PseudoPod 542: That Only a Mother

by Judith Merril

 

“That Only a Mother” was originally published in Astounding Science Fiction, June 1948. It appears here with appreciation through the assistance of the Virginia Kidd Agency.

JUDITH MERRILL was an American and then Canadian science fiction writer, editor and political activist, and one of the first women to be widely influential in those roles. In her mid-teens, Merril pursued Zionism and Marxism. According to Virginia Kidd’s introduction to The Best of Judith Merril, Ethel Grossman had been a suffragette, was a founder of the women’s Zionist organization Hadassah, and was “a liberated female frustrated at every turn by the world in which she found herself.” Judith Merril began writing professionally, especially short stories about sports, starting in 1945, before publishing her first science-fiction story in 1948. Her story “Dead Center” (1954) is one of only two stories taken from any science fiction or fantasy magazine for the Best American Short Stories volumes edited by Martha Foley in the 1950s. According to science fiction scholar Rob Latham, “throughout the 1950s, Merril, along with fellow SF authors James Blish and Damon Knight had taken the lead in promoting higher literary standards and a greater sense of professionalism within the field.” As an initiator of the New Wave movement, she edited the 1968 anthology England Swings SF. From the mid-1970s until her death, Merril spent much time in the Canadian peace movement, including traveling to Ottawa dressed as a witch in order to hex Parliament for allowing American cruise missile testing over Canada. The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA renamed) made Merril its Author Emeritus for 1997 and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame inducted her in 2013.

This week’s reader – Dagny Paul – is a teacher, writer, failed artist, comic book geek, and associate editor/occasional host of Pseudopod. She is guest editor for Pseudopod’s Artemis Rising 3 event in 2017.

She lives in the middle of nowhere, Louisiana. Follow her on Twitter for no good reason @dagnypaul. Listen to her story “There is No Road Through the Woods” on Pseudopod.


Info on Anders Manga’s album (they do our theme music!) can be found here.


A well-known geneticist, in the medical news, said that it was possible to tell with absolute certainty, at five months, whether the child would be normal, or at least whether the mutation was likely to produce anything freakish. The worst cases, at any rate, could be prevented. Minor mutations, of course, displacements in facial features, or changes in brain structure could not be detected. And there had been some cases recently, of normal embryos with atrophied limbs that did not develop beyond the seventh or eighth month. But, the doctor concluded cheerfully, the worst cases could now be predicted and prevented.

Pseudopod 451: The New Arrival

by Miranda Suri

“The New Arrival” was first published in Electric Spec, Volume 5, Issue 4 November 2010

Miranda Suri writes speculative fiction, teaches anthropology at Queens College, and goes on archaeological adventures that would make Indiana Jones green with envy. When she’s not curled up with a good book at her Brooklyn apartment, she can be found indulging one of her hobbies, which include exploring New York’s culinary scene, practicing Pilates, and traveling the world. Miranda’s fiction has appeared in publications such as Fictionvale, Penumbra, Every Day Fiction, and Electric Spec. Her story The Firefly Girl (Penumbra 2014) was included in Tangent Online’s 2014 recommended reading list. Her blog is at mirandasuri.com

Your narrator – Rock Manor is a voice actor specializing in audiobook narration and audio plays. His voice work has been featured on multiple horror podcasts and programs. He currently produces the horror audiobook web series and podcast, Manor House. You can follow him on twitter @ManorHouseShow. Web series episodes can be found on YouTube at youtube.com/RockManorHouse. Podcast episodes can be found on iTunes under Manor House: The Podcast.

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I stood in line at the grocery store with my mother, ignoring Simon as he pawed through the carnival-bright offerings on the candy rack. Suzette, the check-stand girl who sometimes babysat for us on Friday nights, ran the items across the scanner.

“What great news, Mrs. Waverly,” Suzette said. “You must be so excited!”

Simon finally settled on a chocolate bar and held it up to our mom, his eyes eager. Watching my older brother, his ten-year-old body twice my size but his mind still years behind, I felt something between pity and disgust.

My mother took the candy bar and slid it onto the belt. Her other hand held mine.

“I know,” she responded. “We’re thrilled! We didn’t want to say anything until we were out of the first trimester.”

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