Sometimes the rollercoaster ride gets really rough. In April I reported that we’d lost both of the writing duo, Kevin and Karen Evans. It is my unwelcome duty to tell you that we have lost another member of the 1632 family. This time, it was Head Geek Rick Boatright. Rick passed away on July 22 from pancreatic cancer. He was 66 years old. Rick was a polymath. He knew something about nearly everything and his ability to research little squirrelly facts was astonishing. He and I came up with the Aqualator at a con, and he wrote it into the series. He was the lead presenter, along with Kevin Evans and me, doing Weird Tech at Minicons. (The fact that we lost both Rick and Kevin within eight months, leaving me the Last Amigo, worries me.) He said he wasn’t really a writer, but he had a respectable body of work, and his latest novel (with Kerryn Offord) was published in August.

But above all, Rick was a teacher. He gave up teaching because he wasn’t politically correct enough for the Topeka Board of Education, but never stopped being a teacher. He taught everyone he met.

The world is much poorer without him in it.

This issue, we start off with a story by Terry Howard and Jack Carroll, “A Proposal for Angelina.” Cosimo van Castre’s niece gets outed as a fantastic telegrapher, and goes to work for the USE Embassy in Venice. Things happen and Angelina van Castre gets a job, and more.

“Marianne” by Mark Whitworth-Roth is about a starving young woman who, nearly at her last gasp, is rescued on the streets of Paris by a woman who works in a brothel. She discovers that Marianne can work lace, and finds Marianne a place, and maybe a future.

“The Evil of Thy Doings” is next up, by Robert S. Waters and Robert Feingold. It is a continuation of the deeds of Calabar, who appeared in Calabar’s War by Waters and Chuck Gannon. So buckle that swash, avast the main, and let’s kick the Spanish while they’re down!

Iver Cooper gives us “The Ghost Galleon” this month. Set in Japanese California, the natives lead the Japanese to where, they say, a huge ship with white sails wrecked and washed ashore.

In “Slave of the Slaves” Father Pedro Claver, of the Society of Jesus, is caring for the slaves that are coming ashore at Cartagena. Little does he know yet, but after his death, the Church proclaimed him a saint. As far as he’s concerned, he is simply the slave of the slaves of God.

For nonfiction, we present Iver Cooper’s “Rice is Life.” It is a look at the facts of rice, for anyone interested, and especially for potential authors in the Ring of Fire.

In her column, Kristine Katherine Rusch gives us a look at Las Vegas as SciFi City, the city of the future.

Then in the Universe Annex, we have the conclusion of Edward M. Lerner’s “Ill-Met in Space-Time” and an absolutely fantastic story called “Black Smoke Curandero” by Ian Pohl, a new writer to us, but one we hope to hear from more often.

Welcome to the rollercoaster! And remember to hug those close to you!