Gardner, James Alan. "Three Hearings on the Existence of Snakes in the Human Bloodstream"
What if: The "Gospel of Susannah" included a statement by the Virgin Mary that blood is teeming with serpents representing man's sin.
Summary: Anton Leeuwenhoek is tried by the pope for stating that these snakes do not exist, but it seems that they do in some form in part of the population. Thus, mankind splits into Papists and Redeemers, and after several centuries, the difference is no longer symbolic.
Published: In Asimov's Science Fiction, February 1997; and Crossing the Line: Canadian Mysteries with a Fantastic Twist (eds. Robert Sawyer and David Skene-Melvin), Pottersfield 1998 (1895900190BUY).
— Posted on-line at Asimov's Science Fiction website, date unknown 1998.
Original in: English.
Translation: French by Jean-Daniel Brègque as "Trois audiences sur l'existence des serpents dans le systègme sanguin humain", in Galaxies #12 (Spring 1999).
Awards: Winner: 1998 Prix Aurora for best Canadian short-form work in English. Nominee: 1997 Nebula for best novelette. Nominee: 1998 Hugo for best novelette.