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This Week in SHOWCASE
by Bruce Bethke
Editor, Stupefying Stories
Welcome to Issue #3 of SHOWCASE, the free weekly webzine companion to STUPEFYING STORIES magazine and the STUPEFYING STORIES PRESENTS anthology series. Each week in SHOWCASE we’ll offer up previews of coming attractions, samples of what we’re working on, reviews and comments, and of course, new stories by some of our favorite writers—who we hope will soon become some of your favorite writers, too.
The big news for this week, of course, is that we are totally up to our necks in putting the final touches on the July issue of STUPEFYING STORIES magazine, which goes on sale Monday, July 1. Featuring another awesome cover by artist Aaron Bradford Starr—
—to go with author Mark Wolf’s equally awesome sci-fi adventure, “For the Love of a Grenitschee,” the July issue of STUPEFYING STORIES magazine will be bigger, better, and more amazing than anything you’ve ever seen from us before. Featuring two complete novelettes—“The Music Teacher” by Mark Niemann-Ross and “The Robot Agenda” by Samantha Boyette—plus new stories by Julie Frost, Lawrence Buentello, Russell Colson, Kyle Aisteach, Judith Field, and Evan Dicken, the July issue of STUPEFYING STORIES is going to be
Amaz— Astoun— Fantas— Incredi—... REALLY GOOD!
And with that said, enough of the sales pitch. This week in SHOWCASE we’re featuring some longer stories, just in case you thought we only did flash fiction, beginning with—
“When I catch it, can I eat it?”
Mr. Tremblay, Executive Mission Administrator of The Pilgrim’s Progress, stared across the expanse of his mahogany desk at his Chief Maintenance Engineer. A ginger-haired man named Wilbur, the maintenance engineer had the physique of a prize-winning heifer and a way of speaking that suggested a dearth of intellectual subtlety.
“Can you what?” Tremblay asked.
“I said, can I eat it? I seen pictures of these things on TV. They look like lobsters.” Wilbur licked his lips. “I never ate a lobster before.”
“I don’t care what you do with it, as long as you capture it before we reach Arcadia. The last thing we need is for a Homardian to stow away in one of the equipment or supply containers we’re bringing down to the planet.”
“Why? What harm is one little lobster gonna do down there?”
Tremblay removed his glasses. “Homardians are capable of asexual reproduction. Allowing one to escape to the planet is the same as allowing a million. If that happens, all of the Western Alliance’s plans will have been for nothing...”
I knew that friggin’ guy was trouble when he walked in here.
I mean, sometimes you can see the wheels turn behind a guy’s eyes and know he’s up to no good. That’s why I left the “We Reserve The Right To Refuse Service” sign hanging on the wall when I bought this launderette 17 years ago, in case some of them gang-bangers came in here to settle their beefs. But I’ve never had any real trouble. You’d think I’d have plenty of problems in a neighborhood like this, but really, people just want a decent place to get their clothes clean.
Don’t look at me like that, you bastard. You wanted a statement, I’m giving you a statement...
I mean, I know this whole bizarre set-up is just a thought-experiment. That’s not a hell of a lot of consolation when you’re stuck here inside this box, I can tell you. Soon as I’m out of here, I’m ripping your damn face off with my claws, no questions asked. Assuming I get out of here alive, of course.
Because, yeah, yeah, I may be dead already and just haven’t noticed. Or wait, no, I’m dead and I’m alive. Both at the same time. Actually, I get that. If I catch a mouse and drop it on the floor, a lot of the time it’ll just lie there. Could be dead, which is boring, could be just playing dead, waiting for its chance to scuttle off, which is fun. See? It’s alive and dead. That’s not rocket science is it? No need for your fancy radiation and hydrocyanic-poisoning rig. No violation of animal rights. Okay, there’s the mouse, but they’re just, like, food, right?
And while we’re on the subject...