Aphelion Issue 235, Volume 22
December 2018
 
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A STEAMY ALE FROM STHMEFLA

by Sergio  “ente per ente” PALUMBO
edited by Michele DUTCHER

A Mare Inebrium story
Mare Inebrium Universe created by Dan Hollifield



Maybe this wasn’t the best time of the day, but that couldn’t be helped. “Some days roll on routinely, as calm as the deeply still waters of a pool…while others simply don’t.” A still worn-out Max, wearing his usual white apron, was walking around the empty rooms on the third floor of what was certainly the most famous Space Bar on Bethdish. He had been working here, if he remembered correctly, for more than 200 years so far. The bartender with short, dark hair had awoken not long ago and he was just having a look at the things to be done on his to-do list. At a certain point the man stiffened: there were damaged chairs, tableware had not been put where it was supposed to be, and dirty objects would need to be removed by his employees as soon as they arrived. There were, indeed, several things to clean up before the bar could be opened tonight.

On the floor were also visible some considerable traces of dried blood – blood perhaps from three different species – and not one of the three were known for being peace-loving, at least as far as he could remember at the moment. Had it happened because of a small wound or because of a full-on assault? Was it due to a secretive stabbing against a designated target? The robotic holo-cameras that constantly surveyed the many rooms inside the bar hadn’t reported anything, but that didn’t mean much. There were well-disguised moves that couldn’t immediately be noticed and that occasionally occurred on the darkest nights, regretfully. Not everyone followed the code of conduct that the customers of the Mare Inebrium were supposed to keep in mind, and not every wealthy regular that came here was beyond suspicion. Even this bar’s superior security had its gaps. “Let’s get going…” the bartender told himself, making a sour face.

The bar itself was not without its shadier sides, of course, and Max was well aware of it. A galaxy of different reasons brought customers here. There were spies, dubious traders, offenders, assassins and mobsters that, for one reason or another, had chosen this central venue as the perfect base for meeting their superiors, wealthy masters, bounty buyers and pitiless mugwumps. And it was right here, at times, that those kinds of sinister customers made their secret plans for projects of a certainly disreputable taste, or where they were paid after completing their duty.

The bartender was not worried about all that, if the name of Mare Inebrium itself was not involved in some unlawful matter and no crimes were committed within other customer’s eyesight, in a way. It was business as usual, and the rules that came with it were much older than most of the things - or the creatures – that you could spot around on the surface of the whole planet of Bethdish. After all, illegal activities had always had a small but thriving hold on many Spaceport fields, and in their famous or infamous venues. This bar couldn’t be different, of course, nor could City of Lights Spaceport.

And then there was today’s special duty. Yes it was, again, that day of the week that he had set aside to meet the alien sales agents who invariably made their way here from several worlds of many other space sectors, unfailingly trying to sell him their products or beverages to be put on the Mare Inebrium’s list. As Max moved to the room he had set aside as his office space, the immortal bartender thought that, truth be told, he had already seen a lot of very strange things, including a few unbelievable objects that people had attempted to sell him. For example, how could anyone forget about that liquor from Klj-kl, a lonely and cloudy big moon situated in a very distant area of space, that the seller himself boasted was the only one that required to always be characteristically served in very specific ancient earthenware mugs of great comeliness, which he said he could provide in a great amounts. It was great luck that Max had chosen to wait a few days to accept, allowing him time to find out more about that seller. In fact, just a week after their meeting, a Planetary Customs Officer had come into his bar in order to warn him to keep a look-out for an illegal dealer of archaeological objects that came from a planet that had sent surly ambassadors almost everywhere to take them back by any means necessary - as those objects were reputed to date back to the first population who once lived there, whose historical value was highly prized by their present government. Think of it for a moment: it would be like letting an alcoholic beverage, recreated from a rediscovered process coming from some lost winery of the past, be sold here in an original ancient Greek oinochoe, those rare receptacles of invaluable importance from Earth’s most distant past! And this not to mention that this kind of archaeological artifact was a completely criminal trade…

But that had not been the only time he had been forced to deal with a dubious sales agent. What about the alien former general - once also a very capable hunter - who was now in his nineties, who wanted to turn his activities to the profitable business of highly priced meat, and planned on selling - for their own kitchen behind the bar area - the carcasses of massive dead beasts from a verdant planet which tasted very good, for sure - but were worshipped like sacred animals by that planet’s native people, whose leaders were ready to start a bloody crusade among the stars to prevent this indignity from occurring here?

