Letter From The Editor - Issue 67 - February 2019
I am sad to report that Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show will be pulling up stakes
in June 2019. I've been a reader since the first issue, and on the staff since 2009. My kids have
grown up with the magazine in their lives, and I am fiercely proud of all that we've accomplished.
I am also very, very pleased with the state of science fiction and fantasy in general today. When
IGMS first rolled onto the scene, online magazines were few and far between. Now the main
mode of consumption of short SFF literature is online in one form or another (podcasts, e-issues,
webpages, etc). And the voices of SFF today are vibrant, strident, beckoning, beseeching,
screeching, awesome myriads. We have been a part of that polysymphonic wonder. We were one
of the first to tell our truest lies on the brave digital frontier.
Here are the nitty-gritty details of the closure:
The following issues will be published:
Feb/March (this issue) 2019
All three issues have a full complement of original stories.
Subscribers whose one-year subscription ends after June 2019 will be refunded the unused portion
of their subscription ($15/year for 6 issues = $2.50/issue). Sometime in the fall of 2019 we will
remove the IGMS paywall, and all issues of the magazine will be freely available online.
There are still stories to tell in the meantime.
Alex Shvartsman is one of my favorite story-tellers. He makes a re-appearence this issue with
The false messiah was a giant of a man. He was seven feet tall,
long-haired, broad-shouldered, and olive-skinned, his long beard
curled in layers of elaborate ringlets, in the style depicted on ancient
Babylonian tablets. He was dressed in a plain white cotton tunic. He
stood in front of a sizable crowd, his hands raised skyward, his face
radiating unnatural calm.
We watched from the café across the street as gawkers rapidly
filled the small Jerusalem square. People of all faiths and walks of
life flocked to the spectacle. Ever since Gilgamesh had shown up
claiming to be the divine messenger of an ancient god, he'd been
quickly gaining followers--people always look to those who can
make the most lavish promises in turbulent times. Our job was to
expose his miracles for the parlor tricks they were and to knock him
down a notch.
"The whole 'meek shall inherit the earth' thing doesn't quite ring
true with this beefcake," said Abby. "Look at him. He's more
Goliath than David."
"That's Christianity," I said. "What this fellow is peddling predates
Christ by millennia."
Dustin Steinacker's novelette, Reading Dead Lips, recounts a harrowing journey homeward that
feels at once fantastic and terrifyingly possible.
Nouelle had always thought that she'd feel a sense of homecoming
when she returned to the country that had birthed her. But after
eight years, it was already a foreign land. Her first day back she
risked a hostel, near the border, and the shower water was wrong;
it stung her flesh with its force but never seemed to rinse off the
lather. The loudest voices in the common room all spoke the
occupiers' dialects and she stayed silent rather than mark herself as
a Czir. The cooking smells too were unfamiliar.
After that she slept out of doors.
She was wiser than she'd been when last she breathed Czir air (this
she told herself, and sometimes she believed it too). She now knew
occult sciences, after all, and had acquainted herself with the many
stages of corpse-stink. So yes, she was standing on ground that
she'd had to sell herself to escape, occupied ground. But she was
also prepared. She'd lost everything she ever had in this country
and now, dammit, she had the chance to take just one thing back.
Somewhere within these borders was her sister.
Andrew Peery's "All the Things You Want" has a distinctly different take on home, with a cloned
consciousness threatening the earth in order to win the hearts (and presence) of his source's wife
Kate is outside weeding the garden. Watching her from orbit, I can
see the fine hair of her arms and the wet flecks of dirt between her
fingers. Every few seconds the telescopes adjust to filter the quiet
glare of an explosion. Unfortunately, the missiles launched at my
ship are too small to be seen from the ground.
I wish the bombs would burn brighter. I would vent hydrogen from
the reactors if Kate would just look up at me, but she is focused on
pulling up the dandelions that I had always rather liked. "They look
like flowers to me," I would tell her.
"Weeds," she would say back, shaking her head.
Brian Trent's "Dayshift" dumps a reporter from the elite castes of the Arkology into the rattle-scrabble world of junkpunks: blue-collar kings of trash and precious metal archaeology.
She's getting to her feet, retracting her parachute into her
backpack, when the junkpunk materializes beside her.
He's a frightful apparition. Snout-like mask and rubber-rimmed
goggles appearing in a pixelating rainbow, his spectarmor dulling to
pewter gray to distinguish him from the eye-melting colors of trash
around them. "Welcome to the Pile, arky. I'm Neil Rix, corporate
"Vanessa Roderigo," she manages, still breathless from the
"World Tree Arcology and . . . did you say corporate crow?"
His laugh is tinny in his rebreather. "My formal title is Perimeter
Security Officer. The title of crows . . . well . . . that's what we call
Vanessa can see why. There are real crows about, alighting on the
Pile's undulating slopes of junk and flapping, half-buried
newspapers. Yet the junkpunks patrolling the peaks and valleys
have a decidedly avian quality to them, too; with their beak-like
masks and black goggles, they make her think of medieval plague
doctor costumes. Even Neil's bulky armor gives him the hooded
appearance of a carrion bird.
She wonders what he looks like beneath the armor.
Our audio selection this month is Leah Cypress's "Cost of Wonder," narrated by Alethea Kontis.
I could never afford a memory like this, but I wasn't buying this
one. I had made it, and it was mine, and I wanted it to last forever.
I'm not going to sell this day.
But even as I thought it, I was calculating, trying to guess just how
much it was worth. I had known today would be magical; I had
dressed Gina for the part, in a little denim dress and matching hat,
both of which I'd bought with my earnings from last week's trip to
the playground. The hat flattened but didn't tame her curls, and her
round face was stretched by her smile. She squealed again as soap
bubbles filled the air, trying to catch them with tiny, uncoordinated
half-jumps, unaware of the iridescent globes settling all over her
My heart swelled with a joy so potent it almost hurt, and I swore it
again: I'll keep this day for myself.
But the next morning Gina woke up sobbing, with a temperature so
high she was hot to the touch. I had to beg the doctor to let me
bring her in. He was busy, but he relented; I always paid on time.
AND don't miss this month's reprint, also from Alethea Kontis.
Enjoy it while it lasts, kids!
Scott M. Roberts
Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show