Short stories by Marina J. Lostetter

Sojourn for Ephah

Artwork by Eric Wilkerson

Artwork by Eric Wilkerson

Published: September 2012 in Orson Scott Card’s InterGalactic Medicine Show (you can see a preview of the story here).

Genre: science fiction

Length: 21 pages

Setting: a spaceship/Cathedral on an extrasolar world, far future

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Summary: The narrator is a pastor in a future church (which seems to have the trappings of Catholicism). An unknown creature has appeared on the steps outside of their mobile church. The narrator approaches the creature and notices its innocence and feeling of being unfinished. The other leaders of the church feel it is a demon that needs to be exorcised. The narrator eventually determines the creature, who names herself Ephah, is a new god that needs to be helped to start a new universe.

Final thoughts: An interesting story. There’s enough semblance of Catholicism that the reader easily follows along with the religious aspects of the story, but enough differences so you know it isn’t just Catholics in space. The idea that Ephah had helped the previous god start their universe and now the narrator will be put into suspension until he has enough energy to start his own universe is an interesting take on the cycle of creation of universes.

Title comes from: Ephah is the creature who appears in our world and stays only for a short time until she has enough power to create her own universe.

Master Belladino’s Mask

Published: 2013 in Writers of the Future Volume 29 .

Genre: fantasy


Setting: a medieval-type world where magic exists

Interest: It was included in the 2014 Campbellian Anthology

Summary: Melanie needs the mask of Master Belladino, a genius healer, in order to learn how to cure the muscle disease that is killing her mother. The mask, which contains the personality and memories of Belladino, takes over Melanie’s personality, and it is only through the assistance of Master Leiwood, who also had a bad experience with a mask, that she is able to free herself.

Final thoughts: Again, interesting. In this world, the currency is time that’s taken from newborns and cashed in when you’re old. Melanie seems very naive, taking several gifts from Master Leiwood, who doesn’t seem to expect anything in return. I was waiting for her to be trapped into prostitution or her minutes stolen from her. Turns out, he just wanted to help other people avoid the problems he had with a mask. I’m not sure I bought the level of involvement he was willing to provide just for humanitarian efforts, but the story was still enjoyable.

Title comes from: The mask, which was supposed to help Melanie cure her mother, was the driver to the plot in this story

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