So, what was going on with the tall newcomer who had entered his office today? From his strange appearance, despite the huge outdated glasses he wore to protect his sensitive eyes, you could tell at first sight he wasn’t even someone who might be from the present time, actually. He wore a wide-brimmed hat, a long brown frock coat endowed with many rings on the back of the waist and the sleeves covered with intricate designs that made the clothing look both fancy and fantastic. He undoubtedly looked like one of those old gentlemen who were out of place, apparently stepping out of the pages of a novel, an old movie or an 1800s Earth painting - except for the dangling lowers on his face, his light gray skin and other obvious features, like ten fingers on each hand that were surely all-alien.

The meeting seemed very weird from the first moment, but it was up to Max himself to evaluate and eventually sign contracts with sellers that wanted to have their merchandise on sale here. So he had to finish this task by day’s end. Who else had more experience than he did, of course?

“Hi there, welcome to Mare Inebrium, Mr… What brings you here today?” the bartender asked the other while sitting comfortably in his preferred chair.

“Pleased to meet you, sir. I am Tlebh and I have come to this place to offer to sell you our amazing beers..." the alien said, his voice being a sort of rale in his strange accent. Anyway, as he spoke Max thought that he might be able to pinpoint where his visitor was from, if he could just think about it for a minute.

“Beers, you say? As you can see, we are already full of beers from more than 100 planets, and some of them are specially ordered for our most wealthy customers. They are all outstanding, very rare and so expensive that my waiters themselves could not afford one of them, even with their yearly income,” the man eyed his visitor. “So, why should I consider buying yours?”

“Because the ones I’d like to offer you, as a sample to be tasted, at first, and hopefully to be put into your list for sale, are much better than you could imagine.”

The words of the newcomer made Max think he didn’t look like some ill-reputed sales agents he had previously had to deal with. He didn’t look like a swindler of some sort. The words he made use of, though in his unusual alien tone, were appropriate and mannerly, and in tune with the overall posture, and the clothes, he showed off.

His language and other details, eventually allowed him to figure out what world he was from. He remembered he had heard about a planet whose population seemed to live in a sort of Steampunkish Age, something that apparently was not too dissimilar from The Age of Steam that Earth itself had experienced in the 1700s - or was it in the 1800s…? - regardless of the fact that such a period had lasted there for a much longer time. Even nowadays there were aliens like him who, thanks to the gaseous energy that erupted from the sub-surface of that planet itself, had discovered how to power their ground vehicles, their airplanes and even all of their airships and space vessels. Not that their spaceships were very fast, or too appreciable according to common standards other alien species had gotten used to, but they were reputed to be good enough to allow for safe, although a bit slow, space travel. The name of that world was Steamland, if Max was right, and he remembered that not a lot of people had visited that place…

“So, you’re from SteamLand?” the bartender burst out in a way that was probably too curt. At times, he just couldn’t restrain himself on time.

“Yes, we know that some have nicknamed our planet that, and we are also glad that you have heard of it. However, its real name is Sthmefla, I mean, in our language, anyway.” the visitor pointed it out with a smile on his face.

“If I just close my eyes, I can imagine what the towns of your home planet look like: females wearing only corsets and gowns; males with leather dress coats having longer tails reaching below the knees; buildings made up of materials such as copper and iron, that are out of fashion here and on most of the other known worlds in space; old steamy street vehicles on wheels; some complicated air-machines and long trade airships in the skies; and worn-out photophones or other telecommunications devices that you still operate nowadays on the surface. Your planet’s characteristics are all very distinctive, and very different from most of the other places I’ve known or have visited in my life.” Max appeased his tone. “So, please, tell me, Mr. Tlebh. Why do you say that your beers are so excellent? And why do you think I should buy your products to be sold here at the Mare Inebrium?”

Well, I could say a lot of good things about them, and oversell their quality, but I would prefer for you to taste one of those for yourself. That is the best way to see if my boasts are true.”

“A good point…” the bartender nodded. Also, this sentence by the alien made him think that he really was a gentleman, and didn’t only look like that only in his appearance. “So, how do you propose that we proceed? Do you have samples of your products with you?”

“Of course, I have. Just let me open my small suitcase and I’ll give you the chance to sip one of them, any beer of your choice. I’m certain that you’ll not be disappointed in the end.” Tlebh smiled again.

