Directions to the Palace: Seek out Giacometti’s “The Palace at 4 a.m.” Go back precisely two hours. See towers and curtain walls of matchsticks, marble, marbles, light, cloud at stasis. Walk in. The beggar queen is dreaming on her throne of words… Welcome. You have arrived at the web home of Marly Youmans, maker of novels, poetry collections, and stories, as well as the occasional fantasy for younger readers.
SF Signal has reviewed Lightspeed 33. Here's a consideration of my story from that issue. You may read the entire review here.
“Prolegomenon to the Adventures of Chílde Phoenix” by Marly Youmans
A coming of age story, a metamorphosis, the remembrances of a young boy now deemed a man wrapped in the imagery of familiar childhood folklore and fairy tales. Youman’s language is often lyrical in its beauty, conjuring up fantastic images. Blaise’s sister Vesta lays in a glass coffin inset into the floor. His loving mother is either very much present with him or absent and cannot be found. His father is an alchemist who will not allow his presence to be disturbed. His grandmother tells dark, black tales from the Old World. Without the presence of other children in his life Blaise feels very much alone, his only playmates the books in the house’s wondrous library. Blaise’s recollections are underpinned with melancholy and a miasma that takes the form of an abyss that is slowly tearing his home apart. This was my first experience with the work of Marly Youmans and I look forward to tracking down more of her work.
One thing I really like about playing in the sandbox with speculative fiction writers is that a story that does not quite "fit" in categories--like an odd, surreal piece--is welcomed and is reviewed more than once. There's a huge, enthusiastic support for the form of the short story that's lacking in the "literary" world.