Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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Issue 15
Body Language
by Mary Robinette Kowal
Lo'ihi Rising
by Geoffrey W. Cole
Sweet as Honey
by Bradley P. Beaulieu
Aim for the Stars
by Tom Pendergrass
Folk of the Fringe Serialization
Pageant Wagon
by Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card Audio
Aim for the Stars, by Tom Pendergrass
Read by Orson Scott Card
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

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Lo'ihi Rising
    by Geoffrey W. Cole
Lo'ihi Rising
Artwork by Dean Spencer

Deep within a comet that slipped through the empty space between Neptune's orbit and the Oort Cloud, Fadid broke two hundred years of concentration to answer an ancient subroutine. The subroutine's message: Lo'ihi breach anticipated in the next week. Fadid took the mental equivalent of a deep breath and synthesized a transmitter, but what could he say? More than twenty-five hundred years had passed since Kabime last responded to one of his calls.

Fadid's increased mental activity alerted one of the comet's other resident artists.

"What do you think you're doing?" Levitz-Prolific said. Though Fadid shared a processing core of three cubic micrometres with six other sentients inside the comet, Levitz-Prolific made the mental space seem infinitely smaller.

"Go back to your poem equations," Fadid said as he completed the amplifiers on the communicator.

"This is a composition retreat," Levitz-Prolific said. "Communication with the outside world is for emergencies only. I don't care how famous you were --"

Fadid squirted his message across the vacuum: "Kabime, I'm coming home. Lo'ihi will be born this week."

The message would take ten hours to reach Earth. It would take even longer to beam his personality home and the transmitter he'd synthesized had neither the capacity nor sufficient encryption to accomplish the task. Only the emergency transit beacon had that kind of power. He'd need help from the comet's other artists and a share of their processing power to operate the beacon.

Fadid sounded the general alarm.

Five other personalities pulled out of their respective composition states.

"I'm in the middle of narrative labour," Hawthorne Maythorpe said, the retreat's leader. "Your interruption risks still birth. Our workshop isn't scheduled for another fifty-three months."

"Apologies," Fadid said. "You'll believe me when I say I have no choice. I need to return to Earth."

"No one can leave until the comet's returned to its perihelion," Levitz-Prolific said. "We signed a contract."

"Shut up, LP," Hawthorne said. "We have an emergency transit beacon for a reason. What's the emergency?"

"Lo'ihi is about to breach."

"The Hawaiian sea mount?" Levitz-Prolific said. "You've interrupted my creative genesis so you can go sightseeing?"

"If you had a face and I a hand, I'd slap you," Fadid said. "Almost seven thousand years ago, I made a pact with someone: if we were both still alive when Lo'ihi breached, we would merge. I've been monitoring the volcano since then, and it is due to rise above high tide in the next few days. I'm still alive. I intend to return to earth to see if she lives too."

"Let me guess," Hawthorne said. "Your ancient muse Kabime is the one with whom you made this pact. I'll lend you my mind for the transit. How about the rest of you?"

The other four personalities grumbled their acquiescence.

"My poems don't derive themselves," Levitz-Prolific said. "I refuse to bend a mind as sublime as mine to such a moronic task ."

"I vote we send Levitz-Prolific back too," Hawthorne said.

The grumbled agreement from the other four personalities was much more enthusiastic this time.

"No!" Levitz-Prolific said. "I paid my dues just like everyone else."

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