Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish

The Importance of Slides

C is for Chimera is coming out tomorrow and in honour of that I’d like to share this guest blog from contributor Beth Cato 🙂

The Importance of Slides by Beth Cato


The table of contents for C is for Chimera will do a great job of hiding the words attached to the letters that inspired our stories, and I’m going to give away my secret right now: S is for Slide.

My story takes place in a post-apocalyptic world and follows the scamperings of Tiger Boy. He is a boy who is (don’t gasp too loudly in surprise) also part tiger. That chimera mix allowed him to survive when most of civilization did not. He’s not particularly damaged by the experience, though. Tiger Boy is the ultimate unreliable narrator: a child who sees the world through a particular, rather oblivious perspective.

To him, a playground slide means everything. It’s a relic of a past when he was pure Boy, when he had a mother, an apartment, and schooldays. He still plays on the slide, but not in the same way. The world changed. He changed.

When I became a parent, my own concept of slides changed, too. I was of pretty average physical ability as a kid. I took things like slides for granted. Climb up, climb down. Stand in line if there are other kids. Don’t push. Don’t be the jerk who tries to climb up the slide when other kids are there.

My son has autism. His gross motor skills made climbing slides a precarious act when he was young. I was the hovering mother, there to help him up or catch him if he slipped. The social dynamics, however, were the greatest obstacle. Much of that he had to learn at school. I couldn’t hover. All I could do was try to reinforce his awareness of other people–give others enough personal space, say please, say thank you, slide down and skedaddle out of the way.

I worked part of my son’s experience into my creation of Tiger Boy. When you have physical limitations, the very act of climbing a ladder has new meaning. It makes the view from the top all the sweeter–or the fall all the worse. And Tiger Boy doesn’t have anyone close by to catch him if he slips.


Beth Cato
hails from Hanford, California, but currently writes and bakes cookies in a lair west of Phoenix, Arizona. She shares the household with a hockey-loving husband, a numbers-obsessed son, and a cat the size of a canned ham.

She’s the author of THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER (a 2015 Locus Award finalist for First Novel) and THE CLOCKWORK CROWN from Harper Voyager.

Follow her at and on Twitter at @BethCato.


Reserve your copy of C is for Chimera now and be among the first to read about Tiger Boy and all the other chimeras in this exciting collection 🙂

Cover art and design by Jonathan C. Parrish



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