at the end. ... Recommended. (Tangent Online)

  • Gemma Files, "Hell Friend"
    This story draws upon Chinese tradition of the purchase of magical Hell stuff that is subsequently burned to send it to Hell for one's ancestors to enjoy while there ... Jin belongs to a family who makes such Hell-stuff, carefully crafting beautiful replicas of houses, cars and other consumer goods all year long so that they may be purchased during the Month of the Hungry Ghosts and burned in a splendid ceremony ... she lives in modern Canada, to which her family immigrated. Furthermore, her mother was Korean, which makes her grandmother certain that she is irreparably flawed. This perpetual living on the edge of boundaries has led her to become somewhat secretly rebellious, such that she indulges some dangerous curiosity — yet at the same time there's a strong desire in her to run away, one that leaves her dangerously open to the supernatural in the Month of the Hungry Ghosts. (Billion-Year Book Shelf)

    Gemma Files's evocative "Hell Friend" has, as its root, a basic lonely teenager story: young Jin is obsessed with Twilight and the latest screen heartthrobs—but she is also a Chinese American whose family fully participates in the ritual of Hungry Ghost Month. Files uses the divisive nature of Jin's situation—that of a young person clashing with the beliefs of their elders—to underscore feelings of horror and isolation when those same beliefs lead Jin to an encounter in the world of the dead, but none of this unfurls in the expected narrative fashion. (Strange Horizons)

  • C.S.E. Cooney, "Braiding the Ghosts"

    Selected for The Year's Best Science Fiction
    & Fantasy 2011 Edition
    edited by Rich Horton

    Selected for the Locus Magazine
    2010 Recommended Reading List

    Another of my favorite stories here. The story of a young girl, Nin, who grows up under the tutelage of her dominating grandma, Reshka, this is another ghost story about people who learn to use magic to control ghosts and make them their servants. While learning about this process from Reshka, Nin maintains a dialogue with the spirit of her dead mother, Noir, who is a far more sympathetic and encouraging personage than her grandmother. ... The relationships between Nin and her main companions, Mason and Reshka, are well developed and contrasting, and I found Nin's point of view very strongly pulling me into the mind of a young girl ... Cooney did a great job of selling me on a story with a subject matter I wouldn't generally find intriguing ... Recommended. (Tangent Online)

  • Cat Rambo, "Surrogates"
    In this future, everyone is entitled to a Surrogate, a sort of android stand-in that does all the unpleasant tasks of life, and is available for certain other services as well. ... the straitlaced will probably find the countercultural morés disturbing, but it's a very interesting extrapolation of the social consequences of robotization that resonates with some of the things Marshall Brain has been discussing. And that may be the coolest part of it — envisioning a world in which the existence of sophisticated humanoid robots means greater freedom and self-actualization for human beings. (Billion-Year Book Shelf)

    Cat Rambo's tart "Surrogates" ... satirizes our dependence on entertainment and its associate technologies by having its heroine fiddle with an implanted "insanity chip." (Strange Horizons)

  • Gregory Frost, "Lucyna's Gaze"
    The strongest story in the anthology overall . . . a disquieting story of future genocide that dances on the razor-edge between science fiction and fantasy. (Gardner Dozois, Locus)

    The protagonists are fighting valiantly against a conquering enemy every bit as vicious as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union, but with equipment so far in advance of the Primary World's that it is clearly not either of them. Yet even as these brave characters face an act of genocide, there is a glimmer of hope for humanity in love that refuses to be crushed. (Billion-Year Book Shelf)

  • Shweta Narayan, "Eyes of Carven Emerald"
    The commander, Alexandros, has conquered a Persian city and there encounters a mechanical owl. The owl begins telling Alexandros the story of a prince who falls in love with a mechanical woman. ... The twists of the owl's story's plot diverge from what he and we might expect as does his relationship with the owl, which unfolds over several encounters through several years. Based on an Armenian folk story, "Eyes of Carven Emerald" is an examination of how different world views and motives clash. ... I found it a good read and recommend it. (Tangent Online)

  • S.J. Hirons, "Dragons of America"
    The tale of a man who lives in a conquered land inhabited by American dragons is a nice mix of historical setting with fantasy elements. ... I thought this was a different take on the dragon idea than I'd seen before. I enjoyed Anselm, who was developed well, and his interactions with his family and classmates were believable. The story takes some surprising but plausible twists and turns and winds up in a hopeful place ... Recommended. (Tangent Online)

    A poignant bit of alternative history in which a socialist boy pines for dragons "green as dollar bills" who smell of "hamburgers, hotdogs, buttered popcorn, and beer." (Strange Horizons)

