Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

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Issue 68
Stories
Domus Lemurum
by Donald S. Crankshaw
Schrodinger's Grottoes
by Andrew Gudgel
A Giant's Rightful Due
by Amanda C. Davis
IGMS Audio
Out of the Belly of Hell
Read by David Thompson
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews
Vintage Fiction
Everything Mimsy
by Samuel Marzioli
Bonus Material
The Story Behind the Stories
by Donald Crankshaw

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Letter From The Editor - Issue 68 - April 2019

Our penultimate issue is filled with wonder, danger, and a surprising number of magical (or at least interesting) dwelling places.

Laurie Tom combines science fiction, mythology, and delicious Asian cuisine in "All Times, All at Once." To say more would spoil your literary dinner.

Priyanka's report said that everyone they'd found in the colony was dead, covered in some sort of blue goop. She and Marco were looking for signs of survivors, but no luck so far.

Julian was the Starfish's doctor, which was why he had been called. This was essentially going to be a mass autopsy.

Donald S. Crankshaw investigates haunted houses in "Domus Lemurum."

"I also hear that you had some priests from the temple of Mars perform a cleansing," Septimus said.

"What of it?" Didimus demanded. "Of course I wanted to get rid of any spirits this place may have accumulated since Marcus Regulus's death."

"Especially Regulus's own. But that wasn't the only cleansing you've tried, and after four attempts during the past year, you must be wondering how effective they are. I'd think that if any of the priests could cleanse this house, they'd have managed it by now."

"And you think that Babylonian witch of yours can do better?"

"If she can't, that's my problem, isn't it? Let Mercury judge me if I'm trying to cheat you." Septimus tipped his cup to pour a splash of wine on the floor to honor the god of commerce.

After that, it was just haggling. Didimus let the house go for only twelve hundred sesterces. Septimus had been willing to go as high as fifteen.

Andrew Gudgel transports us to an archeological dig on the far side of the known universe to talk cultural theft and "Schroedinger's Grottos."

The data-slab lay in her palm, slate gray and no bigger than her thumbnail. Hailan thought about simply turning her hand over, letting the slab fall onto the rocky ground here on the floor of the canyon.

One stamp of the foot, and no one would ever know. But it was too late--she'd already mentioned the grottoes in her last report, and now she couldn't not follow up on them. She sighed and hooked a strand of black-and-silver hair behind her ear with her left hand, then tucked the gray rectangle into the inner pocket of her coat.

Behind her, Shaal masons were smoothing a mixture of powdered rock and plaster over the artfully ragged stonework that sealed this newest grotto. She had disconnected her datapad from the network and hadn't taken footage of this part of the ceremony, justifying to herself that it was nothing more than a final detail, not worthy of recording. But the fact was, she didn't want anyone to see how the Shaal hid their grottoes or reveal the coordinates of this particular one. In a few days, when the plaster completely set, the grotto entrance would be nearly impossible to tell from the canyon wall. In a few months, everything would be weathered the same orange-tan color. In a few decades, all who'd participated in the ceremony would be dead, and the spot would be entirely forgotten.

Which was exactly what the Shaal wanted. A grotto-making celebrated the state of klethla, the principle of simultaneous being/non-being. The grotto was there--it and everything inside it existed. But being hidden from sight, it did not exist. The Shaal oligarchs had been positively ecstatic when she described--as best she could through the translating program--Schrödinger's famous thought experiment. They took it as proof that klethla was a universal principle.

And it was her half-assed description of Schrödinger's Cat that had gotten her invited to be the first human to witness a grotto-making ceremony.

Amanda Davis makes a return to IGMS with our favorite fairy-tale soldier, Bay, in "A Giant's Rightful Due."

"We marched in with pikes. Long as three of you end to end. You could kill a giant with one of those things."

A pockmarked fellow from down the bar leaned in. "Have you then?"

"Killed a giant?" said Bay. "Oh yes. Seven at a time. Stacked 'em up like fish on a skewer. I'll have another pull of what you're serving, if you don't mind."

The open lead bottle at her hip twitched to get her attention. A voice from inside hissed, "Take it easy or you'll be plastered on the floor!"

She stoppered the mouth of the bottle with her palm and drained her mug. The barman obligingly topped it off again.

A cockeyed young man even drunker than she was leaned over her shoulder voraciously. "Did you see Barrowgate?"

Bay's vision narrowed like a closing flower until it contained nothing but her mug and the hand that held it. She worked it toward her lips and drained it. The world cleared.

"No," she lied. "I wasn't there." She handed over her mug to the barman. "Want to learn a marching song, then? I sing 'Mother, should I join the army?' and you all sing 'No, son, no,' then I do the verse and then you come in at the end, 'For you'll never come home from the army'--it's easy, you'll catch on fast. Thank you kindly for the pour. Ready now?"

The pockmarked fellow slipped out after the first verse, but there were plenty more to sing along.

Max Sparber's tale, "Out of the Belly of Hell," rounds off our original fiction with a monster and a monk. This is our audio selection, narrated by Dave Thompson.

Hernandez walked back to the creature, not so incautiously this time. He rounded to the front of the monster, and, when he saw what was in its mouth, he crossed himself and knelt in the sand.

Entwined in the monster's tongue, propped upright in its mouth, was a cross. And attached to the cross was a man.

"Dios te salve, María," Hernandez said, and then rose again. He stepped closer to the monster's mouth, peered in.

The man on the cross was a monk. He wore a brown hooded robe tied with a rope. His hair was cut in a tonsure, and his eyes, rather than being closed, were open and rolled upward, as though staring to heaven. Spears pierced his body in an x-shape, entering under his arms and exiting through his shoulders.

Our reprint for this month is Samuel Marzioli's, "Everything Mimsy."

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


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