Issue 29

September 01, 2007

Table of Contents

Ray Gun Revival
Overlords (Founders / Editors): Johne Cook, L. S. King, Paul Christian Glenn Venerable Staff: A.M. Stickel - Managing Copyeditor Shannon McNear - Lord High Advisor, grammar consultant, listening ear/sanity saver for Overlord Lee Paul Christian Glenn - PR, sounding board, strong right hand L. S. King - Lord High Editor, proofreader, beloved nag, muse, webmistress Johne Cook - art wrangler, desktop publishing, chief cook and bottle washer Slushmasters (Submissions Editors): Scott M. Sandridge John M. Whalen David Wilhelms Shari L. Armstrong Jack Willard Serial Authors: Sean T. M. Stiennon John M. Whalen Ben Schumacher Lee S. King Paul Christian Glenn Johne Cook Cover Art: “Those Specks Aren’t Snow” by Benjamin Boozer IV Without Whom... Bill Snodgrass, site host, Web-Net Solutions, admin, webmaster, database admin, mentor, confidante, liaison – Double-edged Publishing Special Thanks: Ray Gun Revival logo design by Hatchbox Creative

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2 3 6 13 14 15 16 17 19 27

Table of Contents Overlords’ Lair The Pasadena Rule, Part One of Six by Ben Schumacher Space Monkey Flash Fiction Contest Special Mention - Outer Space Theater by Viktor Kuprin Space Monkey Flash Fiction Contest Third Place - A Thousand Splendid Monkeys by Lyndon Perry Space Monkey Flash Fiction Contest Second Place - Monkey Madness by R. L. Copple Space Monkey Flash Fiction Contest First Place - Never Forget Some Things by G. A. Semones Featured Artist: Benjamin B. Boozer IV Deuces Wild, Chapter 15 Strange Bedfellows, Part Two by L. S. King The RGR Time Capsule August 15 - August 31, 2007
All content copyright 2007 by Double-edged Publishing, a Memphis, Tennessee-based non-profit publisher. Rev: 20070901c

Visit us online at http://raygunrevival.com

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Issue 29, September 01, 2007

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Overlords’ Lair
Y
ou may have heard about the excitement online this past week when Ray Gun Revival magazine found ourselves in the midst of the DMCA controversy between users of the online document hosting outfit, Scribd, and SFWA, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. Rest easy—I’m not going to go over all that again here. However, I would like to comment on how things looked from our perspective as some of the smallest of little fish caught up in the turbulent waters of a much larger pond. It is Saturday, September 1st, 2007, as I write this editorial. Now we know how the events played out on Friday, August 31st, 2007. But on Monday, the 27th, we still had no idea what was really going on, or what would happen next. Jason from Scribd had informed us that two RGR back issues had been taken down as a result of an alleged DMCA violation. The language was all lawyery and stuff, and I was frankly out of my depth. I spoke about the situation with fellow RGR founder Lee S. King. The following morning, while I was paralyzed by uncertainty how to best proceed, Lee wrote an impassioned post about the development and posted it on her blog after lunch. That was the spark that broke my reverie. We’re writers, and we often best find our way through writing. Lee’s post spurred me to write down what I did and didn’t know. I finally posted my impression of the event on my blog. I wondered what to do with SFWA VP Andrew Burt might have ended next, and thought of two names—Cory Doctorow, there as well if he had quickly owned his action and John Scalzi. and apologized. I don’t know of anybody who thinks that SFWA doesn’t have the right—and I screwed up my courage and copied Cory and perhaps the responsibility—to take action on John on that post, not really expecting a response; behalf of a segment of their membership with Cory was travelling, and John’s legendary blog, legitimate copyright infringement issues. Whatever, was on hiatus until after Labor Day. However, when non-offending publications Oh, me of little faith. To my ever-loving surprise, were recklessly taken down and the authors and I was wrong. More on that later. editors left in the lurch, the attitude seemed to be that the Scribd service and anyone who used So let’s talk about Friday the 31st. Cory Doctorow it were pirates. This ignores the fact that some crafted the story that kicked it all off, and included people find value their own a reference to RGR as one of the affected parties. freely available as ain making decision. works deliberate He even linked to us. That was way cool, but the day was just getting started. As the story developed, a perceived arrogance of ownership from Mr. Cory’s story made the cover of nearly every and subsequent lack well with many, and soBurt and SFWA didn’t sit the important geek site: Boing Boing, Making molehill grew into the mountain. Light, Ars Technica, Evil Avatar, Digg, Slashdot, Valleywag, and many blogs. I do wonder what happened to Mr. Burt. SFWA apologies might have carried more weight if As fans of SF, we couldn’t have been more delivered up front and by the figure who touched starry-eyed as many currently relevant authors off the event, he who wrote so strongly to Scribd chimed in with us against the SFWA blunder, a place. (Update: I was privy to a flurry  who’s who of impressive names. Gird your loins, in the first earlier in the week as Cory developed of e-mails here comes the name-dropping: Cory Doctorow, his story, along with Jason Bentley from Scribd, Wil Wheaton, John Scalzi, Charles Stross, Will Fred von Lohmann, Sr. IP Attorney from EFF, and Shetterly, Tobias Buckell, Lawrence Evans, others.  Jason  posted Fred’s official response Stephen Leigh, and Steven Gould. And those are just the ones I linked to as the day unfolded. on behalf of Scribd to Dr. Burt Saturday night.) There are many more that I didn’t get to. I know that not everybody knows how to deal with internet PR disasters. They should read Personally, I suspect an oversight that started Teresa Nielsen Hayden:

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Overlords' Lair
If I ever get to go back to that thing I was writing about moderation, there’ll need to  be a section about dealing with internet PR  disasters. A rudimentary notion of it: (1.) Get out there and say something, fast.  (2.)  Acknowledge  that  there  have  been  screwups. Avoid passive constructions. (3.)  Explain  what  you’re  doing  to  help  fix  the  problem. Be telling the truth when you do  it. (4.) Give up all hope of sneaking anything  past your listeners. You’ve screwed up, the  internet is watching, and behind each and every one of those pairs of eyes is a person who  knows  how  to  Google.  (5.)  Corporatespeak  will  do  you  more  harm  than  good.  Instead,  speak  frankly  about  what’s  going  on. React like a human being. Talk like one,  too. There. It’s not much, but evidently it’s more  than ________ and ____________ and ____ know. For what it’s worth, SFWA President Michael Capobianco did try to get out in front of it during the day on Friday, but it came across to many as too little, too late. This may be an artifact of the blistering speeds of how events can unfold, flourish, and die on the internet. However, the fact that Mr. Capobianco didn’t deliver the SFWA apology until after the firestorm was well and truly underway—and even then, in stages that suggest corporate wordsmithing —suggests to me that without Cory’s article, no apology might have been delivered. We will likely never know. On the other hand, that Mr. Capobianco personally apologized on my blog, Lee S. King’s blog, and to the other unfortunates caught in the middle also speaks well of him. Also, John Scalzi, who ran and lost against Mr. Capobianco for the SFWA presidency, saw the apology, as rendered, as a positive first step. That does carry weight with me. When this all shakes out, I think Friday, August 31st may end up being costly for the SFWA because of the loss of face (with the sloppy way this happened in the first place), the loss of members (and their dues), and the loss of credibility on the issues of appropriate digital rights in changing times. From where I sat, some folks got it right away, and some didn’t get it at all. Some are firmly in favor of protecting their own intellectual property. Some are in favor of giving away their works as a loss leader to spur other sales, to get their name out into the public arena, or simply out of the love of the work. Somehow, we have to find some common sense middle ground between the two stances. It shouldn’t be an either / or thing. If it is true that obscurity is more lethal than piracy—which would be difficult anyway, as we freely give away our publication—the inadvertent takedown of our two issues has garnered far more publicity for Ray Gun Revival than we ever could have hoped. Whether that attention will have legs and pay off in new readers remains to be seen. However, I can tell you this much—hits on the RGR site were up by nearly 600% yesterday—the traffic on my own humble writer’s blog was double that—I believe we represented ourselves well in the discussion as it unfolded across the major geek sites. The RGR Overlords thought RGR was already in a winning position before Friday even happened; we filed our DMCA counter-notifications and will be getting our issues restored at Scribd,

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and we developed a great rapport with the Scribd leadership. However, after Friday, we also enjoyed the added bonus of being right in the midst of the unfolding PR firestorm, and garnered much additional attention for our site, our publication, and our talented artists and authors. So back to where this all started. As I crafted and sent my first call for help on Tuesday, the two authors I copied on that first e-mail were Cory Doctorow and John Scalzi. It is perhaps fitting that as I look back over the events of Friday, August 31st, 2007, Cory kicked things off, and for all intents and purposes, John wrapped things up. On behalf of all the little guys stuck in the middle through all this, thanks for a really good day. On the lighter side, Steven Brust, as usual, had a unique take: SFFWA: Predictions 1.  I  predict  there  will  very  soon  be  a  new  organization replacing the SFFWA. 2. I predict the president and vice-president  of the new organization will be John Scalzi and Will Shetterly 3. I predict this will result in a great outcry  because they are both white males. In the same thread, John Scalzi posted an equally unique comeback: The mind reels. We’d  have  fun,  though.  Right  up  to  the  moment  we  TORE  OUT  EACH  OTHERS’  THROATS. Which would totally happen.

