Friday, 28 June 2013

The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1982

Once I had a collection of several years of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. (Once I had a farm in Africa, as someone else said). The subscription was well worth the price. I wish, though, that I had held onto the February 1982 issue. It had two of my favourite stories in it, both of which I would love to read again.

First, there was "The Sgt. Pepper Variations" by Howard Roller and Parke Godwin. A person of limited education and almost no musical skill is trying to interest a music publisher in some original work. Not her original work, exactly. She is a medium who converses with the great composers. They do not stop composing just because their bodies are decomposing. So she asks if the person would like to hear "The Sgt. Pepper Variations" written by "Mr. Bach" to welcome that "nice Mr. Lennon," or the work that Chopin wrote to commemorate the first landings on the moon. Would I? I could almost hear them in my head, the way you can almost remember how your first kiss felt.

Speaking of decomposing composers, here is Monty Python's tribute to them.
The other story was "Understanding Human Nature" by Thomas M. Disch. It turns out that we need only three things to have a fully human life: rewarding work, love, and some connection to a project bigger and longer lasting than ourselves. Building a pyramid, for example. It was a warm, wise story.

And, as it turns out, you can read it on the web here.

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