January 23, 2014

Story Published

Posted in Writing tagged at 11:44 am by Van Aaron Hughes


Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show has posted its January 2014 issue, which includes my story “Seven Tips to Enjoy Your Time in the Unreal Forest” (illustration by Nick Greenwood).  The January issue also has stories by such excellent authors as my fellow WOTF winner Marina Lostetter, Alex Shvartsman, Catherine Wells, and others

IGMS charges a $15 subscription fee, but for that you get everything they publish this year, plus access to all their archives.  You can start with a couple I’ve recommended in the past: “Write What You Want” by Eric James Stone and “The Hanged Poet” by Jeffrey Lyman.

“Seven Tips to Enjoy Your Time in the Unreal Forest” is a contemporary fantasy, set on Mercer Island, Washington in the late 1970’s, where I grew up.  The story begins:

Unreal Forest, under the silver fog of a winter dawn. That’s where we waited for the school bus in junior high.

We could hear the bus coming four to five minutes before it arrived, its ancient engine growling like an irritable dragon. We lived on the absurdly winding road tracing the perimeter of Mercer Island, back before you had to be filthy rich to live there, when the houses were fewer and smaller, tucked under a dense canopy of trees. On a sunny day, we’d spot the bus on the next curve over, before it dove back into the bend. But we didn’t get many sunny days in the Pacific Northwest. Come mid-October, mornings were too dark to see the next curve.

And most days, a feathery fog descended until you felt yourself floating in a cloud bank. We wouldn’t see the bus until it parted the mists less than fifty feet away. Within seconds, the door opened in front of us, the bald-headed driver glaring and urging in a monotone, “Hurry up please it’s time.”

How I hated that spot, until I learned it wasn’t real.

If you happen to get a chance to read “Seven Tips,” I’d love to hear what you think!



  1. Pat said,

    Write more! Can’t wait to find more of your work….IGMS is such a great way to “meet” writers.

  2. Thanks for the encouragement, Pat! I’ll see what I can do . . .

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