How do SFF stories move from ‘maybe’ to published?
What’s needed to take a story from interesting to publishable? What changes during the editorial process?
Reading 5X5 x3 presents 15 case studies of stories published in Metaphorosis magazine. For each story, the anthology includes:
Final version – the published version of the story
Revision notes – the editor’s initial feedback on the submitted version; the author’s intent for the piece; and notes from both author and editor about the editorial process: what surprised, pleased, or disappointed them about the process and the result.
Original version – the version of the story originally submitted.
There’s also an extensive list of common writing flaws, suggestions on how to address them, and examples of stories from the anthology that faced those issues.
Reading 5X5 x3 offers not only a selection of great science fiction and fantasy stories, but a terrific learning tool for writers.
If you’ve ever wondered what it takes to get a story published, here’s the answer for 15 stories from Metaphorosis.
A heart that’s a building, a dog that’s a program, a woman who’s sinking irretrievably – stories about love, loss, and motion. A collection of speculative stories from author and editor B. Morris Allen.
Chambers of the Heart – it’s hard, living in someone’s heart
Building on Sand – how to choose between children
Blush – when everyone else wears a mask, what’s it like to bare your face?
Minstrel Boy Howling at the Moon – magic, music, and … buffalo?
Fetch – she may be a simulation, but out on the edge, she’s one man’s best friend
The Humblebract Expedition – even dying children like to play
When Dooryards First in the Lilac Bloomed – a doorway to opportunity and change, if only humans can understand it
Some Sun and Delilah – a sunny island, an abandoned temple, and thoug
Crying in the Salt House – the house is built from tears, or so they say
Full of Stars – jar half empty, jar half full
Memory and Faded Ink – the aliens are perfectly human … and just as flawed
Fountainhead – arranged meetings never work, especially with different species
Adaptations to Coastal Erosion – when your spouse is literally falling away from you
Outburst – Earth is dead, except for a few teens on a decaying orbital
The Irrigation Ditch – they came to hide, but didn’t realize it was from each other
Dragons I Have Slain – take hope where you find it
Cover art by Bonnie Leeman
Buy it here:
“Poignant, heartfelt, and beautifully crafted, Chambers of the Heart is an amazing collection of magical and thought-provoking speculative short-stories worthy of savoring and re-reading. … What I loved most about this book was it’s multi-layered elements of meaning and how they intertwined with emotions … To successfully incorporate such meaningful depth to the reader in abstract storytelling such as this…. is nothing short of genius. … Every story in this book is equally memorable. … I think this book would spark many conversations among readers and would make a great selection for book group discussions.” BookeryBliss
“Throughout this collection, Allen adroitly employs a combination of whimsy and wide-ranging imagination, filling his tales with both bite and heart. … these stories squarely into the literary lineage of James Tiptree and Algis Budrys, the territory where mythmaking and SF intersect. … Often these narrative strengths combine in remarkably effective stories… A marvelously varied and heart-tugging collection of tales.” Kirkus Reviews, RECOMMENDED REVIEW
“Hauntingly beautiful, engaging, and thoughtful in its approach, author B. Morris Allen’s Chambers of the Heart: speculative stories is a must-read short story collection of 2022. Thought-provoking narratives which challenge the readers understanding of reality and the emotional character traits to keep the reader invested in each story make this a one-of-a-kind collection that comes along once in a great while.” Jack Chambers, Pacific Book Review, STARRED
“…ideally will be read and enjoyed by literary audiences who will relish their metaphorical descriptions, portals to other places and realizations, and the opportunity to juxtapose an eclectic series of themes and experiences into evocative, lovely prose. …a powerful collection especially highly recommended for discussion groups focused on quick, hard-hitting short stories.” D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review
“B. Morris Allen has effectively highlighted issues that usually go unseen. … Chambers of the Heart is lyrical with fantastic stories of diverse nature.” Manik Chaturmutha, Readers’ Favorite
“Some stories are lyrical and beautiful and others gave me Edgar Allen Poe vibes. I adored the diversity throughout the stories and they’re all very quick to read.” Danae, Goodreads
One of the most unusual and inspiring books I have ever read. I thoroughly enjoyed Chambers of the Heart. Author B. Morris Allen has an especially unusual and descriptive writing style. The array of earthly and alien characters carries each story forward with beautifully written dialogue. … Chambers of the Heart is a book for everyone. Natalie Soine, Readers’ Favorite
“[T]he author has hit every emotion and done so in such a unique way that I felt as if some stories were pure, factual, truth. … [A] visual, beautiful, heartfelt book that makes you think. … These stories are powerful and extremely memorable.” Amy Lignor, Reader Views
“This collection is charming in both its ideas and its eclectic nature. … [T]he diversity of themes and styles within the collection is very impressive. B. Morris Allen’s incredible imagination is matched only by his gift for prose which masterfully brings each story’s world to life … Chambers of the Heart is an exemplary collection of speculative ﬁction that quickly moves from one idea to the next, stopping only to fully consider the ideas each story puts on the table. I’d highly recommend it to fans of thought-provoking speculative ﬁction.” K.C. Finn, Readers’ Favorite
On a planet that rotates the wrong way, where day and night last thirty years, humans can only live in the twilight zone, constantly moving to stay ahead of the dark night and the cruel Nocturnals that call it home.
Joah Cadshaw used to retrieve people the Nocturnals had taken, until his wife came back broken. Now, sent out west to spread word of the coming Move, he finds signs of another person gone missing — a young boy.
If Joah wants to save the boy, he must face the monsters who haunt his dreams.