Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 6
Night of Falling Stars
by Steven Savile
Great Mother, Great Father
by William Saxton
The Price of Love
by Alan Schoolcraft
A Spear Through the Heart
by Cherith Baldry
From the Ender Saga
Ender's Stocking
by Orson Scott Card
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
Lost and Found
by David Lubar
This is Only a Test
by David Lubar
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

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Ender's Stocking
  Included in A War of Gifts
    by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Stocking
Artwork by Jin Han

Peter Wiggin was supposed to spend the day at the Greensboro Public Library, working on a term paper, but he had lost interest in the project. It was two days before Christmas, a holiday that always depressed him.

Last year he tried to get off the Christmas juggernaut. "Don't get me any gifts," he had said to his parents. "Put the money into mutual funds and give it to me when I graduate."

"Christmas drives the American economy," Father said. "We have to do our part."

"It's not up to you what other people do and don't give you," said Mother. "Invest your own money and don't give us gifts."

"Like that's possible," said Peter.

"We don't like your gifts anyway," said Valentine, "so you might as well."

This stung Peter. "There's nothing wrong with my gifts! You sound like I give you used Band-aids or something."

"Your gifts always look like you bought the cheapest things on sale and then decided after you got them home who you'd give them to."

Which exactly nailed the process Peter went through. "Gee, Valentine," said Peter. "And everyone calls you the nice one."

"Can't you two ever stop bickering?" said Mother wistfully.

"Peace on Earth, good will toward brats," said Peter.

That was last year. He gave them the gifts he'd already bought, and he didn't notice anybody turning them down.

But he also took Mother's advice. During the past year, Peter's investments -- anonymous investments, of course, since he was still underage -- had done very well, and in November he sold off enough shares to pay for some nice gifts for the family. Nobody was going to say there was anything wrong with this year's crop. Though he couldn't spend too much, or Dad would start to get way too curious about where Peter's money was coming from.

Since Peter was not really working on his paper, he happened to notice when one of the girls from school sat down at a different table and spread out her books. Since they had the same high school class, she was no doubt working on the same assignment -- a paper on something about Rome, as if the subject hadn't already been done to death by real scholars over the centuries. What were high school students going to add to the sum of human knowledge about the old empire? Peter couldn't think of a single topic that didn't bore him.

But maybe she had something interesting. What was her name? Mirabella, that was it -- Italian for "Look! Pretty!" The name fit well enough, but Mirabella, being sensible, had opted for the nickname Bell.

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