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The Mount: Chapter One

by Carol Emshwiller

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Carol Emshwiller

The Mount

The MountWe’re not against you, we’re for. In fact we’re built for you and you for us — we, so our weak little legs will dangle on your chest and our tail down the back. Exactly as you so often transport your own young when they are weak and small. It’s a joy. Just like a mother-walk.

You’ll be free. You’ll have a pillow. You’ll have a water faucet and a bookcase. We’ll pat you if you do things fast enough and don’t play hard to catch. We’ll rub your legs and soak your feet. Sams and Sues, and you Sams had better behave yourselves.

You still call us aliens in spite of the fact that we’ve been on your world for generations. And why call aliens exactly those who’ve brought health and happiness to you? And look how well we fit, you and us. As if born for each other even though we come from different worlds.

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Mrs. Jones

by Carol Emshwiller

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Carol Emshwiller | from Report to the Men’s Club and Other Stories

ReportCora is a morning person. Her sister, Janice, hardly feels conscious till late afternoon. Janice nibbles fruit and berries and complains of her stomach. Cora eats potatoes with butter and sour cream. She likes being fat. It makes her feel powerful and hides her wrinkles. Janice thinks being thin and willowy makes her look young, though she would admit that — and even though Cora spends more time outside doing the yard and farm work — Cora’s skin does look smoother. Janice has a slight stutter. Normally she speaks rapidly and in a kind of shorthand so as not to take up anyone’s precious time, but with her stutter, she can hold peoples’ attention for a moment longer than she would otherwise dare. Cora, on the other hand, speaks slowly, and if she had ever stuttered, would have seen to it she learned not to.

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Rosetti Song

by Alex Irvine

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Some people have always wanted to be president, or a baseball player, or a movie star or business tycoon. Me, I’ve always wanted to own a bar. Not some flaky franchised chicken-finger paradise for post-fraternity muscleboys and their bimbos; a real shot-and-a-beer kind of neighborhood joint. Pool table or two in the back, an old Wurlitzer by the bathroom doors, a long mirror behind the bar suitable for the sort of what’s-he-got-that-I-ain’t-got scrutiny that melancholy drunks love to subject themselves to. Tables with a topography of cigarette burns, water rings, dents of uncertain origin, all preserved under a quarter-inch layer of varnish. Beer signs on the walls, no bikinis or volleyballs allowed, just painted mirrors and classic flickering neon like the sign out front that says FRANK’S PLACE. Cab company numbers taped to the side of the phone. A blackboard leaning against the mirror advertising the day’s special and a permanent addendum: HANGOVERS FREE OF CHARGE.

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Leaked White House Memo

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Memo

From our mole in The Pentagon, June 2002:

Date: Last year? (That would be 1972, right?)

Subject: Who we gonna call?

To: xxxxxxxxxxxx (for security purposes)

From: xxxxxxxxxxxxx (as above)

Ok, look. What the hell are we going to do? Army — and let’s not talk about Navy or Airforce, or the damn “special” forces — recruitment is down to god-awful percentages. What the f*&%? I mean, if not now, as T. Chapman, asked, thenWhen? We ran some numbers on one of those supercool computer Steve Jobs is playing with for us, and it said that we are up the midwest creek without a paddle, a gunnel, or an armored convoy. We need Mom. Not Mobile Operative Missiles, neither Manually Operated Mopeds, but she-who-makes-the PB&Js! It’s time to sort out who the real force in American (ahem, U.S.) politics is today, and we know, if they get their act together, it’s the moms.

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What’s the Story? Reading Carol Emshwiller’s “Peninsula”

by L. Timmel Duchamp

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The first part of this column on Carol Emshwiller‘s “Sex and/or Mr. Morrison” can be found in Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet no.9

There is an odd significance beginning to make itself felt and I must stay open to it. I must understand it when it has finished unfolding itself to me. I see that now, and that I must put together each incident to form a whole. I must not look at things separately. (121)

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Whisper

by Ray Vukcevich

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Meet Me in the Moon RoomAnd then she fired her parting shot. “And not only that,” she said, as if “that” hadn’t been quite enough, “you snore horribly!”

“I do not,” I said. “I definitely do not snore.” I was talking to her back. “You’re making it up!” I was talking to the door. “Someone else would have mentioned it!” I was talking to myself.

Mistakes were made, relationships fell apart, and hurtful things were said. Life was like that. Read more



Mom’s Little Friends

by Ray Vukcevich

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Because he wouldn’t understand, we left Mom’s German shepherd Toby leashed to the big black roll bar in the back of Ada’s pickup truck, and because Mom’s hands were tied behind her back and because her ankles were lashed together, we had some trouble wrestling her out of the cab and onto the bridge.

My sister Ada rolled her over, a little roughly, I thought, and checked the knots. I had faith in those knots. Ada was a rancher from Arizona and knew how to tie things up. I made sure Mom’s sweater was buttoned. I jerked her green and white housedress back down over her pasty knees. I made sure her boots were tightly tied.