  • John Grant, "Where Shadows Go at Low Midnight"
    The protagonists are a second-generation civilization living amidst the ruins of the civilization of the half-remembered Ghosts. As the story progresses with the accumulation of myriad tiny clues, we realize that the Ghosts are humanity, now extinct, and the new civilization who ponder the hidden workings of the universe are of canine origin ... their canine way of thinking and looking at the world fulfills John W. Campbell's famous dictum to 'give me a creature that thinks as well as a man, but not like a man.' And oddly enough, while so many after-humanity stories are relentlessly grim, there's something warm and homey about the notion of the earth being inherited by our tail-wagging friends. (Billion-Year Book Shelf)

  • Kenneth Schneyer, "Lineage"
    Ancient people saw the world as filled with spirit beings who could guide and strengthen mortals in their times of need. We rational moderns have discounted such notions as primitive superstition, but in Kenneth Schneyer's "Lineage" a group of scientists discover artifacts from vastly disparate regions and times which all bear the resonance pattern that indicate their having been handled by the same entity. Behind this seeming impossibility lies the story of an elemental spirit of courage and self-sacrifice — but to say more would be to spoil the story. (Billion-Year Book Shelf)

  • John C. Wright, "Murder in Metachronopolis"
    A hugely complex time-paradox tale, the best SF story in the book. (Gardner Dozois, Locus)

    One of those rare stories I knew I'd love after the first paragraph. A private eye story, with definite echoes of a noir P.I. film, set in a time travelling future where Masters of Time whisk through time without concern for the possible impact, men like Jacob Frontino act as both investigator and policeman of those Masters who abuse time travel for their own ends. ... The story asks a lot of interesting questions about time travel and moral temptation. I thought the protagonist was a dynamic character of many layers and enjoyed the story thoroughly. One of the best in this collection. Recommended highly. (Tangent Online)

    Just as time travel can produce several stories out of the same event, Wright crafts several narratives out of his premise: the one he initially gives us, in which events and possible events are told out of order through a series of thirty "chapters," a second narrative with a completely different tone that is revealed by reading the chapters sequentially, and an implied Choose Your Own Adventure option, which results in an infinitely entertaining mish-mash. Nice trick, that. But Wright isn’t done. His grasp of character—and of the moral dilemmas inherent in playing around with time—are no less keen. ... There are infinite realities in time travel—let’s hope one of them contains an award for Mr. Wright. (Strange Horizons)

  • Nicole Kornher-Stace, "To Seek Her Fortune"

    Selected for The Mammoth Book of Steampunk
    edited by Sean Wallace

    I loved her debut novel Desideria. And indeed the story has the same beautiful style that makes one lose himself in the story and wishes for it to continue for a long time ... The snippets from The Lady Explorer's life, her deep love for her son who was born on the airship she "stole" with her comrades to escape a lifetime of drudgery and the panoramas of the wonderful world created here by the author mesh extremely well to create a superb story that will entrance you. (Fantasy Book Critic)

    The main characters are a Lady Explorer and her son, who have been travelling around on a stolen airship on various adventures, fighting off repeated predictions of their impending deaths ... a good read and recommended. (Tangent Online)

  • Tanith Lee, "Fold"
    The anthology ends on a high note with Tanith Lee's wondrous "Fold," the story of a man who lives the last decades of his life alone in a self-sufficient apartment atop a tower. ... His sole source of interaction with the world is through the love letters he writes to passersby on the sidewalk below who catch his interest and capture his heart. ... The story is a well written mix of melancholy and joy. It sucks the reader in with the power of Lee's always masterful prose and encourages the asking of questions about the value of relationships, communication, and connection. Highly recommended. (Tangent Online)

    In a beautiful city on the border of a vertical sea, Jintha closed himself up in an apartment in a high tower and for decades wrote love letters to the people he saw passing on the street below. Letters which he then folded into the form of birds which he launched into the air ... And then, at the close of this peculiar life, he wrote his final love letter to all the city, one so extraordinary in its nature that to even begin to describe it would be to spoil this wonderful, delicate story. (Billion-Year Book Shelf)




  • Buy the critically-acclaimed second volume!

    Buy the book
    Retail Price:
    $11.95 USD - £8.00 GBP
    ISBN-13: 978-1-60762-027-3
    ISBN-10: 1-60762-027-8
    296 pages
    Order Now
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    To purchase signed copies directly from the editor, query here.


    Check out these links

    Read Saladin Ahmed's story "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela" from CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 2 free at Fantasy Book Critic (click here).

    See photos from the official CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 2 launch, held July 11, 2009 at ReaderCon in Burlington, Massachusetts.

    Praise for CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 2 . . . .

