The Weight of the Dead
Three generations after the Day the Sun Roared — an apocalyptic event that fried the world’s electronics — the survivors’ descendants live in enclaves that hark back to a pre-industrial, agrarian world. A world in which magic seems to be creeping back in around the edges.
When Melody Banks’ father becomes the first man in a decade to kill another, a punishment called the Rot is revived: exile outside the town walls with his victim strapped to his back.
At thirteen going on fourteen, Melody is left as more than just the main caretaker of her little brother. She’s now vulnerable to the predators that lurk within the town walls … and desperate enough to embark on a secret, rebellious quest to save her father and herself.
Because People Have Asked…
Question: Hey, wasn’t this associated with Cemetery Dance Publications once upon a time?
Answer: True. I’ve fielded this question a number of times from people who recall that and wonder what ever became of it.
I initially wrote “The Weight of the Dead” upon invitation for Cemetery Dance magazine’s End of the World Special Issue in 2013. But I got carried away and turned in something that, at 15,000 words, was three times what was workable for the magazine.
The solution seemed elegant enough. They would excerpt it in the magazine, then publish the complete novelette as part of their Signature Series.
Although the excerpt made no mention of that. Then, as months turned into years, it never seemed any closer to publication than it was at the beginning.
A year after the rights reverted back to me, editor Ellen Datlow learned of the piece and wanted it for Tor, in her role as consulting editor there. So CD and I came to an amicable agreement in which I would exercise the reversion clause, hand the thing over to Ellen and Tor, and replace it with something else…
…which is going to be an even cooler project, I promise.