Author’s Notes: Bearing the Flame

What fantasy stories might you find inside a photocopied ‘zine handed to you on the streets of Constantinople by a like-minded time traveler? (Don’t forget to give him credit for making an additional trip to type it up on an electric typewriter, draw the cover with a Sharpie, and have it photocopied in the late twentieth century.)

I was trying to come up with story ideas from a medieval imagination, and the cliché magical ability of conjuring fire seems to have an obvious employer when setting things on fire is part of the daily routine at church. But imagining fire as a liturgical art requires facing the fact that some of us who like church and like art are not as good at it as we think we are. Fellow listeners of the Lord of Spirits podcast will recognize the idea of an idol as a trap, and fellow Orthodox will recognize a pale shadow of the early morning hours of Pascha.

Scratching at these ideas in a story that was intended to be fantasy, not theologically or historically accurate for our world, meant that this particular work fit one publication best: Mysterion, and I am beyond delighted that it was accepted there because I admire it so much. I would like to specifically thank the editors, Donald S. Crankshaw and Kristin Janz, for their suggestions on how to improve it.

It can be read early on the Enigmatic Mirror Press Patreon page, and I hope to meet you all in imaginary Constantinople.

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