Letter From The Editor - Issue 55 - February 2017

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Issue 1 -
Stories
Respite
by Rachel Ann Dryden
A Rarefied View at Dawn
by Dave Wolverton
Loose in the Wires
by John Brown
Trill and the Beanstalk
by Edmund R. Schubert
Night Walks
by Robert Stoddard
Taint of Treason
by Eric James Stone
Eviction Notice
by Scott M. Roberts
From the Ender Saga
Mazer in Prison
by Orson Scott Card
Mazer na Prisão   (Portugues)
by Orson Scott Card
Audio Bonus
Mazer in Prison
Read by Audie-winner Stefan Rudnicki
Serialized Novel
Hot Sleep
by Orson Scott Card
Comics
Fat Farm
by Orson Scott Card
Column: I Screen the Body Eclectic
Special Software Bonus
I-Wei's Amazing Clocks
by I-Wei Huang

Writing Fantasy

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-   -   -   -   P   r   e   v   i   e   w   -   -   -   -

Respite
    by Rachel Ann Dryden

The wagon rumbled and crunched over the scupp shells in the sand. Each time Ann and Edward felt one of them crack under the wheels they shuddered. The hatching could begin at any time.

The two of them sat silent and tense on the hard wagon bench, their simple black and white clothing a sharp contrast to the dun of the beach dunes and the purple shells thrusting up through the sand all around them. Ann clutched her swollen belly protectively, though she knew she would not be able to save the babe within if the scupps hatched before the wagon reached the shelter of the cliff caves.

"We left too late," Edward said. It had become a litany of sorts.

"We'll make it," Ann replied, because they had to try.

Edward whipped the scaled backs of the placid undru pulling the wagon. Ann could have told him it would do no good; the beasts were doing the best they could already. He glared at Ann's belly before quickly looking away. His look cut Ann to the core. He's wishing I wasn't here with him, slowing him down. He wishes we had never tried to have this child.

"And if the babe comes early?" He was taking out his helplessness on her.

"I'm still glad we're having a child, Edward."

"I don't think you will be after we've been eaten alive by thousands of flying crab-things, shooting out of all of these scupp shells. Especially if we might not have been eaten if you hadn't slowed us down with a premature labor."

"I'm not going to go into labor. Edward, why are you being so hateful?" If I'd known you were like this when I met you, you wouldn't be the father of my baby.

"That should be obvious to the whole world, Ann. We're doomed out here, and we're alone, and if you weren't pregnant none of this would be happening." His arms gestured to include the horizon. Ann thought that he was pushing things a bit. The hatching would happen whether she was pregnant or not.

"May I remind you that I didn't get pregnant all by myself?" She was getting angry at his selfishness. "And that the main reason we came to Respite was so that we could have freedoms denied to us on Earth - such as having children? That used to matter to you, Edward."

"Freedom is no use if you're dead."

"I'd rather die free than live in the kind of bondage we were under on Earth. I'm still glad I came."

"The scupps are glad too. You'll be a nice meal for them, I'm sure." His lips tightened into a thin line. He didn't look at her. She stared at him, in shock that he could be so uncaring. This place was changing him. And not for the better.

"That was completely uncalled for. You don't have to take your fear out on me."

"So now I'm a coward? I'd like to see the man who wouldn't be afraid in my shoes."

"That wasn't my point, Edward. I'm frightened as well. But tearing each other up is not going to solve anything, or help us survive this. I haven't given up yet. But I need you to not give up either."

Edward said nothing more, but his lips were still tight and he began to whip the undru again. Normally Ann would defend the animals, but in this case it was either her or them, and she was tired of Edward taking it out on her. Let the undru have their turn. They had thick scales after all. And whatever Edward might do to their bodies, their hearts could not be touched by him. If only humans could protect themselves so well.

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