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THE EDITOR’S WORD by Lezli Robyn

It’s summer where the Galaxy’s Edge team live, but instead of flinging ourselves into the ocean to cool down or attending cookouts with our family and friends, we’re (mostly) sitting at home in isolation on our computers, watching COVID-19 cases soar in detailed graphs. So much of the world has opened up again, including the United States, while we have watched this virus take the lives of those around us. We would like to send heartfelt condolences to those in our science fiction and fantasy family who have lost loved ones to this nasty virus, and we hope that our fiction helps distract you from the almost-apocalyptic reality of our current day-to-day life.

Alvaro Zinos-Amaro gifted this editor with an incredibly evocative science fiction take of the toll an incurable disease can take on the family members of the inflicted. While “Pleasing the Parallels” is evocative and bittersweet, it is also a welcome celebration of life, and a story that will stick with you a long time after you have finished reading it.

I’m privileged to introduce our readers to K. A. Teryna, a brilliant Russian author who wrote the chilling tale of a father fighting to save his son from becoming the next king of his Caribbean island. Why wouldn’t he want his son to ascend the throne? Well, as with all well-written dark fantasy stories, the reader will discover there is more to that honor than meets the eye. “No One Ever Leaves Port Henri” was translated by frequent, and beloved, contributor to this magazine, Alex Shvartsman, and is a brilliant introduction to an exciting international author. Marina J. Lostetter also shows us the importance of being able to choose your own fate, with a short science fiction piece so beautiful, so evocative, I had tears coursing down my cheeks by the time I reached the end. And, believe me, given the visuals of the story, that was most fitting.

Our reprint stories this issue include “The Last Dog,” by Mike Resnick, which his wife, Carol Resnick, says is one of the most moving short pieces he has ever written, and I couldn’t agree more. Michael Swanwick is also in this issue with “Triceratops Summer,” about an accident at a physics institute which unleashes a herd of dinosaurs into the modern world. There’s an ominous, unexplained deadline looming, and one local knows the truth….

We welcome Nancy Kress back to the pages of Galaxy’s Edge with “Every Hour of Light and Dark,” set on a post-apocalyptic lunar base. A time travel team steals art treasures from the pre-contamination past, trading them for forgeries. And in Edward M. Lerner’s unexpectedly sensitive and nuanced piece, “A Case of Identity,” a sentient A.I. is asked by a young human woman to find another A.I., the boyfriend who has ghosted her.

Our columnists return with some more thought-provoking essays on topics of science and what makes fiction more compelling, with L. Penelope discussing the merits of including maps in your fantasy novels, and Gregory Benford examining whether the economics of space travel can make space opera fiction plausible or possible in its current form, or through extrapolation.

Richard Chwedyk offers insight as to the best fiction to be read this summer in his latest book review selections. And I had the pleasure of interviewing Walter Jon Williams about his life and career as an author, enjoying discovering that he had written his first four hundred–plus page novel at the age of thirteen (!!!), amongst other interesting details. I always find it fascinating when we are able to pull back the curtain and discover what really makes authors tick, and this interview is particularly enlightening.

And lastly, I would love to introduce our readers to a new-to-us author, Errick Nunnally, whose incredibly creative and magical fantasy story, “The Bone Kite,” literally chilled me to the core as well as moved me with such nostalgic tenderness. Jessica wakes up to discover she is trapped within her daughter’s dream, except the physical world around her is beautifully constructed from the abstract and imperfect drawings of a child with a vivid imagination. Can Jessica save her daughter when the dream evolves to become every mother’s nightmare?

While we live in such unsettled times, the importance of family, and loved ones, is especially significant. If there is one element many of the stories in this issue have in common, it is the resilience of humans, especially when fighting to protect those they love. By the time the next issue comes out in November, the next presidential election will be upon us in the United States, with voters deciding the next four years of our fate. But for now, hold your loved ones close, enjoy precious summer moments with your family or friends, and remember you do have a voice. Authors learn to use their voices through the artistic formation of words on the written page, but we also need to go out and vote. We can only shape the world outside of our own personal sphere by making the effort.

Be the hero or heroine of your own story. Your efforts will shape the world your children inherit.