Its always a special (and unfortunately rare) treat to have a new story by P. J. Plauger, and we have a big and powerful one to lead off our December issue: the novella "Lucky Luke." Its not often that a story can show a whole new kind of relationship between human beings, but this one does it. I cant tell you much more now except to say that you might also view it as seasonally appropriatewhether youre Christian, Druid, or anything else!
We also have stories by Kyle Kirkland, Charles L. Harness, and Bruce Holland Rogers, plus the conclusion of Edward M. Lerners Moonstruck.
Catherine H. Shaffers fact article may be your introduction to a new science: dendrochronology. Trees, to one degree or another, live a long time; they store records of conditions at various times during their lives; and the lives of different individuals overlap. So, collectively, they provide a surprisingly useful tool for archeologists and paleo-just-about-anything.
Finally, we have a special feature by Geoffrey A. Landis. It was hard to decide how else to classify it, but you can count on Landiss thoughts to provoke more in his readersespecially with a title like "The Reason Were Here."