WISB Shorts: Which do you want first?

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I’m starting up the WISB Project again.  This year, I am going to finish it.  Through and through.  That means four new short stories set in Traea, and a full novel podcast, with an ebook release.  And to make up for life’s complexities, I will give anyone who donated $5 or more a copy of the ebook for The World in the Satin Bag (and the deal applies to anyone else who decides to donate in the future).  I won’t be pushing for donations this time, around, though.  Donate if you want.  All I really want is to hear from people.  If you like a story, or a chapter, leave a comment.

But for now, I need some direction.  I have four short stories in the works for the project, ranging from pre-WISB eras to distant futures (though still very much in the realm of fantasy).  Based on the following descriptions, which would you want to read first?  You can leave extended answers in the comments, if you are so inclined.

Here goes:

“Suckled at the Edge of Flesh”
A prequel to The World in the Satin Bag.

Fagan Tarceron rides the seas to map the unknown stretches beyond the shores of Elithae and the Black Gap.  But when the many ships under his lord’s command discover a massive continent covered in abandoned cities, Fagan knows they should turn around before it’s too late.  What could empty entire cities without leaving a trace?  The real question:  Is it worth finding out?

The Girl Who Flew on a Whale
Set several hundred years after the events that take place in The World in the Satin Bag.

In the long-forgotten city of Arlin, the Dreamer imagines riding the seas and the skies, having grand adventures with brigands and pirates and all manner of strange creatures.  Most of all, she dreams of the flying whales who have become the great myths and legends of the sailors and seafolk at the edge of the long-forgotten city of Arlin.

But the Dreamer is a young lady.  She’s destined for courts and finishing schools and all manner of obscure tortures her mother can dream up.  And when the Royal Archbombasin of Cagerock convinces the Dreamer’s mother to send her to his special school for special children, where it is rumored that he feasts upon young flesh, the Dreamer can take no more, fleeing into the city to discover the adventures she’s always dreamed of…

(Probably more like a middle-grade novel, to be honest.)

“Murder in Hodgepodge Alley” 
Set in a pre-industrial city several hundred years or so after the events of The Girl Who Flew on a Whale.

Harper is one of the many who occupy the winding alley of monstrous houses and board-bridges called Magpie City.  One of the Prolet.  The lesser folk.  Life isn’t terribly hard there.  They have food.  They have water.  And they can build up and up and up almost without limitation.  But the city of Bifur does have its limits, with strict security forces to keep those limits enforced.  When Harper finds the body of a member of a royal house, he knows that things will not go well for Hodgepodge Alley or the residents of Magpie City.  Not well at all…

“Lendergross and Eaves”

Set in the same city as the previous story, and in roughly the same era.

The Anurians of Bifur live out their toad-like lives in the slums, eking out an existence while the city finds new ways to exploit them.  Except for Terk.  He’s cornered the Eaves market, pushing illicit drugs as high as the elite circles.  That is until someone important is murdered with Terk’s calling card all over him.  Except Terk doesn’t kill people.  Maims?  Sure.  But never kills.  Which means someone is trying to set him up to ruin him.  Unless he can figure out who’s behind it all and clear his name.  Well, mostly clear his name, that is…

Have at it, folks!

About the Author:

Shaun Duke is an aspiring writer, a reviewer, and an academic. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Digital Rhetoric and Writing at Bemidji State University. He received his PhD in English from the University of Florida and studies science fiction, postcolonialism, digital fan cultures, and digital rhetoric.

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