Letter From The Editor - Issue 52 - September 2016
Worldcon has come and gone, and DragonCon is breathing fire down our necks. Congratulations
to the Hugo award winners, and good luck to all the Dragon Award nominees!
This issue of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show features a melange of steampunk
gumption, sentient viruses, teen rebellion, alien gravedust, bloody cabbages, and innocence.
Something for everyone, I'd say.
Invention and desperation know no gender barrier in Rebecca Birch's Silverbird Rising.
Madeline Rowe is a brilliant inventor whose tragedy informs her creations. Smart as she is, the
University doesn't favor the fairer sex, and every experiment is a battle against the boy's club.
Low on funds, Madeline's partner takes resource-gathering to an extreme, and Madeline is
forced to hunt after her. Complicating the search is a completely boorish suitor, who may just be
the fount of all of Madeline's difficulties. . .
The rogue planet of Exoria took 33 years to pass through the solar system to settle into orbit
between Venus and Earth. The crew of the Predpriyatiye ventures out to the now-melting world
to see what is to be seen in the tradition of great human explorers. Deborah Davitt's hard science
fiction short story, The Cenotaph, delves into the idea of what happens when our first contact
with aliens is with their grave marker.
War and death can make aliens of loved ones. That's what HG Parry's protagonist, Edith,
discovers in Material Without Being Real. Ever since he returned from death, Edith's brother has
been acting oddly. She resolves to find out what has happened to him--but what she discovers
about what he was may be more disturbing than what she finds out about what he is.
There are no loved ones to be suspicious of in David Steffen's A Touch of Scarlet. There are
only Citizens, Mentors, and the adolescents who will become Citizens. Human contact is
outlawed and laws are controlled by means of a hyper-democracy where safety is the paramount
concern. One Citizen's "safety" is another Citizen's repression, and an adolescent's curiosity
burgeons into something. . . dangerous.
In Chris Phillips's Cabbage Communion, the word is that the Christian god can bring loved ones
back from the dead as easy as pulling up a potato. Magic and miracles vie for worshippers in this
bittersweet story of loss, love, and need.
Parents care for children. That's the way it has always been for Ethan, in James Van Pelt's short
story. They even kept his birth secret from their commanders. But now his parents are in danger,
and it is up to Ethan to save them, or be Orphaned. Orphaned is this month's audio selection,
and is performed by Stuart Jaffe.
Also in this issue, our reprint editor, Lawrence Schoen, interviews Mary Robinette Kowal.
We've got a short story reprint from her VAST archive, and a brief selection from her newest
Scott M. Roberts