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Fiction River: Moonscapes

BOOK: Fiction River: Moonscapes
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Fiction River:
Moonscapes

 

Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith

Series Editors

 

Dean Wesley Smith

Editor

 

 

Copyright Information

 

Fiction River: Moonscapes

Copyright © 2014 by WMG Publishing

Published by WMG Publishing

Cover and Layout copyright © 2014 by WMG Publishing

Editing and other written material copyright © 2014 by Dean Wesley Smith

Cover art copyright © Httin/Dreamstime

Cover design by Allyson Longueira/WMG Publishing

 

“Foreword: Moon Stories” copyright © 2014 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

“Introduction: A Moon: That’s It” copyright © 2014 by Dean Wesley Smith

“Hot Jupiters” copyright © 2014 by Steven Mohan, Jr.

“The Old Guy” copyright © 2014 by Annie Reed

“The Toy That Ran Away” copyright © 2014 by Scott William Carter

“The Payment” copyright © 2014 by Maggie Jaimeson

“Caressing Charon” copyright © 2014 by Ryan M. Williams

“Moon Shine” copyright © 2014 by Matthew Lieber Buchman

“Dreams of a Moon” copyright © 2014 by Dean Wesley Smith

“The Moon Was Bitter and Hungry” copyright © 2014 by JC Andrijeski

“The Verdant Gene” copyright © 2014 by Marcelle Dubé

“Moonfall” copyright © 2014 by Lisa Silverthorne

“A Murder of Clones” copyright © 2014 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

Smashwords Edition

This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental. This book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

 

 

 

Table of Contents

 

Foreword: Moon Stories

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

Introduction: A Moon: That’s It

Dean Wesley Smith

 

Hot Jupiters

Steven Mohan, Jr.

 

The Old Guy

Annie Reed

 

The Toy That Ran Away

Scott William Carter

 

The Payment

Maggie Jaimeson

 

Caressing Charon

Ryan M. Williams

 

Moon Shine

Matthew Lieber Buchman

 

Dreams of a Moon

Dean Wesley Smith

 

The Moon Was Bitter and Hungry

JC Andrijeski

 

The Verdant Gene

Marcelle Dubé

 

Moonfall

Lisa Silverthorne

 

A Murder of Clones

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

Acknowledgements

About the Editor

Copyright Information

 

 

Foreword

Moon Stories

Kristine Kathryn Rusch

 

Recently, some writer on a major science fiction blogging site wrote a screed begging for purity in his sf. Legendary editor Gardner Dozois calls such sf “pure quill” sf—the kind that Heinlein, Clarke, and Asimov wrote, updated for the modern era, of course. The blogger (who shall remain nameless because, by the time you read this, some other blogger will have said the same thing) decried romance stories with sf trappings
marketed
as sf, adventure stories marketed as sf (without science in them), dystopias marketed as sf—well, you get the idea.

I read his piece and felt a twinge of empathy. I read every single genre I can get my hands on. Fiction River reflects that in its design—we cover all the genres, and then mix them up, so that you’ll get the unexpected—a touch of sf with your romance, a touch of mystery with your sf.

But as I read the blogger’s piece, I realized that I’m a pure-quill sf girl. When I pick up a book marketed as sf, I want sf.

So, when Dean proposed
Moonscapes
as volume six of Fiction River, I thought “science fiction!” He didn’t say that—he
never
said that. He wanted stories about moons or set on moons or near moons or about moons. He wanted
moon
scapes.

I realized this as we read a pile of stories that professional writers wrote with
Moonscapes
in mind. We both loved several stories that had no real sf element. If I were editing, I wouldn’t have bought them, even though they were brilliant. My envisioned volume was hard sf to the core—the kind Heinlein, Asimov, and Clarke would have written.

Dean’s was
moon
-based to the core—and he didn’t care which moon. Earth’s moon? Sure. Jupiter’s moon(s)? Okay. A made-up moon? Yeah, fine.

I’ll be honest: a goodly portion of the stories in this volume are pure-quill sf, like Steven Mohan’s “Hot Jupiters.” But some are something Damon Knight used to call space fantasy, like Scott William Carter’s “The Toy That Ran Away.” The purists and the sf fans would argue about the categories other stories would fall into, such as Lisa Silverthorne’s “Moonfall.” And other stories in this volume are just great stories with a moon in it, like Annie Reed’s “The Old Guy.”

