Stealing Fire

I’m heavily involved in flash fiction right now: knee deep in Shards revisions and having just cleared a chest high stack of Black Box submissions (some acceptances, many more rejections, but some damn interesting stuff regardless). Fortunately, the Black Box slushpile is down to just a handful of stories to which I’m giving further consideration.

With so much editing and revising, it’s easy to lose track of those stories of mine that have already escaped into the wild. So it was with considerable pleasure that I found ASif had a review of Angela’s Book of Shadows Volume One, which contains my story “Stealing Fire” as one of the originals. I’ve already mentioned Tim Kroenert’s take on Book of Shadows. Now is Paul Mannering’s turn. Before I do, a digression …

Dark fiction in Australia is a very small pond, both in terms of active writers and publications (regular or otherwise). I discussed this briefly on the ASif forum interview a while back, but I’m in the quandary that some of the best opportunities for dark fiction in this country are being/have been produced by Brimstone Press, which may beg the question of the cynically-minded, “Is he getting published on quality? Or is it because he knows the publisher?” I reckon the same applies to several writers/editors (or partners thereof) in the SF and F genres, but what can you do?

I suspect I’ll never be able to avoid the question entirely, but it’s great to see independent reviewers provide such comments:

“One day a collection of the truly best dark fiction will be released, and when that happens Shane Jiraiya Cummings’ “Stealing Fire” will be included. This is unique and weird and stands out as one of this collection’s best…” [Paul Mannering, ASif!]


“Shane Jiraiya Cummings’ story about a disturbed loner seeking revenge on the elemental force that took his family from him, entitled “Stealing Fire”, is a case in point. The central character emerges so fully formed, and the story is packed with so much intense and unsettling emotion, that it feels genuinely epic, despite being only 800 words long. ” [Tim Kroenert, ASif!]