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Interview: Ted Kosmatka, on "The Art of Alchemy"

Ted Kosmatka–author of "The Art of Alchemy," which appears in our June 2008 issue–said in an interview that it’s a story about corporations that have become so huge that they’re not about making anything anymore, but instead exist as climax predators in the global economic food chain. 

"Here in the West, we think of capitalism as a driving force behind scientific advancement, but what happens when advancement is at odds with corporate profits?" Kosmatka said. "In this story, Veronica, a high-level corporate bureaucrat for a huge, multi-national steel company, is contacted by a man who carries a secret that could change the world.  It’s the holy grail of materials science– the secret to producing structural-quality carbon nanotubes on massive scale.  But why bring that information to a steel company?  The answer: for the same reason you’d bring an engine that could run on water to an oil company.  Because they’d be sure to buy it.  Veronica knows her company will bury the discovery, so she enlists the help of one of the corporate scientists, and together they take steps to release the information to the public.  But the company finds out and sends a problem solver to deal with the issue once and for all."

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Interview: Rand B. Lee, on "Litany"

Rand B. Lee–author of "Litany," the cover story of our June 2008 issue–said in an interview that the story began simply as an image of a tall, grey-eyed man knocking on the door of a real estate office in a small village in Northern New Mexico. "I had no idea who the man was when I began writing, except that he had come to the village looking for something," Lee said. "The key characters in the story likewise appeared vivid and full-blown without conscious efforts on my part. Particularly vivid was the image of the three-legged mixed breed black-and-white dog whom the stranger rescues. One week after I completed the story and submitted it to F&SF, a man walked into the Santa Fe nursery where I worked with a three-legged, black-and-white dog. The dog came right up to me and licked me vigorously on the face, causing his owner to remark in great surprise, ‘He usually is not demonstrative with men.’"

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Interview: P.E. Cunningham on "Monkey See…"

P.E. Cunningham, author of "Monkey See…," which appears in our June 2008 issue–said in an interview that the story was originally written for an anthology with a tight deadline. "Normally it takes me forever to write something — I’ve got book and story fragments and chapters in the closet that go back 10 years or longer — but because of the deadline I had to go to work," she said. "I came up with the basic idea literally overnight, and went from first draft to final sub in two weeks, a land-speed record for me. I sent it out with time to spare … and it got rejected. In truth, I didn’t think F&SF would be interested in a pure sword-and-sorcery story, but then I figured, what the heck. And you guys surprised me and bought it. I didn’t think [F&SF would] like ‘Car 17’ either. Shows what I know. If I could just figure out what editors like, I’d sell a lot more. Hey, wouldn’t we all."

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F&SF, July 2008 now on sale

The July 2008 issue is now on sale. Here’s the table of contents:


  • The Roberts – Michael Blumlein


  • Fullbrim’s Finding – Matthew Hughes
  • Poison Victory –  Albert E. Cowdrey


  • Reader’s Guide –  Lisa Goldstein
  • Enfant Terrible –  Scott Dalrymple
  • The Dinosaur Train –  James L. Cambias


  • Books to Look For –  Charles de Lint, covering Duma Key by Stephen King and Jack: Secret Histories by F. Paul Wilson.
  • Books –  James Sallis, covering The New Weird edited by Ann & Jeff VanderMeer and The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick.
  • Plumage from Pegasus: Galley Knaves –  Paul Di Filippo
  • Film: "Superpowers Do Not a Superhero Make" –  Kathi Maio, covering Jumper.
  • Coming Attractions 
  • Curiosities –  F. Gwynplaine MacIntyre, covering The Big Ball of Wax: A Story of Tomorrow’s Happy World, by Shepherd Mead (1954).


  • Bill Long


  • Mondolithic Studios for "The Roberts"

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