    Allen finds his groove for this second annual anthology of weird stories, selecting 16 wonderfully evocative, well-written tales. Marie Brennan's thought-provoking "Once a Goddess" considers the fate of a goddess abruptly returned to mortality. Tanith Lee puts a stunning twist in the story of a morose prince in "The Pain of Glass." Mary Robinette Kowal's "At the Edge of Dying" describes a world where magic comes only to those at death's door. In "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela," Saladin Ahmed tells of a small village on the edge of a desert, a hermit and a woman who may be a witch. Each story fits neatly alongside the next, and the diversity of topics, perspectives and authors makes this cosmopolitan anthology a winner.
    Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

    In this anthology of 15 original tales by some of fantasy's most imaginative voices, Tanith Lee returns to her remarkable Flat Earth setting for a poignant and cutting tale of love, fate, and misfortune in "The Pain of Glass." Other contributors include veteran and newer writers Forrest Aguirre, Steve Rasnic Tem, Joanna Galbraith, Saladin Ahmed, and others, each chosen for their unique perspective and stylistic grace. VERDICT: This second volume in a new annual anthology series will appeal to fantasy readers who enjoy short stories.
    Library Journal

    CLOCKWORK PHOENIX is the most experimental and often the most interesting of the impressive stable of four anthologies published by Norilana. The second outing has a lot of strong work, including a nice ultra-romantic tale of a woman of glass by Tanith Lee ("The Pain of Glass"), a moving fairly traditional ghost story from Kelly Barnhill ("Open the Door and the Light Pours Through"), and a story I frankly didn't think I'd like, but which seduced me, Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer's "each thing i show you is a piece of my death," about experimental film makers creating a sort of collage film, including what seems a very old clip of a man committing suicide. It's queasy-making, odd, yet compelling. My favorite story is Ann Leckie's "The Endangered Camp," which she says resulted from a sort of challenge to combine dinosaurs, post-apocalyptic fiction, and Mars — and does so beautifully as the crew of the first spaceship to Mars witnesses the asteroid striking Earth and wonders what to do.
    — Rich Horton, Locus

    . . . And more praise for CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 2 authors . . .

  • Claude Lalumière, "Three Friends"

    Selected for Year's Best Fantasy 10
    edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

    "A story about The Boy Who Speaks With Walls, The Girl Who Eats Fire, and The Kid Whose Laughter Makes Adults Run Away. Very moving, it presents a very real, raw rendering of the dynamics of childhood friendships through the surreal twists the children's titles suggest." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

  • Leah Bobet, "Six"
    "Nicely done ... a post-apocalyptic story set in a ruined urban future." (Gardner Dozois, Locus)

    "The deeply affecting story of a sixth son in a household where the seventh is most valued ... It's an excellent piece, beautifully voiced and crafted to lodge uncomfortably in your ribs." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

  • Marie Brennan, "Once a Goddess"
    "The story of Nefret, a woman who, after eleven years of being the vessel of the goddess Hathirekhmet, is sent home to be an ordinary woman among ordinary mortals, expected to live a life of submission and domesticity to which she has not been trained. This is a compelling exploration of womanhood and coming-of-age rituals, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

    "The well told, compelling and compassionate portrait of a girl formerly acting as a goddess' avatar, trying to fit again in a normal life." (Mario Guslandi, SF Site)

    "An introspective, character-driven story that touches upon Egyptian culture, as a young woman deals with having lost her status as an avatar for a goddess. The sentiments expressed by the end were very wise and beautiful, and I feel truly enriched for having read it!" (Sequential Tart)

  • Ian McHugh, "Angel Dust"
    "An enjoyable fairy tale for adults featuring minotaurs, angels and statues becoming live." (Mario Guslandi, SF Site)

    "A compelling, bittersweet fantasy story of a statue brought to life while her 'mate' remains stone; she struggles in a hostile city under siege — with the help of a minotaur who worships her — hoping to find a way bring her mate to life. McHugh's created a vivid, fascinating world here, and I really hope he revisits it!" (Sequential Tart)

  • Ann Leckie, "The Endangered Camp"

    Selected for The Year's Best Science Fiction
    & Fantasy 2010 Edition
    edited by Rich Horton

    "Velociraptors set off on a heroic quest and are faced with a difficult choice that may decide whether their race survives or not." (Gardner Dozois, Locus)

    "Picks up with a group of individuals also fleeing a dying world — except the world they're fleeing is a prehistoric Earth, the land they're seeking is Mars, and the individuals in question are dinosaurs. I kid you not. ... It's a wonderfully effective, well-wrought story that reminded me just a little of Jo Walton's Tooth and Claw." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

  • Mary Robinette Kowal, "At the Edge of Dying"
    "It's been my experience that there are two types of readers, one that prefers a story with a good concept or plot, while the other favors character and technique more. Kowal manages to satiate both types with this story and the excitement never peters off as each scene seems to escalate the conflict." (Bibliophile Stalker)

