Over at Galaxy’s Edge Magazine, issue #59 has been released this month. Here are some highlights:
THE EDITOR’S WORD by Lezli Robyn
I am writing this on the seventh anniversary of accepting a job offer from Shahid Mahmud to become the Associate Publisher of Arc Manor. Since then, I have gone on to become the editor of this fine magazine and the developmental editor for many of our novels. As a team, we’ve developed The Mike Resnick Memorial Award, created two new imprints, started distribution into stores, and—along with the various website and cover design hats we wear—we’ve managed to grow our small press into a larger publishing company. I can’t thank Shahid enough for giving me one of the most rewarding careers of my life.
We were delighted to attend Bubonicon, Worldcon, and Dragon Con in recent months. In fact, Shahid flew straight from Worldcon (in Chicago, Illinois,) to Dragon Con (in Atlanta, Georgia,) for just one day in order to present The Mike Resnick Memorial Award to Chris Kulp, the 2022 winner for best science fiction story by a new author. In the same evening, another of our writers, Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki, didn’t win a Hugo Award for his novelette, “O2 Arena,” which we first published in Issue 53 of this magazine. It is a huge honor just to be nominated and I was so proud to be there at the event to cheer him on. Chovwe was able to get a last-minute visa approved by the US Consulate to travel to the States and attend Worldcon, and I had the pleasure of being just one of many in the writing community who helped him navigate his first in-person convention.
Along with Recommended Books by Richard Chwedyk, the next Longhand column by L. Penelope about calling a truce between plotters and pantsers, and a new Turning Points column by Alan Smale about the Antikythera Mechanism, Jean Marie Ward interviews the incredible, P. Djèlí Clark, whose fiction is currently taking the world by storm. Discussing history, magic and fabulous food, the interview is a feast for readers. (Finding out the origin of his name alone was so interesting to read!)
Also included in this issue of Galaxy’s Edge is the Award-winning short story “What Would You Pay for a Second Chance?” by Chris Kulp, about the life-changing decision Susan makes to extend her life after a terminal diagnosis. Agreeing to being transferred into a robot body on the condition she fights in the current war to “pay” for her new form, this thought-provoking tale leaves us asking the age-old questions: what is it that makes us human? Is survival worth risking your humanity?
Along similar themes of trying to overcome or cheat death, the incredibly moving “Past Due” short story by Eric Fomley tells of a man’s heartbreaking conversation with his father as they try to work out how to pay for overdue bills in a hauntingly realistic science fiction tale. And Wulf Moon’s “Sharnathium” explores what an astralmancer god would risk to experience corporeal pleasure just one more time. Despite a completely alien voice and transcendent setting, the protagonist of the story is so completely relatable, and the consequences of his actions transport us to a surreal conclusion that no one could have ever imagined possible.
The editor of the Chinese edition of our magazine, Yang Feng, introduces another translation in our short story exchange program, “Towards the Sky” by Wangxiang Fengnian, and we round out our original fiction with a seasonal gift for all of our readers: “Into the Frozen Wilds” by P.A. Cornell. You’ll all be rooting for the three elves using their dying magic as they trek across an extensive snow-deluged landscape to find the fabled Reindeer Unicorn in order to save Christmas.
Mike Resnick’s reprint piece in this issue is about an interstellar basketball coach recruiting the “next big thing” on a small, forgotten planet, only to find out his target might be more than just a player. And we are thrilled to reprint another collaboration by Gardner Dozois, Jack Dann, and Michael Swanwick, “Golden Apples of the Sun,” about a door-to-door computer salesman attempts to sell computers to fairykind who have no use for the technology.
Angela Slatter’s “The Undone and the Divine” can be perfectly introduced by the author’s own words: “When Delling, shaven-headed, in a faded blue travelling dress, crosses the burnt boundaries, steps over the earthy threshold still marked with deepest ash and visible under the grass and wild foliage after all the lonely years, the specters go about their business, pretending that she is the insubstantial one.” Can she make an an impact on lives no longer of material substance? Read Angela’s beautiful prose to find out.
And lastly, Kristine Kathryn Rusch returns to our pages as our featured serialization, with part one of The Reflection on Mount Vitaki. Professor Kyra Row Kirilli feels the pull of the mysterious reflection on the mountain that lies across the Forbidden Valley. It calls to her. But why? Even her husband, with his knowledge of magic, cannot provide an answer. Kyra must embark on a journey to the source herself—a journey no one ever survives.
While I finish this editorial, Autumn is falling around me in all the burnished shades of beautiful as we enter the festive season here in the United States. The ambience of the season is very reminiscent of the theme of renewal through death that infuses so many of the stories in this issue, and it inspired the artwork selection I made for the cover. One of my favorite holidays to celebrate in the US is Thanksgiving, and I am so thankful for our writers and readers who make this magazine possible.
Read, celebrate, and renew. And have a very Happy Holidays.
TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR ISSUE 59:
WHAT WOULD YOU PAY FOR A SECOND CHANCE? by Chris Kulp —
Chris Kulp is the winner of the 2022 Mike Resnick Memorial Award. He is a physics professor at Lycoming College and has authored 30 scientific articles and one textbook. This story is his first fiction publication. Chris lives in Montoursville, PA with his wife Gail and their dog, Rosie. For more information about Chris’s writing, please visit chriskulp.com.
