EXCERPTS FROM THE FATHOMLESS ABYSS

THIS JUST IN: Tales From The Fathomless Abyss is on sale NOW for the Nook!

THIS JUST IN: Tales From The Fathomless Abyss is on sale NOW for the Kindle!

Just this morning I posted Tales From The Fathomless Abyss to both Amazon (for the Kindle) and Barnes & Noble (for the Nook). As of this writing, both are still “pending” but should be up for sale within the next couple days. Until then, I thought I’d share some glimpses into the book itself.

So, without further ado . . .

From the introduction by fantasy author Ken Scholes:

Phil’s team came together quickly and as I saw the list of names, I was impressed. And I was pleased to be counted among them—because, yes, initially I was to play in this world as well. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always let us do everything that we want to do and soon after we all started talking about the project, setting the various deadlines and fleshing out the world of the Fathomless Abyss, I realized that there was no way I could pull it off at the time. So I bowed out gracefully.

Imagine my delight a few months later when Phil asked me if I’d introduce the first volume—the anthology that launches the project.

Naturally, I agreed and Phil sent the anthology my way so I could give it a read and form my thoughts.

I’m rarely envious; it’s not my way. But I’m envious about this one.

From “The Lioness of God, Daughter of the Peaceful” by yours truly:

It’s funny, what goes through your mind as you’re falling into a bottomless pit, was what went through Keegan O’Malley’s mind as he fell into a bottomless pit.

He didn’t understand what the pit was—a sinkhole? It was too big for a sinkhole, and too deep.

He realized he only had a couple cigarettes on him.

He wondered who would call his mother, and if whoever it was would be nice to her, and break the news gently.

He was disappointed that he’d never had kids.

He was surprised that his glasses hadn’t fallen off.

He was afraid someone would find that box of videotapes he kept under his bed, and would think he watched them more often than he did, which wasn’t that often at all, really.

He knew that what he was falling into couldn’t possibly be there in the first place. The round hole must have been two miles in diameter, opening into a straight shaft. A thin, focused beam of light—Keegan guessed it was a laser—shined up from the bottom of the pit and out into the overcast sky to disappear into the low clouds. The pit seemed to have no bottom, somehow felt like it had no bottom, though it had to have a bottom. But anyway, it was deep enough that when Keegan found the bottom, it would kill him instantly.

And lastly, he thought—I hope it kills me instantly.

Then he screamed.

From “It’s Mine” by J.M. McDermott

“Beasties don’t do sensible things. Today’s going to be a feast of beastflesh, once one drops. Of course, that’s if our ancestors forgive you for your foolishness.”

My family’s oldest red lichen flared up when I was mad, and he knew it. I was glowing bright red. It was easy to call them beasts when a body never had to walk to the village Below and back again, past so many beasties, and their villages and caravans.

The fighting kept on. The naked ones were wearing out, panting and heaving. The older one, in the red pants, had drawn blood along the wings of his enemies. He was cutting at them. He didn’t even seem winded, and he had been in a full brawl since Uriah’s warning shout. He was going to win. Some of us were taking bets on the fight. Some were taking bets on which net would catch the meat.

From “The Gatherer” by Mel Odom

A short time later, the men stopped to care for their mounts and to break their fast. The scar-faced man approached Otetiani and spoke to him harshly as he lay bound on the ground. When Otetiani could only reply in the languages of his people and of the Abyss, the man growled in frustration and kicked his prisoner several times.

Otetiani rolled over and protected his face and stomach as best as he could. Joola screamed in anger and tried to run at the man, but one of the others held her back and they all laughed at Otetiani’s helplessness and her unsuccessful efforts to save him. The scar-faced man kicked Otetiani twice more for good measure.

The Final Cover!

Holding in his pain, forcing himself to be attentive and not to give up hope, Otetiani watched his captors. He searched the ground with his numb hands and managed to claw up a piece of promising rock that had an edge on it. He cupped the rock in his palm and waited, knowing that any movements he might make now would be noticed.

After the break, the men climbed back aboard the felines and Otetiani rode once more on the hindquarters of one of the beasts. Thankfully the rider that carried him rode at the back of the group. Working carefully, frustrated by the numbness that plagued his hands, Otetiani scraped at the plastic that bound his hands. Stubbornly, the material gave way.

From “The Ascent” by Mike Resnick & Brad R. Torgersen

There were so few survivors from when the world was flat and our village could look down the hills to the shore of the ocean. Grandmother says the ocean was like the pool on this ledge, only infinitely larger. I cannot imagine how, just as I cannot imagine much of Grandmother’s life before the land trembled under her feet, and the people of our village had to flee as the Earth broke apart around them.

Grandmother was young then. Not much older than Mother is now. Grandmother says she was sure they would all die—after all, the mountain was exploding!—when a huge hole opened, as wide as the world is wide. The terrified village climbed in all together, and the hole shut over them, and we have all been here ever since.

Grandmother is fond of stories, many of which Mother considers to be lies. But I have always believed them. We cannot have come from nowhere. And even if I never find the top of the world, there’s got to be more out there—other places, and especially other people. I don’t want to wind up like Mother, with a man I don’t love, but grow to hate because he is all there is.

From “A Querulous Flute of Bone” by Cat Rambo

They had chased each other downward this time, a journey through nest villages and bridge towns and basket farms. While in a cavern city’s tavern chamber, Aaben overheard a scrap of conversation indicating a trail leading to an artifact in a category that had previously proved frustrating with its elusiveness: appreciation.

This artifact might, Aaben thought, actually lead its perception to spring along the ladder more than a few rungs. It was supposed to induce the appreciation of a thing’s innate qualities. Rumor held that those capable of mastering it learned to make wonderful things: paper masks that spoke, stews that made the eater capable of dancing all day and night, or clothing that masked a wearer’s every defect so they seemed so noble and upright in appearance that populaces flocked to elect them mayor or ruler or demagogue or whatever form of leadership they practiced.

Paradoxically, the trail led Aaben upward and back to a geniod village, Halahalka the Minor.

From “That Which Rises Ever Upward” by Jay Lake

All he could do was cling to the wall and dream.

His village, Ortinoize, wasn’t much of a place. Built into a crack in the pit wall that ran roughly upward at a thirty-degree angle, it had all the charm of a staircase on which someone had dropped a great deal of junk. Not that Attestation was all that personally familiar with junk. Everything in Ortinoize was reused, repurposed, recycled. It was just old Sammael that taught the kids—he was an infaller, from some place called Canada, outside the pit—he had a lot to say about the world and the way it was used, and was full of mysterious ideas like “junk” and “oceans” and “flight.”

Join us in the Fathomless Abyss. It won’t be much longer now.

—Philip Athans

About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the recently-released How to Start Your Own Religion and Devils of the Endless Deep. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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One Response to EXCERPTS FROM THE FATHOMLESS ABYSS

  1. Craig says:

    Got it on Amazon… that’s a pretty reasonable price.

    I’ll post a review as soon as I finish reading!

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