The moods in this volume vary from suspenseful to touching to I-can’t-believe-she-did-that. Surprising, fun, different, the stories in
Moonscapes
also manage to use the second part of that word as well. They give a portrait of moons that pans the imaginative landscape. (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.) We have moons and scapes, and moonscapes. And a lot of wonderful reading.

Enjoy!

—Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Lincoln City, Oregon

September 6, 2013

 

 

Introduction

A Moon: That’s It

Dean Wesley Smith

 

Back in the planning stages of
Fiction River
, I really hoped that one of the first volumes would be about moons. One of my all-time favorite books (that I read back when I was growing up in the late 1950s and early 1960s) was
Rogue Moon
by Algis Budrys. I loved that book and I always wished AJ would have managed to write a sequel to it before he left us. But no luck I’m afraid.

That book is now considered a classic, as it should be. I can still remember the tag line on the front of that old first edition paperback. “He died, and ascended to the moon and sat on the right hand of death.” Wonderful.

Since that early reading, the moon (and all moons, actually) have had a special place in my reading heart.

And it might be no surprise to anyone reading this that my wife and executive editing partner on
Fiction River,
Kristine Kathryn Rusch, has a series of books and short novels and short stories set mostly on the moon in the universe of The Retrieval Artist.

And to be clear, I am a major fan of those books and stories. Major. And I’m not alone, since the fans of
Analog SF Magazine
seem to love them as well, as do all the thousands and thousands who have purchased the first nine novels in the series.

Since Miles Flint, the Retrieval Artist himself, lives on the moon in the future, it was a logical conclusion that for
Fiction River: Moonscapes
, Kris would do a Retrieval Artist story. (With some arm twisting, I might add, but that’s the job of the editor.)

Then, after I got
Fiction River: Moonscapes
on the schedule, Kris decided she would do more than just a short story. She would do a special Retrieval Artist short novel (novella) for a bonus Kickstarter award. And a number of people signed up for that special Kickstarter edition of the short novel and have already gotten them by the time you read this.

Kris upheld her end of the bargain and wrote this fantastic Retrieval Artist short novel, “A Murder of Clones,” that you find complete in this volume. It’s not really set on the Moon, but it is set on
a
moon in the Retrieval Artist universe and that’s enough for this editor.

So with that wonderful short novel for me to build around, I went after some of the best writers working in short fiction to fill out the volume. And I got them.

By the very nature of the title
Fiction River: Moonscapes
, science fiction will dominate this volume. But not all stories are completely science fiction by any definition. In fact, this volume brushes past a number of genres as is the nature of any
Fiction River
volume.

A couple of the stories are bleak, a couple funny, and a number are just plain heartwarming. All are great reads and great stories in my opinion. And they all take a look at a moonscape in one way or another.

I hope you enjoy the read. It was a pleasure to bring this volume to life over the last year or so. And with it just a touch of my childhood as well.

—Dean Wesley Smith

Lincoln City, Oregon

September 6, 2013

 

 

Introduction to “
Hot Jupiters”

 

Steven Mohan, Jr. published ten novels under various names. I’ve always thought Steve was a natural heir to Tom Clancy; Steve’s novel
Winter Dragon
(written as Henry Martin) proved me right by spending more than a year on Amazon’s techno thriller bestseller list. Steve is also a Pushcart Prize nominee whose short fiction has appeared in more than 100 venues, from anthologies to
On Spec
and
Interzone
.

About this story, he writes that once astronomers discovered the first exoplanet in 1992, humanity discovered that it was “living in a universe of puffy planets, water worlds, planets circling their suns in days—or
hours
, even a world-sized hunk of diamond orbiting a flickering pulsar. Just how did our universe get this weird?

“That’s a question I tried to answer in ‘Hot Jupiters.’”

 

 

Hot Jupiters

Steven Mohan, Jr.

 

Pravda
’s meters-thick hull was a sandwich of steel and polymerized glass as transparent as a brick wall, but Saxon Krieg had ordered the shipmind to paint the vessel’s sensor feed across the interior bulkheads so it seemed there
was
no hull.

The pair of lovers floated in a black sea whose islands were a million stars.

They were in bed, the wrecked sheets damp with sweat, the air heavy with the astringent smell of sex. Monica curled into him, her lovely face pressed against his chest, her long, slim legs tangled up with his, drowsing in the interstellar night.

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