The August issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction had a damn fine short story by Christopher Rowe where mapping plays a central role. In “Another Word for Map Is Faith,” an alternate America is ruled by a topsy-turvy theocracy where Cartographers survey the land, comparing it with old maps, looking for error. But the old maps are considered holy books, and infallible; the error is in the landscape:
“Christians, there is error here. There is error right before our eyes!” Her own students weren’t a difficult congregation to hook, but she was gratified nonetheless by the gleam she caught in most of their eyes, the calls, louder now, of “Yes!” and “I see it! I see the lie!”
“I laid down my protractor, friends, I know exactly how far off north Jesus mapped this ridge line to lay,” she said, sweeping her arm in a great arc, taking in the whole horizon, “And that ridge line sins by two degrees!”
“May as well be two hundred!” said Carmen, righteous.
Sandy raised her hand, stopped them at the cusp of celebration instead of loosing them. “Not yet,” she said. “It’s tonight. It’s tonight we’ll sing down the glory, tonight we’ll make this world the way it was mapped.”
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