Causal Domain Shear

What does Neal Stephenson’s Anathem have to do with the stories in this issue of Labyrinth Inhabitant Magazine?

The Wall, by Therese Arkenberg

The architects of Raishya’s hometown didn’t realize they were holding the blueprints inside-out. Now the city is at war against its own walls, and the more defenses the townsfolk build, the more the enemy advances…

While Center was cloaked with an air of mystery, Outside held more concrete dangers. Outside was where the men came from every month with the supplies that weren’t available on the Wall: grain and feed and cloth and meat that didn’t come from birds caught on the rooftops. People could raise goats and gardens on the Ground between walls, but they had no space for fields to grow wheat or cotton. And the iron they used to build and repair and defend the Wall came from Outside, too, but also what they defended against: foreign men who would not be turned away at the Gate House.

Simon Says, by Terence Kuch

Our wry tour guide welcomes us into his home as he does some time. Technically, I suppose he does some space as well. But not very much of it.

Please do not expatiate upon the shit-bucket; instead, O do mention our grand patriotic festival.

Oh, yes: National Day. Once a year — as far as I can tell — my food comes festooned with banners and devices, shredded colored plastic glued to toothpick ends. It seems the nation is celebrating, and so my food is celebrating, too.

Ten Cities Down, by Lindsey Duncan

It was only after death that Timur took an interest in upward mobility. In life, he wanted just the opposite.

Timur suppressed a shiver, part unease and part relief to which he could not yet give voice. The guards paid no mind to anyone who wanted to ascend; they checked credentials only on the way down, but the Travelers would ride soon, hunting for the most recent escapee from the afterlife. It would be a race to the surface, and he was on foot.