Letter From The Editor - Issue 56 - April 2017

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Issue 42
Stories
A Dragon's Doula
by M.K. Hutchins
Fire Born, Water Made
by Adria Laycraft
The Burden of Triumph
by Samuel Marzioli
IGMS Audio
Orson Scott Card - Bonus
Visitors, Chapter 1
by Orson Scott Card
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
Small Offerings
by Paolo Bacigalupi

Writing Fantasy

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Small Offerings
    by Paolo Bacigalupi

Readouts glow blue on driplines where they burrow into Maya Ong's spine. She lies on the birthing table, her dark eyes focused on her husband while I sit on a stool between her legs and wait for her baby.

There are two halves of Maya. Above the blue natal sheet, she holds her husband's hand and sips water and smiles tiredly at his encouragement. Below it, hidden from view and hidden from sensation by steady surges of Sifusoft, her body lies nude, her legs strapped into birthing stirrups. Purnate hits her belly in rhythmic bursts, pressing the fetus down her birth canal, and toward my waiting hands.

I wonder if God forgives me for my part in her prenatal care. Forgives me for encouraging the full course of treatment.

I touch my belt remote and thumb up another 50ml of Purnate. The readouts flicker and display the new dose as it hisses into Maya's spine and works its way around to her womb. Maya inhales sharply, then lies back and relaxes, breathing deeply as I muffle her pain response in swaddling layers of Sifusoft. Ghostly data flickers and scrolls at the perimeter of my vision: heart rate, blood pressure, oxygenation, fetal heart rate, all piped directly to my optic nerve by my MedAssist implant.

Maya cranes her neck around to see me. "Dr. Mendoza? Lily?" Her words slur under the drugs, come out slow and dreamy.

"Yes?"

"I can feel it kicking."

My neck prickles. I force a smile "They're natal phantasms. Illusions generated by the gestation process."

"No." Maya shakes her head, emphatic. "I feel it. It's kicking." She touches her belly. "I feel it now."

I come around the natal sheet and touch her hand. "It's all right, Maya. Let's just relax. I'll see what we can do to keep you comfortable."

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