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Sheree Renée Thomas to be new editor of Fantasy & Science Fiction

Sheree Renée Thomas will become the 10th editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

November 3, 2020

Sheree Renée Thomas has been named the new editor of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, taking over with the March/April 2021 issue. She replaces C.C. Finlay, who will be stepping down to devote more time to writing. Gordon Van Gelder remains the magazine’s publisher.

Fantasy & Science Fiction closed its online submissions form in early October in preparation for this editorial transition. The few remaining stories in queue will receive replies shortly. Thomas plans to re-open F&SF to submissions in January 2021.

The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction was launched in 1949, and has been one of the leading magazines in the field for more than seventy years. For more on the history of F&SF, see its entry in the Encyclopedia of Science Fiction or Wikipedia.

C.C. Finlay’s writing career began with frequent appearances in Fantasy & Science Fiction, publishing more than twenty stories in the magazine between 2001 and 2014, earning Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and Sidewise Award nominations, along with four novels, a collection, and stories in numerous other magazines and anthologies. He guest-edited the July/August 2014 issue of F&SF, which included Alaya Dawn Johnson’s Nebula-winning novelet “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i.” In January 2015, he was announced as the new editor of the magazine and took over officially with the March/April issue. His tenure as editor is the fourth longest in the magazine’s history, following Ed Ferman, Gordon Van Gelder, and Anthony Boucher. He was a Hugo finalist for Best Editor Short Form in 2020, a finalist for the Locus Award for Best Editor in 2020, and a finalist for the World Fantasy Award for editing F&SF in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020. The January/February 2021 issue will be his last.

Sheree Renée Thomas is the award-winning writer and editor of Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora (2000) and Dark Matter: Reading the Bones (2004), which earned the 2001 and 2005 World Fantasy Awards for Year’s Best Anthology. She has also edited for Random House and for magazines like Apex, Obsidian, and Strange Horizons. She is a member of SFWA, HWA, SFPA, and Cave Canem. Thomas is an author and poet with three collections, Nine Bar Blues: Stories from an Ancient Future (Third Man Books, 2020), Sleeping Under the Tree of Life (Aqueduct Press, 2016) and Shotgun Lullabies: Stories & Poems (Aqueduct Press, 2011). Widely anthologized, her work also appears in The Big Book of Modern Fantasy and The New York Times. She was honored as a 2020 World Fantasy Award Finalist for her contributions to the genre. Thomas will be the tenth editor in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction‘s storied history. Her first appearance on the masthead will be in the March/April 2021 issue.

Editor’s Note for the November-December Issue

Cover, for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, November-December 2020, by David A. HardyDavid A. Hardy’s cover art illustrates “Skipping Stones in the Dark” by Amman Sabet, a generation ship story that follows an AI’s attempt to provide continuity and maintain social cohesion beyond its original crew. In all, this issue brings you ten new stories, three poems, and all our usual columns and features. Three writers make their first appearance in the magazine.

You can buy single copies of this issue:

* Paper copies directly from us: from our website
* Electronic copies from Weightless Books

And if you’d like to support the magazine and the work we do, please consider subscribing.

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THIS MONTH’S FICTION

“The Bahrain Underground Bazaar” by Nadia Afifi

Bahrain’s Central Bazaar comes to life at night. Lights dance above the narrow passageways, illuminating the stalls with their spices, sacks of lentils, ornate carpets, and trinkets. Other stalls hawk more modern fare, NeuroLync implants and legally ambiguous drones. The scent of cumin and charred meat fills my nostrils. My stomach twists in response. Chemo hasn’t been kind to me.
 

“La Regina Ratto” by Nick DiChario

Giuseppe spent the first night in his new apartment trying to sleep through the scratching and scuttling noises of small creatures. When he rose the next morning, he saw three rats standing on their hind legs in his kitchen, gazing up at him like shiny-eyed children. “”
 

“How to Burn Down the Hinterlands” by Lyndsie Manusos

Begin with rage. Begin with the memory of your mother. Her smell, her sounds, her silhouette against the fire. Remember the way she was dragged from your home, taken because she had reached too high, her ambition deemed too great. Because she forged a weapon she shouldn’t have. Remember their promise: that the world would be saved. That this sacrifice was for the greater good. One woman versus the entire kingdom. Was that not an obvious choice? Remember snarling, spitting, and crying in the arms of bigger, lesser men.
 

