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Free Fiction Friday: Paolo Bacigalupi

Paolo Bacigalupi is a frequent contributor to F&SF. His story “The Calorie Man” (Oct/Nov 2005) won the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award and was nominated for the Hugo Award. “The People of Sand and Slag,” which first appeared in our February 2004 issue, was a finalist for both the Hugo and Nebula Awards. A collection of Bacigalupi’s short fiction, Pump Six and Other Stories, was just published by Night Shade Books.

Paolo recently posted several of his stories online: “The Tamarisk Hunter,” “The People of Sand and Slag,” and “The Fluted Girl.” You can also listen to a podcast of Paolo reading “The People of Sand and Slag,” which was recorded recently at the SF in SF reading series in San Francisco.

Interview: Richard Mueller on "A Ten-Pound Sack of Rice"

Richard Mueller–author of “A Ten-Pound Sack of Rice,” which appears in our March 2008 issue–said in an interview that the story is about an 88-year-old WWII veteran naval aviator named Nathan Roullon.

“[He’s] sitting in his shack in the Louisiana bayou country, waiting to die and for the end of the world, receives a visit from the Devil,” Mueller said. “Old Scratch is not looking for an honest man, but an interesting one, and has come in the person of a young Japanese air gunner who Nathan killed in a dogfight in 1943. Nathan suddenly finds himself back in the Solomon Islands in his F4F-3 Wildcat, knowing what he knows now, but with a chance to change what happened that day. Or not. He finds a way to spare the young gunner, and change his own life in the process, and the Devil has to agree not to destroy the world–just yet.”

Read more

2007 Recommended Reading Lists

Dave Truesdale has posted his 2007 recommended reading list for short fiction over at Black Gate. Here are the stories from F&SF that made the cut:

Short Stories

“Red Card” by S. L. Gilbow (F&SF, Feb.) SF

“A Thing Forbidden” by Donald Mead (F&SF, Apr.) F/H

“PowerSuit™” by M. K. Hobson (F&SF, July) SF

“Cold Comfort” by Ray Vukcevich (F&SF, July) SF

“The Mole Cure” by Nancy Farmer (F&SF, Aug.) F

“The Tomb Wife” by Gwyneth Jones (F&SF, Aug.) SF

“Who Brought Tulips to the Moon?” by S. L. Gilbow (F&SF, Dec.) SF

“Osama Phone Home” by David Marusek (F&SF, Dec.) SF

“Don’t Ask” by M. Rickert (F&SF, Dec.) F


“Fool” by John Morressy (F&SF, Feb.) F

“Dance of Shadows” by Fred Chappell (F&SF, Mar.) F

“Wizard’s Six” by Alex Irvine (F&SF, June) F

“Lazaro y Antonio” by Marta Randall (F&SF, June) SF

“Car 17” by P. E. Cunningham (F&SF, July) F

“A Wizard of the Old School” by Chris Willrich (F&SF, Aug.) F

“The Merchant and the Alchemist’s Gate” by Ted Chiang (F&SF, Sep.) F

“Two Weeks After” by M. Ramsey Chapman (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) F

“The Diamond Shadow” by Fred Chappell (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) F

“The Recreation Room” by Albert E. Cowdrey (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) F

“Urdumheim” by Michael Swanwick” (F&SF, Oct./Nov.) SF

“The Bone Man” by Frederic S. Durbin (F&SF, Dec.) H

“Finisterra” by David Moles (F&SF, Dec.) SF


“Kiosk” by Bruce Sterling (F&SF, Jan.) SF

“The Helper and His Hero” Part 1, by Matthew Hughes (F&SF, Feb.) SF

“The Helper and His Hero” Part 2, by Matthew Hughes (F&SF, Mar.) SF

“Memorare” by Gene Wolfe (F&SF, Apr.) SF

“The Master Miller’s Tale” by Ian R. MacLeod (F&SF, May) F

“Stars Seen Through Stone” by Lucius Shepard” (F&SF, July) SF

Interview: Alexander Jablokov on "The Boarder"

Alexander Jablokov–author of “The Boarder,” which appears in our March 2008 issue–said in an interview that the story is a character study in the form of a memoir. “The story reflects on our drive to space, including the compromises at the foundations of the entire enterprise, as well as science fiction, the very different compromises of our contemporary world, and why you don’t see many Russians in yard work,” Jablokov said.

Jablokov said that in fiction, wise older people often mentor promising younger people. “The older people teach, the younger people learn, and it’s an important relationship to both of them,” he said. “That’s emotionally satisfying—but I wanted to think about a more common scenario, where the older person and younger person have a lot to offer each other, but have their own lives to focus on, and so never define themselves by this relationship.”

“And, I suppose, Vassily, like any slightly befuddled elderly Russian at sea in America, owes something to Nabokov’s character, Timofey Pnin,” Jablokov continued. “The two have little in common, really, but I suspect that original model lies back there somewhere. Nabokov is a favorite of mine, though not because I have an interest in writing like him.”

Related to both of the above was a deliberate attempt on Jablokov’s part to write a story that reads like a memoir, not like a story. “There are specific narrative choices I made to reinforce this impression,” he said. “We’ll see if readers agree.” Read more

Interview Schedule

Just a quick housekeeping note. I plan to post a just one interview per week usually but because we launched the blog in the middle of the month, I’ve still got some March issue interviews, even though the April issue is now on sale. So, in order to catch up, I’m going to publish a couple more interviews this week, then get us back on track with April interviews next week.

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