Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019
This is the last issue of Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show.
By the time this editorial is posted, I will have had around six months to acclimate myself to the
idea. There is nothing that I can write to describe how proud I am of the authors, artists,
performers, editors, assistant editors, publishers, columnists and techno-wizards who made this
magazine possible. Given a decade, even, I don't think I could adequately express how much my
team has meant to me, and how profoundly the magazine has affected my life.
Together, we made something wonderful, dynamic, and hopeful.
There is little else that matters in the world than to create, foster, and share wonderful, dynamic,
and hopeful things.
So, good work, you yahoos. While we may have pulled up stakes, we hope you'll continue doing
fantastic work far into the future. And who can tell, but the Medicine Show will come creaking
'round again, dragging new dreams and fantasies both bright and deep back into the reading
These are the stories we leave you with for now:
Jared Oliver Adams's "For Sale: Veterinary Practice on Sigma 4; Certain Conditions Apply:"
"But you will die out there on Sigma 4, Helouise," said her fellow
students at the Newganda School of Veterinary Medicine. "You
cannot even breathe the air!"
But they were complainers, and many of them were skinny as well.
Helouise Kwami, DVM, found both attributes to be equally
Besides, the air of Sigma 4 was only slightly toxic. It required the
bare minimum in breathing apparatus, a simple facemask that
connected to a very reasonably sized filter at your belt.
Much more difficult was arranging transport to a planet that
nobody wanted to go to, this in spite of the fact that it had been
featured on an Intergalactic Geographic expo! They certainly did
not film Intergalactic Geographic expos in crowded cities like
Newganda, where veterinary students counted themselves lucky to
sleep in a cubby and share a common room with nine other people.
So, transport was difficult. What kind of veterinarian minds
Jeremy A. TeGrotenhuis's "Into the Roots of the World, Bearing Light:"
"Are you sure you want this?" His stubble brushed her jaw.
She searched his face, traced the arch his cheek with the tips of her
"I am," she said.
"I carry my father's sword, oath-bound to serve at Baldar's call."
She kissed him, touched her forehead to his. "I know."
"If the serpent wakes in our time--"
"Shhhh." She closed his lips with her own and gathered the quilt
about her shoulders. "Why think of such things now?" His chest
was thick and solid as she rose above him and pressed him to the
bed. "Come, my love. We have much of life to live."
Aimee Ogden's "To Know and Be Known:"
The first time Rrela saw the tower, she was twelve years old. She
watched it grow in the sky as her family's oxcart drew nearer and
nearer to the city of Oabim, through the little monocular that her
parents had given her on her lucky twelfth birthday. The tower lay
just beyond the city, of course, not within its walls: its base was
four city blocks on a side, and Oabim had no such space to spare.
Not with the workers that must be housed now, the traveling
stonecutters who brought pink-speckled gneiss from the south side
of the Shear and red granite from the Ekkuron Peaks. Rrela and
Ekvey's parents made them kneel in the back of the cart and recite
the Call to Glory when it first bloomed out of the landscape and
into the sky. Dusk picked out the sparkling orbs of heaven in purple
and gold, too.
When the girls had finished, their parents spoke breathlessly of what
a miracle it was, that a dozen nations could come together to such
an end. That people could reach for something so far beyond them.
Rrela listened to them with half an ear while she drank down the
sight of the tower and the heavens alike through her monocular.
Finally Ekvey begged her for a turn with the thing, and she relented.
Thirty years' construction had raised the tower far above its
surrounding plain, but Rrela could see already how it would grow
taller, how it would slice the sky open and let the gods' goodness
and wisdom rain down upon the thirsty ground.
Alethea Kontis's "Chaos Crushers' Day Off:"
"Where is that blight-brained halfling?" Hands on hips, Persimmon
Petalwhisper stomped a foot in exasperation. A burst of glitterspark
and forget-me-nots sprang up beneath her expensive heel and fell
blessedly short of her couture mini dress. Persi enjoyed looking her
best whenever the guild wasn't adventuring hither and yon. But she
couldn't afford to singe another hem with her temper.
Her guild uniform consisted of a dull but useful conglomeration of
rags that concealed a variety of supplies for mischief-making, and
no shoes whatsoever. But as a result of the sleeping sickness that
still held High Wizard Vasim in its thrall, all their daily wear was
receiving a much-needed cleaning. The Chaos Crushers had
suddenly found themselves with some time off.
Which meant that today was game day. The guild gathered around
the table in their usual abandoned barrow. Most of them, anyway.
"Yenry's always late." Kian tied his shining locks of black hair back
into a queue, revealing the dusky pointed ears he normally kept
hidden. "Mithrax knows why we put up with him."
"Because, even late, he always shows up." Azorius slid his shield
beneath the stone bench. "And he's usually very amusing."
"Unlike Bob." Nex crossed her very long legs. The curl of her
blood red lip revealed a pointed tooth.
"He said he might show," said the paladin. "But you know Bob.
They're a private person."
"Bob's probably a double agent," said the dark elf.
"Bob's not a double agent," said the dragon-shifter.
"Bob's a jerk."
"It's tough being a gelatinous sphere," said Azorius.
Sarah Grey's "Last Days at Rosewood House:"
Raul in the Dogwood Suite goes soft: a long exhale, a reflexive
squeeze of his son's hand.
Around him, the Rosewood House Hospice--three stories of
restored Victorian glory, ornate as a spider's web--waits for Raul
to pass. When it's over, the Rosewood drinks him up.
Raul's is a smooth life, a life ordered and humble, all the joys drawn
from giggling infants and midnight strolls and the roll of a dust
cloud over high desert homes. Everything of Raul not bound to
meat and bone, the Rosewood claims. The scent of a long-dead
grandmother's house, lime and cigarillos, sinks into the grain of the
parquet floor; the banister absorbs the slope of a failed marriage, a
cordial divorce; in the windowpane lingers the view from a small
Costa Rican hotel, the hot pulse of a tropical rain, the cry of
howlers from the trees at dawn.
The Rosewood plays these moments through, invisible to the
patients and staff, as if reviewing a reel of film or rifling through
Our audio selection this month is Stefan Slater's "Long Hair:"
I am all sorts of things, the Lady told me. I was broken. Unnatural.
A walking crime.
The proof was my hair. The roots are golden, but it's so long, and
never stops growing. It crushed spiders wherever I walked in the
tower, and gathered so much dust and filth it darkened to mud-brown. My neck ached constantly from dragging it.
She never helped me carry it.
Whenever the gnarled Lady visited my tower, she brought food and
sharp words. Cursed, she called me. My parents had been thieves
and fate had punished them--they gave birth to me.
The curse turned me rotten. My bones went crooked, and my nose
fell off and my hair kept growing and growing and growing.
"Your mother never hesitated," she told me once. "She saw you
that first time and paid me in silver to take you away--easy as
. . . and we are also pleased to have Eric James Stone join us one last time as our featured reprint
for this issue.
Scott M. Roberts
Orson Scott Card's Intergalactic Medicine Show