Letter From The Editor - Issue 59 - October 2017

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Issue 49
Stories
Into Dust
by Sofie Bird
Souls Are Like Livers
by Aurelia Flaming
...Or Be Forever Fallen
by A. Merc Rustad
Going Green
by Jennifer Noelle Welch
The Soul Mate Requirement
by Kelly Sandoval
IGMS Audio
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
At the Picture Show: Extended Cut
Accept the mystery
by Chris Bellamy
Vintage Fiction
Yesterday's Taste
by Lawrence M. Schoen
Bonus Material
Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard
A Novel by Lawrence M. Schoen

Writing Fantasy

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

Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard
    A Novel by Lawrence M. Schoen

Barsk: The Elephants' Graveyard

(Published by Tor Books, December 29, 2015)

Chapter One: A Death Detoured

RÜSUL traveled to meet his death. The current had carried him away from his home island as if it understood his purpose. He lost sight of the archipelago before dusk, as much a function of the falling rain as the southerly wind that pushed him onward. In the days since, the sun had risen and set unseen, a slightly brighter spot that eased itself across the overcast sky. Nor had it cleared at night to permit a glimpse of the heavens. The clouds changed color as the rain ebbed and flowed, and the wind drove him across the water of its own accord toward an unvisited destination. Rüsul didn't care. He had no need to hurry. He could feel the increasing proximity in his bones and that was enough. More than enough. An aged Fant on a raft alone and at sea, the wind filling his makeshift sail and carrying him toward the last bit of land he would ever stand upon. His father and mother had each left in the same manner, and their parents before them. That's how it had been, going back generation upon generation to the very founding of Barsk.

He'd felt it coming on all season. His every perception called out to him, less clairaudience than common sense. It was part of the way of things. One felt the change in pressure that signaled the nearness of a lull in a storm. One smelled the sweetness of tevketl long before the berries actually ripened so as not to miss their brief span for picking. And one knew when it was time to die. Rüsul could no more fail to recognize his coming death than he could be surprised by a pause in the rain or sour berries.

The certainty came to him one morning. He'd never been the type to awaken easily, always struggling to cross that daily border between slumber and the responsibilities of the wide awake world. But that day he had opened his eyes and known. Death had announced itself, named a time and place, and left him instantly alert. Rüsul had risen and gone about his day with a wistful smile, a bit sad that his time was ending but also relieved to know for sure. That knowledge signaled the start of the final rite of passage for every Fant.

His assistant had seen the change in him at the workshop that day, acknowledging it with a simple question. "You know?"

Rüsul had smiled. "I do. The last lesson I need to learn. No sadness from you, Yeft. It's long overdue. Besides, I know you've wanted my tools since the day you ended your apprenticeship."

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