What Are Passages?
In the Amazon, the initiation to manhood ceremony that required boys to wear gloves filled with stinging ants and dance until they passed out or died.
In medieval Europe, the hoisting of a bride into her husband's house through a second-story bridal door that was sealed behind her and never used again.
And in today's world, ceremonies as life-changing as high school graduations, baby showers, and over-the-hill office parties.
And in Science Fiction and Fantasy?
Societies throughout time have marked transitions into new stages of life in trials called rites of passage.
In mirroring our world to create fictional worlds, science fiction and fantasy writers have written of passages too, classifying them as "coming of age stories."
Like the boy in the Amazon paralyzed by ant stings, coming of age stories traditionally follow the young adult chosen ones through life-threatening ordeals to become the adult heroes of their world.
But as popular as coming of age stories are in science fiction and fantasy, where are our stories of the other life passages? Those recognized and celebrated in myths throughout the world ever since the Sphinx asked Oedipus to name them?
NewMyths.com is answering that question in our first Best of NewMyths Anthology coming out this fall:
Passages: a collection of stories and poems published in NewMyths.com over the past ten years that explore the triumphs and losses, hopes and fears of entering – and surviving – a new stage in life.
A brief sampler of a few of our stories and poems...
from Section One
The Magic of Childhood
She is growing up, and so begins to dream dreams... --Louisa May Alcott
"Everyplace Is Halfway to Somewhere" by Ron Ferguson, originally published in NewMyths Issue #32, September 2015.
“You have to look up to see them—the other worlds alongside the maze walls. I tried to find a place like the pictures of Earth on the other side of a wall so we could climb over. I wanted the world to be better like Mama needed.”
Did Danny think that he was responsible for the planetary changes? That he had shifted them through space or time? What he described sounded like parallel worlds, multiverses.
Interfering alien zookeepers made better sense to Hal.
“Daddy, are we there yet?”
“I’m very tired, and I climbed so high...”
"Common Magick" by Jordan Taylor, originally published in NewMyths Issue #34, March 2016
“Of course, Miranda,” the demon said, “I could give you your heart’s desire.” His voice was low and silky-smooth.
I licked my lips. “You could help me speak to my mam?” I asked again.
He smiled and spread his hands. “Yes. I could make that possible...”
"When Stones Awaken" by Beth Cato, originally published in NewMyths Issue #39, June 2017
the girl found river stones
colored like sunshine, clouds, and tears
she held them to her ear
and heard unborn spirits rattle inside
from Section Two
The Hero's Journey
Boldly they rode and well Into the jaws of Death --Alfred, Lord Tennyson
"Snow’s Daughter" by Vanessa Fogg, originally published in NewMyths Issue #22, March 2013
The Snow Queen had a daughter who was neither still nor silent. Arra ran through the palace, laughing and shouting. She teased her mother’s great stalking snow cats, interrupted the winter sprites at their careful frost-craft, and rode a snow bear recklessly through the throne room and down the halls.
"Dancing With Dragons" by Marta Tanrikulu, a new story
Back when I was sane, I didn’t wonder what was real and what was only nightmare. Things are more complicated now.
My psychiatrist tells me that with time, therapy, and medication, I’ll again be a normal, functioning member of society. The dragons tell me otherwise.
"The Unfolding of Wings" by Gunnar De Winter, originally published in NewMyths Issue #43, June 2018
Her eyes are closed. Yet she sees the ghostly flickers of the koi.
Shinizi slowly opens her eyes. The moonlight shines through the canopy and paints the world in a suibokuga of black and white
from Section Three
The View from the Bridge
Wrinkles should merely indicate where smiles have been. --Mark Twain
"Twenty Years" by Christina Sng, originally published in NewMyths Issue #32, September 2015
Note: After appearing in our 32nd issue, this heartbreaking poem was nominated for the 2016 Rhysling Poetry Award.
The hovercraft loomed,
A silent sentinel watching
Over me and my little ones,
Waiting to take us
To a new home,
A new life.
Away from our dying planet,
. ..The caveat, we had to
Leave our old behind.
"In Silence She Says Much" by Rebecca Roland, originally published in NewMyths Issue #36, September 2016
War ships appeared on the horizon.
Maris dropped the net she'd been repairing. She clapped her hands, and her children stopped in the midst of their playing. She waved them frantically towards her. They ran across the beach, Petros a stride ahead of his little brother Theo.
"What is it, Ma?" Petros asked.
"Eden’s Cur" by Steven Peck, originally published in NewMyths Issue #43, June 2018
You asked me tonight if I missed Eden.
I do. I miss the delicate vapor rising from the
ground to water the garden. I miss the
strolls with you, laughing about our naked absurdities . . .
"Secrets of Tea" by Brent Smith (Readers’ Choice 2nd Place Winner, tied), from Issue 43, March 2018
Slowly, so slowly she couldn't be sure at first it wasn't her own desire, the steam painted a face, pooling in the mouth and eyes, each moment adding definition.
"Take a sip, my love," Agnes whispered, afraid that her daughter's spirit might flee like a startled doe, or that the very breath of her words might disrupt the hint of pattern taking shape.