“The Glooms” by Matthew Hughes

As Baldemar sculled the little skiff toward the jetty, he thought he saw a figure he recognized, though for the man to be present here in Golathreon was improbable. But the westering sun, down low on the waters of the Sundering Sea, made the gentle waves flash with gold, and all resolution was lost in the auric glare.
 

“A Tale of Two Witches” by Albert E. Cowdrey

After speaking with the sheriff, Rosie Merckel decided she’d better make a pit stop on the way out of his HQ.
     “Wouldn’t want to have to go in that house,” she muttered.
 

“A Civilized and Orderly Zombie Apocalypse Per School Regulations” by Sarina Dorie

For the last twenty years, my school district has been enforcing mandatory A.L.I.C.E. training drills in case we ever need to safely respond to an emergency, such as intruders, school shootings, or irate parents. I doubt our district ever imagined my sixth-grade class would need to use our training to respond to a zombie apocalypse.
 

“The Homestake Project” by Cylin Busby

Just after dawn, I drove my rental the three miles from the motel to the Homestake Mine. It was hard to miss, the rolled, dark earth that gave the Black Hills their name, churned and piled at the base of the mountains. I parked the Ford among all the other strictly American cars and made my way into the office.
 

“On Vapor, Which the Night Condenses” by Gregor Hartmann

The five-armed sea star looked like a toy. It was made of a soft, pliant material with no sharp edges, in happy eye-catching colors that would delight a child. Lying on a workbench, it begged to be touched. Philippa Song thought it was the most adorable murder weapon she’d ever encountered.
 

“The Silent Partner” by Theodore McCombs

He found something less than a mouse on Mrs. Fowler’s stone front porch as he climbed her stoop to ring the bell. Just the head, worked over by fine cat teeth, and a gristly tuft of throat and dusky belly. Some neighborhood feral was taking good care of the old woman, evidently. He lingered with one foot on the stoop, a little too interested. He bent carefully, wrapped the mouse head in a used tissue, and pocketed it. Then he knocked on the door.
 

“Skipping Stones in the Dark” by Amman Sabet

The Fold was my embarking name, but there’s nowhere else to set foot anymore. No other starships. So one imagines the pointlessness of a distinct name.
     Coursing the black, my humans give birth, grow old, and die within me. They mark distance using the voyage, mark time by how fast a ray of light completes it. The meter and the hour are things of the past, for Earth was left behind many generations ago. They only have each other now. And me.
 

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

We hope you’ll share your thoughts about the issue with us. We can be found on:

Enjoy!

C.C. Finlay, Editor
Fantasy & Science Fiction
fandsf.com | @fandsf

THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
November/December
72nd Year of Publication

NOVELETS

The Bahrain Underground Bazaar – Nadia Afifi
La Regina Ratto – Nick DiChario
How to Burn Down the Hinterlands – Lyndsie Manusos
The Glooms – Matthew Hughes
A Tale of Two Witches- Albert E. Cowdrey
A Civilized and Orderly Zombie Apocalypse Per School Regulations – Sarina Dorie

SHORT STORIES

The Homestake Project – Cylin Busby
On Vapor, Which the Night Condenses – Gregor Hartmann
The Silent Partner – Theodore McCombs
Skipping Stones in the Dark – Amman Sabet

POEMS

Least Weird Thing of All – Beth Cato
Mended – Mary Soon Lee
Space Isn’t Like in the Vids – Beth Cato

DEPARTMENTS

Books to Look For – Charles de Lint
Musing on Books – Michelle West
Films: Three Degrees of Shirley Jackson – David J. Skal
Science: Is Math Real? – Jerry Oltion
Competition #100
Coming Attractions
Index to Volumes 138 & 139
Curiosities – Paul Di Filippo

Cartoons: Mark Heath, Kendra Allenby, Bill Long
Cover: David A. Hardy for “Skipping Stones in the Dark”

Editor’s Note for the September-October Issue

Cover, for The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, September-October 2020, by Bob EggletonBob Eggleton’s cover art illustrates “The Shadows of Alexandrium” by David Gerrold, a story that spans space and time on a visit to a library that is so much larger on the inside than it appears from without. In all, this issue brings you eleven new stories from some of our favorite writers and friends, spanning the full range of the genre from fairy tale to hard science fiction. Regular readers of the magazine and fans of sword and sorcery will be happy to see the return of the bard Gorlen Vizenfirthe and his traveling companion, the gargoyle Spar. And there’s a baseball story just in time for the end of this (very strange) season. The issue also includes two promising writers making their short fiction debuts. Plus we have poetry, columns on Books, Games, Science, and Television, some Plumage from Pegasus, and, if you buy the paper copy, a few great cartoons.

