Third Instar by David Gullen cover imageDavid Gullen's Third Instar was published by Eibonvale Press (it's the 7th chapbook the Eibonvale Chapbook Line).

About David Gullen:

SFF writer and editor, current Chair of the Milford SF Writer's Conference, and past judge for the James White and Arthur C. Clarke Awards.

Click here to visit his official website.

About Third Instar:

Mazehew didn’t like the Grand Parade where the kite-men flew beyond the Edge. He didn’t like the sky beyond the railings, a sky that reached up and out and also down. He didn’t like the utter absence of ground inches from his feet, the way the blue air faded to stars in the evening, up and out and also down. Most of all he didn’t like how the Edge made him feel – small, like nothing. Insignificant.

Third Instar is a vivid, evocative and ultimately dreamlike fantasy novella set in a city on the edge of the world in the most profound sense – a city filled with colour and life, against which David Gullen creates a beautifully universal tale of romance and almost mythical loss.


David Gullen's Third Instar is a small masterpiece of captivating and hauntingly beautiful storytelling with a touch of dreamlike surrealism. It's one of the most intriguing fantasy novellas I've read during the recent months.

Third Instar is a romantic fantasy story that tells about Mazehew who lives in an unnamed and exotic city on the edge of the world where kite-men fly fly beyond the Edge and where strange petrified gods can be observed by those who pass between them. One day, Mazehew meets a beautiful woman called Frayel and begins a romantic relationship with her. Frayel becomes intrigued about being free and wants to take flight over the Edge. She asks Mazehew to join her, but as she plunges herself over the Edge, Mazehew can't bring himself to follow her and is thrown into the cauldron by an angry mob. This predicament is a kind of a strange and life-altering ritual that leads him to a new life...

This enthralling novella is satisfyingly mythical and something wholly different, because it combines hallucinatory elements with reality in an exciting and evocative way. The author's depictions of the characters and the city are beautiful and invite the reader on a journey to a strange city that is teeming with life and wonder. His descriptive prose brings the city to life in a dreamlike way. Despite its small size, this novella has a surprising amount of depth and substance.

This beautifully written novella impressed me a lot, because it's fascinatingly original and imaginative. It has a distinct feel of literary and surreal fantasy to it that I find utterly compelling and irresistible. I highly recommend it to readers who love literary and dreamlike fantasy novellas, because it's a small slice of unique storytelling that beckons to be explored by open-minded and quality-oriented readers.

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