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Letter from the Editor
In Pasadena in the late 1980s, there was a science-fiction bookstore with the pleasing name Planet Ten. The shop wasn't large, and you couldn't expect exotic finds, but it was well stocked. I stopped by every few weeks, and I never left without buying at least one book, sometimes two or three, always paperbacks.
I can remember some of those books—in fact, I still have some of them, ranging from then-new releases to reissues of the classics. Our son Andrew (born in 1978) was the perfect age for Robert Heinlein's juveniles (which include some of RAH's best work), and we accumulated a small shelf of those. (Our mutual favorite was Citizen of the Galaxy.) Sometimes I'd buy a book chiefly for the cover-art. But I also did a lot of browsing, just to see what people were doing. I dipped into many books that way, noticing what kind of stories were being told, in what voices.
Along with other trends of the day—cyberpunk, for instance—those years saw a vogue for tales featuring a repressive religious regime (inspired in part by the triumph of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale). This predated by some years the Great Theocracy Scare. (You remember that, don't you? All those books and magazine articles and screeds online a few years back, warning that the US was in imminent danger of takeover by evangelical zealots, conservative Catholics, and other assorted "Christo-fascists," as Chris Hedges liked to say.) And speaking of "theocracy," don't miss Doug Wilson's piece on Rousas Rushdoony and Christian Reconstruction (p. 17 in this issue).
In the unlikely event that anyone reading this remembers Planet Ten, I'd love to hear from you. Perhaps we were even in the store at the same time, saying "excuse me" as we changed places in the aisle somewhere between Philip K. Dick and Ursula K. Le Guin.
While working on the issue that you now have in hand, I've been looking ahead to celebrating our 20th anniversary with the September/October 2015 issue—and looking ...