"Hope Games" at The Sword Review

Here's a new story of mine that's now available. "Hope Games" is a story set in the middle of a war-torn city--the details of what brought on the war and what the larger world around is like are left intentionally vague--is it a world of magic? Of steampunk? A modern world? What Avins and the other characters know is simply that their city is pounded by the weapons of some unknown enemy. And the absent city leaders repeatedly promise some grand event to entertain and distract the people, only to invariably cancel the plans at the last moment.

The announcement on TSR's forum says,
Today's update shows a different side of hope. When nothing seems right, is there reason to hope? This story is a little on the edge, a little disturbing, and perhaps a little too real for some people.
On the edge. Disturbing. For some reason that makes me smile. So where'd this story come from? It was written specifically for TSR's fiction contest last fall. The them of that was hope, and I thought that if I was going to do something hopeful, then it had better have some pretty dark surroundings to set it off. Otherwise I was afraid it would seem cheap. I'd also recently read VanderMeer's Shriek, which has a key scene that's an opera performance in the middle of a war (I think it was opera...), so I'm sure that affected the story that came out as well. Other than that, there's the steam-level technology that I find creeps into my fiction fairly often--my defaults probably swing between that and a primitive, bronze-age technology (skipping right over pseudo-medieval).

I didn't get a lot of time to do revisions and such on this because it was a contest entry, but I found myself still pleased with the story as I reviewed the copy edits earlier this week. So go check it out!