GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ New Release: Unmasked: Stories of Risk and Revelation + Excerpt from Pygmalion by Seanan McGuire | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

New Release: Unmasked: Stories of Risk and Revelation + Excerpt from Pygmalion by Seanan McGuire

July 7, 2021
Kevin J. Anderson, Executive Editor
Editors: Kelly Adams, Mark Holt, Deborah Kevin, Melissa Dalton Martinez, Constanza Ontaneda, Dale Sprague, Amanda Spriggs, and Matthew Wright
With introduction by Kevin J. Anderson and stories by Seanan McGuire, Andi Christopher, Keltie Zubko, James Romag, Liam Hogan, John M. Olsen, Edward J. Knight, Ed Burkley, Tom Howard, Alicia Cay, J.L. Curtis, Eric James Stone, Travis Heermann, Rebecca M. Senese, Gama Ray Martinez, Rebecca E. Treasure, Russell Davis, Brennen Hankins, Michael Scott Bricker, Michael Nethercott, and Eugie Foster.
Genre: superhero, fantasy, anthology
Trade paperback $17.99. ISBN 978-1-68057-226-1
Ebook $4.99. ISBN 978-1-68057-227-8
Hardcover $30.99. ISBN 978-1-68057-228-5
332 pages
When the mask comes off, can you handle what's underneath?

When your secret identity is revealed ...

When the monster is unleashed ...

When the superhero's child has no power ...

When Death himself is caught unawares ...

Pull back the mask to reveal 21 tales from seasoned and award-winning authors, of magical masks, gas masks, death masks, superheroes, secret identities, disguised robots, alien symbionts, a Napoleonic thief, a swindling demon-even a hidden clown.

Who will take the risk?

Explore the masks we wear, the mysteries they conceal, and the price we pay when they're stripped away.

In Unmasked you will find uplifting superhero stories, dark dystopian stories, humorous tales of mistaken identity, the fast-paced adventures of thieves and spies, chilling tales of haunted death masks and supernatural revenge, and uplifting stories about finding and revealing one’s true identity.

Join a Revolutionary War-era former slave who can control the elements. Should he aid the fledgling republic, or withdraw from the nation that failed to treat him as an equal?

When her family is threatened, a girl’s forbidden magical gift animates a stone golem to protect them. But how will she control the violence if she can’t shut it off?

A Hiroshima survivor is tormented by demon spirits. Will befriending a heavy-hearted G.I. help her to exorcise them?

Death is missing his scythe, and the kid who stole it won’t give it back until after the costume contest. Would the real Reaper’s garb measure up against other role-players?

These character-driven stories explore the masks we wear, the mysteries they conceal, and the price we pay when they’re stripped away.

Join us in our unmasquerade as we revel in—revelation!

When I was a kid, people used to ask me all the time. “What’s it like having one of the most amazing superheroes in the universe as your mother?” “What was it like when you were little, did you get Wonderland diamonds in your Christmas stocking, did you get roast wyvern for Thanksgiving?” “Are you sorry not to have powers of your own?” They never asked the question I wanted them to ask, which is, “Do you ever resent your mother for setting an unattainable example for the young women of the world, guaranteeing you would never be enough in the eyes of anyone who knew you, or for that matter, in your own?” Let’s be clear: Mom never treated me like I didn’t matter just because I couldn’t lift a car over my head, or fly, or turn myself to stone. She treated me like I was the most important thing in the world, the most important thing she had ever done or ever would do, and she did her best to shield me from the reality of her world. I had to put the real story together for myself. Had to figure out that her friends who came around for stale cake and mediocre coffee sneered at me because of all the things she didn’t. Had to figure out that they came to my birthday parties under duress, badly wrapped presents that never exceeded my mother’s strict twenty dollar limit in their hands. Had to figure out that the man with the blond hair and the heroic jawline, the man whose eyes looked so much like my own, the man who would never look at me for more than a few seconds without clenching his hands into fists, the man who never once addressed me without being forced … Had to figure out that he was Zenith, just without the cape and boots and heroic pose, and more, he was almost certainly my father. You’d think realizing the world’s greatest superhero is your father would come with dramatic music, or at least the feeling of finally falling into line with your destiny, but all I felt was tired. I was nine years old, I knew no one would believe me if I told them. He was the world’s greatest superhero. He could do infinitely better than a middle-aged diner waitress whose house had peeling wallpaper and water spots on the ceilings, and if he did have a kid, they’d be a lot better than me. They’d have powers, they’d be amazing. All this happened about a year before Mom’s secret identity got blown, which wasn’t my fault, no matter what the tabloids try to say. She did that all by herself. But after I was sure that Mom’s friend Paul was actually Zenith in civilian drag, I’d started to look a little more closely at the rest of Mom’s friends. Some of them worked at the diner, or were regular patrons there, but others, the ones who came to my birthday party with pursed lips and the same general air as me when I was forced to do my homework on a bright spring day … The others lined up, one to one, with the known members of the Association of Heroes. The bright-garbed men and women who soared the skies, righting wrongs, dispensing justice, and generally behaving in a heroic manner. It was the first secret I’d ever had, and it was a big one, big enough to 2 SEANAN MAGUIRE break the world, or at least that’s what it felt like tucked away inside my nine-year-old heart, where I could keep it safe. For one year, I was an impenetrable fortress, more secure than any bank—more secure than Fort Knox, even. Some people have tried to spin it since then, said I was the one who tipped off the papers as to Mom’s daytime occupation, said I was jealous of her. Jealous of what? I was nine. She hadn’t told me yet that she had powers, or that if I hadn’t developed them by the time I started puberty, I wasn’t going to. See again, nine. I thought I knew how the world worked, and how it was always going to work. Me and Mom, and occasional visits from her friends who thought of me as a particularly demanding and high-maintenance pet. They didn’t quite pat me on the head and tell me to sit and stay, but they came close sometimes. I guess by that point, they’d all been living gods for long enough that they didn’t understand how human kids worked anymore. And then came that awful, terrible, life-changing, world ending day when I was pulled out of Mrs. Harris’s advanced math class and moved to the office, where I’d been surrounded by strange, silent men in black suits who carried large guns and looked at the world around them as if it was inherently their enemy, not to be trusted under any circumstances. And no one had even tried to explain what was going on. That’s the part that still gets to me today. I was ten on the day the news broke—by a matter of three whole weeks, I was ten. A child. An innocent, civilian child. The fact that my mother was a soldier in an unending war between the forces of good and evil didn’t matter to me. Whether or not I got invited to Missy Sinclair’s slumber party, now that mattered to me. You may remember that slumber party. It was all over the news. Missy and I were the only survivors. Anyway...

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