Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 44
Look After Your Brother
by Holliann R. Kim
by Jakob Drud
A Good Mother
by Andrea G. Stewart
The Crow's Word
by Stephen Case
The Last HammerSong
by Edmund R. Schubert
IGMS Audio
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
Bring Out your dead
by Chris Bellamy
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
A Place for Heroes
by Myke Cole

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The Last HammerSong
    by Edmund R. Schubert

  Listen to the audio version

Through the window of his elevated seaside shack, Jafartha watched as a deep red moon climbed out of the ocean to join the two copper orbs that had risen several hours earlier. Though he knew there was still time until the three moons aligned, Jafartha was increasingly anxious. Tonight was too important: it was time for the Procession of Kings. It was time for his youngest son, Kitja, to become a man.

Kitja had always been smart, the smartest in their family by far, and in the past year he'd gotten immensely strong working the family's fishing nets. But Kitja was squeamish -- and that made him weak. He wouldn't try to catch the simka fish; he wouldn't go near a cayalla beetle; and worst of all, he didn't want to cut off his mother's upper left arm.

Jafartha could no longer lie patiently in bed, watching and waiting while the Sky Kings decided where to converge. He swung his legs over the side of the bed and sat up, propping himself with his lower arms on his knees and his upper arms against the windowsill.

He gazed down below, at the tide surging against the pylons that held his shack high above the ebb and flow of the sea.

A chill breeze blew through the night.

Jafartha closed the window against the cold, but it was no use; the wind blew right through the cracks in the walls of their meager shack. Goosebumps crept over his hairless body, starting in his midriff and radiating down his two legs and out all four arms.

Jafartha hated being cold.

His wife sat up in bed and slid behind him, rubbing his back feebly with her underdeveloped lower hands.

He snorted. Women. Their lower arms possessed less strength than a whimpering newborn.

But when she caressed his scalp with her stronger, upper left hand, Jafartha closed his pale-green eyes and sighed with a deep satisfaction. That felt wonderful. It didn't do anything to change his decision, but it felt wonderful.

Jafartha noticed the warmth of Yonhe's breath in his ear as she whispered, "If you make Kitja amputate my last good arm, I'll never be able to do this again."

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