David Moles's "Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom"

David Moles, a wonderful, up-and-coming sf writer, did me the honor of writing a story called Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom (this is, of course, the title of my first novel) — inspired, in part, by my ongoing experiment of writing stories with the same titles as famous sf books (so far: "Anda's Game," "I, Robot," "True Names" — and, in progress, "Martian Chronicles" — "The Man Who Sold the Moon" is on the drawing board).

What's more, David's story is superb, a spectacular and weird and smart story about theme parks, singularity, and humanity. Originally published in Nightshade Books's Eclipse Two, it is also now available as a free, Creative Commons licensed download.

The twinks fell into Dragontown

The twinks fell into Dragontown out of the noonday sun, a constellation of spiky-black shapes each with its own trail of shadow like the tail of a cartoon meteor, darkening the tropical-blue sky, scattering frightened critters from the scaled rooftops. They were every race in the Legion: mandrill-faced bavians, jackal-headed anubit and anubim, black-beaked corven and leathery-winged gaunts, fiery clowns and scaled salamanders, goblins, mechanists, satyrs, araneae, orcas and cuttlemen. They were, every one of them, extravagantly mounted, every one level-capped, every one gaudily equipped and maximally buffed.

And not one of them belonged in Dragontown.

Dragontown was a neutral town, a sleepy town deep in the mid-levels. A stopping-point, once, for guests on their way to the Outlands or the Newlands or the Deathlands; but these days even the Newlands were old news. There were only a handful of guests in Dragontown to bear witness to the Legion's invasion, to applaud or run for cover or (like the old perroquet airmaster Valerius Redbeak, who had given up battlegrounds and quests alike in the long-ago days of the seventh expansion, and now spent his days fishing off Bonetalon Pier) simply roll their eyes, according to each guest's faction and sophistication.

Down & Out in the Magic Kingdom