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Overlords' Lair
I was right—Scalzi really did get the last word. Johne Cook Breezeway, WI September 1st, 2007

Pg. 5 The Pasadena Rule by Ben Schumacher
Madeline hesitated. When she spoke, her voice was flat. “Something has happened on the surface. There’s been an accident.”

A note about this story. Ben is a by-God physicist, and can also write like nobody’s business. We were introduced to Ben by Lyndon Perry, proprietor of the righteous Residential Aliens publication, an online The winners of the Ray Gun Revival Space magazine devoted to quality speculative Monkey Flash Fiction contest! fiction. No, I’m not telling you more than that here.    They’re less than 500 words each.   If Lyn tells you that we stole Ben right out from under his feet, well, that’s pretty much We have third place, second place, and first  true. What can I say? We really are set up for serial stories, and this is a roaring good place stories.  And for added fun, we included  serial story! So, for Lyn’s sake, please do me a special mention story. a favor and go check out Residential Aliens. Read  ‘em  for  yourself,  for  crying  out  loud!    And then when you’re done there, come They’re fun! on back here and buckle down for the best golden age sci-fi story you’ve read in ages! Jack and Katya are part of a space exploration Deuces Wild: “Strange Bedfellows, Part team,  out  where  ‘science’  and  ‘adventure’  Two” by L. S. King are the same thing. ‘Danger’ wants in. Tristan fights Myers. Myers cheats. 
“Jack? What is your status?” It was Madeline Whitten, our skipper, calling from inside the gondola. “Dieter freed the snag,” I said. “The probe should be inboard within the hour.” “Yes, good,” said Madeline shortly. “You need to come inside.” “We’ve just started pulling the probe back in. That’s going to take a little while.” “Let Dieter finish the job. Bill is getting his suit on and can help him. But you have to come back inside now.” There was a funny edge in her voice. “What has happened?” I asked, suddenly afraid to hear the answer. “There’s no way out, MacCay,” Myers shouted while Betts shrieked wordlessly. Tristan stood to one side, as far from any line of fire as possible, in case Myers decided to blow the wall in. His right leg, injured on Eridani, ached again from his acrobatic dive into this side room. He eyed the ventilation shaft near the floor. He’d previously checked out this building one night, and as he’d discovered on his first visit to this planet, the older buildings on this planet all had commodious ductwork. He could pry the cover loose; he only needed about ten seconds to get inside and escape, if he had the chance. Would Myers shoot first or talk? “Myers, you do tend to make a splashy entrance.”

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

The Pasadena Rule by Ben Schumacher

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The Pasadena Rule
Serial Novel: Part One of Six
by Ben Schumacher
Mild language

“H

1.

ell of a long way down,” I said.

“Stop worrying, Jack,” Dieter said. “I have to make sure that the cable doesn’t snag again.” He was standing on the rail of Gamma’s experiment deck, holding on to the boom of the big winch, leaning out over the white abyss below. The winch motor hummed as the long black cable slowly wound its way back onto the drum, reeling in the instrument probe. In the training program we had done things more dangerous than Dieter was doing now, but back then we had always worn parachutes. Dieter only had one thin safety line—and of course, a parachute was out of the question. I shook my head and looked away.

raised the cable speed to about two meters per second. At the same time the control computer sent signals down ten kilometers of cable, telling the probe to pitch its fins to increase its lift. The cable itself stretched and flexed to smooth out the changes. Dieter jumped down on the right side of the safety rail. He looked out at the cloudscape, then at me. “Nice sunny day,” he said. “But maybe you would rather be down below?” I could see his grin through his faceplate. “Possibly,” I said. “But this will do.” “You’re a little jealous of your wife, maybe?” “Not at all. I’m happy for her.” “Bullshit.” “No bullshit,” I said. I gave the controls another tap and nudged the cable speed up. “Yes, sure, I’d like to be on the surface. Not many people are ever going to walk on Venus, after all. But I’m basically an airship guy, like you. I’ve never been more than a backup lander pilot. Katya is the one on the prime crew.” “You’re pretty cool about it.” “I’ve had time to think it over.” Dieter did not say anything, which I took to be a sign of skepticism. “Look, she deserves to be there. I just wish that the Virgil were docking with us on the way back up. It would be nice to see

the smile on her face.” “Oh, they might run late.” “Last I heard they were right on the EVA timeline,” I said. “That gives them plenty of margin to rendezvous with Beta.” The Beta dirigible, twelve hours ahead of us, was the prime recovery ship for this descent of the lander. Gamma, like the Delta twelve hours behind us, was like me: just a backup, really. # “Jack? What is your status?” It was Madeline Whitten, our skipper, calling from inside the gondola. “Dieter freed the snag,” I said. “The probe should be inboard within the hour.” “Yes, good,” said Madeline shortly. “You need to come inside.” “We’ve just started pulling the probe back in. That’s going to take a little while.” “Let Dieter finish the job. Bill is getting his suit on and can help him. But you have to come back inside now.” There was a funny edge in her voice. She was obviously worried about something, but something kept me from asking what it was. “Roger that,” I said simply. “I’ll come in right away.” I let Dieter step up to the control

Without sun goggles, the panorama would have been too bright to look at. Beneath us and as far as the eye could see in every direction—and the distance to the horizon seemed pretty near infinity—a vast sea of clouds spread out, dazzling white with just a hint of yellow. The sky was a breathtaking blue, made deeper by the goggle lenses. The sun was hidden by the airship’s double row of lifting cells over our heads. We were cruising in the jet-stream, engines at slow, so there was not much breeze on the experiment deck, even though our ground speed was over three hundred kilometers per hour. “It looks good,” Dieter announced. “Speed her up.” At the winch controls, I carefully

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

The Pasadena Rule by Ben Schumacher
console, and he clapped a gloved hand on copilot’s station in his sleepers, sipping a mug my shoulder as he went by. A queer feeling of something hot. Everybody on board is awake, brushed past me and was gone, like the touch I realized. They  all  know  something  I  don’t. of a passing shadow. “What has happened?” I asked, suddenly afraid to hear the answer. # Madeline hesitated. When she spoke, her voice was flat. “Something has happened on The airlock cycle seemed to take forever. I peeled off the outer shell of my pressure suit, the surface. There’s been an accident.” the one that protected me from the sulfuric # acid of the clouds, then unzipped the heated coveralls. The surface of Venus might be as hot There’s been an accident. It was like stepping as a flash oven, but this high up it was sixty into free fall. I felt sick. Some detached part degrees below zero. I shivered in my long johns until warm oxygen and nitrogen replaced the of my mind said: This  is  exactly  what  you’ve  chilly carbon dioxide of the outside air. When always  imagined  death  would  be  like,  a  dizzy  the pressure came up to normal I slipped off slide into confusion before the darkness. Except  my helmet and breathing mask and gathered that you’ve always imagined that it would be  your own death, not hers. up my gear in a bundle in my arms. Madeline grabbed my arm and steered me Bill was standing in the ready room in his pressure suit, looking as if he’d been roused into a chair before I fell down. Far away, I heard from a sleep period. He made a nod in my myself saying, “What about Katya?” direction, nothing more, before disappearing into the airlock. What is wrong with him? I “WeHer answer came with a terrible slowness. don’t know many details yet. a wondered. I sat down on the bench and began quake on the mountain and then aThere wasat rockslide to stow the high altitude gear in my locker next the landing site. The lifesystem on Virgil is still to the bulkier, silvery surface suit. intact, but there was some damage to the ship. The landing team was outside in hotsuits when Madeline appeared at the door of the ready room. “Just stuff that out of the way,” she said. it happened. Contact was lost.” “You can sort it out later.” “How far from the ship? When it happened?” My own voice sounded disjoint, peculiar. Was I shoved the rest inside and shut the locker door. “What’s up?” I asked. “Problems with the it my voice? props?” Gamma’s engines were my specialty. “Several hundred meters, I gather,” Madeline said. “There just wasn’t time to do anything, Madeline turned and led me into the control pod. Scattered sunshine streamed in Jack. It happened without any warning at all.” the wide windows, making the cabin seem Max “Aphrodite has taken the gloomy by comparison. Max was sitting at the telemetry said, from Virgil off the relay satellite.” feed

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Orbiting overhead, the Aphrodite was our mission control. “Get it back,” Madeline snapped. I wasn’t listening. I had my elbows on my knees and my head down. Something was wrong with my breathing. “My God, Jack, I’m so sorry,” Madeline said. I just nodded, unable to answer. Max was barking something into his mike, but I couldn’t concentrate on the words. I stared at the deck plates between my shoes. An accident. On the  surface. An accident in a place where, even in the best of times, it took a hundred technical miracles to keep you alive at all. # So Katya was...dead? But they hadn’t said it, not quite. Everyone believed that she was dead, but they hadn’t put it into words. I knew too much about the landing mission and the surface conditions to entertain any hope. In the place inside me where hope would have been, I just had this nagging question: If she’s dead, why don’t they say so? It was impossible to think about it. My inner voice chattered to fill up the void. Yes, it said,  this  is  definitely  the  shock  phase.  Sense  of  unreality,  sense  of  detachment.  Unbelief.  What  comes  next:  Anger?  Denial?  Human  reflexes are so constant. Just look at Max over  there,  squinting  at  the  computer  display  and  cupping his earphone with his hand. You can’t  improve the resolution of a display by squinting,  you  can’t  help  the  reception  in  a  headset  by  cupping  your  hand  over  it,  but  you  do  those  things anyway.