    "Set in a Polynesian-flavoured world, Kahe is a sorcerer who works his greatest magic by having his wife, Mehahui, attempt to kill him; by nearing death's door, the goddess Hia grants him the power to work his spells. But paying the price of his magic becomes harder and harder, since Kahe's tribesmen are at war with the invading Ouvallese, and straddling the edge of death is a difficult thing to do in battle. Unexpected twists abound in this story, the surprising conclusion of which I loved on several levels." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

    "A beautiful and quite original piece, full of pathos and very imaginative, developing the concept that being close to death enhances the strength of the spells thrown by sorcerers." (Mario Guslandi, SF Site)

  • Saladin Ahmed, "Hooves and the Hovel of Abdel Jameela"

    2009 Nebula Award finalist for Best Short Story

    Selected for Nebula Awards Showcase 2011
    edited by Kevin J. Anderson

    Selected for Year's Best Fantasy 10
    edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

    "Takes us to a medieval Middle-East, where a young physician has been banished to a backwater village called Beit Zujaaj ... he is summoned to the hovel of Abdel Jameela, a strange recluse who has lived alone with his never-seen wife for many years. As his wife is in need of a physician, the latter's presence is requested, and the story rolls into the marvelous from there." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

    "Explores what happens when one puts aside the prejudices of one's religion while still embracing the loving and faithful aspects." (Sequential Tart)

  • Tanith Lee, "The Pain of Glass" (A Tale of the Flat Earth)

    Selected for the Locus Magazine
    2009 Recommended Reading List

    "This piece begins with a powerful scene but the author's talent soon becomes evident as we discover that the narrative isn't told in chronological order. Our expectations are steered in a different but equally satisfying direction, and Lee manages to mesmerize readers with her attention to detail and beautiful language." (Bibliophile Stalker)

    "Lee confirms her extraordinary talent as a storyteller in 'The Pain of Glass,' a perfect story where a bride-to-be becomes first sand and then glass in the shape of a delicate wine vessel. A veritable masterpiece." (Mario Guslandi, SF Site)

  • Joanna Galbraith, "The Fish of Al-Kawthar's Fountain"
    "Write Syria into a story convincingly and you start the game with seven thousand bonus points. Write the story such that it reads like an oral tale, or a translation of Arabic material, and you earn seven thousand more ... Although one of the simpler pieces, I was left rather charmed." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

    "An adorable (albeit somewhat bittersweet) story about a magic fountain, the fish that live in it, and their caretaker. I could easily see this being made into a Pixar short!" (Sequential Tart)

  • Catherynne M. Valente, "The Secret History of Mirrors"
    "This story is a collection of origin myths and it's due to Valente's skill that they sound authentic rather than artificial. But beyond simply being faithful to tone and theme, the author also anchors these myths with an overarching narrative that's uniquely Valente and very satisfying." (Bibliophile Stalker)

    "Desperately beautiful, and the most surreally imaginative, accomplished, and original retelling of Snow White I've ever read. In the jewelled prose that is her trademark, Valente puts forward three theories on the origin of mirrors, threaded through and encompassed by a twisting of the fairy tale — and has them told by lesbian nuns. Again, I am not joking." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

  • Forrest Aguirre, "Never nor Ever"
    "A story about Tweedledum and Tweedledee in their old age. You don't need to have read Through the Looking Glass to find a fascinating postmodern examination of life and death, but having read it certainly adds layers of nuance and depth. It's beautifully, cleverly written, ably engages with its source material, and makes explicit some of the more disturbing implications of Carroll's story." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

  • Gemma Files and Stephen J. Barringer, "each thing i show you is a piece of my death"

    2009 Shirley Jackson Award finalist for Best Novelette

    Shortlisted for the Washington Science Fiction Association
    2010 Small Press Award for short fiction

    Selected for Best Horror of the Year 2
    edited by Ellen Datlow

    Selected for the Locus Magazine
    2009 Recommended Reading List

    "One of the most successfully ambitious, brilliant, and terrifying stories I've ever read. This is what I wish more horror was: fiction whose effect is a lingering awe, a reluctance to look through windows into the dark for fear of seeing a face, a rising thrill between sternum and chin as page after page is turned. Told through a collection of documents found in a case file, 'each thing i show you is a piece of my death' explains the phenomenon of Background Man, a completely naked man 'wearing a red necklace' who appears inexplicably in film after film where he is not expected to be ... overwhelmingly excellent in its execution." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

    "An exceedingly creepy piece ... It reveals a ghost story through articles, emails, and police reports dealing with a pair of filmmakers and a snuff film they were sent via email. It freaked me out about as much as Ringu, which I consider to be the scariest film I've ever seen!" (Sequential Tart)

  • Kelly Barnhill, "Open the Door and the Light Pours Through"
    "This is a story fraught with vanishing, evanescence, the ephemeral: what begins as a correspondence between a married couple separated by the necessities of the Second World War slowly unravels into something quite different, by turns beautiful and frightening." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

