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      The Fourth Science Fiction Megapack is copyright © 2012 by Wildside Press LLC.


      All rights reseved.

      Cover art copyright © 2012 by Diversipixel/Fotolia.

      * * * *

      “Zora and the Land Ethic Nomads,” by Mary A. Turzillo, originally appeared in The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction. Copyright © 2007 by Mary A. Turzillo. Reprinted by permission of the author.

      “Food for Friendship,” by E.C. Tubb, is copyright © 1956, 2003 by E.C. Tubb. Reprinted by permission of Cosmos Literary Agency.

      “The Life Work of Professor Muntz,” by Murray Leinster, originally appeared in Thrilling Wonder Stories, June 1949.

      “Tiny and the Monster,” by Theodore Sturgeon, originally appeared in Astounding Science Fiction, May 1947.

      “Beyond Lies the Wub,” by Philip K. Dick, originally appeared in Planet Stories, July 1952.

      “Pictures Don’t Lie,” by Katherine MacLean, originally appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction, August, 1951.

      “The Big Trip Up Yonder,” by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., originally appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction, January 1954.

      “Storm Warning,” by Donald A. Wollheim, originally appeared in Future Fantasy and Science Fiction, October 1942.

      “The Application of Discipline,” by Jason Andrew, originally appeared in School Days: Tales with an Edge. Copyright © 2010 by Jason Andrew. Reprinted by permission of the author.

      “Tom the Universe,” by Larry Hodges, originally appeared as an audiobook in Escape Pod, April 2011. Copyright © 2011 by Larry Hodges. Reprinted by permission of the author.

      “Wild Seed,” by Carmelo Rafalá, originally appeared in The West Pier Gazette and Other Stories. Copyright © 2008 by Carmelo Rafalá. Reprinted by permission of the author.

      “Tabula Rasa,” by Ray Cluley, originally appeared in Not One Of Us #46 (October 2011). Copyright © 2011 by Ray Cluley. Reprinted by permission of the author.

      “The Eyes of Thar,” by Henry Kuttner, originally appeared in Planet Stories, Fall 1944.

      “Regenesis,” by Cynthia Ward, originally appeared in Nature. Copyright © 2000 by Cynthia Ward. Reprinted by permission of the author.

      “Not Omnipotent Enough,” by George H. Scithers and John Gregory Betancourt, is original to this publication. Copyright © 2012 by John Gregory Betancourt.

      “Plato’s Bastards,” by James C. Stewart is copyright © 2011 by James C. Stewart. Reprinted by permission of the author.

      “Pen Pal,” by Milton Lesser, originally appeared in Galaxy Science Fiction, July 1951.

      “The Arbiter,” by John Russell Fearn, originally appeared in Startling Stories, May 1947. Reprinted by permission of Cosmos Literary Agency.

      “The Grandmother-Granddaughter Conspiracy,” by Marissa Lingen, originally appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine #39. Copyright © 2009 by Marissa Lingen. Reprinted by permission of the author.

      “Top Secret,” by David Grinnell (pseudonym of Donald A. Wollheim) originally appeared in Sir!, April 1948.

      “Living Under the Conditions,” by James K. Moran, originally appeared in On Spec #69 (Summer 2007). Copyright © 2007 by James K. Moran. Reprinted by permission of the author.

      “Sense of Obligation,” by Harry Harrison, originally appeared in Analog in 1961. It was later published in revised book form as Planet of the Damned.

      “Angel’s Egg,” by Edgar Pangborn, originally appeared in Galaxy, June 1951.

      “Youth,” by Isaac Asimov, originally appeared in Space Science Fiction, May 1952.

      ZORA AND THE LAND ETHIC NOMADS, by Mary A. Turzillo

      Zora let them in, of course. How many friends do you have when you live in the Martian arctic? And they were friends, after all, despite their smell (days, weeks, in an environment suit did not improve the cheesy odor their bootliners emitted).

      They seemed more like friends because they were young, just kids, like her. In fact they seemed even younger than Zora. None of them had given birth. She remembered the innocent kid she’d been before Marcus, before the contract with the Corps, before Mars. And before the hard hard work of making a place to live in the cold and tenuous atmosphere of a place where she was a pilgrim and a pioneer.

      Even if they had been strangers, you don’t turn away travelers through the faded orange desert of Mars. To do so is tantamount to murder.

      Yes, it taxed her family’s own systems, because of course she and Marcus had to offer to let them use the deduster and recycle their sanitary packs. Her family’s sparse larder was at their command. She had to offer them warm baths and hot drinks, even before their little Sekou had taken his bath. They needed the bath much worse than Sekou did.

      Smelly and needy as they were, they were society, animals of her species in a dangerous world of wide, empty skies and lonely silences.

      It is said that Martians can take any substance and ferment it into beer, cheese, or a bioweapon. When she and Marcus first came to Mars, she naively believed they would bring their ethnic foods and customs with them. More than that, that they would revive ancient Kiafrikan traditions. They would drink palm wine from a calabash, they would learn to gengineer yams to grow in the artificial substrate that passed for soil on Mars, that they would tell old stories by the dim light of two moons instead of one bright one.

      * * * *

      Somehow learning Swahili takes a back burner to scraping together a life out of sand and rock and sky.

      What she had not counted on was that all the Kiafrican culture that would ever come to Mars was embedded in hers and Marcus’s two fine-tuned brains, and that even researching their mother culture wasn’t going to be easy over thirty five to a hundred million miles from home, three to thirty light minutes away from the electronic resources of Earth. And when you’re that far from home (or when your home is that far from Earth), your culture consists of the entity that you owe your life to, that controls even the air you breathe, and the few humans you meet, your neighbors several tens of kilometers away, who are kind enough to tell you how to pickle squash blossoms stuffed with onion mush, how to sex cuy, and what to do if the bacteria in your recycler go sour.

      Not that there aren’t traditions. One of them is the toy exchange, and thank Mars for that. Zora managed to exchange a perfectly useless sandyfoam playhouse for a funny little “authentic” camera. Somebody had bought a carton of them, along with the silver emulsion film and chemicals they ate, and Sekou, less than three mears old, had been entranced with the flat images he could make of her, Marcus, and everything else inside the hab.

      If he had been old enough to wear an environment suit, he probably would have done portraits of the rover.

      Marcus couldn’t understand why anybody with enough brains to stay alive on Mars would make such a thing, but it turnedo out it was a way of getting rid of an unmarketably small amount of silver mined from what the manufacturer had hoped to make a fortune on.

      Sekou was beside himself with excitement when the Land Ethic Nomads had turned up. Not only were they new subjects for his photography hobby, they listened to his endless questions about the world outside the hab.

      Listened, not answered.

      The Land Ethic Nomads had different ideas about Mars than Zora and Marcus, and sometimes Zora worried that little Sekou would absorb them and want to run away with them when he was older. Zora and Marcus Smythe believed that humanity had an imperative to go forth and know the universe. One time Zora had heard a Catholic child reciting something called a catechism: Why did God make me? To know, love and serve him.


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