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

The Pasadena Rule by Ben Schumacher
Shut up, I told myself as firmly as I could. Virgil,” he said. “The outer airlock hatch is being opened. Go ahead, Aphrodite.”

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engineer, meet Ekaterina Rudenko, the pretty geologist in the next seat over. I had just spent “Take this,” Madeline said. A small pink six months in Earth orbit, flying engineering capsule rested in the palm of her hand. “This I stopped breathing while Max listened to test prototypes at the ends of long tethers, will help.” his contact. “Just one person entering the lock,” learning to deorbit and deploy the hydrogen he said at last. “They should be plugging the dirigibles that we needed for the exploration I shook my head. “No.” hotsuit systems into the ship. We’ll know in a of Venus. The major problems with the airship second.” systems were ironed out, and we’d finished the “I think you should. You have to be able to program by establishing the High  our function. We’ll need you.” A second. A long second, followed by training platform, thirty kilometers Jump, the above “I won’t take it,” I said, through gritted teeth. another, and another. tropics. I was still getting my “ground legs” and “Put it away.” Eventually, I would have to start breathing preparing to move to another job. “Jack, come on,” she said. “There’s no again. Katya had also just returned to Earth, but point.” “It’s Katya!” Max shouted. “The hotsuit is from much further away. She was a volcanologist who had spent most of four years on Mars, I looked up and met her eyes. “Please, hers. She’s alive! She’s back inside the ship!” hopping all over Olympus Mons and Tharsis Maddie. I can’t. I have to be wide awake and “Oh, thank God,” I whispered. I leaned back in one of those little peroxide rocket jumpers, all here. No shortcuts, no soft landings. She in my chair and sucked in the air and clapped trying to piece together the queer geologiwould do as much for me.” my hands on the top of my head as if holding it cal history of the planet. The Russians had me. I let my breath summoned her home After a moment she nodded. “Okay,” she on. Relief poured throughin another. I grinned tingent for the Venus to be part of their conout in a whistle and took mission, said, closing the pill into her fist. “If that’s the like an idiot. Katya was back in the ship! Alive! volcanic expertise to yet anotherto extend her world. way it has to be.” Safe! The universe rolled over and turned back We liked each other from the first, even “That’s the way.” I knew that Katya would right-side-up again. though—or maybe because—we were such approve. She believed in facing life, the good over at opposites. was a scientist who and the bad, with clear eyes and no chemical sawBut when I looked her face,Madeline and engineeringShe get along in space; I learned the expression on reality kicked to was comfort. But she would never find out, would me in the stomach. Better to be dead now, engineer who had boned up on planetology an to she? She would never know that I was drinking quick and clean, Maddie was thinking. Better qualify for the Venus mission. She was slim and this hour in without covering up the terrible that than to be alive in Hell with a broken ship, dark-haired; I was square-built and red-headbitter taste of it. And it struck me that there ed. We were both on the descent planning were going to be a lot more things like that, a beyond any hope of a rescue. group, where we spent long hours together lot of things that Katya would never know. I felt my moron grin turn to stone. marrying the abilities of the landing flier with the goals of the landings. I enjoyed Katya’s # company, admired her competence, appreciated her sharp Russian irony. But that was as 2. “Stand by,” Max said. His voice made my far as it went until later, when we were training head snap up. He was halfway out of his seat, I had met Katya during the run-up to the in Hawaii. crouched very still over the panel, his hands mission, back on Earth. Our acquaintance gripping arms of the chair. “Telemetry from at first was alphabetical: Jack Ross, airship We spent two weeks offshore in a deep

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

The Pasadena Rule by Ben Schumacher
habitat under the Pacific, learning to use the high-pressure breathing gear. Our special life-support systems linked directly into our bloodstreams, through surgically implanted fittings in our skins. The good news was that the system made us almost immune to the problems of changing pressures. The bad news was that it made our lives miserable while we used it. The apparatus itself was uncomfortable and awkward. Even worse was the stress on the half-dozen members of the dive team, crammed into a tiny living space without privacy, helping one another cope with the equipment and its unpleasant side-effects. A fortnight at the habitat was about all that a group could take and still be on speaking terms by the end of it.

Pg. 9

So I agreed to tag along with Katya for the the volcano. day, not quite realizing what she had in mind. Except today it didn’t seem very active. We rented a car and headed for the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. “Take a look at that, Jack,” Katya was saying, pointing. # I took a look at that. From where we stood, Kilauea was a vast caldera several kilometers Halemaumau was a deep funnel leading down across, dug out of the southeast side of Mauna into the bowels of Mauna Loa, its bottom Loa, and within its walls was the strangest and hidden by steam and the curve of the slope. most menacing landscape I’d ever seen on The pit was evil-looking and utterly lifeless. Earth. It was a wilderness of jumbled lava flows “Lovely.” and steaming vents, like a Doré engraving of the “There is usually a lava lake there,” she Inferno. The ground underfoot was solidified said. “Sometimes it is a hundred meters across, lava, sometimes smooth and almost polished, sometimes extremely rough and jagged. I took sometimes much larger. But now the lava level great care on the rough areas, because a fall on has gone down quite far.” mean nasty even When our training rotation was over, we the sharp rocks would my clothing. cuts,Katya, “Good,” I said. “Sounds safer.” through the fabric of But boarded the submarine taxi for the ascent to whose legs were bare below her hiking shorts, “But not as pretty. Kilauea produces plenty the surface. Our life-support units scrubbed the strode along sure-footed. Every so often she of lava but very little explosive activity. It is dissolved gases from our tissues, decompressusually pretty safe.” She paused for effect. “Of ing us in just a couple of hours. When the top had to stop and wait for me to catch up. course, you. hatch opened, the sunlight and sea air came The whole trek increasingly seemed like a famous volcanoes can surprisein theThe most violent eruption here last two pouring in, and we climbed out into the most bad idea. For one thing, the park rangers had centuries was preceded by a very quiet period. beautiful morning I have ever seen. The docs temporarily barred all of the ordinary tourists on the support ship fussed over us for a while, from driving down into the caldera. The The lava level in Halemaumau had dropped then pronounced us fit. A hydrofoil whisked us eminent Dr. Rudenko, of course, had used con- considerably. Then, suddenly, ka-boom!” over to Hilo and put us ashore for a couple of nections to get us in. The folks at the volcano “Oh.” Oh damn, I meant to say. days’ R&R. observatory loaned us impact helmets, radios and gear, and we “You Katya found me on the quay as we collected field other down the road hitched a ride with a keeping begin to see. That is why they are team into Kilauea itself. The visitors away from the caldera. our gear. “What are your plans?” parking area at the bottom was empty except Whenever a volcano does something unexI shrugged. “A bath maybe, and then a long for three or four vehicles used by the geolo- pected, it becomes dangerous.” gists. We parked next to them and continued walk on a beach. Nothing definite.” “Then what are we doing here?” on foot. The people who had driven us down “I am driving inshore for some sight-seeing. hiked off toward the east; Katya had other “Satisfying our thirst for experience,” Does that interest you?” ideas for the two of us. She headed toward said, with a breathtaking sort of gaiety. Katya Then, the edge of Halemaumau, the kilometer-wide seeing that I was not as happy as she with the I did not really care what I did—almost crater-within-the-crater, the active heart of prospect of being blown to smithereens, she anything outdoors sounded good right then.

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The Pasadena Rule by Ben Schumacher
added, “Relax. You will see that I am right. Volcanoes are the most magnificent things in nature. Active ones are best of all. This is where the crust of the planet is made, Jack.” She added, in a philosophical tone, “We are fortunate to live on such a geologically active planet.” That was the very moment, I swear, when the first earthquake hit us. lying on the ground, holding my chest, thinking, Now this is a hell of a thing. The others turned around and came back for us, God bless them, picked us up and threw us into the remaining jeeps. The motors whined and we were on our way once more. #

Pg. 10
We inspected each other’s injuries as we waited. We were pretty banged up. Katya’s right ankle looked bad, probably broken, and she also had a number of cuts and gashes on her legs. I had bruises everywhere. My hands were a mess, and I’d probably broken one or two ribs in the back when we’d crashed the jeep. It hurt to breathe deeply. My hard-hat had an impressive crack that almost split it in two.

