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Issue containing Anne McCaffrey Short.??????Gordon Van Gelder02-24-07  10:32 am
Story IDgregory tidwell05-18-06  02:10 pm
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Gordon Van Gelder
Posted on Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 06:23 am:   

A subscriber sent this query. Does anyone recognize the story?

Years ago (probably about 25) I read a short story in your magazine. This story was about a woman whose husband was involved in a top secret government research program involving special eye exercises and enhanching human vision. She was pregnant. They already had one child. This child talked with an imaginary friend, a Griffon named Dialbok (Dyalbok?) She begins to see the imaginary friend when she does the eye exercises. Her husband of course tells her she is just seeing things. She ends up delivering her child during a blizzard and her husband arrives at the hospital on the wings of a black dragon. He of course knew the "truth" all along. I would love to know the name of this short srory and the author in order to get more of his (her) work.
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Brendan Adkins
Posted on Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 07:21 am:   

I am honestly startled I was able to find this. It's "The Persistence of Memory," by Gael Baudino, from F&SF November 85. (I only know it because it also appeared in The Bank Street Book of Fantasy, Pocket Books, 1989; it took me half an hour of googling just to get the name of the book.)
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Maggie Blue
Posted on Sunday, May 07, 2006 - 07:47 pm:   

So? Tell those of us who haven't read it what the 'truth' was...
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Brendan Adkins
Posted on Monday, May 08, 2006 - 08:10 am:   

The version of the story I read in the Bank Street book (this is recent recollection; I bought the book used after this post reminded me of it) isn't about vision, but about memory. The city is populated with hundreds of magical creatures (gnomes in the park, nixies in the fountains, gryphons who play with children); adults see them all the time, but the creatures have the power to make them forget they did so instantly. They let the kids remember because the adults don't take stories about their imaginary friends seriously.

The exercises, a set of pattern cards, were developed by the husband's company as a memory aid for safety supervisors after an oil rig collapses (somebody forgot to tighten a screw). The protagonist has a terrible memory, so the husband gives her the exercises to try; soon enough, her memory is so good that she can see all the creatures. Dyl-Bok, her daughter's "imaginary" friend, introduces himself and explains the situation. After the volunteers who are testing the exercises report strange side effects (presumably along the same lines), the husband wants the protagonist to stop doing them, and takes the cards away--but by now she can just visualize them perfectly.

The protagonist goes into labor while her husband is away on business, and can't get to the hospital because of a heavy snowstorm; fortunately, Dyl-Bok the gryphon gets his friend Amarantha, a pegasus, to fly them in. A black dragon does the same for her very startled husband (who did not, in this version, know the truth after all). They name the baby Amarantha, and a whole gallery of magical creatures welcome her to the world.
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Maggie Blue
Posted on Tuesday, May 09, 2006 - 08:29 pm:   

Is this a child's story?
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Brendan Adkins
Posted on Wednesday, May 10, 2006 - 11:24 am:   

The Bank Street books were targeted at older elementary school to middle school. The credits say the story was "adapted for comic form," but since I haven't read the original, I don't know how much change (or kiddization) that implies.
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Rick Balls
Posted on Sunday, May 14, 2006 - 10:15 pm:   

This story sounded familiar. I remember a video they made us watch in class way back, and the plot summary on imdb is almost similar. It's called "Gryphon," although it was not written by Gael Baudino. Perhaps there is no connection:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0214737/

Or just type "Gryphon" into imdb.

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