You can buy single copies of this issue:

* Paper copies: from our website
* Electronic copies from Weightless Books

And if you’d like to support the magazine and the work we do, please consider subscribing.

* Paper subscriptions: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/subscribe.htm
* Kindle US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZFZ4O8/
* Kindle UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004ZFZ4O8/
* Weightless Books, every format, worldwide: https://weightlessbooks.com/category/publisher/spilogale-inc/

THIS MONTH’S FICTION

“Of Them All” by Leah Cypess – Other princesses are blessed at their christenings, or else they are cursed. But her fairy godmother had to be clever. Would she grow up to be more clever still? This month’s novella is a fairy tale adventure with some twists.

“The Shadows of Alexandrium” by David Gerrold – The Alexandrium sits perched on the event horizon of the largest black hole in the universe, but don’t call it a Library, at least not to the Proctor — it’s so much more than that. This month’s cover story is a meditation on creativity.

“My Name Was Tom” by Tim Powers – Sometimes an ocean liner is just an ocean liner, and sometimes it’s something much weirder. And who knows then where the journey will take you? Tim Powers returns to F&SF with a story worth waiting for.

“The Fairy Egg” by R.S. Benedict – Bridget sells eggs to make ends meet. But ever since Mike’s accident, the leghorn has laid nothing but fart eggs, little dark things with no yolks. Some people call them fairy eggs and under the right circumstances, a fairy egg can hatch a monster.

“Weeper” by Marc Laidlaw – The falling star screamed as it fell, brought down by greedy sky poachers. When the stone-handed bard Gorlen Vizenfirthe and his companions Plenth and the gargoyle Spar find it first, they’re faced with dangers and choices they never expected.

“Do AIs Dream of Perfect Games?” by Angie Peng – When a baseball fan steals a hitter’s favorite bat, it leads to a pitcher’s perfect game… and reveals deeper imperfections in her larger world. A delightful debut by a brand new writer.

“The Martian Water War: Notes Found in an Airlock” by Peter Gleick – Human habitation on Mars is threatened by conflicts over access to fresh water, and a teenager records the terrible costs. A glimpse of the coming conflicts we face on Earth, distilled by the stark circumstances of colonization on Mars. The first published story by one of our leading climate scientists.

“Little and Less” by Ashley Blooms – When society falls apart and she can’t save the people she loves, Laurel saves animals instead. But even the wilderness will not let her stay alone forever. A story that sits at the intersection of hope and horror.

“The Cry of Evening Birds” by James Sallis – A couple coping with a terrible tragedy faces a chance to start over. Or do they? A subtle and wrenching piece of flash fiction.

“The Dog and the Ferryman” by Brian Trent – Buster is a Good Dog, but he needs special help to find his way home again. But the world has changed so much, he may not have a home any more. This is a story that surprised and delighted us with its mix of myth and science fiction.

“This World Is Made for Monsters” by M. Rickert – When the spaceship landed, the whole town turned out to see it. M. Rickert brings her unique voice and vision to a story about the things we bring to the world, and the things it gives us in return.

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU THINK

We hope you’ll share your thoughts about the issue with us. We can be found on:

Enjoy!