At the observatory, under cover, Katya and I sat in a corner and waited for the ranger medic At length she said, “You # to finish with the more serious injuries. Out of happen when we go back.” know what will a small slit of a window next to us, we could see And that is how we happened to be in the enormous fire-fountains spurting up into the I thinking about the same thing. bottom of Kilauea at the start of the worst air, and great clouds of smoke and ash roiling “The had beengoing to go nuts. They’ll put us docs are eruption in a hundred years. To tell the truth, upwards. It was terrifying and magnificent. I on I do not clearly remember everything that would not have minded looking at it from an ribsthe injured list—two or three weeks, if my are broken and your ankle is as bad as it happened. A shrill emergency signal screamed even more distant vantage point. looks.” on the radios, a sequence of very strong shocks knocked us on our backsides, and we Katya said quietly, “Christ, that was stupid.” “The final crew selection is in twelve days.” made a frantic scramble to the vehicles. Teams “Was it?” I asked. “I thought you volcano were converging on the parking lot from every I nodded grimly. “Too many people, too direction. We had almost made it when the people did this sort of crap all the time.” few places on the crew. The committee will be first explosion came. From a dozen places but “Not really. Maybe once, in Kamchatka, looking for ways to shorten the roster. If we from Halemaumau most of all, huge blasts of when I was a student. But I was much more aren’t on the ready list when they meet...” fire and smoke billowed high into the air. We of an idiot today.” She shook her head. “I have “Oh damn,” said Katya, leaning into me on stared around us in awe; but our apprecia- been working on Mars tion was diminished by the urgent business of volcanoes there have too long, Jack. The big the bench. “Jack, I’m sorry. I’m so very sorry.” getting the hell out of there. The survey teams billion years. I have lost been dead for half a my respect.” There wasn’t much to say. Katya and I leaned jumped into the vehicles and powered them back against the wall for a time. We weren’t up. “Respect?” going to Venus. But I could not just accept that, and my mind kept running in circles. If we had About that time, it started raining rocks. “For nature. If you are careless, volcanoes gotten banged up a month ago, or a month are not forgiving.” “Bombs” of all sizes came hurtling down from now, it might be a different matter. Our from the sky and smacked the ground around I looked at the fire-fountain through the injuries were not that severe. We could be fully us. The driver of our jeep torqued the wheels window. “Are we far enough away?” operational in a week, though the project’s and zoomed up along the access road. But one medical people would add their usual massive of the rocks hit the road just ahead of us, too She eyed the eruption. “I think so. This safety margin. Our problem, therefore, was near to avoid. We skidded, crashed, rolled, observatory has been here for a long time.” simply one of timing. went flying in every direction. I remember

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

The Pasadena Rule by Ben Schumacher
“You know,” I said, “there is an alternative.” Katya looked at me blankly. “What are you talking about?” Instead of answering, I asked, “Do you have any leave time coming to you?” “A couple of weeks, I think.” “About the same for me. What if you and I took about ten days’ leave?” Her eyes grew wide. “You mean right now? Don’t even go back, just call in and—” “—and tell them that we’re taking ten days’ leave here in Hawaii. We have the time coming, and all that we will miss will be a few boring meetings on the mainland. No sweat. Meanwhile, we find someplace where nobody will drop in on us. We hide out. We eat, sleep, put your ankle on ice, and just heal up. In ten days we can be functioning pretty normally, so we go back and report in before the crew selection. And we stay on the ready list the whole time.” Katya nodded thoughtfully. “What happens when they find out?” “We won’t tell them. And after the crew is selected, it won’t matter.” She smiled a wicked smile. “Jack,” she said, with feeling, “that is a beautiful idea!” Her eyes glinted with amusement. “Naturally you realize what people will think. Everyone will assume that we are lovers, that we are shacked up together somewhere. And we will be shacked up together, of course.” “Oh,” I said. “We don’t have to, uh, go to the same place. I was assuming that—”

Pg. 11
hill with a mediocre view of Kailua Bay—not a high-class resort property, but just right for “Americans,” Katya said, sighing. “You are the purpose. Could arrangements be made to definitely inferior to Russians in conspiracy. stock the kitchen before we arrived? Yes, for You lack historical experience. Trust me, the an added fee. We fed our account codes into plan is perfect.” the phone. Our eyes met. I returned her smile. Last of all, we called a florist and sent a dozen roses to the doctor. # # The ranger doctor took us together into the small dispensary at the observatory. We I sensed even then, I think, that our explained the situation to her. Finally the doc deception would soon become something else, said, “I will have to file a medical report even- that by the end of our ten days together we tually. The two of you need complete histories would be lovers in fact as well as reputation. on file if you go on your mission. But your Katya claimed afterwards that she had known injuries are not serious, and there is no reason from the first—and that it took considerable why that has to be done immediately. Would patience on her part to get me to lower my three or four months be long enough?” guard and let it happen. She dismissed our thanks with a shrug. In Maybe her version is correct. I was nervous, fact, she was far more interested in the skin- and strangely shy. I say “strangely” because embedded fittings for our high-pressure respi- we had just spent weeks on the dive team ration gear, something she had never seen. We together in the deep habitat. Privacy down chatted about life-support technology while there had been nonexistent. How could you the doc wrapped our injuries, sealed our cuts, be bashful after that? But I remember, on that and stimulated bone repair for Katya’s ankle soft night above Kailua when Katya and I first and my ribs. Eight days, she estimated, and came together, how astonishing it was that she, we’d be presentable. She dug up some antibiot- whom I thought I knew so well, could be so full ics and pain-killers, and loaned Katya a crutch. of mystery and surprise. We thanked her again and quietly slipped out of the observatory. The rest of the arrangements were made from the car. We called the duty officer at the training center, who recorded our change of plan with a shrug and an off-hand “okay.” Next we punched up a tourist agency to find a place to stay. We settled on a small bungalow a couple of kilometers from the water, on a

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

The Pasadena Rule by Ben Schumacher

Pg. 12

Ben Schumacher
I am a physicist who teaches at Kenyon College  in  Gambier,  Ohio.    My  major  research  field  is  quantum  information  theory,  though  I  have  also  dabbled  in  black hole physics and thermodynamics.    I’ve been a science fiction writer longer than I’ve been a physicist, however, having  sold  my  first  (and  so  far  only)  story to Analog magazine at age 16.

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Travelling With The Archetypes by Calie Voorhis

Ray Gun Revival Space Monkey Flash Fiction Contest - Special Mention

Pg. 13

Outer Space Theater
by Viktor Kuprin

“B

e sure to tune in next week, boys and girls, for more outer space adventures with Flash Gordon, Buck Rogers, and Scott McCloud, the Space Angel! This is Commander Don, wishing you all happy landings!”

way through the television station hallways, leaving through a backdoor exit. He couldn’t help but notice the crumpled sheets of silver foil and torn cardboard rocket ships already in the dumpster. He continued down the alley until he came to the old tenement building where he lived. But instead of going to his small apartment, he took the elevator all the way to the fifth floor, and then made his way up a stairwell that led to the building’s roof. White fluffy clouds drifted across the latesummer sky. He could hear the sounds of the city, people becoming active, going about their business and pleasure on a Saturday morning. He realized he would miss all this very much. Reaching into his pants pocket, he removed the “lucky” Franklin half dollar that he always carried. He pointed it south and squeezed the coin’s edges. It vibrated briefly as it transmitted its summons. And after a brief wait, he could see the cloaked ship descending out of a cloud, like a soap bubble floating on the wind. It descended to hover just above the building’s roof, and he stepped into the open hatch. Space Ranger Steve greeted him. At the ship’s controls were Captain Cosmos and Astro Alan. “Good to see you, Don. Too bad about the circumstances,” Ranger Steve said. “But it’s

the trend. Locally produced programs are being cancelled all across the continent. The mission’s going bust.” Commander Don shook his head. “I wouldn’t say that. They’ll keep broadcasting the programs for awhile without us. And then there will be new shows, new movies, new books. And don’t forget, thousands and thousands of human children were watching us. And the ones we were trying to reach, the special ones, they will remember.” The ship cleared Earth’s gravity and sped away into the stars.

The TV camera’s red light winked out, and the studio spotlights went dim. Commander Don rose from his aluminum foil-covered desk as workers started breaking down the cardboard and plywood set. The show’s producer walked up as Don was taking off his Army surplus crash helmet and unzipping his “spacesuit,” a gray mechanic’s coverall. “Good job, Don, as always,” the producer said. “I’m sorry it’s the last one. But it’s official. The station will start picking up the CBS feed on Saturday mornings.” Don nodded. “Well, Outer Space Theater almost made its two-year anniversary. For this business, that’s something, isn’t it?” “Listen, Don. Why don’t you stop by Monday? Maybe I can get you some production work doing commercials, you know, part time,” the producer said. “Thanks, Terry, that’s very kind of you. But I plan to leave town. It’s time for me to move on. Anyway, I want to see what’s out there,” Don replied. The men shook hands and Don wound his

Viktor Kuprin
Viktor  Kuprin  is  the  creator  of  the  Kosmosflot universe of stories, and was  a military journalist for the U.S. Air Force  during the Cold War. He can be found in  Bloomington, Indiana and sometimes in Vanadzor, Armenia.