So, a very curious Max was handed a jug that the sales agent had in his bag, and he poured the beer into a glass with an experienced gesture. Then the bartender prepared himself to follow the steps that any good drinker of beers should: swirling the liquid around and putting his nose into the glass, inhaling several times and warming it up in his hands. He even remembered to put his fingers over the top of the jug, swirling the beer for a few moments more. Then he smelled it. He checked out the color – that might usually be clear or hazy in a common beer – and noticed that it was very brilliant. He also took note of how much of a head stayed on the top of the beer itself. Then, as if the only subsequent and right move to do in order to know it he had to practice was to drink the liquid, he removed his doubts.

He took in just enough to coat his mouth and let it hit his lips, and the roof of his mouth. When he swallowed that sip, he also kept his teeth closed and exhaled through the nose. A pleasing sensation had the better of the man, and he decided to completely focus on the aftertaste. Then, he tasted it again.

Indeed, that beer was great, and the bartender, while eagerly sipping that liquid one nip at a time, reminded himself of the old saying: The creation of beer was pure revelry and perhaps as meaningful to man’s development as the creation of the first wheel… By comparing it to other beers of the same good appearance that he had tried before, or those that were sold at the Mare Inebrium, he found it very enjoyable and it ranked among the best, certainly.

Staring at his satisfied expression, the alien gave him a full-on speech. “We can provide your bar with at least 14 different beers, all of them we produce ourselves and they are all renowned on Sthmefla. Most of them are Bock-like beverages, medium-to-full bodied and dark-brown in color, but we also have ales with slightly higher alcohol content, if you prefer to try those. Moreover, we can even sell you glassware particularly designed to enhance target features.”

Max’s face still looked uncertain, in a way, though the taste of that beer was winning him over.

"I understand your doubts but you should think about this: it would be like selling something old-fashioned, like a traditional British product from the 1800s from the old times on Earth. Many of your regulars would like the beer’s tradition feel, and also new customers could be greatly attracted by its appeal undoubtedly."

“Done!” Max maintained in a grin. “This beer of yours is undoubtedly very good, I had to say it, and deserves a place on the shelves in this bar. Now it’s time to talk about the details, like prices and the amount you can provide us with every week…”

And, in saying so, the bartender knew that this was the important part of the deal.

“I’m sure that we can reach an agreement that will please both of us, Mr. Max.”

******


The orders from the regulars kept going and going that night at the Mare Inebrium, which was always a good way to watch the hours fly past. As the bartender gave attentive looks here and there to have a full image of the bar, and of the alien species that were present inside who crowded the main room, he considered that there were other good bars near the City of Lights Spaceport. Some of the competing bars had weird-sounding alien names and were strict on mixed groups of girls to guys, or aliens to humans, of course. Travelers and tourists could find many traditional venues all around the area, and it was difficult to tell the difference from the outside, but the Mare Inebrium was much more attractive overall and full of more amenities and comforts, undoubtedly, once you stepped inside.

This was where Space will be time and time will be space, as the old song went. Or was that quote from an old space poem?

The bar catered both to those looking for a trendy up-market venue for the rich and famous, and to the average customer’s needs. This place was too good to be missed, anyway, provided that you were wealthy enough to afford its services and its top-shelf beverages that frequently had steep prices. This was the venue to visit, to see and be seen, and it had been like this for as long as anyone could remember. It had become more and more popular, of course, as people from several star systems, too many to be listed briefly, had begun going there to spend the night. After all, some of those customers were exploring this part of the galaxy for the first time, and not just to discover a new alien world but to meet and see new species, peoples and different spaceports, far from their home planets. How could he say they were wrong to be extravagant in their tastes?

Max had noticed tonight at least three alien groups they had were from their colonies built on Bethdish: strangely, the Halazed and the Shebeja customers were many, at first sight, but it was difficult to say who really filled the rooms in the biggest number.

At the far-right end, some JKLeen seemed to be ready to start a fight with a group of drunken, warlike, Furr-Iel-Nms that presently sat at their tables with hairy pointed tails wrapped around their fat bodies. As those 10-foot-long muscular creatures from Grand Space Island II didn’t like the other customers next to them, a problem was, possibly, going to hit the main room some time tonight. Maybe the JKLeen were smugglers – most of them were, in reality, when they didn’t happen to be pirates - or maybe he was judging them too badly because of their clothes, but he was also sure that those aliens with incredibly short legs and that translucent beige/orange skin were very good at creating disasters everywhere, undoubtedly.