C.C. Finlay, Editor
Fantasy & Science Fiction
fandsf.com | @fandsf

THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION
September/October
71st Year of Publication

NOVELLAS

Of Them All – Leah Cypess

NOVELETS

The Shadows of Alexandrium – David Gerrold
My Name Was Tom – Tim Powers
The Fairy Egg – R.S. Benedict

SHORT STORIES

Weeper – Marc Laidlaw
Do AIs Dream of Perfect Games? – Angie Peng
The Martian Water War: Notes Found in an Airlock – Peter Gleick
Little and Less – Ashley Blooms
The Cry of Evening Birds – James Sallis
The Dog and the Ferryman – Brian Trent
This World Is Made for Monsters – M. Rickert

POEMS

The Writing of Science Fiction – Timons Esaias

DEPARTMENTS

Books to Look For – Charles de Lint
Games – Marc Laidlaw
Plumage from Pegasus: Keeping Up with the ISBNs – Paul Di Filippo
Television: The Devil in Devs – Karin Lowachee
Science: The Science of Printing – Jerry Oltion
Curiosities – Paul Di Filippo

Cartoons: Arthur Masear, Mark Heath, Nick Downes, Bill Long
Cover: Bob Eggleton for “The Shadows of Alexandrium”

Interview: Natalia Theodoridou on “The Shape of Gifts”

Author photo of Natalia TheodoridouF&SF: How do you describe “The Shape of Gifts” to people?

NT: It’s the story of an oracle running from her gifts. Of ecological disaster, of love and hope lost and found again.

F&SF: This story is grounded in the hard science of global climate change, but it uses fantasy elements to approach that topic in a really fresh and unexpected way. It’s something we haven’t seen before here at F&SF. What inspired you to write this story in this way?

NT: That’s a hard question to answer, because, as I recall, the seed of the story was this very specific moment of Terry receiving an oracle from the flight of birds and trying to deny it. Destiny and powerlessness and the terrible fates of living beings, the cause of which are sometimes clear and legible, and other times entirely haphazard; how do you escape that kind of bind, or how do you surrender to it, make it liveable, find joy in it, even? This is the question that birthed the rest of the story. The birds were already there, the landscape, too, so the theme of climate change installed itself inevitably; that is the world we live in.

F&SF: This story has a lot of elements that we’ve seen in your other stories: “birds, tall trees, gender weirdness, ancient greek myth, queer love,” to quote something you said on twitter. What parts of the story are personal to you and how did that affect the way you wrote it?

NT: Even though Terry’s experience of sex and gender is fantastical, the genderfeels that go with it are not. I have been steeped in greek myth from a very young age, and the story of Teiresias always spoke to me in my bones, in all sorts of problematic and productive ways. Also, I am queer, and so queerness is always at the center of all I do, one way or another.

F&SF: What were some of the challenges you had writing this story?

NT: I tried my best not to have Terry stand in for any group of people; I did not want her to be a metaphor. I wanted her to be a person, with a unique history and a unique understanding of her world, representative only of her own experience. It took a while getting there, and I don’t know if I succeeded. As a reader, I am generally wary of speculative fiction premises that are supposed to function as grand metaphors for some flavor of queerness because, you know, we’re right here! We exist, and we contain multitudes. As a writer, I’m more interested in sharp, specific questions run through the complexities of a character’s circumstances: their personal and cultural histories, their identity and all the intersections they might inhabit.

F&SF: Can you talk a bit about your writing process?

NT: Hmm, another tough question, because so much of the writing process for me is ineffable, “happens underwater” (as my good friend and Clarion West classmate B. Pladek has said). I tend to mull over ideas for a very long time before they become stories. Just last week I wrote a story the idea for which I was working on in my head for two years. Then the story itself was written in a single day. I need the idea to feel mature before I sit down to write it. A mature idea may mean: a firm voice, a character I know well, a beginning, an ending, a question I want answered or, at least, posed.

F&SF: What are you working on right now?

NT: Oh, so many things. A new Choice of Games project that I can’t talk about just yet; a novella that I’ve been kicking around for two years; a new short story about a haunted building; a maturing novel; a mental health game; a short story collection…

I live in front of my laptop.

You can find Natalia Theodoridou at…

Website: www.natalia-theodoridou.com/
Twitter: @natalia_theodor

“The Shape of Gifts” appears in the July/August 2020 issue of F&SF.

Order a copy of this issue…

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    Interview: M. Rickert on “Last Night at the Fair”

    Ferris WheelF&SF: How do you describe this story to people? Do you describe it to people?

    MR: I don’t really have much occasion to describe my stories to anyone other than my husband. Even then, I prefer to read them to him. But I do remember right after finishing this one, going to the grocery store where a woman I barely knew asked me, in that polite way, how I was doing, and I blurted out that I had just written a story called, “Last Night at the Fair.” She, apparently nonplussed by my oversharing, closed her eyes and smiled.

