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Editor’s Note for November/December 2017

Welcome to issue #734, the November/December 2017 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction.

The new 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 electronic format — through Weightless Books.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, Nov/Dec 2017, cover by Kent BashThis month’s cover illustrates “Attachments” by Kate Wilhelm. The artwork is by Kent Bash. To see more of his work, visit his website at


Although she had already been publishing in the pulp magazines for several years, Kate Wilhelm first appeared in F&SF with the January 1962 issue. That story, “A Time to Keep,” was a psychologically fraught tale about a professor with repressed memories, and it showed the kind of character insights and close study of constrained lives that made her work so remarkable during the rest of the 1960s. In the following decades, Wilhelm went on to win two Hugo and several Nebula awards, most recently in 2006 and 2009 respectively, and in 2016 the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America renamed their Solstice Award — for outstanding contributions to the field — to the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award.

Her most recent story for F&SF was “The Fullness of Time” in our July/August 2012 issue. Time has long been a theme in her work, and this one is no different. How can it be, when there are ghosts involved? Of all the different “Attachments” found in this new story, the most important one may belong to a person who once made hinges.


If you’re not already familiar with the adventures of the bard Gorlen Vizenfirthe, all you need to know is that he’s been cursed — his hand replaced with the stone paw of a gargoyle named Spar, who is reciprocally afflicted. Together, the two of them search for a cure to their problem and frequently end up in fresh varieties of trouble.

Gorlen debuted in the October 1995 issue of F&SF with “Dankden” and has returned six times since, most recently with the cover story “Rooksnight” in our May/June 2014 issue. Marc Laidlaw, Gordon and Spar’s creator and chronicler, tells us that this new adventure may not be the conclusion of their story, but it is certainly a conclusion. If you’re a fan of sword and sorcery adventures, this novella is one you don’t want to miss.


We’ve told you about the ghost story and the fantasy adventure that highlight this issue, but don’t think we’ve neglected science fiction.

We have a trio of hard sf speculative stories to entertain you this month. “Carbo,” a new novelet by Nick Wolven, offers a fresh take on self-driving cars that we haven’t seen before. “By the Red Giant’s Light” is a new Known Space story from Larry Niven that takes place at the edge of our solar system near the end of our sun. And “Racing the Rings of Saturn” by newcomer Ingrid Garcia, a young writer from Spain, looks at extreme sports in a future where the stakes are political as well as personal. Joining these three, you’ll find “Marley and Marley” by J. R. Dawson, a thoughtful time travel tale about the things that can happen when an older version of ourselves meets a younger version.

We also have some terrific and memorable fantasy lined up for you.

Philip K. Dick Award winner Meg Elison makes her F&SF debut with “Big Girl,” a story about the realization that women are always the wrong size, sometimes astonishingly so. R. S. Benedict — whose first published story was the highly acclaimed “My English Name,” inspired in part by her time in China, in our May/June issue earlier this year — returns with “Water God’s Dog,” another unique and powerful story, this time inspired in equal parts by Sumerian literature and a frustrating job hunt. And David Erik Nelson, whose novella “There Was a Crooked Man, He Flipped a Crooked House” was the cover story in our July/August issue, moves from the city to the country with a disturbing road trip through the Midwest in “Whatever Comes After Calcutta.”

And finally we have a delightful new poem for you, “Down at the Goblin Boutique,” by the Irish poet and novelist John W. Sexton.


Charles de Lint recommends some Books to Look For by David Wiesner and Donna Jo Napoli, Dean Koontz, A. G. Carpenter, Alan Baxter, Grady Hendrix, Christopher Farnsworth, and Angie Stanton. In Musing on Books, Michelle West reviews new books by Elizabeth Bear, Tanya Huff, Linda Nagata, and graphic novels by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda. And in our monthly Curiosities column, rediscovering lost writers and books, David Langford turns out an early holiday treat by reviewing A Christmas Garland, a collection of seasonal parodies — whose targets included Kipling and H. G. Wells — by Max Beerbohm, originally published in 1912.

And beyond books? In his latest film column, David J. Skal provides a critical evaluation of Universal’s newest version of “The Mummy” and their monster movie strategy in general. The print version of this issue also offers up fresh cartoons by Bill Long, Danny Shanahan, Nick Downes, Arthur Masear, and S. Harris. Plus we bring you the winners of F&SF Competition #94, “Explain a Plot Badly,” and invite you to participate in our next competition — “Titles the Rearrange.”


At the beginning of this year, the F&SF Science Column by Pat Murphy and Paul Doherty went from being a twice-yearly occurrence to a monthly feature. Murphy and Doherty had been writing the column for twenty years, it’s very popular with readers, and the change just seemed to make sense. The first full year of their column concludes with “The Science of Invisibility,” which looks closely at our eyes and what we can and can’t see.

We are saddened to report that, as we were going to press with this issue, Paul Doherty passed away following a brief battle with cancer. As a result, this month’s science column concludes with a short remembrance of him written by his friend and colleague Pat Murphy. While there will be no science column in our January/February issue, Pat will return in March/April 2018 with the last piece they were working on together and a longer tribute.


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


One Response to “Editor’s Note for November/December 2017”

  1. Stillborne - Marc Laidlaw on October 31st, 2017

    […] All the details here! […]

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