Letter From The Editor - Issue 58 - August 2017

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Issue 57
Stories
Leaders Taste Better
by Stephen Lawson
Good Fairies
by Megan Lee Beals
The Buried Children's Club
by James Edward O'Brien
IGMS Audio
After the Matilda Briggs Went Down
Read by Alethea Kontis
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
The Warm Space
by David Brin

Writing Fantasy

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The Buried Children's Club
    by James Edward O'Brien

The Buried Children's Club
Artwork by Andres Mossa

I crawl into the front cab to find my sunglasses melted on the dashboard. I'd had the trailer A/C routed into the sleeper all morning. I'd forgotten how ruthless high noon is out here. I fry my hand trying to crank down the window.

I slide a mitten over my fingers. Pry open the passenger's side door. The guardrail wavers behind the oven-hot air.

I could just as easily have bundled up and slept in back with Maude, but the payload gives me the creeps. I collect the unwanted children the second time around.

It was a bad idea hatched in a hoity-toity fertility clinic that caters to artifacts that breed late in life--the nannied class--who treat childrearing like some vanity project.

The Buried Children's Club dupes offspring shortly after conception. They raise the duplicates in tandem with the genuine article. An entire colony housed in a derelict tourist trap off Vieques, a stone's throw from where the Navy tested bombs toward the end of the twentieth century.

The dupes are stowed away for a rainy day. Premature death. Abduction. Accident. Suicide. When death calls, we're a call away with a carbon copy of your lost loved one. As they mature, dupes have an all-access pass to the webcams, home movies, digital diaries, and social media feeds of their host families to ensure seamless replacement. God bless nanotechnology.

Dupes come out of the box right where the deceased left off, not knowing any better: well-tanned, well-behaved golems. We peddle in the world's most expensive security blankets. The catch is that the end product is not who you've lost, but a facsimile. An approximation that is fine for some and better than the real thing for others.

I'm saddled with the unsatisfied lot. The returns-to-sender. My job is part long-haul transport, part customer relations.

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