Letter From The Editor - Issue 69 - June 2019

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Issue 7
Silent As Dust
by James Maxey
Lost Soul
by Marie Brennan
The Price of Love
by Alan Schoolcraft
The Braiding
by Pat Esden
After This Life
by Janna Silverstein
The Smell of the Earth
by Joan L. Savage
From the Ender Saga
Ender's Homecoming
by Orson Scott Card
Tales for the Young and Unafraid
The Talk
by David Lubar
Split Decision
by David Lubar
A Plague of Butterflies
by Orson Scott Card
InterGalactic Medicine Show Interviews

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The Unrhymed Couplets of the Universe
    by Sharon Shinn
The Unrhymed Couplets of the Universe
Artwork by Kevin Wasden

Henry sipped from his morning coffee, gazing over the rim of the cup at the green plastic ball in the middle of the kitchen table. It had not been there twenty seconds previously. He had looked up from buttering his second piece of toast to find it sitting jauntily on top of the real estate section of the newspaper.

Henry was eighty-two years old, retired since he was seventy, a widower since he was seventy-six, and nothing much alarmed him or terrified him any more. Certainly not a child's scuffed green ball, no matter how sudden its appearance. It didn't do anything interesting for the five minutes he watched it, so he eventually shrugged, stood up, and cleared the table. By the time he had finished rinsing out the coffee pot and loading the dishwasher, the ball was gone.

That evening while he watched television, a fat red pillow manifested itself beside him on the couch. It was edged with gold braid and looked like it belonged in a living room that was much fancier than anything Henry would find comfortable. Like the ball, it didn't stick around long. Before the next commercial break, it had vanished.

More random objects appeared at a somewhat faster rate the following day. The first one showed up while Henry was sitting at his desk, checking emails. He loved email. Never had to speak to a soul if you didn't feel like it, but you still had the sense of being connected to every person you'd ever met in your entire life, even the ones you didn't like so much. He was just typing a reply to his sister in Florida when he glanced over to find a small glass of water sitting at his right elbow. In the water was a thin paintbrush, and the residue of black paint had oozed from the bristles into the liquid, turning it a foggy gray. Henry couldn't think that these were the tools of a true artist; more likely they belonged to an old woman daubing at a heavy piece of pressed paper or a child experimenting with color.

They were gone before he'd thought about it too much, but he hadn't even stood up from the desk before the next apparition of the day arrived. It was a photo frame, holding a picture of a laughing family of five as they posed before a waterfall in what looked like a national park. Henry might not even have noticed it except that it blocked the photo of Ellen that he glanced at on a fairly regular basis. He pushed it aside carefully, in case his touch might contaminate it in some way and make it impossible for the frame to return to its rightful place -- the way he'd always been taught the scent of a human would contaminate a baby bird or a wild rabbit and make its natural parents shun it forever. But he wanted to gaze at Ellen a moment before he quit the room for the day.

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