The man couldn’t say why aliens got into the smuggling business. Had crime been their first choice? He had noticed they were usually accepting work from whoever was paying the most up the economic food chain. Maybe they were smugglers because of some bad breaks that had been forced upon them by others who always ruled over them and their lives, like crime lords or bloody slavers. A disenchanted Max didn’t know or care who might be in the right between the two opposing parties, but all that mattered to him now was how to prevent them from tearing up the main room, and to keep the bar’s reputation respectable.

After all, wasn’t this the bar where anything could happen, as he well knew?

The bartender immediately informed the slim long-legged Trixie and Blanche about the impending quarrel, hoping that their intervention would be enough to stop it on time and not to let it all get out of hand. Their words, and gestures, usually worked, by all means…After all, they were highly respected there, even from the unusual regulars. As for he himself, he had other important things to do. Later that night, as he checked the reports of the proceedings of the last week, it pleased him to see that the new beers imported from SteamLand - or whatever the planet’s real name was - had proved a profitable addition to his already considerable list of alien beverages. So, he had made the right choice again. And when his customers were happy, he was happy, too.

******


That afternoon, Max had decided to let him himself have, for once, a little free time, and he had headed for the rear of the tall building where the Mare Inebrium was situated - where there was the special area that was supposed to be kept clear for loading and unloading. He had gone back there because he knew that it was almost time to receive the next shipment of beers from Sthmefla and he was very curious to see what kind of vehicle that sales agent would be operating. He was a bit surprised and astounded, truth be told, as he noticed a wheeled Airstreamer heavy truck with an ash frame and aluminum panels covered by insulation and finished on the outside with showy copper details. Max wondered if the rare and stunning color combination and the Airstreamer itself was just a part of the company presentation and one of the tools it used to better characterize the business and give it a certain image to the viewers, and any possible customers.

Inside the vehicle there were two other citizens from Sthmefla, that were recognizable by their particular old-fashioned clothes. They disembarked and turning to some old ways of doing things instead of using the robotized services available here, then started unloading the kegerators by hand. These kegerators were, of course, the huge beer dispensing devices the same company used to deliver their products to the bars and other buyers everywhere, without losing quality or freshness. Staring at the many refrigerated containers that were being put on the ground outside, before storing them in the lower levels of the Space Bar itself, a bewildered Max wondered what kind of old technology they relied on, as he and his waiters usually let the beer be poured out of the kegs and no one had ever saw what contraption was inside. He decided that maybe it would have been interesting to have a look.

As Max spotted the characteristic hat of Tlebh standing along with his two workers, he didn’t miss the chance to call him, asking the alien to look inside. He knew he needed the other’s permission as those unusual kegerators might have some secret appliances that weren’t meant to be made public or widely known.

“Of course, Mr. Max… Your interest is appreciated and certainly comprehensible, as your wonderful bar is selling so many of our beers. I can understand why you would want to know more about our unusual products that have been greatly increasing your sales over the course of the last weeks…” the alien nodded and smiled.

It was one of the two other workers that entered the digit-code on the outside of one of the kegerators themselves and the device opened in a whiff of cold air, steam and a strange smell that filled the area for a while.

There was, of course, some liquid inside, but not only that.

"What are these?" asked Max, looking at the one-layer two-cells thick creatures that were visible as they swam and lived in the yellowish liquid substance contained in the wide receptacle.

"These are Qeuhsss, creatures that live in the misty quagmires of the southern areas of Sthmefla," the alien explained as if it was the easier thing to say and to know.

"Qeuhsss…from where?"

“The misty quagmires of the southern areas of Sthmefla,” Tlebh said again.

At those words, Max went nearer as he wanted to have a better look, and stared at them for a while. With their soft and fine trailing protuberances on their back, the little freshwater creatures didn’t appear to be dangerous. The sickly pallor on their almost translucent skin gave the viewer a sensation of weakness, or the image of a really unoffending fish-like being. Their bodies appeared endowed with a sort of notochord that pulsated to provide propulsion, at times. Then the man noticed something else, and this surprised him, at first, before he became more and more worried. The creatures were, apparently, talking to each other by means of their sensory organs, and they really seemed to use some unknown language to communicate. At times they turned their retractable trailing protuberances to better make them understood as they put those deeper and deeper into the liquid that surrounded their body.

