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Editor’s Note for September/October 2017

Welcome to the 68th anniversary issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction!

The September/October issue can be found in most Barnes & Noble stores, as well as many local independent booksellers. You can order a single copy from our website or buy an electronic edition from Amazon, AmazonUK, and — now, available worldwide and in every format — through Weightless Books.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Sept/Oct 2017, cover by Maurizio ManzieriThis month’s stunning cover is by Italian artist Maurizio Manzieri, illustrating “Starlight Express” by Michael Swanwick. Manzieri also illustrated our May/June issue. To see more of his work, visit his website at


The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction — titled simply The Magazine of Fantasy for that first issue although it contained a couple science fiction stories by Theodore Sturgeon and others — debuted in October 1949. Sixty-eight years and 733 issues later, here we are!

Our cover story for this issue, “Starlight Express” by Michael Swanwick, is, in some ways, a good example of how much the industry has changed over the past sixty-eight years. Swanwick is a winner of the Hugo, Nebula, Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards — none of which existed when the magazine was founded.

But, more importantly, this story shows how interconnected and international the world has become in the intervening decades. (Something you’ll see reflected elsewhere in this issue too.) Swanwick originally wrote this story to be translated for the most recent reboot of Esli magazine in Russia (Если, which is Russian for “If”). Then he sold it to Science Fiction World — which has the largest circulation of any science fiction magazine in the world — in China, where a translation appeared earlier this year.

But this is the story’s first publication in English, and we’re very happy to share it with you.


Our genre’s most prestigious award is the Grand Master, given by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. It’s been ten years since SFWA Grand Master Samuel R. Delany published a new science fiction story, and his last appearance in these pages was exactly forty years ago, for our 28th anniversary issue in 1977.

Throughout his career, Delany’s work has pushed the boundaries of sf to make it address more adult situations and issues, particularly at the intersections of language and memory, sexuality and society. He returns to these themes in this new story, which takes place in a near future where the current Mexican-American border no longer exists.

We think fans of the genre are going to enjoy it.


Because this is an anniversary issue, we’ve packed it full of great fiction for you, including a lot of names that will be recognized by our regular readers.

Our lead story for this issue is “Evil Opposite,” a parallel worlds story by Naomi Kritzer, who won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 2016. Robert Reed offers us another view of our future with “Leash on a Man” — we happen to think this is one of the best and most memorable stories he’s written in a long time. Lisa Mason returns to our pages with “Riddle,” a tale of the supernatural set in North Beach, her old stomping ground in San Francisco. British writer Jeremy Minton makes a reappearance with “The Care of House Plants,” a story with some dark and unexpected twists. And humorist Oliver Buckram introduces us to “Hollywood Squid,” taking us to an Oscar ceremony we’re not likely to soon forget.


In his column for the very first issue of this magazine, back in 1949, publisher Lawrence E. Spivak praised editors Anthony Boucher and J. Francis McComas for seeking out fresh voices and including “…the first published story by a distinctive new fantasy writer.” (He was referring to “In the Days of Our Fathers” by Winona McClintic, who went on to become a frequent contributor to the magazine.) Right from the very beginning, finding and developing new writers has been part of the Fantasy & Science Fiction tradition.

In this anniversary issue, we’re proud to introduce the world to the work of two such new voices. Dare Segun Falowo, a young writer from Lagos, Nigeria, brings us “We Are Born,” a fantasy set in the village of Ala and inspired by Yoruba traditions. We also present you with “Children of Xanadu” by Juan Paulo Rafols, a promising new writer from the Philippines, who was inspired to write this near future science fiction story by news articles about the harsh treatment experienced by children sent to internet addiction boot camps.

In addition, we bring you stories by several writers who may already be familiar to you, but who are new to the magazine.

Gwendolyn Clare delivers “Tasting Notes on the Varietals of the Southern Coast,” a brief fantasy with great intensity and depth of flavor, marked by hints of irony. Canadian writer Rebecca Campbell takes us for a ride “On Highway 18” in a ghost story about small towns and teenagers, independence and vulnerability. Amy Griswold gives us a glimpse at the future and provides some pointed social commentary with “Still Tomorrow’s Going to Be Another Working Day.” Rahul Kanakia uses an alien perspective to hold up a mirror to our own culture with “Bodythoughts.” And Tina Connolly invites us to dance “The Two-Choice Foxtrot of Chapham County” — a delightful fantasy about ordinary people choosing to change.


From very early on, Fantasy & Science Fiction has been distinguished by its columns and columnists. This issue is no different.

Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by Seanan McGuire, A. G. Carpenter, John Crowley, Christopher Eliopoulos, R. J. Blain, and Melissa F. Olson. James Sallis reviews new Books by Paul La Farge and Deepak Unnikrishnan. In her film column, Kathi Maio meditates “On Finding Her Inner Kaiju” — a review of Anne Hathaway’s “delightfully offbeat” film “Colossal.” The Science Column by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty pulls a “Vanishing Act” as it considers the technology for invisibility cloaks. And for our Curiosities column, Robert Eldridge reconsiders The Great Demonstration, originally published in 1920, and written by the talented and unjustly forgotten writer, Katharine Metcalf Roof.

The print version of this issue also offers up fresh cartoons by Danny Shanahan, Nick Downes, Arthur Masear, and S. Harris.


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

So grab a copy in your favorite format and enjoy.

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


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