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

The Exile of Joseph Reed by Colleen Drippe’

Ray Gun Revival Space Monkey Flash Fiction Contest - Third Place

Pg. 14

A Thousand Splendid Monkeys
  by Lyndon Perry
he clicking was incessant. “Anything?” Excitement flared quickly. Then the other male Overlord asked, “But are they…?” “Yes, all simian primates.” Sighs all around. “Good. I had my doubts when the first specimen we collected from Sol was canine. The lack of digits presented a problem.” The Overlords grinned at each other. They might make their launch date yet. “Let’s prepare for our guests,” said the Alpha Male. The ship blinked into hyperdrive and arrived in Sol to rendezvous with the Earth probe. When the ships had docked, they welcomed the crew aboard. The four monkeys were shown the room full of clicking machines. For a brief moment the tapping stopped as 996 familiar faces looked up. Shrieks of welcome greeted the four new arrivals. The monkeys returned the greeting and bobbing their heads—repeatedly—in satisfaction went immediately to four vacant machines and started typing. “We’re saved!” “At least we’ll meet our deadline.” Relief turned to giddy anticipation. Surely a thousand space monkeys on a thousand typewriters could compose a suitable space opera piece for the next issue of Ray Gun Revival!

T

Lyndon Perry
Lyndon  Perry,  a  former  pastor  and  current  business  owner,  is  a  husband  of  22  years  and  father  of  two  beautiful  daughters.    He  enjoys  reading,  writing,  and  arithmetic.  Well,  two  out  of  three  anyway.

The three Overlords paced the aisles looking for signs of progress. The Alpha Male stopped and pulled a sheet from an apparatus. He showed it to the others. Gibberish. “Nothing. We’re four short I tell you.” Damn. 996. So close. They’d been collecting specimens for weeks in hopes of a breakthrough. The launch date was set; they had three days left. “Have we checked Alpha Centauri lately?” “Dry. Same with Betelgeuse. And Rigel. Their systems are just too advanced.” “Well, try Sol once more. We’ve been pretty lucky there so far.” The female Overlord turned to the ship’s monitor. “Scanning.” As they waited the rat a tat tat of hundreds of machines continued unabated. “Sorry, I’m not getting…wait. Earth just launched another probe.” “Life signs?” The female Overlord let out a w00t in reply. “Four!”

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Ray Gun Revival Space Monkey Flash Fiction Contest - Second Place

The Exile of Joseph Reed by Colleen Drippe’

Pg. 15

Monkey Madness
  by R. L. Copple
bananas.” “Aye, Sir,” crackled back over the com. “Truth be told, I have a few in my quarters.” I pointed at a locked storage door. He nodded and jumped up and down. I opened the door and passed the bananas out. Hoots and monkey calls rang through the room. Soon they crammed the well-preserved yellow delicacies into their mouths. Smacking noise vibrated through the room. Ten seconds ticked by before they all dropped dead in quick succession. Food remains one of the most powerful weapons. In this case, the poisoned banana. A call rang through the com. “Engineering, Sir. The monkeys are all dead, but we have a problem.” “Yes?” “The navigation controls have been set to fly us into the nearest star.” “Unset it then.” I felt impatient despite myself. “Can’t. The master controls are in a room so small, only a monkey could access them. We would have to tear through the anti-matter bulkheads to override and change course.” I pounded my fist on the desk. Blasted monkeys! I told headquarters the idea reeked. Especially monkeys designing ships, much less operating them. They’ve made monkeys of us all.

I

told headquarters their idea proved they had developed a case of monkey madness. Never give a monkey a man’s job. But did they listen? No. They trained and installed monkeys through the whole fleet. And now I’m sitting up in bed, a monkey holding a ray gun to my head. “We’re taking over the ship,” the leader signed to me. “You’ve been holding out on us, and we want our due.” He bared his teeth. “Are you going to hand it over willingly, or shall we take it by force, ‘Captain’?” I signed back, “How about a third option? You would get a lot further if you simply did your jobs.” Hoots and howls arose among the group of monkeys filling my quarters. The leader stayed focused on me and smiled one of those cheesy monkey grins I’d seen on old TV shows. “We put up with those jobs so we could take over. Stupid humans didn’t see this coming.” He raised his head upward in a victory howl. “Yea, I guess you’re right, you pulled one over on us.” Actually I hadn’t been totally blind to the possibility. “I’ll need to give the order.” He swung his limp hand at the com panel. “Remember, we have a ray gun trained on you. One false word...” I paged the kitchen. “Release the

R. L. Copple
R. L. Copple is a father to three children  and  a  husband  since  1982  to  his  wife,  Lenita. He earned a B.A. in religion from  Southern  Nazarene  University  in  1984,  has served as a pastor, and written on many  religious  topics  on  a  small  scale,  including his own web site for Christian  Orthodox  questions  and  issues.  Having  a lifelong interest in fiction, it was 2005  that  he  focused  on  writing  stories  to  capture the imagination, beginning with  writing a YA sci-fi adventure novel, which  is still in the editing process. Since then,  he has written and published stories and  poems at Dragons, Knights and Angels, The Sword Review, and Haruah.  He  currently  serves  as  copy  editor  and  illustration editor at Haruah.com.

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Ray Gun Revival Space Monkey Flash Fiction Contest - First Place   by G. A. Semones

Never Forget Some Things by G. A. Semones

Pg. 16

Never Forget Some Things

N

ever forget some things. Consider the other night. The space monkey and I were working our card scam on a backwater planet, and had three yahoos strung deep into the cards. Imagine having a card partner that shuffles and deals on the tabletop, while sneakily shuffling another deck with his feet. It boggles the mind with possibilities even after all these years. So, one second I was working a carefully constructed flush, next, the biggest yahoo twisted my arm behind me. His two buddies snatched the space monkey, each grabbing an arm and leg, and being real careful he couldn’t use any of his four hands. Oh, they thought they were bright. So, I shouted out “Now wait, you folks don’t want to go hurting the last survivors of Eridani 4 do you?” Shuts them up every time, mostly. The space monkey winked at me and nodded. The big one twisted my arm an octave higher. “Old man, nobody survived that battle. Humans and space monkeys, they all died.” I snorted. “You think so, eh? Well, you’d know that because you were there?” The three exchanged glances, and I took my cue. “My space marine regiment was tunneling a moon base at Eridani 4 when the space

monkey ships hyper-zoned on top of us—not enough gravity on that moon to stop it.” The space monkey, spread eagle in mid-air between the other two, just stared at me, tail whipping with impatience. “The space monkeys swarmed our tunnels. The battle raged for three days over and under the moon’s surface. Finally, it came down to me and him, the last survivors, and we met on the surface to finish it. He and I were equals in combat, even in hand to hand to hand to hand; as you note he’s got a couple extra.” The two holding the space monkey tightened their grip. The space monkey gave me a dirty look. “In the end, I disarmed him and pressed my vorp-blade into his gut. We were so close I could smell the fur on his belly starting to smoke. Then, well, we called it a draw, standing there on the killing fields of Eridani 4, and that, you young pups is why today there’s a peace treaty betwixt humans and space monkeys.” There were shouts of protest. “Wait a minute, you had him, you had your sword in his gut! Why didn’t you just end him and win? Humans could have been on top!” The space monkey just whipped his tail, and rolled his eyes at me. He hates it when I drag the story out.

“Well,” said I, “because I made the one mistake that any human who was on Eridani 4 would tell you not to make.” We had those yahoos. I knew it, and the space monkey knew it, as he slowly raised a stolen blaster as only a space monkey could. “Never, ever, forget the prehensile tail!” Youth today—they just don’t know their history.

G. A. Semones
G. A. Semones is a devoted husband and dad,  a Software Engineer of scary things that selforganize, a fiction writer, and a Liberty Hall Writers denizen.

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Featured Artist: Benjamin Boozer IV

Pg. 17

Featured Artist
Name: Benjamin B. Boozer IV Age: 16 Hobbies: PC gaming and digital art

Benjamin B. Boozer IV

When did you start creating art? In all honesty, I didn’t have a real interest in creating art until I signed up for a digital arts class at my high school last year. What media do you work in? Digital, but I occasionally do sketches with a pencil and paper. Where should someone go if they wanted to view / buy some of your works?
http://x717x.deviantart.com/

Where your work has been featured? Currently only on DA, but I have plans for a mod for Unreal Tournament 3, and possibly Supreme  Commander. How did you become an artist? One of my all time favorite games, Unreal Tournament 2004, came with this nifty program called Maya 5 PLE, and the rest is history.
Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Featured Artist: Benjamin Boozer IV

Pg. 18

What were your early influences? Television shows and movies such as Babylon 5 and Star Wars. What are your current influences? BSG, video games, and the amazing artists over at DeviantART. What inspired the art for the cover? The ‘No Other Destiny’ trailer for Eve-Online, specifically the scene at 01:22. How would you describe your work? Eve-Online meets Battlestar Galactica. Where do you get your inspiration / what inspires you? Aerospace Museums, NASA’s Hubble telescope, TV shows, music, videogames, movies, etc.