  • Barbara Krasnoff, "Rosemary, That's For Remembrance"
    "This story is heart-breaking. I would caution anyone who has or has had a loved one suffer from Alzheimer's to keep a warm soothing drink to hand, because it will lodge a lump in your throat and an ache in your chest that has nothing to do with sentimentality." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)

  • Steve Rasnic Tem, "When We Moved On"
    "Makes me want to write an essay about how perfect an editorial decision it was to place it at the very end, and what a fitting final scene it provides to the last act of the anthology. Tem's story presents a dubious vision of almost-perfect normality in a happy family who have long lived in their house on the hill; the story begins when the parents announce to their now-adult children their decision to leave it and 'live simply.' It's a self-effacing statement of a story that provides quietly disquieting closure to the whole." (Amal El-Mohtar, SF Site)




  • Buy the critically-acclaimed first volume today!

    Buy the book
    Retail Price:
    $10.95 USD - £7.60 GBP
    ISBN-13: 978-1-934169-98-8
    ISBN-10: 1-934169-98-6
    288 pages
    Order Now
    Amazon - Barnes & Noble
    Amazon UK - Amazon CA
    Amazon FR - Amazon DE
    Amazon JP

    ...or ask for it at your favorite bookstore.

    To purchase signed copies directly from the editor, query here.


    Check out these links

    Read Deborah Biancotti's Aurealis Award-nominated story "The Tailor of Time" from CLOCKWORK PHOENIX free at Steampunk Workshop: Part One; Part Two.

    See photos from the official CLOCKWORK PHOENIX launch, held July 18, 2008 at ReaderCon in Burlington, Massachusetts.

    Read interviews with CLOCKWORK PHOENIX editor Mike Allen at SF Scope and at Enter the Octopus

    Praise for CLOCKWORK PHOENIX . . . .

    Selected for the Locus Magazine 2008 Recommended Reading List

    Author and editor Allen (Mythic) has compiled a neatly packaged set of short stories that flow cleverly and seamlessly from one inspiration to another. In "The City of Blind Delight" by Catherynne M. Valente, a man inadvertently ends up on a train that takes him to an inescapable city of extraordinary wonders. In "All the Little Gods We Are," Hugo winner John Grant takes a mind trip to possible parallel universes. Modern topics make an appearance among the whimsy and strangeness: Ekaterina Sedia delves into the misunderstandings that occur between cultures and languages in "There Is a Monster Under Helen's Bed," while Tanith Lee gleefully skewers gender politics with "The Woman," giving the reader a glimpse of what might happen if there was only one fertile woman left in a world of men. Lush descriptions and exotic imagery startle, engross, chill and electrify the reader, and all 19 stories have a strong and delicious taste of weird.
    Publishers Weekly, May 12, 2008

    A very strong first volume ... Established writers and new names all are in good form here ... A series of great promise. Prospects on the anthology front look ever better.
    Locus, July 2008

    I would have bought this book for its mysteriously gorgeous cover art alone, but the stellar lineup of contributing writers sold me completely ... CLOCKWORK PHOENIX editor Mike Allen describes the anthology as "a home for stories that sidestep expectations in beautiful and unsettling ways, that surprise with their settings and startle with the ways they cross genre boundaries, that aren't afraid to experiment with storytelling techniques." His choices here don't disappoint.
    PhillyBurbs.com

    Even if you're not into the genre, this is a welcome read that'll hopefully strike an emotional chord in you.
    Bibliophile Stalker

    Another "new weird" collection, perhaps? A slipstream opus? Whatever — set somewhere between fantasy, SF, and something else, the stories selected by editor Mike Allen have an unique property: they are never tedious ... I highly recommend the book to anyone looking for top-notch fiction irrespective of genre labels.
    The Harrow

    . . . And more praise for CLOCKWORK PHOENIX authors . . .

  • Catherynne M. Valente, "The City of Blind Delight"
    "Catherynne M. Valente makes good on her reputation for hallucinatory hothouse prose ... Valente packs a happy magical wonder into every detail, creating a story very similar to a good dream full of places and people who are half real, half symbol. 'Blind Delight's cyclical meditation on desire exemplifies the collection's alchemical themes." (The Fix)

  • David Sandner, "Old Foss is the Name of His Cat"

    Selected for Tails of Wonder and Imagination
    edited by Ellen Datlow

    "Another story from CLOCKWORK PHOENIX that stayed in my mind for days after I read it was David Sandner's 'Old Foss is the Name of His Cat.' With quirky language tinged with myth, it takes you along a lovesick man's last days as seen through the eyes of his preternatural feline companion." (PhillyBurbs.com)

