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F&SF, March 1986

Over the past year, we’ve been doing a #TBT (Throw Back Thursday) feature on the F&SF Twitter account and Facebook page. For the new year, we thought it might be good to add them here where they can be easily found under the “F&SF History” tag.

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Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 1986, cover by David Hardy‪‪#‎TBT‬ to the March 1986 issue of F&SF and this untitled dinosaur and spaceship cover by David Hardy.

Hardy did a different stegosaurus in space cover for the February 1975 issue, which we covered on a #TBT last month. Once again, there is no dinosaur in space story in this issue! But Hardy and F&SF editor Ed Ferman seemed determined to encourage one.

The issue does include some amazing fiction, however, starting with “Good Night, Sweethearts,” by James Tiptree, Jr., aka Alice Sheldon. The story is about a salvage ship answering a distress call at the edge of the Great North Rift. It was included in The Starry Rift. The second story in the issue is “Wild Boys” by Karen Joy Fowler, which many of you may have read in her collection Artificial Things.

“Peace Feelers” is the first solo work of fiction, and the first short story, published by Neil W. Hiller. He died just a couple years later at the age of 41. Hiller had co-authored children’s books with his wife Bonnie Bryant/B.B. Hiller, author of the Saddle Club series and several media tie-ins. Hiller was a former Marine Corps officer. “Peace Feelers” is military sf, about a telepathic enemy, in the form of a dictated after action report.

“Still Life” by David S. Garnett, a story about art and aging, was a finalist for the 1987 Hugo Award. Kit Reed appears in the issue with “The Dog of Truth.” What do you do with a talking dog who can’t help pointing out all your lies? “Gödel’s Doom” by George Zebrowski is an idea story about determinism and free will based on the philosophy of mathematics. “Skintwister” by Paul Di Filippo is an if-this-goes-on tale about cosmetic surgery and biosculpting. It was Di Filippo’s second story in F&SF, and one of his earliest stories overall. He is now the author of the short fiction series, “Plumage from Pegasus,” which has been running in F&SF for a couple decades. The issue closes with “Sea Change” by Scott Baker, an alien artifact story selected by Gardner Dozois for Year’s Best Science Fiction Volume 4.

So this issue includes a series story, an award nominee, a Year’s Best story, some familiar names, some newer writers, and a first story. Add in a book column by Algis Budrys, a film column by Harlan Ellison, a science column by Isaac Asimov plus a poem by Robert Frazier, an F&SF Competition, and a bunch of cartoons, and you have another typical issue of F&SF.

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