Beneath Ceaseless Skies is an elegant online magazine with gorgeous covers, award-winning stories, and a growing following. It publishes “literary adventure fantasy,” with an emphasis on “literary” in the best sense, and pays contributors professional rates. (In the speculative fiction world that means at least five cents per word.)
“The Silver Khan” was my first professional sale, and it appeared in Issue 29, back in November 2009. Like “The Glorious Revolution,” the story treats a revolution of sorts, though a much more abrupt and haphazard revolution. In a caliphate by the sea, a foreign visitor tries to uncover the secret of the Silver Khan’s floating palace (hint: it’s not magic) and decipher the meaning of the frozen statues scattered about its gardens.
Like much of my writing, this story was driven primarily by setting. I had an image of the palace and the gardens, and I wrote this story to explore them. The physical mechanics of the Khan’s palace was almost as much of a surprise to me as it was to the narrator when he suddenly pieced it together. Once I realized how it flew, I knew how it would fall. The epistolatory style I probably borrowed from Gene Wolfe, though to nothing like his effect.
You can read “The Silver Khan” here.