Eclipse Three

New Science Fiction
and Fantasy

CoverTo observe an eclipse is to witness a rare and unusual event. Under darkened skies the sun becomes a negative image of itself, its corona transforming the landscape into a strange place where anything might happen, and any story may be true . . .

In the spirit of classic science fiction anthologies such as Universe, Orbit, and Starlight, master anthologist Jonathan Strahan (The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year) presents Eclipse Three: New Science Fiction and Fantasy. Here you will find stories where strange and wonderful things happen—where reality is eclipsed by something magical and new.

Continuing in the footsteps of the multiple-award-nominated anthologies Eclipse One and Eclipse Two, Eclipse Three delivers new fiction by some of the genre's most celebrated authors, including Karen Joy Fowler's story of a family's desperation and a rebellious young woman's strange incarceration; Ellen Klages's fable of a practical girl, an unusual tortoise, and an ancient mathematical puzzle; Pat Cadigan's story of a mysterious photograph and two friends' journey through space and time in order to solve its riddle; Jeffrey Ford's tale of a legendary sword imbued with the power to turn flesh to coral, and of the artist that wields it; Daniel Abraham's story of divine providence, sacred oaths, and the omens that indicate whether a man is fit to be king; and Caitlín R. Kiernan's chronicle of an astronaut whose memories of a lover lost to an alien intelligence haunt her.

Cover Art by Richard Powers

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.

First printing, November 2009

Distributed by Night Shade Books
1423 33rd Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any form.

Electronic version by Baen Books

ISBN-13: 978-1-59780-162-1
ISBN-10: 1-59780-162-3

Eclipse Three © 2009 by Jonathan Strahan
This edition of Eclipse Three © 2009 by Night Shade Books

Cover art © 2009 by Richard Powers
Cover design by Michael Ellis
Interior layout and design by Michael Lee

Introduction, story notes, and arrangement by Jonathan Strahan. © 2009 Jonathan Strahan.
"The Pretenders' Tourney," by Daniel Abraham. Copyright © 2009 Daniel Abraham.
"Sleight of Hand," by Peter S. Beagle. Copyright © 2009 Avicenna Development Corporation.
"Swell," by Elizabeth Bear. Copyright © 2009 Sarah Bear Elizabeth Wishnevsky.
"Don't Mention Madagascar," by Pat Cadigan. Copyright © 2009 Pat Cadigan.
"Yes We Have No Bananas," by Paul Di Filippo. Copyright © 2009 Paul Di Filippo.
"The Coral Heart," by Jeffrey Ford. Copyright © 2009 Jeffrey Ford.
"The Pelican Bar," by Karen Joy Fowler. Copyright © 2009 Karen Joy Fowler.
"The Visited Man," by Molly Gloss. Copyright © 2009 Molly Gloss.
"It Takes Two," by Nicola Griffith. Copyright © 2009 Nicola Griffith.
"Galápagos," by Caitlín R. Kiernan. Copyright © 2009 Caitlín R. Kiernan.
"A Practical Girl," by Ellen Klages. Copyright © 2009 Ellen Klages.
"Dulce Domum," by Ellen Kushner. Copyright © 2009 Ellen Kushner.
"Useless Things," by Maureen F. McHugh. Copyright © 2009 Maureen F. McHugh.
"On the Road," by Nnedi Okorafor. Copyright © 2009 Nnedi Okorafor.
"Mesopotamian Fire," by Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple. Copyright © 2009 Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple.

Night Shade Books
1423 33rd Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122

For the late, great Charles N. Brown, last of science fiction's
great lions, dear friend, and tireless supporter.



Eclipse Three is, as always, more than just the product of one person: it's the creative output from a small village of people. Once again, Jeremy, Jason, and Ross at the Shade have stood tall and provided me with the support I needed to do the book that I wanted to do; something for which I'm incredibly grateful. I'd also like to thank all of the contributors to the book. This book evolved much more naturally than it's predecessors, with stories coming from unexpected places at unexpected times, so I'm very grateful to everyone who has sent me stories this time. I'd like to thank Peter Watts for his understanding, and the Richard Powers Estate for the fabulous cover.

Finally, two special thanks. This book may not have been completed without the support of my good friend Gary Wolfe, who has never ceased to remind me of its value, and it certainly wouldn't have been done without the support and hard work of Marianne Jablon, who was both in-house editor on this book for me and tireless supporter. I'm very lucky indeed.