AND MORE STORIES:
GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN by Gardner Dozois, Jack Dann, & Michael Swanwick
MONUMENTS OF FLESH AND STONE by Mike Resnick
SHARNATHIUM by Wulf Moon
PAST DUE by Eric Fomley
THE UNDONE AND THE DIVINE by Angela Slatter
INTO THE FROZEN WILDS by P.A. Cornell
YANG FENG PRESENTS: TOWARDS THE SUN by Wangxiang Fengnian, translated by Roy Gilham
HISTORY, MAGIC, AND FABULOUS FOOD…BUT NO STEW!: GALAXY’S EDGE INTERVIEWS P. DJÈLÍ CLARK by Jean Marie Ward
(Not-so) secret identities aren’t just for comic book heroes. By day, the writer of A Master of Djinn, “Ring Shout”, and “The Secret Lives of the Nine Negro Teeth of George Washington” teaches college courses on slavery and emancipation in the 17th through 19th centuries, as well as some really bad 1970s movies. But by night and convention weekends, he turns into P. Djèlí Clark, writer of fast-moving adventures about monsters, airship captains, and dogged investigators into the arcane—stories which show how a kiss of magic could change the course of history and alter the attitudes of the people living it. Clark credits growing up in New York and Trinidad and Tobago with inspiring his love of folklore and speculative fiction. The pen name he blames on C.S. Lewis. Naturally, Galaxy’s Edge insisted on hearing all about it, as well as trailing him down the writerly rabbit holes of his inspirations. Prepare yourself for Arabian Nights magic, West African storytellers, the Haitian revolution, sharing food, and … the WPA?!?!
Galaxy’s Edge: When did you first realize you wanted to be a storyteller?
P. Djèlí Clark: I come from a lot of storytellers, my mother being one of the greatest. A story could erupt if she was just giving me directions of where to go. My friends all knew that if she was going to give us directions to somewhere, we should sit down and prepare to be enchanted by the tale. So, I think I’ve always liked the idea of storytelling. But as far as thinking of storytelling as a profession, that came a lot later in life. Even though, when I was younger, I would write stories. I would even draw comic books, but they were mostly for my sister or for my friends. I never thought I could be an author, an actual person who gets paid for words. I don’t think I thought that until well after college, to tell you the truth. When I started dabbling, I wanted to see certain things in speculative fiction that I wasn’t seeing, and I thought, “Hey, what if I did it? To get all Thanos, I guess I’ll have to do it myself.” That’s when it dawned on me that perhaps I could be one of those writers whose books I saw on bookstore shelves …
TO READ THE REST OF THIS INTERVIEW — HEAD TO GALAXY’S EDGE MAGAZINE
TURNING POINTS by Alan Smale
THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM
It’s been variously described as an ancient Greek astronomical calculator, an astonishingly advanced hand-powered orrery, the world’s first analogue computer, a cultural treasure, and the most important maritime shipwreck discovery of all time. But whatever words you choose to describe it, the Antikythera Mechanism is truly remarkable.
In 1900, divers went to the seabed in heavy canvas suits wearing helmets of copper and brass. One such diver, Elias Stadiatis from Symi in the Mediterranean, was searching for natural sponges when he found a shipwreck near the island of Antikythera, located between Greece and Crete. That wreck contained marble and bronze sculptures from ancient Greece, plus a chunk of something that didn’t look like much … until it broke open a year later at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens to reveal bronze gearwheels that at the time seemed deeply anachronistic …
TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE — HEAD OVER TO GALAXY’S EDGE MAGAZINE
LONGHAND by L. Penelope
A TRUCE BETWEEN FACTIONS
Recently, I had the opportunity to have discussions with two fantastic speculative fiction authors who both have writing processes very different to my own. The first was at the National Book Festival in Washington DC where I was on a panel with author Tochi Onyebuchi entitled “Come Into My World: Vivid Places and People in Fiction”. As we discussed our most recent novels and how they came into the world, it became clear that our methods for getting words on the page were completely opposite. In Onyebuchi’s words, his process can be summed up by the word “vibes” and mine by “spreadsheets.”
I have always considered myself a plotter, and every completed novel and novella that I’ve written, except for the very first one, was plotted ahead of time. This is in opposition to my short-lived career as a “pantser”—someone who writes by the seat of their pants—also known as a discovery writer, intuitive writer, or plot gardener (especially for our UK friends for whom “pants” means something a bit different than in the US). The first draft of my first novel, Song of Blood & Stone, was written completely stream of consciousness. I woke up from a dream, having seen an early scene in my mind, and began writing. That first day, I wrote 10,000 words …
TO READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE — HEAD OVER TO GALAXY’S EDGE MAGAZINE
RECOMMENDED BOOKS by Richard Chwedyk
KEEPING IT SHORT, AND OTHERWISE
In previous columns, I’ve said a lot already about my love for short fiction. I don’t need to repeat myself, but I will (as Joseph Epstein wrote, “A teacher is someone who can never say anything once.”), though in keeping with the subject, I’ll be brief. Short fiction represents the heartbeat of these forms we love, science fiction and fantasy. It’s not tied down to narrative and stylistic structures publishers believe are compulsory for “saleable” prose. Any subject, any style can be explored with the single proviso that it be interesting.
Even the novels discussed here demonstrate the craft and vision received by working in short forms. Big things may not always come in small packages, but the odds are pretty good that size doesn’t always matter …
TO READ THE REST THE LIST OF RECOMMENDATIONS — HEAD OVER TO GALAXY’S EDGE MAGAZINE