    F&SF: What made you decide to write this story right now?

    MR: I decided I wanted to write some stories from the point of view of an older woman. I live only a few blocks away from the park that hosts the county fair every summer, and I’ve been enchanted by it since we moved here. I especially like to go up there in the morning before the fair officially opens to walk the grounds. My husband and I almost always go on the opening night to watch the pig judging, which is fascinating and strange. One year I timed it right to attend the judging of baked goods, and happened to sit right behind the winning bread maker and her two children who were so proud and excited when the judge described the perfection of the bite! There is just something about the fair that I find inspiring. Also, and this part is a bit of a spoiler for anyone who wants to read the story first and hasn’t done so yet… A few years ago there was a rumor of a lion roaming Wisconsin. In the tradition of such rumors, a single blurry photograph was published in the newspaper. There was some speculation that someone might have had a pet lion that either escaped or was set free. Ever since then, I knew that lion would become a part of something I wrote, and I don’t know why it appeared for this story, but when it did, I felt it was the right time and place.

    F&SF: You’ve been inspired lately. We’ll publish three stories by you this year, something that we haven’t done in over a decade, plus “Evergreen” in our Nov/Dec issue last year. In general, these stories seem shorter, more economical, compared to some of your earlier work, but they’re all still very powerful, maybe even more powerful for their brevity. What’s brought about this sudden surge of writing

    MR: Well, thank you for your kind comments about this recent work. I have had a lot of fun writing short after working on a novel for so long. I’m calling it my last novel because it takes everything I have to write a novel, which is part of the reason I have been away from short stories for a while. But, also, I began to feel like I was repeating myself too much in my own work and needed some time to find a broader approach. It helped me a lot to read Ray Bradbury’s One Hundred Stories, which I have been lingering over for some time. I very much enjoy the scope of Bradbury’s affection, and began to consider how I might want to challenge my reach. While all this was going on my agent and I parted ways, leaving me feeling very unmoored and quite a bit lost. I went through a season of doubt. My friend and I had planned a writing retreat In Michigan that coincidentally fell during my sorry summer. It was just the two of us in a lovely home near the beach. We each claimed our writing posts. She was very happy in the dining room, and I was thrilled to have the screened-in-porch. I don’t usually have any trouble with blank pages, but I remember that first morning, sitting at the table with a pounding heart. Just write something, I thought. So I started writing about an old woman who lived in a house near the beach. It was okay. It was something, at least. The next day a fairy popped onto the page, and I wrote the entire day, finishing a decent draft. By the end of that week, I had two stories I liked in my backpack when I took the ferry home across lake Michigan, feeling very much like I had gone on a much longer journey than miles could measure. After that, something rose up on me. I consider myself a fairly easy going person, but there is, inside of my quiet demeanor, a very large presence that wants to be heard.

    F&SF: How has your writing process changed over the past twenty years?

    MR: I frequently refer to George R.R. Martin’s quote about some writers being gardeners, and others being architects. I was a gardener for a very long time but have learned, in recent years, to cultivate a bit more of the architect. I think that is probably the biggest change. What that means within my writing practice is that I am able to approach plot more consciously than I had before. It’s been interesting to experience this evolution and to come to understand that, like much of life, the things I thought I knew about my strengths and weaknesses when I was in my thirties might no longer apply.

    F&SF: What are you working on now?

    MR: Right now I am working on final edits of my novel, The Shipbuilder of Bellfairie, which will be published by Undertow Publications in 2021. I’m expecting to get the copy edits for my novelette, “The Little Witch” (Tor.com) fairly soon, and I recently finished a novella which is currently under submission. Eager to complete all these tasks and get back to writing something fresh. These days, horror calls.

    “Last Night at the Fair” appears in the July/August 2020 issue of F&SF.

    Order a copy of this issue…

  • Paper: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/toc2020-29.htm
  • Ebook: https://weightlessbooks.com/format/the-magazine-of-fantasy-and-science-fiction-july-august-2020/
  •  
    …or subscribe and never miss a single story!

    Print edition: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/subscribe.htm

    Ebook editions:

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  • Amazon US (Kindle edition):http://www.amazon.com/dp/B004ZFZ4O8/
  • Amazon UK (Kindle edition):http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004ZFZ4O
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