  • John Grant, "All the Little Gods We Are"
    "A rich meditation on the vagaries of romance. The protagonist met a girl at school he was convinced was his other half; and two possible lives unfold for him, one in which he remains inseparable from this heaven sent partner, the other in which he is single, lonely, unfulfilled. One day he makes a phone call, and lines cross between existences, selves are in impossible communication. This prompts deep reflection, a trawling of memory, an inner dispute over how one's will relates to reality, how we make our fates." (Locus)

    "A powerful, tragic, magic tale in which a man named John makes a fateful phone call one day, and reaches himself. The bizarre call stirs up memories of John's past, bringing back a time when he and his best friend Justine were inseparable. But what happened to tear them apart? How close was their relationship, and how did it end... or did it? Whatever you think the truth is, it's weirder. One of the most emotionally-powerful stories in the collection, it really needs multiple readings to understand its depths." (SF Site)

  • Cat Rambo, "The Dew Drop Coffee Lounge"
    "Light and playful, Rambo's story departs from the dreamlike magic of earlier entries, creating a nifty little world that you believe you just might see around the corner in the next patisserie." (The Fix)

    "This is a clever, entertaining story that reminds me of classic Charles de Lint." (SF Site)

  • Leah Bobet, "Bell, Book, and Candle"
    "Thanks to Bobet's accomplished pen, Bell, Book, and Candle work not only as strikingly original personifications, but also as sympathetic and frail human beings searching for peace. With flashes of sensual brilliance, 'Bell, Book, and Candle' equals 'The City of Blind Delight' in innovation and ... well, in delight. (The Fix)

    "A brutally absorbing depiction of the anthropomorphic personifications of the title instruments. What would you imagine their lives to be like, if these key instruments of excommunication were flesh and blood? I'm terribly fond of stories that humanize archetypes well, and this story succeeds painfully and delightfully." (Green Man Review)

  • Michael J. DeLuca, "The Tarrying Messenger"
    "Molly the bike messenger pulls up in a desert town where an angel is being raised atop a church. Daniel, a dissident with a sandwich board, wishes to convince the churchgoers that their statue is a blasphemy of angelic and holy powers ... burning with gritty descriptions of the desert and a promising storyline about a girl on the run." (The Fix)

    "Never stops, never slows down as it tells the story of Molly, a bike-riding traveler who stumbles across a bizarre ceremony involving an angel and a sort-of prophet. Kinetic and fluid, this story addresses issues of faith, belief, and one's inner nature." (SF Site)

  • Laird Barron, "The Occultation"

    Selected for the Locus Magazine
    2008 Recommended Reading List

    "Barron's contribution is all about mood: the wild energy of late nights when time seems suspended and everything seems possible and that horrible, creeping dread when you can't quite figure what's wrong. He ratchets both of these sentiments up for full effect." (The Fix)

    "The atmosphere in this story of a couple creeping themselves out over the nothing in the dark that might actually just be something in the dark is so skillfully handled that it actually resulted in me being creeped out. In a nicely lit room." (Green Man Review)

  • Ekaterina Sedia, "There is a Monster Under Helen's Bed"
    "Always a consummate prose stylist, Sedia uses equally lush phrases to describe the world that Helen has left behind and the monstrous world that she fears. This is another story that successfully walks the narrow border between dream and metaphor." (The Fix)

  • Cat Sparks, "Palisade"
    "[Allen's] choices here don't disappoint. Take Australian writer Cat Sparks' 'Palisade,' for example. This beautiful and unsettling tale of a sad girl living with her father in an opulent compound protected from the carnivorous insects and other horrors that live outside by an electrified fence is part science fiction, part romance and, ultimately, horror." (PhillyBurbs.com)
  • Tanith Lee, "The Woman"

    Selected for the Locus Magazine
    2008 Recommended Reading List

    "A moving, tragic hymn to a dying world. Allusions to homosexuality, and unwanted sons, and a curiously ugly paragon of femininity build to a dark revelation against which there is no appeal; grim storytelling this, Lee at her barbaric best." (Locus)

  • Marie Brennan, "A Mask of Flesh"
    "Shapeshifting Neniza sneaks into the royal palace, hoping to save her father and herself ... Marie Brennan uses Aztec mythology to place the characters of 'A Mask of Flesh' in a world where gods and other supernaturals interfere in human life, propitiated only by the proper sacrifices." (The Fix)

    "A tight, fascinating, and gloriously straightforward revenge tale." (Green Man Review)

  • Jennifer Crow, "Seven Scenes from Harrai's Sacred Mountain"
    "A series of sequential vignettes in the life of a man whose days, for good or ill, are ruled by a forbidding mountain. Combining poetic levels of description with an enveloping sense of place, Crow captures a mysterious, slightly menacing mood." (The Fix)

  • Vandana Singh, "Oblivion: A Journey"