Have you had any notable failures, and how has failure affected your work? A ‘failure’ is only truly a ‘failure’ if nothing is learned from the experience; which has not been the case for me thus far. What are your favorite tools / equipment for producing your art? Maya, Photoshop, and occasionally Terragen What tool / equipment do you wish you had? My own private render farm would be nice. What do you hope to accomplish with your art? To inspire, to impress, and to some day reel in the cash. :)
Ray Gun Revival magazine Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Featured Artist: Benjamin Boozer IV

Deuces Wild
by L. S. King

Pg. 19

Chapter 15: “Strange Bedfellows, Part Two”

“T
ly.

here’s no way out, MacCay,” Myers shouted while Betts shrieked wordless-

“And what might that be?” He’s  talking.  Now  we’re  on  my  turf. “You want to deal with the Mordas, yes?” “They’re in a perfect set up to smuggle weapons—on the edge of two major powers— three if you include Pegasus, with no real opposition.” “Then what you need is a person running the Mordas who knows how to play the cards,” Tristan said. “Lyssel was sloppy, this ex-madam doesn’t understand the rules. She can’t see further than worrying about the destruction of a mere door.” Betts let out a string of blue language, and Myers yelled at her to shut up, probably backed up with a weapon’s aim. Tristan grinned while carefully, quietly working on the vent’s cover. His smile congealed as the grille stuck. In the sullen silence that followed, Myers asked, “What are you suggesting?” “I’ve been studying the dynamics of the Mordas,” Tristan said, trying to get a firmer grip on the cover; it was rusty and didn’t want to give. “The intricacies of their power structure, how the rich leech off them in a semi-symbiotic relationship, and the control they wield over the Guilds and Merchants. I know the smuggling racket, as you well know. I think we could work together.”

“You...and me? We’ve had a feud for years.” “Merely a misalignment of our goals at the time. We have talents which compliment each other. Think about it.” Take the bait...take it... give  me  time... Tristan held his breath as he tried to ease the grille off without making any sounds. “You have a point. Come on out, and we’ll talk.” “I don’t mean to throw cold water on the beginning of a new business relationship, but just a minute ago you were intent on killing me. Walking back through that door does cause me some trepidation.” A slight scrape—he held his breath—and the cover came off. “Another point. How do you propose we solve the problem?” “I’ll leave that to you.” His heart thudded in the silence as he listened for any movements in the next room. He could hear murmured discussion still going on as he slid into the shaft. “All right, MacCay. One of my men will open the door to the room, and...” the voice faded as Tristan made his escape.

Tristan stood to one side, as far from any line of fire as possible, in case Myers decided to blow the wall in. His right leg, injured on Eridani, ached again from his acrobatic dive into this side room. He eyed the ventilation shaft near the floor. He’d previously checked out this building one night, and as he’d discovered on his first visit to this planet, the older buildings on this planet all had commodious ductwork. He could pry the cover loose; he only needed about ten seconds to get inside and escape, if he had the chance. Would Myers shoot first or talk? “Myers, you do tend to make a splashy entrance.” His adversary gave a wicked chuckle. “Thank you. But do you come out, or do we further demolish this lady’s place of business?” “I’ll thank you to not do further damage,” Betts yelled. “And you’ll pay for what you did do!” “Ah,” Tristan called, his leg twinging as he squatted by the shaft’s grille cover. “Take note of that response, please. I think we have something to talk about before you try again to kill me.”

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Deuces Wild, Chapter 15: “Strange Bedfellows, Part Two” by L. S. King
# Slap slowed Príncipe and stared at the homestead in the valley below. How could he face Shallah’s father after letting her die? But he had to do this. He took a breath before descending. The house grew closer, and before long, one of the children playing in the yard saw him and ran to the barn. Ewan came out followed by two others, all carrying weapons—one had a pitchfork, two old-fashioned rifles. As he drew near, the older man’s mouth dropped open, and he gave the rifle to the young man to his right. It took Slap a moment to realize the young man wasn’t a hired hand but Ewan’s son Sean. He’d grown a foot since last year! The almost-grown youth on the left was Aillil. Slap felt his stomach shudder as he slid off the stallion to face his father-in-law. Ewan stepped forward, breaking into a grin. He threw his arms around Slap. “We thought you were dead!” His accent was thick with emotion. “No, I—” Sean ran up and pounded on Slap, whooping for joy. Children swarmed out of the house along with Shallah’s mother Brìghde. The whole family backed up a step as she rushed into his arms, weeping. “Awww, shh, Bree. Don’t. You’ll get me crying,” Slap murmured, holding her tightly, tears stinging his eyes. When she finally let him go, Ewan said, “Come inside, Son.” Slap nodded back toward his horse. The stallion was flicking his ears back unhappily, stamping his feet, and sidling around. “I have to see to Príncipe first. He’s not used to people.” Ewan’s eyes lit up. “A beautiful beast! Where did you get him?” Slap hesitated. “He was...a gift. I’ll tell you about it later. Can I use your corral for him?” “Aye. Let’s see to him. Then we’ll talk.” # Tristan brushed himself off and sauntered around to the front of the building. Two guards stood by the limo alight at the curb. He walked up to one and held out a data card. “Give this to your boss when he comes out.” The guard took it with a frown, and Tristan continued down the sidewalk. He ducked into an alley and began winding his way through the maze of streets. He wished he could see Myers face when the guard gave him the card. Now the fun began... # Slap drank the strong tea as he told how the Mordas had beaten him, broke his back, and forced him to watch as they burned his home—his family inside. Then left him for dead. He brushed away tears and continued, telling how the Zendians had taken him away

Pg. 20
and nursed him to health. How he had gone to Zanti City, met Tristan, and left the planet with him. He didn’t tell much of what happened with Tristan, just how he had wanted to come home. He mentioned nothing of Eridani. His gaze kept drifting to Shallah’s younger sister Aylish. She was growing up fast and looked so much like her oldest sister. His heart ached to look at her, yet he couldn’t stop. He wound down the story and concluded, “I was afraid to come here. I thought you’d blame me for what happened.” “Why would you think that?” Aillil asked. “If I’d just taken them and left...” “You were fighting for your home.” Ewan lifted his chin. “I wouldn’t have done different.” Slap’s throat tightened up, and he couldn’t answer. “We’re glad you’re back home now, Son,” Brìghde said softly, breaking the silence. “Aye. Will you be rebuilding your place?” asked Sean. Slap gaped at his brother-in-law. “Rebuild? On Shallah and Evan’s ashes? How can I?” Brìghde stepped close and put a hand on his shoulder. “We buried them on the hill with your family,” she whispered. “We...we didn’t know what to think when we didn’t find you. We thought the Mordas had taken you away and left you dead somewhere else.” “Your return is incredible timing,” Ewan

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Deuces Wild, Chapter 15: “Strange Bedfellows, Part Two” by L. S. King
said, leaning forward, his elbows on his knees. “The Mordas have started sending their men around again, like they did before Lyssel died. Last week they were at Chandler’s place. They burned his barn down. We used to think we could just go about our business, that they wouldn’t really do anything. But last year...” His father-in-law stopped, pain in his eyes. Slap felt the tears welling up again in his own. Ewan inhaled roughly and continued. “We know now we have to fight. You are a symbol of what we are fighting for. You will help us, Son?” “Fight the Mordas?” Slap felt his heart speed up. Now he had something to live for. “Yeah. Yeah, I’ll help.” # Slap gathered with his fellow ranchers and homesteaders around a fire in Chandler’s yard, a plate piled high in one hand. The women had brought food enough for two barn-raisings. It had been a long day, but one filled with purpose. Now, with the task done, it was time to talk. The men all regarded Slap with grave respect. Granted, his people looked more at achievement than age, but he wasn’t used to being treated as if he were one of the elders. He ate, listening to the discussion of how to fight the Mordas. Finally, he swallowed the last of his meat pie and said, “This won’t work. You can’t go against the Mordas without some plan, and without weapons to at least match theirs. Not to mention, you need someone to lead, who knows what he’s doing.” “That’s where you come in, boy,” old man Russell said. “You’ve fought them. You know them. We want you to be our Chefe.” “I was nearly killed by them,” Slap yelled, banging a fist on his knee. “My family murdered! If anything, that shows just how much I don’t know about how to fight them.” “That was last year. You’ve been around some since then, and with a man who, from what all the gossip says, knows how to fight. You had to learn something from him.” Slap shook his head. If only Tristan were here, but he had long gone by now. “You’re the best we’ve got, Son,” Ewan said. “We’re not trained fighters, but we’re strong. We’re not all very educated, but we aren’t stupid, either. Give us some direction. That’s all we ask.” Slap stared at the fire. He couldn’t begin to guess what Tristan would do. That man’s mind could think in twenty directions, and not one of them expected. He sighed. He’d fought mercenaries, Confeds, Eridani; perhaps it was all to get him ready to tackle the Mordas. He looked around. Would his people—quiet, living off the land, law-abiding—be able to do whatever needed to be done? “All right. But you understand, this can’t be a fair fight. Not against them. Not if you want to win.” His neighbors exchanged looks. A few wagged their heads. “Look,” Slap stood, glaring around. “I’ve

Pg. 21
seen what the enemy can do. They don’t play by rules, and they don’t care who they hurt or kill. Women.” He stared at one man and on to another, his young son’s face wavering in overlay. “Babies. You have to be as dirty as they are. And you can’t back away once you’ve committed. That would be suicide.” Ewan stood. “Aye. He’s right. It goes down hard, but we have to be as ruthless as they are. I don’t want more of my children killed by those ruffyans.” “It was only my barn burned this time. They told me it was a warning, that next time it would be my home.” Chandler nodded at Slap. “I thought of you.” He straightened. “I don’t want it to happen again. Not to anyone.” Russell came forward, his weathered face alight as he met Slap’s eyes. “I’m with him.” He turned to face the crowd. “Are you with us?” Chandler stood, his chin high. Several others jumped up quickly. Slowly, the rest got to their feet. Ewan grinned. “Some of the Merchants, and Guild members too, want the Mordas’ stranglehold broken.” “Yes, and since they’ve found you’re back”— Chandler nodded at Slap—“they’ve been cooperative. Willing to pass on information, and—”he paused, his brown eyes sparkling. “This morning, hidden in a wagonload of supplies was a crate of weapons. All we need now, is a plan.” Movement in the shadows caused everyone to freeze for a moment. But they resolved into—off all things—Zendians. They