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No Comet

by Ray Vukcevich

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Convinced that my slant on Bohr’s version of the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics was our last hope, I bullied Jane, who didn’t want to be married to me anymore, and Sacha into cooperating with a final desperate attempt to save the world.

“This is stupid, Tim,” Jane said, her voice softened a little by the brown paper bag over her head.

“La la, la la, la la,” Sacha sang. She banged the heels of her shoes against the legs of her chair in time to her tune. Wearing a bag over her head was still fun, I thought, but our daughter was seven and had fidgeting down to a fine art. How long would she stick with me?

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What’s the Story: Reading Anna Kavan’s Ice

by L. Timmel Duchamp

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LCRW 14 Online Extra

Anna Kavan’s Ice is a novel of relentless, evanescent beauty that depicts a world in which two explicitly linked forms of violence dominate and inexorably and insanely destroy it. First published in 1967, on the eve of the second wave of feminism, Ice has never been regarded as a significant work of proto-feminist literature, although scholars occasionally include it on lists of sf by women written before the major works of feminist sf burst onto the scene in the 1970s. The novel’s surrealist form demands a different sort of reading than that of science fiction driven by narrative causality, but the text’s obsessive insistence on linking the global political violence of the Cold War with the threateningly lethal sexual objectification of Woman and depicting them as two poles of the same suicidal collective will to destroy life makes Ice an interesting feminist literary experiment.

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Prison Is a Place on Earth

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House prices far out of reach?
Can’t afford an apartment?
Come to Prison!

“It’s just like my old man told me,” says Prisoner X, male, 37, married with two children. “Three squares a day, a job and a place to sleep. I’m doing better here than I ever did outside!”

Tired of the noise, the rat-race, the pressure of urban life? Many prisons are in rural and suburban areas. Enjoy the peace, the fresh air of a new prison. Laugh at people hurrying along from one city to another as you take a relaxed walk beside the highway (Keeping America Beautiful as you go).

Worried by overcrowding? It’s not a feature of all our prisons.  Besides, there’s always solitary confinement which Charles Dickens enthusiastically described as a “slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain.” (American Notes for General Circulation, London: Chapman & Hall, 1842)

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Perpetual Motion

by Dora Knez

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from the chapbook Five Forbidden Things

Malfi arrived in the middle toilet stall of the men’s room. The Saurians had chosen it as the best way of concealing him initially, though it was not ideal. But he was lucky: the only other man there was locked into a cubicle of his own. Malfi had plenty of time to check his appearance in the mirror and make sure he had the beeper and the ticket mock-up before entering the airport proper.

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Other Agents

by Richard Butner

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LCRW 5“1985 sure is dark,” Nick said, and another 100 watt bulb popped gently in his hands. “It’s a good thing we have these protective gauntlets.” Nick waggled his hands and scattered shards of glass on the bedspread.

“These aren’t protective gauntlets,” the Assassin replied, “they’re rubber gloves we stole from the bathroom at the Burger King.” Except for the brownish-blue gloves, the Assassin was dressed in black from head to foot.

“I like to think that they were left there for us. We are on a mission, after all.”

The motel room was strung with cheap extension cords that fed a dozen utility lamps clamped to any available surface. The dingy bedspread, scattered with supplies, glowed in the center of the ring of lights. Between the two of them they’d already smashed five bulbs.

The Assassin carefully peeled off his gloves, pushed up his mirrored sunglasses, and rubbed his eyes. His hands shook. Nick started doing one-handed pushups on the carpet.

“I’m feeling much better now that we’ve got these lights up,” Nick said, gasping. “But I’m thirsty. Let’s get some beers. What’s the best beer in 1985?”

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Male Blonding

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Excerpts from an upcoming textbook to be published by the Northern Massachusetts University School of Industrial History.

From the Introductory Section:

Male Blonding is a modern movement that, however, has its basis in ancient times. Early Male blonds include Jesus of Nazereth who stood out very effectively from the generally dark Israeli crowds. Blonding was very popular in the highlands of Ethiopia where legends of an Aryan tribe grew up around a city where almost everyone blonded their hair. Leonardo da Vinci rediscovered Male Blonding in the Renaissance. It was a huge breakthrough when he announced that lemon juice was as effective if not more so than pigs urine. (He also drew a plan for the first machine to extract juice from lemons but was unable to construct a working model).

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The Death Penalty

by Gavin J. Grant

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The death penalty is alive and well as Western calendars and Bill Gates’ computers nervously approach the year 2000. In the US alone at least 490 people have been executed since 1976. But, no matter how much the practice of state mandated killing is debated, we need to abolish it now.

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Fact Checking Department, Library of Alexandria, Egypt

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FROM: Dept. Head
TO: Editor
SUBJECT: Submissions for volume 2, number 1
DATE: September 25, 1998

Enclosed is a brief summation of major points on the latest batch of submissions to the magazine. The summation here is brief as you should have the completed report by this time (Editor’s Note: the report itself, while I don’t doubt it’s existence, has yet to make an appearance). As this is being sent telegramatically I shall keep it short.

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