"A Walk in the Garden"
by Lucius Shepard
This past summer, Lucius Shepard published a story at SciFiction, "A Walk in the Garden" , which takes place in an Iraq occupied by American soldiers, soldiers not too different from the ones currently there except that they are well-equipped with state-of-the-art armor that offers them every convenience of the wired world, as well as protection against every imaginable form of attack. (Quite a contrast to the soldiers who really are in Iraq and don't have the armor they need .) Shepard's soldiers end up going to a mountain where a blast from a new type of bomb has ripped a hole in the quantum fabric of the universe and created a portal to a world based on some Muslim beliefs about hell and paradise. Their trip becomes one of carnage and suffering, with plenty of scenes which would fit well into the screenplay for a hundred-million-dollar summer blockbuster starring the current governor of California. To maintain a bit of self-respect, apparently, Shepard has incl