The wisp-painted face descended through the rising steam until its churning white lips met the edge of the porcelain rim.
Even that mere touch seemed to lend solidity to her daughter's features. The barest hint of umber infused the steam, defining the curve of her chin, the delicate slope of her nose.
"Another, my love. You know how Mama's tea makes you better."
From Section 4
The Journey's End
Sing your death song and die like a hero going home. --Tecumseh
"Don’t Forget" by Bob Sojka, originally published in NewMyths Issue #38, April 2017
“Don't never forget, it were snowballs done it. It weren’t no nookular nothin’, no germs, no geehaddies, no globular swarming, no quakey shakes, or nanobots. None o’ them. It were millions of giant snowballs. They come poundin’ down with tails of fire.”
Rough gritty hands on the ragged thighs of his smoke-scented insulated overalls, Jake leaned toward the circle of small fry gathered round the crackling fire’s warmth. Their mouths hung open under sauce pan eyes as he told of the Shatter Flood. It was probably the last time he’d ever tell this story. He grinned back at them with wry pleasure.
This would be his last winter. He was no longer crucial to clan survival and unable to feed himself. Soon enough he'd be sent across the river and left to die...
"The Tideline" by Andy Oldfield (Winner Readers’ Choice Award), originally published in NewMyths Issue #43, June 2018
It was 15 years since I’d said goodbye to my father and eaten salmon sandwiches at his funeral. The last time we’d walked this Cornish shoreline together must have been fifteen years before that. God knows when the first time was.
Even so, the reunion was as unexpected as his departure had been. Which is to say not totally. He’d been 75 then, but so full of life that immortality didn’t seem out of the question.
"Star-Crossed Memory" by Ellen Denham, originally published in NewMyths Issue #41, December 2017
Maia woke up to her joints singing with arthritis pain, shuffled into the kitchen, and put two slices of bread into the toaster. A note on the counter in red Magic Marker reminded her "turn off the stove." She put her hand on the dial, but it was already off. She got out two slices of bread—wait—there was already bread in the toaster. The sky outside was pitch-black. What time was it anyway? She shuffled back into the bedroom, where the clock read 3:00 a.m. What was she doing up? A note on the bedside table reminded her "call Orion."
Plus many more stories and poems—33 in all! Check out our Table of Contents listed on the back of a canvas tote bag!
Passages — establishing a new subgenre?
Yes! There are stories out there, waiting for the science fiction and fantasy markets to recognize them.
Help us make it happen!
In thanks we'll offer you:
- our sincere gratitude for your support
- a copy of Passages ebook at the $5 level
- a copy of Passages trade paperback at the $15 level
- a copy of Passages paperback, plus your choice of a Passages story or poem to be honored as the winner of an award named by you, at the $25 level. The title of the story or poem, your name and a short note by you to the author (approved and edited by a NewMyths editor) will be featured in December's issue of NewMyths.com. This reward is limited to six supporters. Four will choose a favorite story from one of the four sections, two will choose a favorite poem from throughout the anthology. Choice of which section to choose a story from will be granted in the rank of when the orders are received.
- A copy of Passages paperback, and a signed printed copy of a short story by Scott T Barnes, founder and editor of NewMyths.com at the $35 level. Limited to twenty supporters.
- A copy of Passages paperback, and a signed copy of the fantasy novel Singer of Norgondy by NewMyths editor Susan Shell Winston at the $35 level. Limited to twenty supporters.
- A copy of Passages paperback, and a digital copy of four fantasy and science fiction comics by NewMyths editor Marta Tanrikulu, including the original comic version of her story in Passages at the $35 level.
- A copy of Passages paperback, plus a fine art print of the Passages cover art signed by artist Brian Quinn at the $40 level. Limited to twenty supporters.
- A copy of Passages paperback, and your science fiction or fantasy story or chapter up to 8000 words critiqued and edited by NewMyths editor Susan Shell Winston, at the $80 level. Note: this does NOT include any promise to publish your story. Story or chapter will be edited before the end of May 2019. Limited to three supporters.
Add on Passages T-Shirt or tote bag $26 each.
Get your own Passages T-shirt or tote bag to wear to conventions or to carry your books with you on the plane! Both the T-shirt and the bag will have Brian Quinn's beautiful artwork on the front, and a list of all the stories and poems and their authors on the back.
Shirts can be ordered in all sizes. Small, medium, large, X large, XX, XXX.
Once $500 have been pledged, all supporters pledging $5 or more will receive an ebook of Passages.
Once $1000 have been pledged, all supporters pledging $20 or more will receive an audiobook of Passages!
Risks and challenges
PASSAGES, BEST OF NEWMYTHS ANTHOLOGY VOLUME I is edited and ready for printing. Ebooks should be reieased in early November. Trade paperback copies of the anthology should be ready to be mailed in early December. If enough supporters show interest that our stretch goals are met, we will start the process of getting PASSAGES made into an audiobook, ready for distribution within 6 months of the end of this Kickstarter campaign. We are a very small magazine, but we will try our best to keep to this schedule.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (32 days)