The creature’s communications weren’t just the exchange of sounds that some alien animals used to talk inside a group - to express feelings, discomfort or happiness. Those talks undoubtedly looked like real phrases, sort of complicated words and the likes, though they didn’t mean anything to Max. He was unable to figure-out what they really were talking about. The bartender could certainly say he knew many alien languages, but he did not know all of them, indeed, and certainly not theirs…

“It looks like those Qeuhsss, those creatures are speaking to each other. Aren’t they just animals? And why are they in these kegerators?” the man asked the other eventually.

“Oh, they are not just animals. This is definitely an intelligent species on our planet. Certainly, they are primitive beings, and it would take hundreds of thousands of years for them to become as intelligent, or evolved, as we are now… But they will never reach that condition, and we use them as an addition to produce a better taste in our beers…”

“What are you telling me? Do you mean that your species on SteamLand hunts such intelligent creatures, willingly, and uses them as ingredients in order to properly brew your beers? The alcohol you are selling to my bar?” Max’s angry tone immediately expressed his disdain for what he had been told a moment ago.

“What is this bewilderment about, Mr. Max?” the alien looked uncertain. “It’s what we do, and we have produced beer in this way for hundreds of years. The oxygen present in the liquid the Qeuhsss swim in is slowly removed so that their death occurs over the course of several days, then their carcasses are left for about a week to allow them to fall below, almost completely dissolving. This leaves a very small sediment from the imperceptible remains of their bodies, thus adding the required, one of a kind taste our great beers are very famous for. It’s a peculiar process that takes time, and a lot of dead Qeuhsss, anyway. It also requires the right climate conditions, and the cold temperatures of the liquid itself.”

At that time, the alien gentleman’s manners and the kind words that the seller made use of when the two first met appeared to only be a false appearance, which kept hidden a much worse way of thinking and this reprehensible behavior.

“How did you manage to have these creatures sneaked through our Customs here on Bethdish? You should have been stopped there immediately…” Max asked the seller.

“Well, these beings don’t proliferate when they are put into the special preparation that is later turned into our most excellent beers. This liquid also has a sleep-inducing effect on them that greatly slows their movements, reasoning and actions. Other than that, they are not poisonous, not aggressive and not dangerous at all. They are no threat to the environment of this planet and to its inhabitants that are from several different species. This has been clearly tested, and it is certain that there will be no unsafe consequences for the living peoples of Bethdish itself.”

“So, those Qeuhsss are defenseless intelligent creatures that are made inoffensive and ready to be killed at your whim…” a more and more outraged Max retorted. “Don’t you know that hunting intelligent beings, or using them just as brainless food, has long been forbidden in this and many other space sectors? I am sure you didn’t inform the planetary officers about this. And you were planning on killing more and more of these poor beings at the Mare Inebrium, just to give your beers a better taste? How can you rationalize getting rid of a primitive though intelligent alien species just to improve your profits here?”

“It’s a business that had been practiced on Sthmefla for centuries, and is highly valued on our world. I can assure you of this.”

“I also can assure you something, Mr. Tlebh. Your business, be it of a long tradition or not, ends here and now in my Space Bar! And don’t even expect to be paid for your last shipment. You’ll be lucky if I don’t call the local police to have you detained. But be sure that this isn’t just for today, never come back here again! Otherwise things will end worse than this for you next time. I’m not jesting, Mr. Tlebh… believe me!”

“Really, Mr. Max, I don’t understand why…we had a deal and…” the alien tried to add something else, but another cold look from the bartender prevented him from going on. Max’s pupils appeared like two swords that were eager to pierce through the other’s gray body - and they probably would have liked to have done so, more than once, if just local laws had allowed that.

Which was why he just moved away, never to turn back to Mr. Tlebh and his fellows…

******


Still angered because of the biting altercation he had had with that alien from Sthmefla, and thinking that the two had almost come to blows before the deal was abruptly shredded in the end – which didn’t frequently happen to Max, even under the worse circumstances - the man knew he needed a break. That was why he went to his office after taking a bottle of an aged and expensive Dlreb liquor out of his personal cabinet. He had promised himself, long ago, to keep it for some special occasion, but this was the right time to sip it, if he just wanted to stay calm and cool down for his next shift.