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Deuces Wild, Chapter 15: “Strange Bedfellows, Part Two” by L. S. King
came forward; the Separatists stepped back, confusion on most of their faces. Slap was just as confused. *We have listened,* one of the Zendians— Slap couldn’t begin to pronounce his name and just called him Kohn—said. *The Evil must be driven from our world. The Avenger is not enough.* Slap translated, and Kohn stared at him saying, *You will lead, Young One. We will help.* Slap scratched his chin for a few moments. “All right...all right...” # The rooftop opposite had a steep slope and more height. Tristan couldn’t successfully make that leap. But he had to get across this alley without being seen. He wondered how long until Myers figured out he wasn’t the cat in this cat and mouse game. He’d baited the mercenary before, but never had he gotten the man to personally come after him. This was finally the time. The building across and farther along the alley had a lower roof. He sprinted to the end and gauged the distance. Acceptable. He took a breath and leaped—his right leg collapsed on landing. He rolled, grit grinding into his clothes. Tristan sat, rubbing his leg for a moment. He refused to even think he was getting too old for this sort of thing anymore. It was just not being recovered from the wounds he received on Eridani—his leg especially. He flexed his foot to stretch the impaired calf muscle and slowly got to his feet. Time was running out; he had to hurry. He had to get to the meeting place unseen—and before Myers’ minions. He knew the merc would have his men surround the meeting place the moment he received the next message from Tristan. He peered over the edge and saw pipes running down the side of the wall. He stretched his fingers inside the gloves before swinging over the side and shimmying down. He landed in a squat, watching and listening: clear. He kept moving. The block of old, brick buildings stood empty, near the edge of Zanti City in the warehouse district. Tristan had chosen and prepared the area as soon as he left Betts after Myers’ call. He scanned the dead-end street and the windows above as he maneuvered into his hidden vantage point, in a narrow, shadowed ledge above a ground story window, and set his camo-net in place. From here, near the center, he could see the entire cul-de-sac. Much rested on whether he truly understood how Myers thought. He’d seen him in action before, several times; he was a creature of habit. Tristan let his breath trickle out slowly and prepared to wait. Before long, the mercenaries arrived and fanned out in groups of threes, crouching and leapfrogging each other as they searched for him and attempted to secure the area. More were on the rooftops.

Pg. 22

He waited, assured they couldn’t find him. Soon, movement at the open end of the street caught his eye. Myers. But—Tristan’s stomach sank into his feet. Myers held a small child against his chest, a handgun pointed at her head. Her eyes were large with terror, but she was silent, her face, framed by dark curls, pale. Vile, just vile. But that was Myers all over. Tristan had done his best to keep this conflict away from innocent victims; it hadn’t been enough. His mind’s eye filled with the image of another child from years ago, when he had thought himself hardened to everything. But despite his black soul, he still hadn’t been able to kill that little one—even for his own survival. Dray called that being weak. Perhaps he was right. “Come on out, MacCay, if you don’t want to see this sweet little girl killed.” Myers voice echoed slightly. “I know you’re here somewhere, even if my men haven’t flushed you out.” “You are assuming I care if you kill the kid,” Tristan called. “If you do, then you have nothing to keep me from taking you down.” “I mean it, MacCay. Come out now and drop your weapons. Or she dies.” Rage boiled in Tristan, making his whole body shake. No choice. Myers did not bluff. Damn,  damn,  damn! He turned off the camo-net, stood, and jumped down to the street.

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Deuces Wild, Chapter 15: “Strange Bedfellows, Part Two” by L. S. King
Myers laughed. “I sorta figured you’d have a trick like a ‘net up your sleeve. In your effort to keep me from being able to ambush you, you chose a place where you couldn’t hide either. Now,” his voice lowered, “drop your weapons. All of them.” Tristan lifted one hand, and Myers made a show of re-gripping the handgun. “Easy. Thumb and forefinger.” He splayed his hand, and made a pincer as ordered, reaching carefully into his vest. The PBG came out, dangling from his fingers. “Toss it—carefully.” It wasn’t Tristan who’d die if he tried anything, it would be that girl. He did as he was told. “Next?” Tristan lifted his eyebrows, and Myers grinned. “I know you have more weapons. Don’t play games.” One by one, Tristan emptied his inventory. “Stim-blade too.” Damn. Tristan slid the blade out from its hidden sheath within his vest, and tossed it down. “Good boy. Now, you walk—slowly—to the middle of the street. Don’t forget, my men have you covered from all angles.” To prove the point, two men stepped forward, PBRs trained on him. Why didn’t Myers just kill him? He wasn’t about to ask and give his adversary any ideas. Delay meant Myers might make a mistake. He obeyed the mercenary, gauging distance to his weapons and to his opponent with every step. “That’s close enough,” Myers said when Tristan was about twenty-five feet from him. “I wanted to clearly see your face when you die.” Tristan didn’t answer. The child was likely only spared from death for the amount of time it took to kill Tristan. But perhaps, perhaps Myers would—no, the child had no chance. This world had no chance. Tristan’s failure condemned them all. Condemned Slap and his people. Myers would take over now, either keeping Betts as a puppet, or installing one of his own, thus guaranteeing his power in this sector. He was letting one child condemn a world. Yet he could not make himself act and bring about her death. Weak, he could hear Dray sneer at him out of his distant past. “You coward,” Tristan said. “You unmitigated coward.” “Referring to the kid?” Myers snarled. “To her, to your men. You haven’t the guts to face me alone. That’s why I knew I had to find a place to keep you from ambushing me.” “Quite right. An army isn’t safe attacking you head on. This isn’t cowardice—it’s survival. Doesn’t feel good being the target, does it?” “What doesn’t feel good is losing to a lesser man. One who hides behind children. And weapons. I’ll take you with my bare hands, if you have the guts.”

Pg. 23
Myers laughed. “Oh, no! I won’t fall for one of your tricks. Not this time. You’ve been a thorn in my side for years.” Myers aimed the handgun at Tristan. “This is going to be a pleasure.” In the next fraction of a second, Tristan would die, standing still or attacking. The gun wasn’t aimed at the child in this moment. He dove for the ground, a moving target. An explosion ripped up the ground where Tristan had been standing. Tristan rolled to protect his face from the rubble raining down. He had no time to run back to his weapons; he jumped up and raced toward Myers through the cloud of dust. Screams came from the little girl crumpled onto the street, and Myers staggered up, stunned. Tristan dove at the mercenary, knocking him back and flipping the gun away, out of reach. Myers grabbed Tristan and pulled into a roll, landing on top of him. Hands grasped and tightened around Tristan’s throat. Myers’ sweaty face grinned into his, his weight pinning Tristan down. The gloating face and beady eyes were too much. Tristan wove his arm around the mercenary’s and twisted, breaking the hold. He wormed out from under his opponent, striking him in the jaw. Myers grabbed for him, but Tristan rolled away and up to his feet. The merc rose, his head swiveling as he looked around the ground. Tristan wasn’t going to give him the chance to look for the gun. He leaped up and spun—his foot connected with Myers’ face. The man went down with a groan. Tristan landed next to him and drove his fist into the mercenary’s throat. He felt the crunch

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Deuces Wild, Chapter 15: “Strange Bedfellows, Part Two” by L. S. King
and knew the blow was fatal—but not fast. Myers clawed at him, trying to breathe. The ground around him began to spit and pit with weapons’ fire. He dove at the girl and covered her with his body. It was only a matter of time before he was hit, but perhaps his body could save her. Another explosion battered his ears. He turned his head to see part of a building collapsing. Some of the mercs were firing up at a roof, while more ran past Tristan, trying to get away. He saw Myers’ handgun just within reach and grabbed it. He rolled and aimed at the fleeing men and dropped several. The rest kept running. Who was up there? Who had fired at him, and had blown up that building? Tristan had no place to put the little girl to keep her out of harm’s way. He had to trust she would be safe near Myers’ corpse if he ran to get his weapons. He knelt by the child and said, “Stay here. Do you understand? Stay here and don’t move.” Boom! Another wall crumbled onto the street. More men appeared, running toward the exit of the cul-de-sac, but they stopped as they saw him and raised their guns. No time to run for his arsenal. Cowards. Murderers. Lending themselves to the evils Myers perpetrated. He rose and took a step forward, aware that only his presence protected the little girl behind him. His heart icy, he raised the handgun and picked off a man. And another one. They would get him in one of the next shots, but he had the satisfaction of taking as many with him as he could. But as their companions fell, the remaining mercenaries threw down their weapons and lifted their hands. “Don’t shoot us!” one called, while another shouted, “We surrender!” “Take ten steps backwards and kneel,” Tristan ordered. “Hands on your head.” The irony of seven men on their knees, held at bay by a mere handgun, wasn’t lost on Tristan. He felt a tiny hand grasp his left leg. He didn’t dare look down, but his free hand found the top of her head and stroked her curly hair. One of the men looked at the girl and up at Tristan. He gazed over his shoulder. “Your friend up there won’t kill us, will he?” Tristan spared a quick glance at the buildings. Who was up there? Would Betts have sent someone to help? No, this seemed to be the same weapon that had been fired at him before. He wasn’t even sure if the person’s aim had improved. He hadn’t been hit—again, but neither had Myers. Who was the target? What did he want? “Well, now, I can’t say for certain,” Tristan said. “Perhaps if you don’t want to become another hole in the pavement, you’ll be very still.” They stared at him, eyes huge. He stared back as he slowly stepped forward. Among the armament they’d dropped was a stunner. Perfect. He picked it and thumbed it for wide dispersal. Without a word, he fanned them and watched them fall. He looked up at the rooftops again.

