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Saturday, November 6, 2021

"Still Life with Elderberries" • by Anatoly Belilovsky


“Well, it’s obvious, innit?” said the Hampshire Commissioner of Antiques. “You were looking for a grave of a famous general in Binsted, yes?”

“Yes,” said the Professor.

“And in addition to bones belonging to an elderly male human, carbon-dated to Mid-20th century, you found a snake skeleton from approximately the same era and a piece of stemware made some two thousand years earlier?”

“Yes,” the Professor repeated.

“Congratulations!” the Commissioner exclaimed. “You found…”


“Monty’s Python and the Holy Grail!”


Anatoly Belilovsky was born in a city that went through six or seven owners in the last century, all of whom used it to do a lot more than drive to church on Sundays; he is old enough to remember tanks rolling through it on their way to Czechoslovakia in 1968. After being traded to the US for a shipload of grain and a defector to be named later, he learned English from Star Trek reruns, apparently well enough to be admitted into SFWA in spite of chronic cat deficiency. He has sold original and translated stories and poems to NATURE, F&SF, Analog, Asimov's, Daily SF, Podcastle, Kasma, UFO, Stupefying Stories, Cast of Wonders, and other markets. His Twitter feed @loldoc is equally divided between punditry and puns.

Anatoly’s first appearance in our pages was “If This Be Magic” in the now out-of-print Stupefying Stories #2, but “In Vino Veritas” is still findable (for now) in SHOWCASE #7 and his delightfully horrific tale of coming to America, “Tempora Mutantur,” is in SHOWCASE #9. We are delighted to welcome him back.

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