The man who doesn't read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them.

—Mark Twain

 [ Issue 2009.18; Cover art © 2009 Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein ]

Issue 2009.18

Short stories

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This issue brings three great stories—we've been reading for the feminist science fiction themed issue (to appear early next year) so this quarter is relatively quiet, although the stories and artwork we bring you are at least as excellent as usual. We have a child awed by technology facing the only true demons—humans; a woman living in a dream house reminded what her youthful dreams were really about; and a tale of transhumanism, the loss of mortality and the call of the Cosmos.

We should try never to forget that the world is beautiful, that even the most artificial and industrial sights can be glorious, delicious displays of magnanimity and imagination. And we shouldn't fear the dark—although we must never turn a blind eye to the basest impulses of humans, especially those in power or who feel the need to dictate the morals of others—for it is in the dark that our imaginations run free, that adrenaline courses through our blood and drives us to heroic action. We should try not to be so seduced by mystery and beauty that truth ceases to be important, but we should not fear to let go, to let instinct take us some of the way.

And so although writing and artistic creation is an organic process, something that we undertake with our hearts and our viscera as much as we do with our brains and our intellect, we should pay attention to what we write, and expect others to pay attention to us, to challenge us, and to hold us to high standards. Indeed we should thank them for it.

Oh, and happy birthday to Mark Twain.

Djibril al-Ayad, November 2009

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