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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, January/February 2012
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 2007
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction
The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, founded in 1949, is the award-winning SF magazine which is the original publisher of SF classics like Stephen King's Dark Tower, Daniel Keyes's Flowers for Algernon and Walter M. Miller's A Canticle for Leibowitz. Each 160-page issue offers compelling short stories and novellas by writers such as Ray Bradbury, Ben Bova, Ursula K. Le Guin, Mike Resnick, Terry Bisson and many others, along with the science fiction field's most respected and outspoken opinions on books, films and science.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Website

A review by Sandra Scholes

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With an equal amount of featured columns and short fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan/Feb 2012 manages to press all the right keys and deliver a good dose of enjoyment between the pages. The writers are diverse, and bring their originality with it, creating some of the most interesting and captivating fiction. Who knows what will come from science fiction stories like these in the future?

There is a prominent theme to the Departments section and one which is discussed at length in "Science," by Paul Doherty & Pat Murphy when they analyse Amazing Science Stories. This proves to be a deep column that the more scientific of us will get into in a big way. "Books To Look For," by Charles de Lint has him delve into the weird and fantastical as he browses the latest new offerings that are out now. No doubt there will be many who want to get their hands on them if they are anything like that described in his reviews. Novels by Ben Aaronovich, Martyn Bedford, Chloe King and Daniel H. Wilson look like they are to be thoroughly enjoyed. "Books," by Elizabeth Hand looks at the vampire genre how it has long held readers in thrall for decades. I found this to be a favourite column as the vampire genre shows my own fascination with the undead fang bearer and the books that inspired me. She reviews three books in turn, but also goes into why she thinks vampires in popular fiction have lost their bite, and become more like humans with their emotional attachments and fashion sense. (Not mentioning any names of course.) More interesting is her showing of Bram Stoker's case notes from his famous novel, Dracula as it gets right to heart of the vampire's popularity and why for so long this novel is considered to be the best of them all.

While the columns are an excellent focal point for readers, more so are the short stories and novelettes in this magazine and there are a few in this issue I would like to draw your attention to. Every issue has a theme to it that runs through each story and this month's is the locations of each one; from Moccasin Gap to Okinawa and France. All the different locations are here in their glory.

"Maxwell's Demon," by Ken Liu deals with the prejudice innocent Japanese citizens felt at being interred in the US during the 1940s. Takako misses her family, but has to move back to Japan to help in an important scientific project, but as the readers will find out, her heart is not in it due to how strange it is, and her hope is only that she is reunited with her family. Readers will feel saddened by her feelings of never being free, but sense there might be hope for her in this tragic tale. John G. McDaid's "Umbrella Men," is the main feature of this issue acting as a novelette. It starts well enough showing how original it is and how one man who has an umbrella that has been passed down the generations can hold a certain kind of beneficial magic, even in the modern world. "Scrap Dragon," by Naomi Kritzer is my favourite of the stories in here. The reader will think it is just a fairy tale story, but when her child keeps interrupting her narration, that is when the real fun begins. I found it well-paced, and kept my interest, plus the humour and the build up to the ending made me laugh at the end. "The Comfort of Strangers," by Alexander Jablakov takes us into strange and erotic territory that needs no introduction, only to say it is a gripping read that shows how sexuality could evolve or de-evolve in the future depending on your interpretation. "Alien Land," by K.D. Wentworth concerns the Kryi, aliens who have come to Earth in droves, and who aren't welcomed by the neighbours who have lived there for many years. The Kryi have taken up residence in houses where the original tenants haven't been able to pay the mortgage, and so were abandoned as a result. One particular neighbour who is called Gus makes friends with the humans and ends up being one of the cutest characters in this month's issue alone. Gus the Kryi steals the show with his comical antics.

All in all, this issue is a jaunt around the different places of the world and a refreshing series of tales as well as excellent editorial features.

Copyright © 2012 Sandra Scholes

Sandra likes to write flash fiction in several genres, well, who doesn't? And also enjoys writing reviews and articles in her other fun genres of fantasy, romance, and anime with Fantasy Book Review, Love Romance Passion and Active Anime.


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