Authors: Spilogale Authors
Copyright ©2010 by Spilogale, Inc.
AMOR FUGIT by Alexandra Duncan
STAR-CROSSED by Tim Sullivan
WAITING FOR THE PHONE TO RING by Richard Bowes
CLASS TRIP by Rand B. Lee
FORT CLAY, LOUISIANA: A TRAGICAL HISTORY by Albert E. Cowdrey
MAKE-BELIEVE by Michael Reaves
EPIDAPHELES AND THE INSUFFICIENTLY AFFECTIONATE OCELOT by Ramsey Shehadeh
THE FROG COMRADE by Benjamin Rosenbaum
THE FAIRY PRINCESS by Dennis Danvers
BLUE FIRE by Bruce McAllister
EDITORIAL by Gordon Van Gelder
BOOKS TO LOOK FOR by Charles de Lint
BOOKS by Elizabeth Hand
PLUMAGE FROM PEGASUS: THROW THE BOOKS AT THEM! by Paul Di Filippo
FILMS: A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY by Lucius Shepard
SCIENCE: THE WILD BLUE YONDER by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty
CURIOSITIES by Rick Norwood
Cartoons: Danny Shanahan, Arthur Masear, Bill Long, J. P. Rini.
COVER ART BY TOMISLAV TIKULIN. FIRST PUBLISHED ON
AFTER THE WAR
BY TIM LEBBON (SUBTERRANEAN PRESS).
GORDON VAN GELDER, Publisher/Editor
BARBARA J. NORTON, Assistant Publisher
ROBIN O'CONNOR, Assistant Editor
KEITH KAHLA, Assistant Publisher
HARLAN ELLISON, Film Editor
JOHN J. ADAMS, Assistant Editor
CAROL PINCHEFSKY, Contests Editor
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (ISSN 1095-8258), Volume 118, No. 3 & 4, Whole No. 688, March/April 2010. Published bimonthly by Spilogale, Inc. at $6.50 per copy. Annual subscription $39.00; $49.00 outside of the U.S. Postmaster: send form 3579 to Fantasy & Science Fiction, PO Box 3447, Hoboken, NJ 07030. Publication office, 105 Leonard St., Jersey City, NJ 07307. Periodical postage paid at Hoboken, NJ 07030, and at additional mailing offices. Printed in U.S.A. Copyright © 2010 by Spilogale, Inc. All rights reserved.
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GENERAL AND EDITORIAL OFFICE: PO BOX 3447, HOBOKEN, NJ 07030
The annual World Fantasy Convention is an event I try never to miss. I also try never to bore all of you with convention reports, but this year's WFC had several events I think are worth sharing.
The greatest event of all took only an hour—it was a panel discussing
's sixtieth anniversary. The hour proved to be too short and we wound up talking mostly about our magazine's first thirty years. Dick Lupoff drew on his years of friendship with the Bouchers and with Annette Pelz (McComas) to tell everyone about such things as the 1949 launch party for
, where Basil Rathbone drew upon his immense thespic skills and spoke mellifluously for some time, earning a rousing ovation...after which everyone turned to their tablemates, only to discover that no one had actually made sense of what Mr. Rathbone said. (It was suggested that the great actor might have had a drink or two beforehand.)
We also spoke at length of cofounding editor J. Francis McComas, about whom few people seem to know much—even folks who'd met him, like Ron Goulart and Bob Silverberg, had little to offer. Fortunately, I've been in touch recently with a woman named Maria Alonzo who happens to be McComas's grandniece. She has been tracking down this lost relative of hers and her path took her to
, and she has some pieces of the puzzle that was his life. I hope to bring you soon a short article by her about “Mick."
The other panelists included Nancy Etchemendy, who would have contributed more had we been able to discuss the ‘80s and ‘90s at greater length, and Grania Davis, who had wonderful anecdotes about life in the early ‘60s, when her husband Avram Davidson edited
from his home in Mexico for $25 a month. (That's five times your current editor's salary, in case you're wondering.) The days before faxes, email, IMs, and FedEx might seem unreal to some readers, but Grania remembered for us what it was like to wait hours to use the one phone in town so Avram could call in corrections to the home offices of Mercury Press. Support Your Local Postal Worker Day was the most important holiday in her life back then.
Audience members included a writer who had made his first sale to
in 1964 and another who made his first sale in 2006. And perhaps there were people in the audience whose work will be appearing here in 2011 or beyond.
Speaking of which, the weekend was one in which this editor felt the hands of time click forward. There were a couple of young men and women who claimed to be the adult versions of children I've known during my editorial career, but I was not deceived by such impossibilities (not even when they offered convincing remarks like, “I'm as tall as you now"). I was, however, tickled by the woman who, on meeting me, asked if my father had been an editor also. It seems that she had submitted stories to the editor of
a decade ago and in her mind's eye, its editor was a graybearded veteran, so I couldn't possibly be the same person. It still astounds me to think that I've held the reins here for more than an eighth of a century.