Scratching at his forehead, he poured some of that strong alcohol into a glass, then raised it up and let the liquid warm a bit in the air, as it was customary with that unusual alien liquor. Then he looked at the bottle, before drinking the liquor, and noticed the wide label, shaped like an old reddish dwarf tree from that planet. The label had a characteristic image of a proud primordial Dlreb bird of prey on it. He let his thoughts roam freely and considered that not much was known about that now extinct creature. Perhaps it was just a symbol, or the image of a mythological monster with a Dragon-like body, just like the fabled sea beings that people once believed lived on old Earth, or on many other alien worlds.

Max had a closer look at it and some questions came to his mind. Hadn’t he heard, many years ago, that a few Dlreb scientists had decided to bring back to life through genetics those long-gone creatures? Hadn’t also the humans tried to do the same thing with prehistoric extinct animals, just like the Terror Birds or the Elasmotherium? And when had those aliens succeeded? Thirty years ago, maybe?

Then he turned his eyes to the year printed on the label itself. Twenty-nine years ago.

That liquor wasn’t very old, indeed, but in a few years it had become one of the most likeable and expensive in this part of space. It wasn’t its old age or its tradition that made it great, but the alcohol itself which was very good, indeed.

The bartender took another look at the bird of prey in the design of the label and, maybe unwillingly, made some connections. That liquor had started to be put on the market just one year after those Dlreb had maintained that they could recreate such extinct animals using their ancient remains found on the planet. Was the appearance of such a product just a coincidence? Was he really sure?

Well, truth be told, Max didn’t know if parts of these newly non-extinct alien birds of prey might not be among the ingredients of this liquor. He certainly couldn’t say if those animals might have once been thought to be an intelligent species that simply didn’t exist long enough to survive the great disaster that hit the Dlreb home-planet in ancient times. He wasn’t even sure he wanted to know the truth about what the ingredients actually were…

But, for today, that consideration, and the questions that came with it, made him set the glass aside. And there was no way to make him change his mind for the rest of the week, anyway.


THE END


2018 Sergio Palumbo

Bio: Sergio is an Italian public servant who graduated from Law School working in the public real estate branch. He has published a Fantasy RolePlaying illustrated Manual,  WarBlades, of more than 700 pages. Some of his works and short- stories have  been  published on American Aphelion Webzine, WeirdYear, Quantum  Muse,  Antipodean  SF, Schlock!Webzine, SQ  Mag, etc.,and  in  print  inside 35  American Horror/Sci-fi/Fantasy/Steampunk  Anthologies, 55  British Horror/Sci-Fi Anthologies, 2 Urban Fantasy/Horror Canadian Anthology and 1 Sci-Fi Australian Anthology by various publishers, and 24 more to follow in 2018/2019.

He is also a co-Editor, together with Mrs. Michele DUTCHER, of the new Steampunk Anthology “Steam-powered Dream Engines”, published in march 2018 by Rogue Planet Press, an Imprint of British Horrified Press.

The first Historical/Horror screenplay written by him, titled “Tophet- An Ancient Evil”, completed in 2018, won an Honorable Mention Award at The 2018 International Horror Hotel Award - script Competition held in Richfield, Ohio. Here, as follows,  is the list of the winners:

http://www.horrorhotel.net/2018.html

He is also a scale modeler who likes mostly Science Fiction and Real Space models, some of his little Dioramas have been shown also on some  Italian (scale model) magazines like  Soldatini, Model Time, TuttoSoldatini  and online  on American site StarShipModeler, MechaModelComp, on  British SFM: UK site  and  Italian  SMF .

 Some Sci-Fi/fantasy/Horror short- stories by him in Italian have been published on Alpha  Aleph, Alpha  Aleph  Extra, Algenib, Oltre il Futuro, Nugae  2.0, SogniHorror, La Zona Morta, edizioni  Lo Scudo, Antologia  Robot  ITA  0.1, Antologia  Il Segreto dell'Universo,  Antologia  E-Heroes,  etc.’

E-mail: Sergio Palumbo

Editor Bio:“Michele Dutcher, aka Bottomdweller,  lives  in a carriage house in Old Louisville Kentucky with her border collie – Daisy Dukes.  She has a BS degree in Elementary Education from Indiana University with minors in theology & sociology  and  has been writing Science Fiction stories for about a decade. She edits all the first drafts of Sergio’s short stories.” 

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