THE EDITOR’S WORD by Lezli Robyn
With the publication of this issue, we mark the end of my first year as editor of Galaxy’s Edge, and the end of what has been a horrible 2020 for so many of our writers and readers.
The loss of Mike Resnick as editor of this magazine, dear friend to myself and others, and mentor to a field of new writers, was felt deeply by all who loved him, and all who flourished under his “pay it forward” attitude.
But Galaxy’s Edge publisher, Shahid Mahmud, knew this shouldn’t be where Mike’s journey ended, working tirelessly to create the The Mike Resnick Memorial Award for Short Fiction. It will be a an annual award for the Best Unplublished Science Fiction Short Story by a New Author, co-sponsored by Galaxy’s Edge magazine and Dragon Con, carrying on Mike’s tradition of helping new generations of writers shine.
For those who are interested in submitting and finding out the award guidelines for its inaugural year, a webpage has been set up at www.arcmanorbooks.com/resnick with all the information a writer could need about entering their story for consideration. The submission period starts the day this issue goes live on January 1st, 2021, and closes on April 30th, 2021. We wish all entrants the best of luck!
In the continued spirit of starting the new year with great tidings, we are starting a new novel serialization in Galaxy’s Edge, publishing the first part of Over the Wine-Dark Sea by Harry Turtledove. We also welcome Nancy Kress back to our pages with her wonderful novelette, “Laws of Survival,” about a woman in a post-apocalyptic wasteland who becomes a dog trainer for alien robots. The robots motivations are puzzling, but she is sure that they’ll kill her if she doesn’t cooperate. By trying to reach the feral dogs, she is forced to deal with her own grief and loss.
We also feature the “The Homecoming” by Mike Resnick, a short story that tells the tale of a father unable to accept the changes in his child, who returns home to visit his ailing mother. He has to learn that while his child might have chosen to take a vastly different path in their life than he would have picked for them, it doesn’t make them any less worthy of his love and respect. Michael Swanwick also spins us a tale of astronauts exploring Titan, where they encounter a new form of life that lives on a different time scale in “Slow Life.”
Continuing Mike Resnick’s tradition of introducing new writers to our readers, we have three new writers in this issue! Kai Wolden delights us with this wonderful fantasy story about a young man whose town vanishes when the sky falls down upon it. Yes, you read that right, except that maybe this is actually a science fiction story, not a fantasy….
Elise Stephens weaves an unexpected tale with the “Drowned Prison” that will stick with you long after you have read it, and one of the most moving pieces in this issue is the shortest offering we have for you: Mica Scotti Kole’s “Grave 657” about a very dedicated robot trying his programmed best to keep grave sites clean of “contamination.”
Rounding out the fiction in this issue we welcome back two of our regulars, Dantzel Cherry with “Precedent and Prejudice” and Sean Patrick Hazlett, with “Scion of the Swarm” about man who makes a pact with someone who could be even worse than the devil himself. To say more would be to give away the brilliant (but chilling) ending, but needless to say, this piece is the best conjunction of science fiction and horror I have read in awhile.
Last, but not least, we have the regular Recommended Books reviews by Richard Chwedyk, and columns by Gregory Benford and L. Penelope. Interestingly enough, without consulting with each other, both my columnists submitted articles about technology. Penelope’s discusses its relationship (or discord) with fantasy, whereas Benford discusses how technology shapes our scientific and social evolution as we step into our own futures. Both are fascinating reads and I thought our readers would enjoy the juxtaposition.
As we go into our second year of dealing with Covid-19, we now have a vaccine approved years ahead of any other vaccine in history. In so many ways we are already living the life of a science fiction character. We just have to write a better ending to our novel than the almost-dystopian cliffhanger we had to 2020. Happy reading!
This November issue greets our readers with new articles from regular columnists L. Penelope and Gregory Benford, and reviews of the latest and greatest fiction by Richard Chwedyk. We have another Mike Resnick short story for our readers, this time written with celebrated French writer Jean-Claude Dunyach. Nancy Kress also returns to our pages with “Machine Learning,” which tells the tale of a researcher and his partner teaching an AI to train others as depression overtakes the researcher following the loss of his family.
In “The Ecology of Broken Promises,” Andrea Stewart gifts us a thought-provoking and confronting magical realism story that depicts the journey of a woman grappling with the guilt of all the vows she has broken in her life. If you haven’t yet read Andrea’s debut novel, The Bone Shard Daughter, published by Orbit this past September, you’re missing out! I would not be surprised if we see her name on some award ballots in the coming year.
We welcome Joe Haldeman back to our magazine, with “The Monster,” and J. Scott Coatsworth will dazzle our readers with “Lamplighter,” about Fen, a member of a fantasy world guild whose selfless attempts to relight a city and find a way to keep his love will spark a revolution. “Night Folk,” by Barb Galler-Smith, also takes part in the absence of daylight, where some aging creatures of the night put aside their walking canes to battle some geriatric hunters. It’s not often that we read about retired supernatural creatures, and this story doesn’t disappoint, flipping well-known tropes in this unexpected read.
If you are wanting something witty and entertaining, you can’t go wrong with “A Farmboy, a Wizard and a Dark Lord Walk into a Tower” by Dantzel Cherry. And who doesn’t like a time traveling story? William and Tyler travel into the past to save the life of William’s first child in “Saving Sarah,” a science fiction story by newcomer John Haas. With an ending that brought this editor to tears, this piece will show you how far a father will go to protect his child, and remind you that you can’t escape the consequences of your actions.
With the holiday season upon us, this issue showcases several pieces with a festive flare. “A Midwinter’s Tale” by Michael Swanwick tells a story within a story, about a soldier recalling an incident in his youth when an alien revealed the secret of how their species met. “To Hell with the Stars” is a charming tale by Jack McDevitt about a boy’s dream to travel into space, just like his favorite characters did in the thousand-year-old science fiction novels he loves to read so much. And last, but not least, Larry Hodges returns to the pages of Galaxy’s Edge with “The Untold Christmas Carol,” which explores Tiny Tim’s real origins, and the frustrations the Devil experiences when his hauntings don’t go according to plan.
Now, more than ever, when the United States is so divided, is the time we should come together to curl up with our family and loved ones in front of a roaring fireplace, sipping hot cocoa or eggnog as we celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, grateful for surviving the shitstorm that was 2020.
But before that, on the day this issue is published, the United States’ presidential election will be looming. Vote. Urge others to vote, whether they identify as red or blue. That way, when we ring in the New Year, we can remind ourselves that like the many brave characters of this issue’s science fiction and fantasy stories, we too have the ability to reshape our lives, and the lives of others around us, for the better.
We can’t be the heroes of our own story if we don’t step up, take a chance. Hold ourselves accountable.