Assistant Editor John Joseph Adams made it known that after his own term of eight years as “the Slush God,” he's moving on to take the helm of a new Webzine called
. These bigger bimonthly issues we're publishing now still aren't large enough to hold all the gratitude I feel for John and his invaluable contributions to
over the years. I'm eager to see what he does with his own magazine and I wish him Godspeed with
As usual, there was plenty of fretting about print and the future of the printed word, but after sitting through the awards ceremony, and then afterward listening to the judges describe the judging process, I came away from the weekend thinking that the literature of the fantastic is in pretty good shape overall. Reading through a big stack of submissions on the flight home only deepened my conviction. Stick around to see what I found in that pile.
—Gordon Van Gelder
Alexandra Duncan made her
debut with “Bad Matter” in our Dec. 2009 issue. Her new story is a lovely tale steeped in mythology.
In the soft space when the sun dips behind the trees and crickets fill the shadowed grass with their high metal voices, my mother and I ready our lanterns. Sunset is the vigil hour. My mother wraps herself in a heavy woven shawl, purple like the mountains looming to the west of our cottage. Fireflies bob and flicker over our wheat field. Our mouser takes up his post on top of the garden gate, regarding us with his bright stare. A crisp, early autumn breeze moves over the wheat. I shiver in my white linen chiton and rub my arms for warmth.
"There,” Mother says, pointing.
I squint into the dim. Yes, there. I catch a hint of movement along the brambles at the edge of our wood. I breathe in, letting the darkening air fill my mouth, lift my lungs. Dusk tastes sour honey sweet. Sweet because the fading light means my father is making his way to us through the far-off wood. Sour because my mother will snuff out her lantern and leave me alone as soon as he comes into sight.
When I was a child, I would stand at the window and cry to see the sun go down.
I am too old for that now.
Mother opens the hinged glass door of her lantern and blows out the flame. In the moment before the light goes out, I see sadness written deep around her eyes and mouth. It's not the kind of sadness that makes her sullen and snappish at her work, or stare wistfully across the fields. It's something else. The only time I think I might have felt something like it was when our first mouser died. He was yellow like saffron and liked to rub against my legs when I fed him bits of meat. I called him Rumbler, for the sound he made in his throat when I was near. I have since learned not to name our farm animals.
Mother squeezes my hand. I don't look as she sets down her lantern and steps backward into the night. It's easier that way, like looking away when she pricks the soft side of my arm with a lancet for inoculations. I try not to listen to the receding shuffle of her footsteps and concentrate instead on picking out the glimmers of light reflecting from my father's belt, the hilt of his hunting knife, the metal clasps on the shoulders of his traveling cloak. They flash in the moonlight as he approaches, like little stars moving through our fields. He has reached the foot of the hill leading up to our house. With one hand he supports a dead stag, slung across his shoulder. I know I should stand still to welcome him, like a dignified girl who is studying to become a woman, but I break into a run. The lantern swings beside me and my skirt flaps like a flag as I careen down the path. He meets me halfway, holding out his free arm and pulling me into a fierce hug.
"Ourania.” Father breathes out my name as if he's been holding it in with his breath all day.
I don't say anything, but bury my face into his shoulder, like a little girl. He smells of sweat, crushed leaves, and animal blood, and his cloak is rough against my nose.
We walk up to the cottage, hand in hand. I kneel by the hearth and start a fire with my flints while he hangs the stag's carcass in the cellar. I set out a basin of warm water and a clean cloth so he can wash the blood and dirt from his arms. When he is clean and we are sitting at the table for our simple meal of bread, cheese, soup, and wine, he asks what he always asks.
"Did your mother leave any words for me?” His face goes still and his shoulders tense as he waits for my answer, as if everything turns on what I might say.
I pick up my wine cup and take a swallow. I don't like the way the drink dries my tongue, but I like that Father doesn't try to water it for me, the way Mother does. “She says to tell you she mended your heavy cloak, so it's ready for winter. We killed a rabbit and she added its fur at the collar. She thanks you for the meat."
Father smiles to himself and takes a long drink. When he sets his cup down, his face is flushed. He's still smiling, and little points of light glitter in the folds of his eyes. I pick up my spoon and blow into my bowl to cool the broth. We both fall quiet for a time, focused on our food, making ourselves accustomed to each other's presence again after the long day apart. Later, he will tell stories by the hearth until our fire sinks down to an embered glow.
Long ago, when Day was a young woman, she blazed across the sky with little care in her heart. When she laid her head down to rest, the world became dark. When the time came for her to bring light to the world, she warmed everything, from the heath balds to the ocean deeps. Her only joy came in giving warmth.
But one night, she turned to look back into the dusk, and caught sight of a man. His robe was white and glistening like sun-warmed ice, his strong arms the pale blue of milk after the cream has been skimmed away, and his hair coiled and curled around his brow in midnight waves. This man was Night. He lifted his eyes, bright as two stars, and found her watching him.
They each left their paths and went to one another. Day fed her light to Night, Night offered up his cool for Day to sip, and they found how they curved together to form a whole. Thus Day and Night first knew love.