The State as the noxious machine defacing humanity is flexing its mechanical muscles on a new level here in the United States of America. Chaos and hardship, bureaucratic mazes separating parents from reclaiming their children who have been treated like livestock, new plans for militarized detention camps for families of immigrants––it’s shocking and painful. I’m not trying to add cutting-edge commentary here. I’m just saying the phrase “a life hangs in the balance” has new meaning for me and I’d feel awful if I didn’t add something to the collective efforts to lessen the suffering.
I’m a substitute teacher for Portland Public Schools. I’ve seen how trauma impacts young lives, the long work ahead for the people who teach and care for them, the hard work the kids themselves have to put in to overcome their circumstances. On the last day of school I was working as a music teacher. Apparently there weren’t any music classes left in the year, so I found myself rolling aimlessly around an empty room on a computer chair, waiting for the unlikely class. Sam called me on the phone and we talked about his Uncle Wayne who’d just passed.
Wayne was an avid reader, and he left behind massive piles of pulp science fiction, hard-boiled crime, and fantasy. It’s a remarkable catalogue of under-the-radar imagination, and Wayne actually catalogued it. Sam found in his home messy, idiosyncratic notes on every book he read that were then shaped into a proper entry for each book in three spiral notebooks. As curators of science fiction ourselves we can’t help but remark at Wayne’s peculiar hobby, which we see as a life’s work, an unthanked scholar enjoying fringe literature out in New Hampshire
Sam’s family has been gracious enough to hand us this library, and we aim to archive it and sell off Wayne’s collection to fund our magazine and also do a little good in the form of support for rotating charities of Sam’s choice. In the interest of jumping in when we really feel like we need to,
from Tuesday, June 26th to Tuesday, July 3rd we’ll be sending free books from Wayne’s collection (shipping on us) to anyone who can email proof of a donation made to RAICES between these dates.
What I’m saying is, if you pitch in to mitigate the ill effects of the present American Dystopia, we wanna help Uncle Wayne give you a pat on the back, a nod of encouragement, from the legion of Great Beyonds he was always reading about.
We can be found then and always at firstname.lastname@example.org
Dad was always the strong one. The one who held the family together, the one who kept Mom from going over the edge when Katherine disappeared. Dad coaxed her back out of herself, out of the valium fog. Got her to walk, got her to read, to take two bites of a six-hour meal. Dad was the rock on which we built our whatever. It must have been his hobbies—piles of Hemingway, half-drafted blueprints, sawdust and woodwork, an endless succession of fly rods. He could center himself and bring us into orbit.
So I guess we should have noticed. When he started me tying his flies, stopped carving and then left his shop altogether, when he started The Old Man and the Sea at breakfast and hadn’t made it to the marlin by dinnertime. I know I should have noticed. Not that it would have helped.
I was lucky enough, though, coming back when I did.
Continue reading Lucky That Way – Jonathan Coumes
Somewhere in rural America, mother and child enjoyed great outdoor scenery–ravishing rolling grasslands nestling a sparkling clean river. Mother laid down her giggling infant, wandered off barefoot to explore the soothing caresses of the river’s cool waters, blissfully unaware of unfamiliar things lurking behind her, inexorably honing in on her child.
Continue reading The Colliding Worlds Of Meghan Lake – Chinyere Onyekwere
It was Eighthday night, and the card tables in the seedy Rift Beta Niner casino were hopping. Martin “Cutshanks” LeCroix looked down at his chips and grimaced through his funjuice buzz. The stocky, gray-haired space pirate had only enough chips for one more hand, and nowhere enough to cover the credit he’d been advanced by the house. If he busted this round, he was out, and flat broke. In the lawless Rift Zone, that meant only one thing: indenture.
Continue reading The Emperor’s Liar – Jeff Stoner
Walk as though you are accustomed to firm ground beneath your feet. Shake your hair loose. Let your arms swing away from your body. Increase the length of your strides as though you’ve spent your entire life surrounded by abundant space, more space than could ever be explored or exhausted—but keep your head down, because here on Earth you are not a free woman of the New Cities; you are a subject of the Perpetual Empire.
Continue reading A Small Price to Pay – Aaron Emmel
The clown, the clown of Hartford Downs,
Give him a smile, he’ll come on around.
My name is Charles Pierce, and I hunt clowns.
Allow me to explain.
Continue reading RUBBER NOSES – Paul Spears
The submersible floated down through the midnight-blue depths like a falling star. Unlike Earth, the waters of Tethys were still pure and unpolluted. With no habitable land to speak of, it remained untouched by the surge of humanity settling new worlds, of interest only to scientists and prospectors.
“Look.” Jon tapped the screen showing the view from the front cameras.
Continue reading LIGHT – DJ Tyrer
Waking up with someone pounding on your door is never pleasant, especially when it’s the police. Granted, the sun was climbing toward noon and most decent people were awake, carrying on with their mundane lives, but when you’re the low woman on the physics supercomputer access list you take your research hours where you can find them. Even if that means working until four in the morning.
Continue reading PERIPHERAL VISION – Jeff Dosser