Letter From The Editor - Issue 65 - October 2018

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Issue 65
Stories
Coachwhip and Wade, Hex-tamers for Hire
by Tony Pi and K.G. Jewell
Gods of War
by Steve Pantazis
'Til Devil Do Us Part
by Jamie Gilman Kress
IGMS Audio
'Til Devil Do Us Part
Read by Alethea Kontis
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
Yuca and Dominoes
by José Pablo Iriarte
Bonus Material
The Story Behind the Stories
by Tony Pi and K.G. Jewell
The Story Behind the Stories
by Jonathan Edelstein

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Letter From The Editor - Issue 65 - October 2018

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Tony Pi and KG Jewell return to the pages of IGMS with their story, "Coachwhip and Wade, Hex Tamers for Hire."

The paddle steamer The Eagle churned through brown waters to the center of the Great Miss River, out of the morning shade. Standing on the back deck, Lily Calazans stretched to welcome the sun, her serpentine hair stirring in celebration of its warmth. She rolled up the sleeves on her workdress, her reptilian skin yearning for every inch of heat.

Were she human, it would be a lovely voyage. But she was Serpentlock and the gambling boat crew were not. Though they said nothing, their stares and sneers told her they wouldn't have welcomed her aboard if they didn't need her to remove the River-Bride's hex.

The fairy hex was limned with fish blood onto the side of the riverboat. A mystic thrum rose from the hull, drumming a siren song into the waters and rattling Lily's bones alongside every beat of the boat's great paddle. Though the enchantment was meant to lure alligators into the River-Bride's court, Lily's Serpentlock nature was kin enough to the gators' to feel the call.

Also returning to our pages with a prequel to his award-nominated novellete, Oba Oyinbo, is Jonathan Edelstein with "Nwanyi Enwe Eze."

"Would you prefer to be sworn on the Bible or the sword?"

For a moment, Mary Ejiofor didn't answer. Oaths taken on iron were ancient and powerful; Mary would never have been where she was had she not taken one. But the Bible was powerful too--Mrs. Carter the missionary's wife had taught her that--and God's protection had also brought her to this place. And in the end, she shared the Bible, not iron, with the men who sat before her.

The bailiff held out the book, and she put her hand on it and took oath. After, she walked to the table that did duty as a witness stand--the Native Court building still hadn't been reconstructed from last year's burning--and regarded the eight men at the dais.

"Good morning, Miss Ejiofor," said one of them--Mr. Blackall, the Crown Counsel. "As you know, this commission has been empaneled to investigate the recent riots. . ."

"The war."

"What was that, Miss Ejiofor?"

"The war," she repeated. "The ogu umunwanyi--the Women's War. That's what we call it." And to call it anything else, she didn't say, would dishonor the dead.

Megan Beals's "The Late Mr. Folsom's Luminosity Shop" fits rather well in our eclectic caravan of wonder:

Oren learned of Mr. Folsom's passing when the Notice for Peaceful Death shot through the polished brass slot above his desk. The notice carried the cerulean tag of Necessary Eviction and a simple note scrawled on the back: A painting in The Luminosity Shop has recently awakened to sentience in the absence of Mr. Folsom, and it has claimed his shop as its rightful inheritance.

Oren glanced to the other clerks at their desks and held the papers close to his face to hide the tears gathering in his eyes. He worried that the grief he felt might seem presumptuous for the junior-most clerk at the firm of Honeydew & Smith. He only knew the man for his luminariums: the self-contained ecosystems of bioluminescent sea creatures that lit the great homes and greater city buildings that could afford his work.

The greatest of these was the reception hall of the Ministry of the Unknown.

In an otherwise fantasy-laden issue, Steve Pantazis has penned the lone science fiction story: "God of War." This is part one of two--watch for the conclusion next issue.

I tell my nephew Blake to hold perfectly still as I train my shotgun on the unholy hell of terror wriggling on the ground in front of us. The centipede-like machine is designed to dig into the back of some sorry sack, wrap its blades around the spinal column, and sever the connection to the nervous system. To see a snapper still functioning after all these years has got me a fit of the heebie-jeebies. Fortunately, it's damaged and floundering on its back, razor-sharp claws pawing the air like a roly poly. Probably was dormant until its sensors picked up our heat signatures.

It rights itself on the dirt, whipping its cockroach antennas. There are no eyes, just claws and black metal made for gutting flesh. It doesn't think, it just does.

It props up on its claws, shifts its head back and forth between us with a churn of gears. There's something intelligent about it, not just robot instinct. The antennas are rigid, as if listening. Its eyeless head faces us, like it's being told what to do, but that don't make sense.

The snapper bunches up, its segments pushed together.

I pull the trigger.

Our audio offering this issue is Jamie Kress's "Til Devil Do Us Part," read by the angelic Alethea Kontis.

Margery twisted the plain gold band around her finger, felt the catch of it against the callus formed from almost three decades of wear. After years, he'd abandoned her for some elusive freedom lost in his youth. And he wanted to take everything they had with him. It wasn't enough to leave her broken-hearted. Carl wanted her broke as well.

"It doesn't have to be this hard." The voice came from just behind her left shoulder, the auditory equivalent of gulping olive oil. Everyone else pacing the courthouse lobby made noise, but Simon just appeared in a cloud of ashy cologne and unctuous words. Margery wasn't even sure anyone else saw him.

She didn't turn. Long years of teaching had taught her to keep a steady voice despite fear, but looking at him would reveal her shaking hands. "I'm not signing that ridiculous postnuptial agreement."

"Yes, you've made that quite clear." He placed a hand on her shoulder, the heat of it radiating like sunburn. "So we've found an alternative solution."

"Ah." She stepped away from his touch. "Is there where you finally threaten to kill me?"

Last of all, our reprint comes from one of my favorite writers, José Pablo Iriarte. We are very pleased to showcase his wonderful story, "Yuca and Dominoes."

Scott M. Roberts
Editor
Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show


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