Scheherazade’s Facade, the U.S. anthology of gender-bending/cross-dressing/transformation spec fic that I’m a part of, is now out in digital form. You may remember it from the successful Kickstarter or the positive Publisher’s Weekly review it received (where my story “Kambal Kulam” got mentioned, woohoo!). It’s a great anthology, a different type of anthology, and I hope you all give it a try.
Contributors include Tanith Lee(!), Sarah Rees Brennan, and Aliette de Bodard, and it’s edited by renowned reviewer (and now renowned editor?) Michael M. Jones. The print copies will arrive in stores (in the U.S. I assume) soon, but for now you can find it at these fine establishments:
As further incentive, here’s an excerpt from my story in the anthology, “Kambal Kulam.” It takes place in a world much like our own, except that sorcery is common enough that one can make a living from the curse-protection racket. “Kambal Kulam” is about desperate sorcerers, a Quiapo fortuneteller, and why you should never assume that a curse is meant to kill…
By Paolo V. Chikiamco
“Are you insane?”
Normally, these would not be the first words out of my mouth if a beautiful woman—dressed in a tight fitting tank top and cut-offs met me at the door to her apartment and invited me in. However, when that woman is actually my very good, very male friend, I believe that a bit of freaking out is justified.
“Nope,” Ericson said, as he stepped aside and let me enter his apartment. “Hell, I’m not even drunk. Petite it may be, but this body can really hold its liquor.”
Ericson lived in a comfortable studio apartment in one of the more exclusive areas of Makati, close enough to the bustling financial district to be prime real estate. Of course, the location was wasted on Ericson; his line of work didn’t involve much in the way of number crunching.
“Speaking of bodies, care to explain the new plumbing?” I cleared away a stack of magazines and plopped myself down on his sofa. “I can’t imagine the change was pleasant.”
“Hurt like a motherfucker,” Ericson agreed pleasantly. It was strange to hear his usual foul language in such a sugar-sweet voice. “You don’t really know what pain is until you can feel your pelvis crack as it—“
“Too much information.” I suppressed a shudder. Ericson underwent drastic physical changes on a regular basis—that was an essential part of the job, and the transformations and attendant pain were about as dreadful to him as a corpse might be to a mortician. No matter how many times I’ve helped him on a job, the entire process made me uncomfortable. Still, even he must have balked at a change of this magnitude… there was a reason why few Kambal Kulam agreed to take on clients of the opposite sex.
“What are we looking at here? Five hundred, six hundred grand? How much did this cutie have to pay to get you to agree?”
Ericson hopped on to one of the stools by the bar and grinned at me. I tried not to notice how cute it made him look. “Ah Joey, you need to learn to dream bigger. Try a million.