Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 2 -
The Yazoo Queen
by Orson Scott Card
Salt of Judas
by Eric James Stone
The Mooncalfe
by David Farland
by Ty Franck
I Am the Queen
by William Saxton
by Al Sarrantonio
by Scott D. Danielson
From the Ender Saga
Pretty Boy
by Orson Scott Card
Audio Bonus
Middle Woman
Read by Mary Robinette Kowal
On Science Fiction and Fantasy
by Holly Lawford-Smith
Column - I Screen the Body Eclectic
Special Software Bonus
I-Wei's Amazing Clocks
by I-Wei Huang

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

I Am the Queen
    by William Saxton

Diane opened the door to her townhouse and led her neighbor in. It was just Bill: ever-hopeful Bill, and she hated to encourage him because there was just no chemistry, but she was still bubbling over, wanting to show everyone her new pet. Her alien pet.

"I have all the manuals," she said, "and I have a translation module for when its language ability kicks in, and I have dietary supplements, since it's adapted to a different ecosystem --"

"Where is it?" Bill said. He took off his boots: a requirement, in her house.

She led him into the living room, opened the carrying cage, and picked it up, very gently.

It had feather-like antennas, and too many legs, and a sort of bristly fur: a teddy bear version of a termite, perhaps. Its heart was going bap-bap-bap -- poor thing. It was so adorable. She stroked its fur.

"Whoa," Bill said.

It squeaked. "That's its happy squeak," she said. It sounded just like the recording in the manual.

"Can I hold it?" he said.

She found herself reluctant. Maternal instinct. But she transferred it to him, carefully. It was so tiny it could fit entirely within his calloused hands.

He started to sit. She stopped him. "Your trousers aren't dusty, are they?"

"I changed after work," he said. "Your white sofa's safe, and your white shag carpet, and your glass coffee table."

Diane nodded; he sat. The alien snuggled up to him. She found herself jealous. Silly.

"Are you sure it's a good idea, having it?" he said. "When you had a puppy, I was over here every week fixing things. Ain't no telling what a giant bug will do to this house."

"It's not a bug," she said. "And it's not like training a dog; it's intelligent! In a couple of weeks I'll be able to tell it what to do, and since I'm its queen, it'll do it."

Bill laughed.

She felt a little defensive. "It's not like a regular pet," she said. "Early on, I show it gestures of dominance, and later, it will understand rational statements, although its thinking can be rigid. It can actually do simple tasks, and it thrives on praise."

"You sound like you read that out of a book," Bill said.

Since she had, she said nothing.

"What's its name?" he said.

"I haven't decided."

He looked it over. "How about 'Cheesecake'? Because of the color of the fur, and all."

What a sweet name! "Perfect," she said.

"Or maybe 'Corn Bread.'"

Diane imagined telling everyone about her new pet, "Corn Bread." No. She said, "'Cheesecake' will do just fine."

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