    Selected for Year's Best SF 14
    edited by David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

    "An opulent space opera, full of exotic color and historical resonance, about a quest for revenge upon an evil warlord paralleling a figure in Hindu myth. Should the pattern of myth be followed for justice to be done? And what in truth are the mythical referents? The answers are literate and compelling." (Locus)

    "Just incredibly amazing ... Old myths inform new lives in this crazy and compelling narrative, and Singh's visual storytelling means I can easily imagine this story as a breathtaking graphic novel." (Green Man Review)

  • John C. Wright, "Choosers of the Slain"
    "A characteristically magniloquent discussion of courage and how an heroic destiny is fashioned — should a great leader, seemingly facing defeat by an overwhelming invader, stand and fight, or should he step aside, into an ideal Valhalla? Wright's answer is a bit predictable, but the atmosphere is grand." (Locus)

    "Cleverly reworking an aspect of Norse myth, this story hints at a much larger world, and events playing out both before and after the scene in question. It's a simple concept, but stunning nonetheless in the execution." (SF Site)

  • C.S. MacCath, "Akhila, Divided"
    "'Akhila, Divided' has an unusual protagonist: a sentient bomb that can take on a humanoid form. When the bomb crash-lands among human beings and befriends a peaceful monk, Vegar, her attachment toward the people directly conflicts with the murderous purpose she was designed for. MacCath's blazing prose illuminates all characters sympathetically and crystallizes arguments for and against war in one achingly divided heroine. Brutal and electrifying execution make this old story of internal conflict new and wrenching." (The Fix)

    "Mixing themes of religion, faith, redemption, revenge and sacrifice, this is a thought-provoking tale that tackles some complex subjects to admirable results." (SF Site)

  • Joanna Galbraith, "The Moon-Keeper's Friend" "Mohammed Muneer, protagonist of 'The Moon-Keeper's Friend,' owns a tea shop with no customers except for half-addled people who are chasing after the moon ... With the dry and gentle attitude of a nursery rhyme, Joanna Galbraith makes an affecting entry in the tradition of the wise fool." (The Fix)

  • Deborah Biancotti, "The Tailor of Time"

    Shortlisted for the 2008 Aurealis Award
    for Best Young Adult Short Story

    "Avery, whose daughter is dying, seeks more time for her from the Tailor. When he grants this desire, the Tailor affects the world all the way down to a dying girl and all the way up to the Engineer of all ... Deborah Biancotti spins out her conceit with a light and fluid intelligence." (The Fix)

    "Deborah Biancotti explores the true nature of the universe in 'The Tailor of Time,' where that selfsame individual, responsible for sewing together bits and pieces of time to create the ever-changing days and nights, is visited by a man who asks for a small, simple favor. Sadly, this favor, for all that it's proposed in the best of intentions, is near-impossible to grant, but the Tailor, just this once, will try. What happens then is a mystery, one not even the great Engineer who designed the progress of time itself, can explain. Beautifully told, it's filled with rich imagery and interesting concepts." (SF Site)

  • Erin Hoffman, "Root and Vein"
    "A classic quest, simply told with grace notes of description of the natural world — a sweet, sweet love story with a clever equation between one's heart and the next generation." (The Fix)

    "A story about which I can say almost nothing without my hands waving about in awe and delight. This fable of a dryad and her heart is perfect, beautiful, and glorious." (Green Man Review)




  • GUIDELINES FOR CLOCKWORK PHOENIX

    CLOCKWORK PHOENIX is now closed to submissions. Watch this space for word on when we next reopen.

    CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 is the next volume in the anthology series edited by Mike Allen, scheduled to be published by Mythic Delirium Books in July 2013. It is open to the full range of the speculative and fantastic genres.

    Editor Mike Allen says CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4, like its predecessors, "is a home for stories that sidestep expectations in beautiful and unsettling ways, that surprise with their settings and startle with the ways they cross genre boundaries, that aren't afraid to experiment with storytelling techniques. But experimentation is not a requirement: the stories in the anthology must be more than gimmicks, and should appeal to genuine emotions, suspense, fear, sorrow, delight, wonder. I will value a story that makes me laugh in its quirky way more than a story that tries to dazzle me with a hollow exercise in wordplay.

    "The stories should contain elements of the fantastic, be it science fiction, fantasy, horror or some combination thereof. A straight psychological horror story is unlikely to make the cut unless it's truly scary and truly bizarre. The same applies to a straight adventure fantasy or unremarkable space opera — bring something new and genuine to the equation, whether it's a touch of literary erudition, playful whimsy, extravagant style, or mind-blowing philosophical speculation and insight. Though stories can be set in this world, settings at least a hair or more askew are preferred. I hope to see prose that is poetic but not opaque. I hope to see stories that will lead the reader into unfamiliar territory, there to find shock and delight.