Pg. 24

Silence. He waited, looking for any movement. Nothing happened. He picked up the little girl. “You’re safe now,” he murmured. He heard the sounds of sirens. “You’ll be going home soon.” She wrapped her arms around his neck. It had been years since he’d held a child, any child. The last one he’d carried in his arms—he pushed that memory away. At least this one was alive. Anger rose inside, churning up until it nearly choked him. Myers was as bad as Dray, as bad as the Mordas. This place needed to be made safe for little ones. The Mordas needed to be destroyed. But how? The hydra had too many heads to fight from the outside. He had to look deeper... A thought occurred to him as the police arrived en masse, brandishing their weapons. This time, he’d fight from the inside. # Slap grinned as the fires roared through the warehouse, the heat on his face mirroring the heat in his heart. This was the third Mordas target they’d hit in two days. They were drawing closer to Zanti City with each one. But the Mordas, for all their fancy means of transportation, would find it hard to flush the warring Separatists from their hiding places in the hills. Especially with the Zendians’ help. After the second attack, a small group of

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Deuces Wild, Chapter 15: “Strange Bedfellows, Part Two” by L. S. King
Mordas tried to enter Zendi Valley, but the Zendians met them. Slap didn’t know what they did to them, but no one was hurt on either side. However, the Zendians sent the men, naked, back across the desert to Zanti City. Not necessarily a death sentence, but close. It did send a clear message to the Mordas. Slap hoped he was prepared. # “So you still don’t know who the unknown person was on the rooftop?” Tristan asked as he accepted the glass. He eyed Betts as she poured herself a drink. “No.” Her red lips pursed tightly. “I take it you haven’t found out either?” “I searched the area, and found evidence of where the person had been. I am of the feeling this is the same one who shot at me in the street last week. It’s the same weapon. I’m as stumped as you.” Which has me on edge; why  can’t  I  get  a  handle  on  this  attacker?  He  tries to drop me, then stops Myers and his men on the next go round. What is his angle? What  does he want? Betts sat on the sofa and crossed her legs. “We’ll keep searching and asking questions. But for now, I have a new proposition for you.” She patted the cushion next to her. The word and gesture made Tristan’s hackles rise. He crossed and seated himself on a chair opposite her. He wanted to worm into the organization, but—ugh, no!—not through her bed. Betts eyes narrowed. “Are you completely immune to feminine...blandishments?” she asked in exasperation. Tristan stared at her with a stoic expression. “My body or my heart?” Betts fingered the goblet in her hand. “You once said you had no heart.” “You remembered.” He lifted his drink in a salute, took a sip, and set it on the table. She sighed and shook her head. “If I didn’t need you right now, I’d be deeply offended. But business first.” She leaned forward. “We hear the Separatists have a new, strong chefe, or leader, now. We’d offer a lucrative deal to anyone who would get rid of him for us.” “You have the Guilds and Merchants sewn up.” Tristan crossed his arms. “The rich who reside here are all in bed with you—” “Nice way of putting it,” she said with a laugh. “So,” Tristan continued, “I don’t see how the Separatists can possibly cause you much trouble; they have no money. They have no voice, no say.” “They have land.” Betts sat up straight, her eyes glittering. “Most of the good land—all that green, lush land across the desert by the Zendi Mountains. And one other thing that gives them clout. The Zendians have come out of their holes in the mountains. When we’ve tried to move against those backwater dirt grubbers, the Zendians actually protected them. It seems they listen to Chefe.” “I think you have Lyssel to blame for that. He attacked one family and, in the process,

Pg. 25
killed one of those aliens. I think that got their attention.” “Yes, and that brings us back to their leader.” Betts gazed over at Tristan. “Are you willing to take the job?” “I usually don’t commit assassinations.” And this isn’t how I imagined myself allying with the Mordas. “Any price.” Her smile became seductive. “I’ll make it worth your while.” I  doubt  it, he thought but kept his face bland. “Assume, hypothetically, I decide to take the commission. What’s the leader’s name?” “William McCarty.” Tristan’s stomach flipped, but he remained impassive. They want to kill Slap!

To catch up on previous episodes of the adventures of Slap and Tristan, visit:

http://loriendil.com/DW.php

Deuces Wild is dedicated to the memory of my best friend; my inspiration for an enduring friendship...

http://loriendil.com/Starsky/

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

Deuces Wild, Chapter 15: “Strange Bedfellows, Part Two” by L. S. King

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L. S. King
A science fiction fan since childhood, L.S.  King  has  been  writing  stories  since  her  youth. Now, with all but one of her children  grown,  she  is  writing  full-time.  She  has developed a sword-and-planet series tentatively called The Ancients. The first  book  is  finished,  and  she  has  completed  rough  drafts  of  several  more  novels  as  well.  She  serves  on  the  editorial  staff  of  The Sword Review, is also their Columns  Editor,  and  writes  a  column  for  that  magazine  entitled  “Writer’s Cramps”  as  well.  She  is  also  one  of  the  Overlords,  a  founding  editor,  here  at  Ray Gun Revival. She began martial arts training over thirty  years ago, and owned a karate school for a  decade.  When  on  the  planet,  she  lives  in Delaware with her husband, Steve, and  their  youngest  child.  She  enjoys  gardening,  soap  making,  and  reading.  She  also  likes Looney Tunes, the color purple, and  is a Zorro aficionado, which might explain  her love for swords and cloaks.

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

The RGR Time Capsule
RGR Date: August 18, 2007
RGR - Sci Fi Weekly Site of the Week!
http://raygunrevival.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?t=1345

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Sci-Fi news from the Ray Gun Revival forums
ing reads that are light-years away from dark and depressing, and die-hard Golden Age  fans should be perfectly at home within its  pages.  films were going the way the Western once  had. “There’s nothing original. We’ve seen  it all before. Been there. Done it,” he said.  Asked to pick out examples, he said: “All of  them. Yes, all of them.” RGR Date: August 27, 2007
Joust, the Movie??
http://raygunrevival.com/Forum/viewtopic. php?t=1385

August 15 - August 31, 2007

By Ken Newquist In these days of dystopian cybernetic futures, transhumanist mass-mind uploads  and generational star travel, it can be  nice to get back to science fiction’s pulp  roots, where humans were real humans,  space travel was a thrilling adventure  and the evil genius of Planet X could be  defeated with little more than brains,  guts and a trusty ray gun. Ray Gun Revival offers exactly that. Its  namesake ‘zine is available as a free  PDF download and features short stories  and artwork inspired by the Golden Age  adventures of yesteryear. More than 20  issues of the ‘zine are available, each running 30 to 50 pages. Artwork can make  or break a magazine, particularly a labor  of love like Ray Gun Revival. Fortunately, the  editorial staff realizes this and consistently  finds cover art that perfectly complements  its space-opera content while visually reinforcing that this isn’t yet another grim-future  publication. The ‘zine’s mix of short stories and serialized  fiction is reminiscent of the pulps of old (not  to mention their modern-day descendents,  such as Analog and Asimov’s), and the format works well for it. The stories are amus-

A  Hollywood  production  company  is  planning a big-budget film version of the classic  Midway arcade game Joust, according to a report Monday on GameDaily.com. Will the film include giant flapping flightless  birds and pterodactyls? The producers aren’t  saying,  but  apparently  the  screenwriter’s  vision  for  the  film  includes  a  futuristic  Las  Vegas suspended in the sky. Ah, memories. RGR Date: August 30, 2007 In the GameDaily article, CP Productions (headed  by  the  producers  of  the  films  Area 51, How to Ridley Scott: Sci-Fi Films ‘As Dead As Westerns’ Lose a Guy in 10 Days, and Blackout) said its deal  http://raygunrevival.com/Forum/viewtopic.php?t=1392 with Midway could also result in a new Joust vidHe was the director of two of the most critieogame franchise based on the film. And CP has  cally acclaimed science fiction films, but now  already commissioned graphic novelist Steven Sir Ridley Scott believes that the genre is so  Elliot Altman (who has worked with DC Comics tired and unoriginal that it may be dead. and Dark Horse Comics) to create a Joust comic based  on  the  upcoming  film’s  script,  written  by  At the Venice Film Festival for a special  Marc Gottlieb. screening of his seminal noir thriller Blade Runner, Sir Ridley said that science fiction 

Ray Gun Revival magazine

Issue 29, September 01, 2007

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