A strange young boy collects seashells. It’s his way of coping with constantly having to move because his father is in the Navy. The boy has thousands of shells, all cataloged with common name, scientific name, location found, etc. His parents has bought him a multitude of dressers to keep them in because they know he is a strange, special kid, and he needs this.
He reenacts battles in his room(s) using the shells, with the Queen Conch being matriarch and a multitude of smaller whelks, clams, scallops and the like defending her. The story revolves around the boy relating the trials and tribulations of the Queen’s domain to his parents.
Eventually, the boy begins to grow up, and school starts to normalize him. He makes friends and even meets a girl. But what of the Kingdom of the Ancient Sea? Read to find out.
Bruce McAllister, born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1946, is a writer of fantasy and science fiction known primarily for his short fiction. Over the years his short stories have appeared in the major fantasy and science fiction magazines, theme anthologies, college readers and “year’s best” anthologies, including , guest-edited by Stephen King. His first novel was , published by Ace Books in Terry Carr’s “Ace Specials” series. His second novel, (Tor, 1988), was based on the Hugo, Nebula and Locus-finalist novelette of the same name.
He was away from writing in the 90’s, and returned to the field in 2003. His short story “Kin” was a 2006 Hugo finalist; in 2007 Golden Gryphon Press published a career-spanning collection of his short science fiction, .
He lives in Costa Mesa, California with his wife, choreographer Amelie Hunter.