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The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, May/June 2011
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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It's a mixed bag in this month's Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction for May/June. From photographers and scientists to natural disasters, there is plenty to choose from as far as unusual stories are concerned, and in-between all that, there are the other things of interest, namely articles and book reviews.

"Books to Look For," by Charles de Lint starts out by taking a look at Stephen King's new collection; Full Dark; No Stars. His review of this book of short novellas was fair enough, and complimentary, as King serves as an American national treasure with his endless horror-filled stories and novels. Charles de Lint had something more constructive to say about the book though, and the reader will get the impression he thinks his stories are far too dark for his particular taste. I felt that at least King delivers what's in the title, and will leave it for other readers to decide.

"Books," by Chris Moriarty reviews the latest science fiction titles out at the moment. He raves about the new novel by Ian McDonald, The Dervish House. According to him it's the best book out, and from all sorts of different reasons. The novel can't be like any other writer's work, so it is in a league of its own and therefore original. The other books seem to pale in comparison, but it happens when you have a favourite like he does.

"Films," by Kathi Maio discusses the various comic book film adaptations starting with the original Superman movie. Maio remarks that most science fiction superhero movies started out from this point, and got more bizarre with their special effects and over the top acting. She remembers many movies, citing some of what she considers the worst; from Iron Man to Kick-Ass, Megamind and Green Hornet.

Let us not forget about the fine range of stories in here, and concentrate on some of them.

"Fine Green Dust," by Don Webb

This story is set in a time in the future where it's too hot for people to go outside as the sun is at a scorching level -- night is when people can wander around in safety, and get their work done. One such man is Philip, and he notices something weird about his next door neighbours, but he can't put his finger on it. The more he talks to them, the more he becomes embroiled in their lives until all is revealed. Don Webb's story starts slow, but finishes with a comical note, which is unusual for an apocalyptic theme.

"Signs of Life," by Carter Scholz

James Byrne is part of a Human Genome Project, of which Sorenson is the chief. Byrne is in charge of DNA splitting and analysis, but it's a strange job for him, and he explains it all in great detail to the reader who can soak up what it is like working in this kind of condition in a laboratory. He tells the reader about his life before, how his wife had a different life from the one he once fondly remembered, how he left their house, and his previous job, ending up at Sorenson's lab typing up the data.

Carter Scholz brings the reader into a world of possibilities, some endless, while others seem normal by comparison. James as a character is a man with a life of disappointments, and he wants to make things right, in the vain hope that his superiors take him seriously at work.

"Stock Photos," by Robert Reed

You wouldn't think a man mowing his lawn would be the basis for a good short story, but this one is a great example of using something everyday and mundane to create a rather interesting and funny story from it. The man doesn't expect what will happen to him, but when he is being photographed outside his home, he enjoys all the attention the photographers give him. He really likes it at first, even though he isn't used to being centre of attention and later he feels unsure of their intentions.

When the reader gets the reasons for what the photographer and his assistant are doing, they will understand it more. It's a fun story and one of two that Robert Reed has written for the magazine this time.

"The Road Ahead," by Robert Reed

This is the second of a Robert Reed double bill of stories, this time he continues the previous story of the photographer and her assistant with the purple eyes in this one. It takes the reader back to the story right where the other one left off; they were in the car, and they talk of their lives, and the work they did before they had met and been assigned to the recent jobs. There is something altogether odd about their job, but only one of them thinks so, and she needs answers to the burning questions on her mind.

The interesting parts of this story are the way facts can be predicted using hi-tech computers; so the celebrities of the future could be noticed in advance and kept on file for use should they actually fulfil their fate. It is an interesting idea and one that I liked a lot -- it worked surprisingly well as a two-part story.

"The Old Terrorologist's Tale," by S. L. Gibbons

The basic premise of this story is the need for man to expand his horizons and create something magnificent, like another planet, but also there is another problem and that is man no matter how far they have in terms of technology wants more than it can take or understand. Man often wants more even when they want what they desired before.

This story shows man's greed, and need for war. I liked the way it started out like the beginning of a joke; a terrorolgist, a general and a statesman. Even if it is not a funny story it does make the reader think outside the box. Like a few of the stories in this issue, there is an amount of techno-babble to come to grips with.

"Agent of Change," by Steven Popkes

Some stories can be read as emails, or general entries, this one is good to be read as online news clips. Popkes deals with the finding of a creature that is important to archaeologists and those impressed by finding huge animals in general. It goes through the discovery process, and shows what happens step-by-step.

The problem comes at the end and illustrates this as an example of what would happen if big companies ever got hold of the biggest discovery known to man. It is a comical ending, but in reality it would be no laughing matter for the animal in question, or the animal rights people who would want it released.

Copyright © 2011 Sandra Scholes

Sandra Scholes is still writing her Bleachisms on Twitter, and silently chuckles to herself when she types them up. She writes comedy for Active Anime, Naughtiness for Love Romance Passion, and freaky fantasy for Fantasy Book Reviews.


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