    "Over the course of reading for the first volume, I developed some criteria for stories that aren't likely to interest me (though exceptions are always possible). These include straightfoward retellings of well-known fairy tales; stories in which a Machine Discovers Its Humanity; stories that aim to prove Christianity/Religion Is Bad; stories about a Privileged Schmuck who comes to understand Oppression Is Bad; stories whose entire plot can be described as X Commits a Murder; stories of wish-fulfillment with little complication — i.e.: character longs for something; character is granted that something; end of story.

    "My aim with the CLOCKWORK PHOENIX books is, somewhat selfishishly, to create books that satisfy my own tastes as a reader. And as a reader, I enjoy stories that experiment, that push the envelope, that dazzle with their daring, but I'm often personally frustrated when an experimental story ends without feeling complete, without leaving an emotional crater for me to remember it by. At the same time, I find myself increasingly bored with the traditional, conventionally-plotted and plainly-written Good Story Competently Told. For better or for worse, I envision the CLOCKWORK PHOENIX books as places where these two schools of story telling can mingle and achieve Happy Medium; where there is significance to both the tale that's told and the style of the telling.

    "For the second and third volumes, I received few stories with the rococo sf elements I enjoy seeing. I hope more people will try their hand at them this time around."

    RIGHTS PURCHASED: First English Language Rights, print and electronic. We will ask writers not to allow reprints for a year after publication, with exemptions made for "Best of the Year" anthologies. We do not ask for audio rights.

    PAYMENT: $0.05 per word on return of counter-signed contract as an advance against royalties, then an evenly divided share of royalties after earnout, plus one print contributor copy and electronic copies in preferred formats.

    WORD LENGTH: Stories should be no longer than 10,000 words; stories under 5,000 words STRONGLY PREFERRED.

    READING PERIOD: CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 is now closed to submissions. Watch this space for word on when we next reopen.

    SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS: Submissions are electronic only. Please submit your story via e-mail, as an RTF or DOC file attachment. (Please do not send DOCX files; we can't read them.) Your e-mail subject line should say "Submission: Story Title". Include a brief cover letter in the body of your email. It should have your name, address, e-mail address, title of story, number of words, and brief biographical information in case we don't know you, with most recent publishing credits, if applicable. We are open to new writers and seasoned veterans alike. We do not accept reprints.

    WILL MULTIPLE SUBMISSIONS BE ALLOWED? Yes.

    WILL SIMULTANEOUS SUBMISSIONS BE ALLOWED? No. "No one is going to get a formal acceptance from me until after the reading period ends. If you can't wait that long to find out what I think, then please don't waste my time or Inbox space."

    EDITORIAL ADDRESS: clockworkphoenix@gmail.com

    For further updates, check Mike Allen's WordPress blog, DESCENT INTO LIGHT, and/or his LiveJournal, THE PLASTEEL SPIDER FACTORY.


    Our thanks and acknowledgements to everyone
    who helped make the CLOCKWORK PHOENIX 4 Kickstarter a success!

    
    Danny Adams
    Djibril al-Ayad
    Saira Ali
    Erik Amundsen
    Cora Anderson
    Julie Andrews
    Scott H. Andrews
    Anonymous
    Anonymous Fan
    Liz Argall
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    Kate Baker
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    Michele Bannister
    Helena Bell
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    Chris Bissette
    Ellen Blackburn
    David Blakeley
    David Burkett
    Deborah J. Brannon
    Rosemarie Brizak
    Samantha Brock
    Dean Browell
    Dana Bubulj
    Dan Campbell
    Lisa Cantara
    Leilani Cantu
    Loki Carbis
    Niki Carlson
    John Chu
    Neal Chuang
    Blase Ciabaton
    Alicia Cole
    Judith Collard
    Cathy Cordes
    Linden Couteret
    Patricia M. Cryan
    Carrie Cuinn
    Matthew J. Davis
    Christian Decomain
    Rhel ná DecVandé
    Pablo Defendini
    Vincent Degrez
    Michael J. DeLuca
    Arinn Dembo
    Steve Dempsey
    John Devenny
    Evans Donnell
    Patrick Dugan
    Oz Drummond
    David Eggerschwiler
    Caroline Elliott
    Amal El-Mohtar
    ElectricStory.com
    Patricia Engel
    Elizabeth Fallon
    Matthew Farrer
    Fabio Fernandes
    Gemma Files & Stephen J. Barringer
    Sam Fleming (ravenbait)
    Deanne Fountaine
    C. R. Fowler
    Stephanie Franklin
    Deby and Daron Fredericks
    Fran Friel
    Joanna Galbraith
    Peter and Hilary Galbraith
    Gwynne Garfinkle
    Zvi Gilbert
    Jenny Graver
    Arthur C. Green
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    Erin Hoffman
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