(This is a special one-story excerpt for NoiseTrade.)
Fantastical stories of rockstar magicians, murderous gloves, bouncing boy terrors, vengeful plush pigs, blue tinted butlers, and a Little Tiny Doom set in an opulent quasi-historical world of magick and high manners that bears a striking resemblance to Gold Rush California.
These inter-connected stories are set in an opulent quasi-historical world of magick and high manners called the Republic of Califa. The Republic is a strangely familiar place—a baroque approximation of Gold Rush era-California with an overlay of Aztec ceremony—yet the characters who populate it are true originals: rockstar magicians, murderous gloves, bouncing boy terrors, blue tinted butlers, sentient squids, and a three year old Little Tiny Doom and her vengeful pink plush pig.
By turn whimsical and horrific (sometime in the same paragraph), Wilce’s stories have been characterized as “screwball comedies for goths” but they could also be described as “historical fantasies” or “fanciful histories” for there are nuggets of historical fact hidden in them there lies.
Ysabeau S. Wilce was born in California and has followed the drum throughout Alaska, Spain, Mexico, Arizona, and Elsewhere. A lapsed historian, she turned to fiction when facts no longer compared favorably with the shining lies of her imagination. Prior to this capitulation, she researched various arcane military subjects and presented educational programs on how to boil laundry at several nineteenth century army forts. She is a graduate of Clarion West and has been nominated for the World Fantasy Award, the James T. Tiptree Award, and won the Andre Norton Award. Wilce is the author of Flora Segunda, Flora’s Dare, and Flora’s Fury, and she has published work in Asimov’s, Steampunk!, and Fantasy & Science Fiction. She lives in San Francisco.
"Reading Ysabeau Wilce is like discovering a new language, dark and magical and far more fun than the one you grew up speaking. Califa and
her denizens sizzle to life on the page in all of their blood-soaked,
candy-colored glory; Prophecies, Libels and Dreams is a wonder." — Kelly Braffet, author of Save Yourself
"The Republic of Califa differs from the American West Coast in a
number of small details, of course: the egregores and praterhumans, the
Magick and Gramatica, the peculiar dynastic struggles of the Pontifexa
Georgiana and her decadent postbears. But all these are the subtle and
minuscule discrepancies of a parallel yet proximate reality, easily
overlooked by the casual reader. Where Ms. Wilce shines is in her use of
the larger effects-those of tone, style, and voice-which make her world
so much richer than our own." — Paul Park
"Ysabeau Wilce is an
original American fantasist. Unique in vision, rare in quality, Califa
is one of the few truly American fantasy worlds, owing as much to the
Wild West, San Francisco Bay and Mexican folklore as to Shakespeare,
Dickens and Tolkien. Read and enjoy!" — Ellen Kushner
Praise for Ysabeau S. Wilce's previous books:
"This fresh and funky setting is rich with glorious costumes, innovative language and tantalizing glimpses of history."-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)